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3rd Gen Ball Joints Replacement Advise

Discussion in '3rd Gen 4Runners (1996-2002)' started by xjaywalker, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. Jul 28, 2021 at 11:40 AM
    #1
    xjaywalker

    xjaywalker [OP] Rita@Big Bear

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    Larry
    Pearce, AZ
    Vehicle:
    02 4x4 4Runner Sport Edition
    ToyoTec 3 Inch Lift, Bud Bulit Skid Plate, Air Box Mod
    New here from AZ. I have had my 3rdGen over 17 years and have only done basic maintenance (Oil Changes & Brakes),. Timing Belts I go to a mechanic.

    Now there is no tire wear, very little vibration at freeway speeds. But she has 320K miles and I have never touched or even had anybody recommend replacing any of the ball joints. UNTIL....I saw a video of a guys 3rd Gen with a broken ball joint, that didn't give him any warning at all and did a lot of front end damage.

    I am not afraid of doing the work (although - I have never done this type of work)..I do need to get a new torque wrench and a puller kit (~$200). If any one has advice or have done this work or had it done...I would appreciate any insight. TIA. Cheers
     
  2. Jul 28, 2021 at 6:14 PM
    #2
    SnowBunny56

    SnowBunny56 New Member

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    Mark
    North Texas
    Vehicle:
    1999 3rd Gen
    Toyo tires with Fuel wheels, Carhart seat covers, getting started with some suspension mods
    Mine has 270k on it, I have a new set of Toyota lower joints and new bolts just waiting to be put on, have to wait on this heat wave to subside first, as a former tow truck driver let me tell you if one of those joints break you are afoot, older Chevys and Fords are the same style, Good Luck
     
  3. Jul 29, 2021 at 8:16 AM
    #3
    negusm

    negusm New Member

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    I have done it. I bought TOYOTA lower AND upper ball joints. I got $500 in tools from Amazon. A front end servicing kit and a puller set and a TOYOTA specific ball joint adapter kit.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RIYPSS?ie=UTF8
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O1C396?ie=UTF8
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002SRH7O?ie=UTF8

    Made it very easy. The other methods out there will have you whacking away with a BFH for years. Used the front end service kit for pressing the upper ball joints on and off and also my rear control arms (had to get a 20 ton press though for the lower rear control arm bushing) and the puller kit will be used again for the new steering rack I'm putting in. I can justify it since I'm saving like $1k+ in labor fees by doing all those jobs myself.

    I took the steering knuckles completely off, pressed off the upper balls, pressed the new ones back on and inspected the wheel bearings which were fine and replaced the knuckle/axle seals which failed (they are just tapped in).

    Now's the time to do the front struts if you need it. Not cheap but I bought OEM struts from TOYOTA for the factory ride for another 250k miles.

    I'm down to replacing the front rack (steering is kinda loose) and everything should be good for a very long time.
     
  4. Jul 29, 2021 at 12:11 PM
    #4
    xjaywalker

    xjaywalker [OP] Rita@Big Bear

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    First Name:
    Larry
    Pearce, AZ
    Vehicle:
    02 4x4 4Runner Sport Edition
    ToyoTec 3 Inch Lift, Bud Bulit Skid Plate, Air Box Mod
    Thank you SB56...I am learning and trying to be proactive.. appreciate it. I am still on the fence on wether or not to do this myself.
     
  5. Jul 29, 2021 at 12:20 PM
    #5
    xjaywalker

    xjaywalker [OP] Rita@Big Bear

    Joined:
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    Larry
    Pearce, AZ
    Vehicle:
    02 4x4 4Runner Sport Edition
    ToyoTec 3 Inch Lift, Bud Bulit Skid Plate, Air Box Mod
    Negusm....thank you for all the information, that is great. That is quite the investment in tools...I saw a few YouTube videos where they took the knuckles off to do the uppers.. After inspecting my front end more in detail, I was reminded that we had installed a 3" Toytec lift and they installed SPC ball joints on the uppers at around 150K miles. The lowers are still the original ball joints. I am wondering if I would taking a chance if I just replaced the lowers?
     
  6. Jul 29, 2021 at 12:24 PM
    #6
    xjaywalker

    xjaywalker [OP] Rita@Big Bear

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2021
    Member:
    #22473
    Messages:
    12
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Larry
    Pearce, AZ
    Vehicle:
    02 4x4 4Runner Sport Edition
    ToyoTec 3 Inch Lift, Bud Bulit Skid Plate, Air Box Mod

    One question, what is the Adapter Ball Joint Tool used for??
     
  7. Jul 30, 2021 at 12:08 PM
    #7
    negusm

    negusm New Member

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    2002 4Runner SR5 4WD
    If your uppers were replaced recently...I'd probably just do the lowers. Those just bolt on and off after you get them free.

    The adapter is to press on and off the upper ball joint as the large Service Kit doesn't have a size that's quite right.

    Edit: sounds like you put 150k+ miles on since the uppers were done? I'd consider doing the uppers too then. Although the uppers are not near as problematic as the lowers in regards to a major failure.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2021
    xjaywalker [OP] likes this.

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