Front axle rebuild questions -

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post #1 of 7 Old 02-16-2016, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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1983 CJ7 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Austin
Posts: 219
Front axle rebuild questions

I have put it off long enough and now it is time to replace the ball joints. I figured while I had it apart I would replace whatever else needed it.

ball joints
spindle bearing and seal
outer axle seal
wheel bearings and seal

Anything else I should look at while I have it apart? Will I need that special tool to remove and install the split ring seat? I already have the axle nut socket. I was hoping to do this with the loaner ball joint remove/install kit from one of the local auto parts places. Any reason that is not doable? I have the FSM but it always references special Jeep dealer tools that are not available so I am trying to make sure I have everything I need before I get started. Appreciate any feedback...



'83 CJ7 (258 5 spd)
'14 Grand Cherokee 4X4
Austin, TX
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-16-2016, 02:05 PM
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1980 CJ7 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Killeen
Posts: 1,319
You can get the ball joint remover set from O'Reiley's for free but you have to put down a deposit. Make sure it has the 4wd attachment with it. You have to push from the smooth side. Seen folks wrestle with this for days until they finally used the right side.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-16-2016, 07:50 PM
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Location: Colorado
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Yes, you'll need a socket to set the torque on the upper ball joint split ring. You can either make one or buy one. NAPA part #278-2030 (scary I have that memorize) or OTC 7080 (Amazon has it) is the right socket. These also work on Dana 44s if you ever upgrade.

If it were mine I wouldn't replace the wheel bearings unless they show signs of overheating (blue color) or pitting of the rollers.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-16-2016, 10:21 PM
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1982 CJ7 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Chilliwack
Posts: 316
Just did mine. Broke a high quality snapon press in the process. Think mine have never been changed. Ended up pulling the axle and taking it to amguy who does work on the side to have them taken out and new ones pressed in for 50 bucks. Best money ever spent. He said there was no way I would have ever gotten them off in my drive way; he does this for a living as well. Said 50 bucks puts him 150 in the hole. Good for me. Not being the room Sayer but I have never had much luck getting ball joints out on any of my vehicles. This is my third time last one was a ram 2500 4x4, took tso days with the right press.

Just my crappy ball joint experience

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post #5 of 7 Old 02-29-2016, 09:08 PM
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1978 CJ7 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: pinckney
Posts: 35
I replaced the threaded inserts that go into the axle C ends, don't remember what they are called offhand but I think ball joint inserts? I would check the lockouts and clean completely and regrease those, check all the screws/bolts that hold them in, put new u joints into the front axle shafts and check out the brake components while you have the axle apart replace as needed and a good time to paint the dust shields and calipers if you choose. New gear lube in the diff too. I did all those items when I did my upper/lower ball joints and replaced the front tie rod ends as well. All that stuff didn't really add up to much $$ and the steering was amazingly tight afterwards. Drove down the highway 60-65mph perfectly, no wandering at all. Make sure the steering box mount bolts are tight too. Those little items don't add up to much but it is nice to know the front end is completely rebuilt with new parts.

My balljoints came out pretty easy, but I have never had any issues removing any of those taper fitted joints since I was shown how to do it 25 years ago. For the ball joint, put some pressure on the top one with a two jaw puller or a pickle fork and hit the side of the C hard with a big hammer. Don't try to use only the puller to remove the balljoint, you need a hard impact to knock it loose. It will pop right out. You have to hit it really hard with the hammer, don't just tap it. If it doesn't drop out, you didn't hit it hard enough. I use a 3 or 4 lb. hand sledge or drilling hammer. works great every time for ball joints and tie rod ends.
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-29-2016, 10:01 PM
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1986 CJ7 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Muskegon
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Harbor freight has a 4wd ball joint press. Usually 40 bucks +/-. Best money you'll ever spend. Push them out, push them in. Works wonders on U joints as well.
There are no outer axle seals. The seal for the tube itself is inward. You must remove the carrier to get at them. No big deal though. Just keep stuff laid out like you took it out. I replaced everything I could when I had mine apart. And converted to a GM caliper for my disc brakes.
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-01-2016, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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1983 CJ7 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Austin
Posts: 219
Thanks for the input. I got side tracked on a little rust repair. Soon as I am done with that it is back to the front axle.

'83 CJ7 (258 5 spd)
'14 Grand Cherokee 4X4
Austin, TX
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