|Rover 800 820 825 827 Lower Ball Joints.|
Car: 1999 Rover 800 820 Auto Fastback
Colour: Charcoal Grey / Black
Realising we needed a ball joint replacing on this car took a little longer than normal to detect!
We had recently been experiencing a lot of noise from the power steering up through the steering wheel. As the source of the noise was difficult to detect we thought all the problem was coming from the power steering, even though we had made some examinations underneath the car.
From previous problems on the Jeep Wrangler, we had deduced that the power steering fluid had some air in the system, and rotating the steering wheel from lock to lock every week or so, seemed to calm the problem down, although the noises would always return a few days later.
It was a while before we found a small power steering fluid leak, this was located on the power steering fluid pipe that is attached above the water pump. Simply tightening the clip on that hose (and checking all the other hoses too) fixed that problem, and over the next week or two, this was confirmed by the fact we no longer had to top up the fluid level anymore.
Yet we were still getting some additional creaking noise coming up through the steering, from inside the car this did still seem like the steering wheel, but on closer examination outside the vehicle it did seem that there was a possible creaking from the drivers side front wheel. On further examination it soon turned out that the rubber seal on the lower ball joint was split, and therefore the ball joint was no longer sealed and lubricated in the way it should be.
This would require the lower ball joint to be replaced.
On checking past receipts, both lower ball joints on the car had been purchased just two years earlier from the local car shop for around £7 each.
As we did not want to be replacing the lower ball joints every two years! We looked to see how much genuine ones would be from an MG-Rover Dealer, but at around £35 each, we decided we would use an aftermarket part again on this occasion, but this time opting for one of a higher OE quality than the £7 car shop one. One was obtained for under £12 delivered from ebay.
The noises from the lower ball joint were more associated with a creak from a dry joint rather than a worn one. Had the rubber, not become split, the ball joint may indeed have lasted several years without replacement. There was no play in the steering/suspension, which is what made it harder to detect in the first place, but with time the dry joint would have very quickly become worn or seized, quite possibly causing some potentially serious damage!
The rubber on the lower ball joint has split.
To replace a lower ball joint on a car, it first involves removal of the wheel hub, and that means, the often awkward task of undoing (and later replacing) the hub nut!
Removing a hub nut is a whole big job within itself! First you will have to jack up & support the car to remove the road wheel,so that you can knock out the indention on the hub nut. Then you need to remove the center cap from the wheel, and refit the wheel to the car, returning the car to the ground, so that the weight is back on the wheel.
The wheel hub nut can then be removed using a large socket, usually this will need to be on the end of a very long strong arm!
The pressure required to undo the wheel nut is massive, this often means that you will even need someone to stand on the end of the strong arm bar, to help the initial release of the nut! Even then, you may also require someone's foot on the footbrake, as the forces on the bar will sometimes move an otherwise stationary car! Keeping the pressure on the socket so that it stays on the wheel nut is just as important too, as otherwise you may end up shearing the hub nut! (whether you damage it or not, a hub nut should always be replace with a new one when it comes to refitting.)
If in any doubt, it's best to get someone to help that has worked on this area of a car before.
To remove the lower ball joint from the bottom of the wheel hub, the wheel hub has to be separated from the CV/Driveshaft!
Before you can get to that stage though you need to remove the brake caliper and undo the top ball joint.
To separate the top ball joint, you can use the shock treatment method of hitting it with a hammer, or with two opposing hammers at the same time. as shown here;
Rather than also removing the track rod end, with the idea to completely remove the wheel hub, I was told that this was not necessary on this car, being told this had not been done on the previous occasion (at which I had not been present). Well always up for a challenge, and with time against us, we decided to leave the wheel hub attached to the track rod.
For a start it seemed we would not be able to remove the CV joint from the wheel hub,...
...but after lifting up the driveshaft and rotating the steering wheel...
...we were getting somewhere.
Next it was time to undo the lock nut off the old lower ball joint. (hoping the ball joint didn't start spinning as that's when things can get difficult!)
Next the ball joint was knocked up out of the lower arm, using this drift rather than a ball joint splitter.
(Perhaps the shock treatment method would of worked here too)
...and out it comes...
...even though the tool was now stuck and needed whacking back off!
The large circlip has to be removed before you can attempt to remove the lower ball joint.
With a knock, knock here...
...and a knock, knock there!
That drift sure is coming in handy!
The (not so) old and the new (Delphi) lower ball joints.
Getting the new one in, doesn't seem quite so easy though!
This ball joint tool was tried. Although with the hub in this free position, we could not hold everything secure enough to get any turn on it.
Rotating the hub and with the use of an axle stand and some tubing this might work!
After a whack or two, the ball joint was already hitting the axle stand, so the combination of tubes underneath was changed the whacking, this time hammering a flat metal bar continued!
(...but perhaps with all that whacking, we should have removed the ABS sensor to prevent any risk of possible shock damage to it!)
That looks much better.
Although the keeping of the hub on the car and using a stack of tubes & axle stands saved us time & worked well enough for us, I would suggest that perhaps it might be easier to remove & refit lower ball joints with the hub off the car for most people.
(Also that mudflap gave the car body some protection, and I don't think I would attempt the same method myself on the coupe which in this case is not fitted with any mudflaps.)
The new circlip was fitted, and everything was then ready for re-assembly.
To finish off the whole job though, a NEW wheel hub nut, has to be fitted.
Once again, this involves fitting the wheel with the center cap removed.
Once the car is lowered onto the ground, the strong arms are again brought into action as the hub nut it tightened up to the required torque.
Then the car must be jacked up again (& supported if necessary) so that an indentation can be made in the collar of the hub nut into the channel on the CV shaft, securing the nut firmly & safely in place, before the wheel and center cap can be fitted for the final time!