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Howdy. I was just reading this and wanted to chime in a little. First of all, a good ball peen hammer is all you need to take apart ball joints, tie rods, etc. Do be careful to hit whatever item you are taking off in a straight direction. In other words, don't hit a ball joint from the side, hit it where the control arm will give you the most force behind it. The perscribed method is to actually use 2 hammers, one to bang, and the other behind the joint to take up the shock of the blow. I don't like pickle forks because they can damage the boots. The absolute best way is to use pullers, which cause no shock vibration and no possible boot damage.

I know you left the castle nut on the ball joint which was a good precaution, but guys don't mess around with torsion bars. I used to work with a guy who had 17 stiches on his arm from unloading a ball joint with the torsion bars still under tension. Unload the dam things, it's an easy process and can save you a trip to the emergency room. Unless you want a cool scar. No forget I said that, don't do it!!

-Kevin
 

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Howdy. Hey Oracle. I was just re-reading your post and wanted to add a couple comments. First, yes, you cannot get a puller into everything. I was using the term "puller" generally. There are "special" tools of course designed to take apart front ends. Anyway, I also wanted to say that I have had some success fixing damaged boots with "fribbage". This is the same stuff NAPA sells in the little cheez whiz bottle for like $20. Toyota calls it fribbage and I get mine from a tech friend. Anyway, it's a very high performance silicon sealer. I've cleaned the infected area the best I can with brake cleaner, then made a patch with the fribbage on the boot extending well beyond the actual wound. (ps folks, I've never done this on a customer car) Anyway, I figure it's worth a shot on your own rig and might just save you some money. Also, you should generally avoid using torches at any time. If you have to, keep in mind that you are changing the physical properties of the metal you are getting red hot, which can lead to failure of the component.

-Kevin
 
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