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Thread: Ball Joint/Knuckle/Lower Arm Replacement

  1. #1
    Junior Member HondaSUV Newbie
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    Default Ball Joint/Knuckle/Lower Arm Replacement

    I just joined this forum, saw some good advice on here and was hoping to get some specific information. While performing the 120,000 mile service on my 2002 CR-V I saw that both front lower ball joint boots are cracked and leaking grease. I've seen a couple places say that if the boots are cracked you should replace the ball joint. Honda only sells this ball joint as part of the knuckle so maybe I have to replace the whole thing. So, my question is, what should I do? As I see it I have 3 options:

    1. Replace the ball joint boots
    2. Replace the ball joints - Honda doesn't sell them as individual parts but Rock Auto and some others do
    3. Replace the knuckles

    I hadn't noticed any real problems with the car's ride, but seeing the state of things I could potentially attribute a slight noise, slight pull to the right, slight steering issue to this. Replacing the boots is definitely the cheapest but if there is in fact a problem it won't solve it. Replacing the ball joints wouldn't be too expensive but it could be tough to remove the ball joint from the knuckle and press a new one in. Replacing the knuckles would be straightforward but expensive. So, any suggestions? Also, any suggestions for the best way to disconnect the ball joint? Since I'd be replacing the joint I wouldn't care too much about damaging the boot. I've seen people suggest BFH, pickle fork, gear puller, or Honda's ball joint tool (although I'd get a cheaper generic version).

    While I'm at it, I also noticed that the compliance bushings are starting to crack, although not leaking yet. Honda actually does sell these as individual parts, although it's probably easier (though much more expensive) to replace the entire lower arm. If I was to do this too should I just replace the bushing or the entire arm?

    I'm somewhat new to the DiY world but I've done some suspension and brake work, and I have the service manual, so I wouldn't be lost doing this stuff myself, just wondering what everyone thinks my best course of action would be. Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    The lower ball joint is pressed into the knuckle and is replaceable if you have a press to do the job. Harbor Freight sells the press kit for about $50. Lower ball joints sell for about $50 - $60 at Advance Auto Parts.

    The upper ball joint, the spindle nut, tie rod end will also need to be disconnected to accomplish this.

    If you decide to do this job yourself, you will need a vice to hold the press and a buddy to hold the knuckle. Also, make sure you add some grease to the ball joint before reinstalling the knuckle. They never put enough grease in them. You don't need a lot but more than what they put in.
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



  3. #3
    Senior Member HondaSUV Senior
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    If the hole is small and only a little grease has come out your fine to just replace the boots. But if the boot is ripped wide open and dust and dirt have gotten in I would replace the joint. Just fill the new boot with grease when you put it back on. I would invest in the Honda tool( or the generic version) it comes in handy

  4. #4
    Senior Member HondaSUV Mentor wrenchingaround's Avatar
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    I just replaced the lower ball joint on my 2000 myself, I used an 8" c-clamp and some scrap pipe pieces to press the new one in with no problem at all, I did however remove the arm and worked on it on my bench. The upper/lower ball joints as well as the tie rod end were disconnected with a couple of blows with a small mallet right where the threaded portion is inserted, they just popped right out.
    LOUIS
    2000 CR-V ex RT4WD Auto (166,000 kms)
    1965 MG Midget MKII
    (currently working on putting it back on the road for summer 2012 )

  5. #5
    Senior Member HondaSUV Elder 'Curly Q Links''s Avatar
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    Some helpful tools and methods are described here:

    http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/disconnect.html

    .
    '97 CR-V. . . . . . '00 CR-V SE (leather) . . . '98 Odyssey V-Tec ! !
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  6. #6
    Junior Member HondaSUV Newbie
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    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. It sounds like replacing the ball joint isn't too big a problem. Is that what you would suggest, replacing just the ball joint rather than the whole knuckle? Would the same go for the compliance bushing instead of the whole lower arm? Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    Up to you on the knuckle but I see no reason the replace the whole thing and it would cost more. Changing out the bushing won't hurt anything. If the arm is moving how it should and isn't making any noise, you don't have to do it. Basically a personal call in either case.
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



  8. #8
    Senior Member HondaSUV Mentor
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtsandman View Post
    Up to you on the knuckle but I see no reason the replace the whole thing and it would cost more. Changing out the bushing won't hurt anything. If the arm is moving how it should and isn't making any noise, you don't have to do it. Basically a personal call in either case.
    price the ball joint and the entire unit - then decide - if you have to buy tools to press out the ball joint it might be cheaper to buy the whole unit.
    Either way - replace it as soon as you can - they can break and it's not pretty if you are moving fast when it happens! It's not pretty when you are moving slow either, but you're not as likely to get killed if you are going slow.
    "Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads." -- Dr Emmett Brown, BTTF
    2006 EX M5 - 86K miles -- Homelink, Curt Hitch, WT Cargo Liner, Mud Flaps, Yak Roof Rack, Glove Box switch - TSB04-064, wheelskins (Brn), Magellan 4040, 5-lug naked spare.
    2007 Gl Blue EX - 97K miles - Mats, Cargo Tray, Remote Start, Magellan 4040, Yakima Roof Rack, wheelskins (Blk)

  9. #9
    Senior Member HondaSUV Elder 'Curly Q Links''s Avatar
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    Aftermarket compliance bushings are under $20 in Canada. Dealers charge $59.98 each at their parts counter. They come right off unless there's rust holding them to that spindle on the lower control arm.

    Replaced them tonight but didn't solve my problem (pttr / pttl with acceleration / deceleration).

    More to come.

    .
    '97 CR-V. . . . . . '00 CR-V SE (leather) . . . '98 Odyssey V-Tec ! !
    --------------------
    First, read the Owner's Manual, then SEARCH, your Internet is STILL WAY faster than mine.
    --------------------

  10. #10
    Senior Member HondaSUV Mentor sonyhome's Avatar
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    For the tie rod, when hammering on my '02, what worked is when I used a pry bar to push the tie rod up, using leverage on the shock's tie rod mount. It came out without much effort. Hammer alone didn't work, parts just flexed and bounced.

    From the fresh strut how-to:


    CR-V EX'02 How-to 1, 2 - Front Struts, brake pads&rotors, Paint touchup, maintenance, Mobil1 5W20 synth, Mag. oil plug, cargo light, cig. lighter mod, Clarion CD with Bluetooth IPod input, Infinity Kappa Perfect 6.1 speakers, 100Wrms DUB sub tube, Aerodynamic mods, Scangauge, 26MPG@75MPH highway.

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