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Replacing '98 Sienna ball Joints - how difficult a job?

I’m a “medium-level” weekend mechanic: i can do a competent job on my own vehicles, usually because i know when to punt. I’ve handled a lot of different issues on our '98 Sienna, including some suspension work: front and rear shocks, brakes and rotors a few times, replaced the steering rack, etc. Now i need to replace the ball joints.

I’ve never done this job before, and the Haynes manual makes it look like the job’s not too difficult. However, from what i’ve heard this can be a nightmare job; hearing that makes me nervous, that i’m missing something. So is this the kind of job that’s really frustrating for some cars but not too bad on others? If so, how hard is the '98 Sienna? Based on my experience, can i probably handle it myself?

And of course, will i have an excuse to buy some new toys– i mean, tools?


I’ve not done the ball joints on one, but if you’ve replaced a steering rack & shocks/struts it can’t be that far out of your comfort zone.

The hard part is generally the separation of the joint from the knuckle. That’s what the new tools will be for - pickle fork separator, I assume though I haven’t gone to look at the specific design. These days I don’t buy those tools. I use the “loaner” programs at auto parts chains.

Hey thanks! I’m glad, as i’d like to manage the job myself now that the weather is getting nice. I will have to postpone it for a little while now since i was rear-ended just after i posted the question. The damage is fairly minor (bodywork and exhaust) but it pushes my schedule back a little.

As for tools, I also get loaner tools whenever i can. But i think this job would be a good excuse to upgrade my torque wrench.


Hey, I just wanted to follow-up: It was bear wrestling the new ones into place, but that was the worst of it and I was able to get the job done myself. Thanks again!