DIY Press in Ball Joints?

I need to replace a ball joint in my '95 Grand Caravan. It is the type that must be pressed in and out of the control arm.

Through the various “loaner tools” programs at parts stores I can get a kit such as this: http://sho…RP2083____

I have been told that with such a kit this is not a difficult thing to do, and can be done with the control arm on the vehicle. I’m looking for experienced opinions about this.

I have pulled this front end apart before to do a wheel bearing (sealed bolt-on) so I know exactly what is involved. I just don’t know about the press-in/out part. If these tools do the job well and are fairly straightforward to use then I’ll call it a go.

More info if it matters: it is a ball joint so I know the stakes. But this vehicle is basically my pick-up truck at the moment - a pure utility vehicle used for building supplies and runs to the dump. The more I have to spend on it the less sense it makes for me to keep it. Thus, I avoid bringing it to a shop when possible.

This is the tool I use to service pressed-in ball joints. However, make sure the adapters included with the tool kit applies to your vehicle. If not, then you purchase the extended adapter set. Which costs about the same.


Apply the same “check out” rules to loaner tools that you apply to rental cars, check the tool over (paticulary in yourcase look over the threads on the ball joint press).

It is amazing how many rental cars you will find “jackless” or with a flat spare.

First off, if the truck is moving supplies the more important it is to have it fixed and safe for the sake of everyone on the road. As far as the ball joint press, make sure it comes with adapters, and have the rental place “show” you how to set it up. Dodges are relatively straight forward. The most common mistake is pressing the joint the wrong direction while removing. Have the new joint available first so you can see what direction it will go in. Also many joints have an external C clip that must be removed. It is usually burried in grease, rust and dirt. If there is one in the new box, there should be one on the old joint.

Yes, it’s pretty straightforward. And it’s unambiguous – either it’ll work or it won’t. Do make sure that you have found and removed any lock down bolts or C rings that the engineers for unaccountable reasons put on the ball joint. It dark and dirty around a ball joint after 100k miles or so and visibility isn’t great, so it is easy to overlook a fastener that you didn’t expect to be there.