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I have air tools and I decided to replace the right side lower ball joints without taking the knuckle out right on my 2006 Accord I4.

1. Jack up my Accord and on jack stand

2. Remove wheel.

3. Spray penetrating oil at axle nut, lower ball joint castle nut, lower control arm bolt/nut, bolts holding the brake hose on the knuckle.

4. Remove the bolts holding the brake hose on the knuckle to get enough length when I swing the knuckle to the left without taking the caliper off first.



5. Remove the cotter pin and castle nut from the lower ball joint.

6. Remove the axle nut from the axle.

7. Raise the knuckle off the lower control arm and swing the knuckle to the left.



8. Use bungee cords to tie the knuckle at the jack stand near by.



9. Remove the dust cover as per OP instruction.

10. I was not able to use air hammer to remove the ball joint because the rust and the knuckle was moving up and down at the upper control arm.

11. Plan B was to borrow tools from part store:
- OEM Ball Joint Press 77023
- OEM Adapter for Honda ball joint 77164
The adapter ring is a bit smaller than the ball joint. But I was able to get the ball joint halfway out. Then, use the air hammer to get get it off completely. The ball joint press is hard to use. I used duct tape, as third hand if you will, to hold the adapter ring while I was setting up to use my impact. In order to use the ball joint press, I needed to cut the stem of the ball joint off. I raised the knuckle up in order to use my impact to turn the press.



12. Air tools makes this job easier. I used my air hammer with a adapter plate to install the new ball joint.



13. Reverse the order to put the knuckle and wheel back.

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JohnNH, thanks for the great writeup from many years ago. I have an 8th gen (2009) accord and did both front lowers (and upper control arms) without too much trouble, thanks to your notes. My biggest hurldle was the axle nut, busted a 1/2" breaker using a 36 mm socket, and then snapped a 1/2 - 3/4" adapter (a demoralizing start for me after half an hour in!). Eventually got past that with a 3/4" breaker and an almost equivalent 1 7/16" which I already had, should have started with that!

I am gong to start a new thread in the 8th gen and provide a link to your orignal post. Thanks again for taking the time to do this.


couch
 

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This SP Tool 68600A Honda/Accura Ball Joint Tool using air Hammer seems to be very simple to change the Honda ball joint without taking the knuckle out. Everything are done on the car. No need to remove the Caliper and tie rod end. Just swing the knuckle to the side (video frame at 0:20). Use a air hammer and this tool kit to remove the old ball joint and install the new ball joint. It seems to be DIY dream tool. Save time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89KiZz5F_-A
I wonder how well this would work with my cheap harbor freight air hammer. I have a small little air compressor, so even if I had to do the hammering in smaller bursts it would still beat taking everyhting off. I have added this to my "wish list" since I maintain 6 family hondas now. Next one that needs a ball joint is paying!
 

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Thanks for JohnNH for the great ball joint replacement writeup.

One minor comment, however, is that when replacing the axle nut, the oil (or grease) should go on the inner face of the nut, not on the threads.
 

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I bought a set of ball joints, both tie rods and upper A-arms off of eBay as a set. After about 1000 miles, the ball came out of the socket! I've never seen that before.
I replaced both sides again but with OEM.
We were getting ready to get on the highway. We hit a small bump and the ball separated, the wheel turned 90 degrees and the lower control arm was scraping the pavement. If it had happened at speed, this could have been deadly.

Unrelated to the incident, but the aftermarket ball joint had the snap ring on the bottom. The new OEM one did not. I don't see what keeps the socket in the knuckle.

John
1996 Honda Accord LX
 

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I bought a set of ball joints, both tie rods and upper A-arms off of eBay as a set. After about 1000 miles, the ball came out of the socket! I've never seen that before.
What brand is the lower ball joint?
 

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I guess it's no-name, $100 for whole front end kind of bundle.

Thanks to @JohnNH 's write-up, I replaced LBJs smoothly, much easier than I expected.

I replaced the ball joints not because they need to be replaced, both are still good, but because I want to complete the front end refresh, lower ball joints are the only old parts. The previous owner definitely had a broken ball joint incident, that's why my right side ball joint is aftermarket.

Here are the two ball joints:


OEM ball joint: 160K miles, plenty of grease, no contamination, perfect boot. I won't be surprised it can last the life of the car.




Aftermarket ball joint: at least 3 years old, seems pretty good quality. I couldn't figure out what brand this is.

Based on the condition of the 160K-miles OEM, I wonder why PO had the right side OEM broken.

@JCW3rd: "the aftermarket ball joint had the snap ring on the bottom. The new OEM one did not. I don't see what keeps the socket in the knuckle."
It's pointless to have the snap ring, because the ball is secured to the lower control arm by the ball joint stud. If the ball joint stud does not break, there is no way for the ball joint to have slightest movement in the knuckle. If the ball joint stud brakes, a snap right does nothing. Either way, snap ring is useless if the ball joint is manufactured to precise dimensions.
 

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Excellent write up dude and thanks a million. I'm doing it right now. I was scared at first but then I read your thesis.

You can ignore pages 2, 4, 5, and 6. The sensor doesn't have to come out of the car. It just has to be removed from the suspension. 3-4 bolts and it's done.
 

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Excellent write up dude and thanks a million. I'm doing it right now. I was scared at first but then I read your thesis.

You can ignore pages 2, 4, 5, and 6. The sensor doesn't have to come out of the car. It just has to be removed from the suspension. 3-4 bolts and it's done.
Only in places like California and Arizona.

In the rust belt, those are important steps to avoid potential headaches:
  • The 10mm bolt of the ABS sensor could easily be broken;
  • The ABS sensor could break during removal
both would set you back hours.
 
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Thanks for the comments, and good question. I don't feel any play in the wheels and there is no audible noise, so I haven't detected any problem with the wheel bearings yet. I contemplated changing them anyway but decided against it in the end (they are about $70 or so each for the OEM bearings, so I figured I would just wait until they started to fail). I am pretty impressed that they have lasted 318K miles though!
I have done lower balls on my 05 6-6 with 388k 3 times. The last time I bought knuckles and joints together and bought new wheel bearings which I gently tapped into the knuckles after freezing them overnight. I used the old bearings to tap the new one in. The cost of the hole thing was less than a hundred a side. I also drilled a hole and install a grease zirk


At 318K Miles (2007 4CYL SE) my lower ball joint (factory original) started squeaking when driving over bumps and there was visible play in the joint. I replaced the ball joint and learned a lot along the way. In the hope that it might save others from some hassle, here's what I learned:

Complete step-by-step write-up, Lower Ball Joint Replacement (PDF):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B023spaMkQOlR2g3SjQxMkxzSTg/view?usp=sharing

A few items of note:

1. On my vehicle the failing ball joint made a slight squeaking noise when going over bumps. The video clip below depicts the sound it made which could be readily reproduced by pushing down on the hood of the car:


2. With the car jacked up off the ground, there was NO noticeably play in the wheel (when grabbing it and shaking it at any position or when using a lever to push up under the wheel). This is due to the fact that when the car is jacked up, the strut expands and puts downward pressure on the ball joint making it very difficult to see any play in the joint. A better way to check the ball joint on this vehicle is to support the vehicle's weight by the lower control arm and then check for play in the ball joint (by prying between the knuckle and lower control arm, or prying up on the knuckle). Using this recommended method, the play in my failing ball joint was readily apparent. Here is a video clip to demonstrate:


Zoomed-in video clip which shows the play in the joint better:


3. The commonly available (for purchase and borrow from many automotive stores) Honda Lower Ball Joint Tool Set (PowerBuilt Kit 76, Model 641321) does NOT work with this vehicle (nor, to be fair, is it advertised to support this model year). There are two reasons: (a) the ball joint base does not fit into the receiver cup (the cup is too small in diameter) and (b) the shank of the ball joint does not fit into the pushing adapter (the shank of the ball joint is too large).

4. The "OTC 6734 Ball Joint Adapter Update" kit DOES work on this vehicle but unfortunately does not appear as commonly available (for borrowing) at this time and is not cheap to purchase (~$80).

5. It can be very difficult to remove the ABS sensor from the knuckle -- it is far easier to simply disconnect the ABS sensor at its connector (under the hood) and leave the ABS sensor in the knuckle.

6. The long thin split (cotter) pin in the tie rod end may be impossible to remove and might need to be drilled out (if you live in "rusty" areas).

7. Getting the old ball joint out can be a little tough. I found that using a little heat (plumber's MAP gas torch) around the outside of the knuckle ring holding the ball joint made the task much easier.

8. On this vehicle, there is NO snap ring (C-Clip, retaining ring) holding the ball joint in, at least for the OEM ball joint and OEM replacement (however, I believe some after market ball joints for this vehicle might have a snap ring).

Hope you find this information useful,
John
Superbly written and video clips very well done, great job!!

I am also curious if your wheel bearings are showing any signs of wear or looseness at this mileage? This would have been an opportunity to replace them if needed.

My 1996 Integra needed both front wheel bearings replaced at about 200K miles, I could physically move the wheels in and out by 1/16", I had a shop do the work since the bearings required a good size press for removal and replacement, I just don't have all that gear.
Very nice write up!

I do have some questions. Did you have to remove the dust boot from the new ball joint when you installed it? I've had to do this before on my old civic, but I wasn't using an OEM joint either.

Also, could you have just put the knuckle in your hydraulic press to press out/in the ball joints?

And just FYI, you can get the OEM wheel bearings (NSK brand) on ebay for like $40 a piece.
Those of us who don't mind getting our hands dirty now and then owe you a debt of gratitude for the time and effort that goes into posting these write ups; especially one with such detail and clarity. I've got a similar job in my near future (upper ball joint) and wasn't sure whether to go OE from Honda or aftermarket. Which way did you go?
 

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Only in places like California and Arizona.

In the rust belt, those are important steps to avoid potential headaches:
  • The 10mm bolt of the ABS sensor could easily be broken;
  • The ABS sensor could break during removal
both would set you back hours.
I'm in CO. Still, you don't have to remove them til you have to. If the bolts break then remove it. It's an entirely different problem.
 

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can an 06 Accord have lower ball joints replaced with an impact air wrench and ball joint c clamp set? I was planning on renting from Napa or OReillys any suggestions? have the Sankei 555 ones.. Thanks!
 

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07V6 EX-L Chicago
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can an 06 Accord have lower ball joints replaced with an impact air wrench and ball joint c clamp set? I was planning on renting from Napa or OReillys any suggestions? have the Sankei 555 ones.. Thanks!
Sankei 555 is sold in Asia for less than $10 each, pretty much like any aftermarket ones. OEM is the way to go.

You need a OTC cup set (about $70), plus the ball joint C-clamp press. Air impact is optional. I used impact, but I also tried a 24" ratchet and had no problem pressing in or out, just a bit slower.
 

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I'm not sure who made the ball joints on the 7th gen, but I'm sure Sankei 555 is far from OEM.

Before replacing mine, I did extensive research and found that Moog and Sankei (beck/arnley) are both garbage with disturbing failure patterns. Sankei is cheaply "made in Japan", not much better than the throw away ball joints in a no name front end kits. Hint: Sankei ball joints are dirt cheap in Asia, priced similarly as no-name ball joints made in China.

Delphi from RockAuto looks closer to OEM from the pictures.
 

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i appreciate your input, but my own research shows it is very different from beck arnley. I have the sankei and they appear very well made. What is charged as cheaper in Japan does not mean junk. Im sure many usa quality products are Much cheaper here than in Japan.
 

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For 7th gen, Beck/Arnley is exactly Sankei 555. I personally have no experience with Sankei 555. I think relative price in the same market often says something about quality. Made in Japan can certainly be garbage too. Good luck.
 

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Since Sankei is sold as Altrom part through Napa and mine are same part number, I am inclined to trust on this as 2nd best to OEM Honda ball joints which are supplied or at least were by Sankei
 

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The lower ball joint is probably the hardest working part on our 7th gen. Ball jont is not rocket science, the problem with many aftermarket ball joints is: the manufacturer never even bother to devote R&D to do reverse engineering on the inside/outside, and they only make the outside dimensions fit but use whatever manufacturing design/process they already have. The telling signs are: stinky zerk fitting, snap ring, locking nuts, 1 cotter pin hole, wrong size castle nuts (often supply with their own nut), groves ...

The aftermarket ball joint taken off my car actually is very good in copying the OEM design, ball stud dimensions, inside ball, etc look very similar to OEM ball joint. It was still in perfect condition when taken off. Unfortunately, I don't know the brand name.

Not trying to argue with you, but who makes/who sold/where it was made....has NOTHING to do with quality. In one Sankei 555 failure example, the ball stud was pulled out of the socket in just 1 year, with everything else still looked perfect. I think that's due to the ball joint design not meeting OEM specifications. Maybe the ball is too small for that to happen. Even the junk Moog ball joint may have proper sided ball, but the stud snaps.

Adding the snap ring, the large thread castle nut, the 1 cotter pin hole. Sankei 555, no matter who sold them, is just a generic ball joint not meeting OEM specs. Japanese garbage. Hopefully, yours are exceptions.

Had I not got OEM, I may have tried Dephi, because at least they even bothered to copy the OEM outside, most likely the inside too.
 

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No need to apologize. I appreciate the discussion. I looked up the Delphi lower ball joint for 7th gen and it looks solid. It says Delphi is an OEM supplier to Honda as well. I also feel good about mine and they match very well. So i feel good about it.
522670
 
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