NISSAN Pictures of how I replaced the ball joints on the front spindles on my 87-95 Nissan Pathfinder.

I replaced the ball joints because the steering was vague and she wandered all over the freeway. I don't think this helped. I think the problem was in the alignment and the steering box.
This was kind of a difficult job. Those ball joints are difficult to get out. Those steering knuckles are heavy. I bled quite a bit more than usual. Just sayin. And supporting the lower control arm improperly can kill a guy.

But first, lets pay some bills:

  1. Jacked it up, supported lower control arm, jack stands all around, wheel off, probably some other stuff I am forgetting. Come on, I only got the bandages off last week.

  2. Unbolted the brake caliper.

  3. Supported with wire so I wouldn't break the brake line.

  4. Removed cotter pins from ball joint bolts. Ball joints = BJ's. What? I'm just telling you what they're called! These cotter pins keep the big ball joint castle nuts from working loose.

  5. Removed the castle nuts on the upper and lower ball joints. These hold the spindle onto the ball joints. Spindle, steering knuckle, upright, same thing.
    upper ball joint   lower ball joint

  6. Opened the steering link.
    steering link

  7. Removed three of four of the small nuts and bolts from the upper ball joint. Small bolts hold the ball joints onto the control arms.
    upper ball joint small nuts

  8. Removed the small bolts from the lower ball joint.
    lower ball joint bolts

  9. This ball joint puller does not work. I hate this thing and I hate Harbor Freight.
    ball joint puller

  10. OK, I'm going to let that last bolt out of the upper control arm. This steering knuckle is heavy as hell. I thought I could let the bolt go with one hand and hold the knuckle with the other hand. I am a big strong guy. Heavy as hell. I still have a scar on that hand. So on this side I supported the knuckle with some scraps of wood so I would not ruin my other hand.

  11. I hate this made in China C clamp and I hate Harbor Freight.

  12. Ball joint pickle fork made in USA in 1975. Bang and done.
    pickle fork   success

  13. BFH = Big F*ing Hammer. Made in USA in 1975. Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang and done.

  14. Old ball joints and new ball joints. Got those part numbers there? I have been pleased with the quality of Moog and Beck Arnley.
    ball joint part numbers

  15. Lower ball joint.
    lower ball joint

  16. Upper ball joint. What is that in the background there?
    upper ball joint

  17. Upper ball joint installed into the upper control arm.
    upper BJ

  18. Lower ball joint attached to lower control arm. Plus check out my sweet chucks.
    lower BJ

  19. Tightened the main bolt of the upper ball joint into the spindle. That wicked angle is caused by cranking the torsion bars which gave me a couple inches of lift in the front.
    upper ball joint installed

  20. Re installed the steering link. Tightened everything to spec with torque wrench.
    steering link

  21. Installed new cotter pins.
    cotter pins

  22. Next I sold out to make 02ยข so I can fulfill my lifelong dream of owning a 1986 944 with blown head gaskets.

    But no minivans!

  23. Then I finished my beer.

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Think: Cars are expensive, powerful, and heavy.   Before I start work, I face the possibility that I will destroy my vehicle, my own life, and innocent pedestrians' lives.   If anyone messes with a 4000 lb machine capable of 100 mph, these are real possibilities.   If I get in over my head, I call a professional mechanic.   The information on this website is provided only for entertainment purposes, and it is not intended as advice on how to service a vehicle.   For all you know I made this up.   Don`t believe everything you read on the internet.

Disclaimer: The technical information in these documents is provided without any warranty whatsoever and at no cost.   All information is in general terms and is not meant to apply to your particular situation, be current at the time you read it, or even be correct in the first place.   Improperly maintained vehicles can lead to serious injury, death, or unavoidable accidents. The author is not responsible for any errors on this site, and does not make any claim at all about the validity, safety, or veracity of the information contained on this website. Any work you choose to do or not to do on your vehicle is done at your own risk. The information on this site is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional advice, professional workmanship, dealer service, union labor, or psychological counseling.   The author disclaims any and all liability directly or indirectly arising from the application or use of any information or idea contained on this or any other web site.   By opening this page, you agree to never sue anyone ever or allow anyone to be sued on your behalf.   The appropriate professional should be consulted regarding your specific condition. does not take responsibility for the information posted on other sites to which it links.

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Last modified: 11/22/2014