Ball joint questions for upper control arm

2014 Acura TSX
While removing the knuckle on the front passenger side, and releasing the upper ball joint from the knuckle, I heard some air gushing sound. I was using a ball joint Seperator tool. I looked at the ball joint boot and there are no rips or tears. However some grease is coming out around the stud.

Still feels like there’s enough grease in the boot.

I’m wondering if just the pressure of the press resulted in some grease coming out and I don’t really need to worry about this that much? I know I lost some grease but not much. Not sure if the whole ball joint needs to be replaced or not? Or if it would be possible to bandage this? Like for example just use some RTV gasket maker or maybe a snap ring? It would seem a little difficult to get a snap ring on there where it is leaking, but not sure.

Ive had lots of problems in the past with ball joints spinning while trying to remove and installing nuts onto the stud? I’ve always removed them manually. If you use an impact to “bottom it out” does the ball joint still spin with the nut when I try to reinstall the nut? I can’t get my impact in there, but I might be able to get a compact one in there, but I don’t want to buy one if it won’t help. I could always try creating a load on the ball joint by forcing the knuckle up from the lower control arm to keep it from spinning.

Were you using this tool?

If so, it;s going to force some grease out of the ball joint.

The stud is tapered.

Sometimes you have to jam the stud into the knuckle so it doesn’t turn if it comes loose,


Hi. Thanks for the reply. I was actually using the screw press type. When I was screwing the press. I heard some air gushing sound from what sounded like from the ball joint. It looks like some grease was forced out around the base of the stud. The boot looks like it is in good shape though. No rips or tears or grease coming out from anywhere else. The boot still fills very full of grease. When I poke the boot, no additional grease is coming out from around the base of the stud.

I’m not sure if this is the type of grease leak from a ball joint were I just wipe it off and go about my way. Or if this is something that I can band aid by putting some like RTV gasket maker around the base of the stud where it meets the boot, or maybe trying to put like a snap ring in the area (not sure if that would even work). Or maybe the whole ball joint needs to be replaced. I’m not really sure what needs to be done

Thanks, so even with an impact wrench, I need to apply a load to the ball joint to keep it from spinning when reinstalling the nut? I’ve always used hand tools for this, and haven’t tried an impact. Not sure if non-constant force applied from an impact wrench would help keep it from spinning?

I appreciate the help and thanks.

Sounds like it is pretty worn out to me based on that description. The stud ball should fit tightly into the socket. If air came out as you pressed on the stud, sounds like there was air in the socket from wear and no new grease. How loose is the stud when you move it around?

It’s not supposed to be sealed like that. The suppleness of the boot holds tight around the stud and socket rim. If you pump in too much grease, it will exit these interfaces (don’t do that). If the ball joint isn’t worn out, regrease until you feel the seal swell slightly, then you know it’s full.

Re-assembling ball joints is no place for an impact gun. Use hand tools and a torque wrench to achieve the proper seating of the taper. Then go slightly tighter if you need the cotter pin to align with the hole and nut.

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Hey thanks. It does spin a bit when I try putting a nut on it without any load. I’m not sure if this is something I should just reassemble and keep an eye on it to see if more grease comes out, or if it needs to be replaced? Boot is still swollen and feels like lots of grease on there. This is a sealed ball joint (sorry for not specifying that). I believe it’s the original one with about 100k miles and it’s a 2014 car.

Put the thing back together, and don’t worry about it.


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Concur w/above, looks ok to me. Clean out the debris, then re-assemble. I’ve never noticed any air sounds when disassembling those parts. I always tie a rope or cable on the two parts beforehand, safety reason, so they don’t react with unexpected rapid movement from spring forces that tend to occur in suspension system designs. Maybe that’s why I’ve never heard those sounds. I’ve always used the pickle fork method (Tester’s photo above), never had any problems damaging the boot, but suggestions here are to use the proper ball-joint separator tool, which it sound like you used.

Use an adjustable jaw pliers (Channel lock) to hold the control arm down against the steering knuckle while tightening the ball joint nut. The tapered ball joint stud will grip inside the steering knuckle allowing you to tighten the self-locking nut.

Don’t worry about the grease, it is sometimes leaks from the seal between the boot and stud when inserting the stud press to release the stud from steering knuckle.

That’s normal. As long as the ball is tight in the socket and has some resistance to movement, the ball joint is fine.

I seem to recall using a C-clamp for that, or something similar. I seem to recall using a piece of wood too, short length of 2 x 4. Been quite a while ago so don’t remember exactly. Next time I’ll use the channel lock idea, seems simpler.

Tech Tip, a little penetrating oil, WD-40 etc sprayed on the ball joint threads will help the nut threads have less friction turning on the stud…

And I always (if having this problem) put a jack under the lower ball joint putting upward pressure on it and then use a prybar (old torsion bar work great) on the top control arm to put downward pressure on it to tighten the nut up…

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I use this tool to prevent the stud from spinning.


If you have room for a ball joint press to fit in there…
Your are correct they work also… And they are normally heavy and awkward to handle…

I can grab my prybar out and be done way quicker then I can dig my ball joint press out most of the time…

But I have been known to use mine on Servo pistons in transmissions… lol

I’ve been fortunate that over the last few decades, all of the cars/trucks I have owned have a mechanical means to hold the stud; flats or hex pattern on top or provisions for a hex wrench to hold it while tightening the nut. My TB has a circular indentation the shoulder of a bolt fits into to hold the upper ball joint to the control arm.

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Your picture is a little out of focus, but is there a hex at the bottom of the stud for an Allen wrench?

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There was no hex for the ball joint.

I ended up replacing the whole knuckle, wheel bearing, wheel hub assembly. I used a torque wrench on all fasteners and followed the shop manual.

I’m noticing some minor vibration im steering wheel at highway speeds. Didn’t have this car for long before I did this work. Not sure if it did this before. Should I be concerned about this? Is some minor vibration ok?

Unless something involving the stuff you worked on is loose, that seems more like a tire/wheel problem of some sort. Tire is out of round, not properly balanced, wobbling b/c there’s some sort of interference with hub surface, incorrect or not properly tightened lug nuts, etc. You could swap tires front/rear temporarily, as a test.

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Did you gat an alignment?