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How to Replace Front Lower Ball Joint When Pinch Bolt Breaks 00-17 Subaru Outback

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How to Replace Front Lower Ball Joint When Pinch Bolt Breaks 00-17 Subaru Outback

Created on: 2018-06-05

How to repair, install, fix, change or replace loose, worn, or creaking ball joints on 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 Subaru Outback.

Tools needed for replacement

  • Drills, Drill Bits & Related

    Drill Bit Set

    Drill

  • General Tools

    Hammer

    Jack Stands

    Chisel

    Floor Jack

    Vise

    Center Punch

    Wire Brush

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

    Bungee Cord

    Anti-Seize Grease

    Marker / Writing Utensil

    Rust Penetrant

    Brake Parts Cleaner

    Safety Glasses

    Gloves

    Cloth Rags

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

    Needle nose pliers

  • Ratchets & Related

    Torque Wrench

    1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Screwdrivers & Related

    Pry Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

    Complete Metric Socket Set

  • Specialty Tools

    Pickle Fork

    Blowtorch

  • Wrenches - Metric

    15mm Wrench

    19mm Wrench

Installation Video
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Hi, I'm Mike from 1AAuto, we've been selling auto parts for over 30 years.

In this video we are replacing a front lower ball joint in a 2008 Subaru Outback. Unfortunately when we removed the pinch bolt, it broke, due to corrosion, and New England rust. This kind of thing happens. It will ruin your day, it will give you a headache, but we will show you how we fixed it. If you need any parts that we used in this video, click the link in the description and head over to 1AAuto.com.

We're going to use a 19 mm socket, and a breaker bar. Just break them free before we put the vehicle up in the air. Now we'll take the lug nuts off with the socket. Now pull the wheel off. We're going to use a 15 mm socket, and a ratchet to take this nut off here. Loosen it up. As you can see this part is spinning, so we're going to need a wrench to go on there. With an 18 mm wrench I can slide it right there and then use my socket and ratchet, and the wrench will hold the stud from spinning. You want to pull the nut up. I'm going to do the same for the top. Then we'll pull the nut off and pull the link out. Push that, it comes right out. We're going to use some rust penetrant on this bolt right here for the ball joint.

There's a slot right here on the knuckle, I'm going to spray some in there because the ball joint is probably going to be frozen when we go to take it out. So if you let it soak for a little bit, that will help when taking out. I'm going to remove this bolt on the knuckle. We're going to use a 14 mm socket and a ratchet. It just broke. Our ball joint bolt actually broke in the knuckle so what we're going to have to do is we're going to have to take extract it. To do that we're going to actually pull the whole knuckle out. So I'm going to pull this part of the bolt out with some locking pliers. I'll just a little screwdriver underneath and we'll just go back and forth, prying out with the screwdriver, or a pry bar. As you can see, it broke right there. So I'm going to use some side cutters and pull this cotter pin down, pull this down so that we can get this castle nut off. Pull it right there, then you can pull it out this way, and grab it and pull it right out.

Now I'm going to use a 19 mm socket and a ratchet. Take off this lower ball joint nut. I'm going to leave it right there for now. Since we're not reusing the ball joint anyway I'm going to use a pickle fork, if you do, you're going to want to be careful doing this because you could damage the boot. And the hammer, you can tap to release the ball joint. There we go. Now before, I'm going to leave that right there, loose like that. I'm going to take the tie rod end off and then the upper bolts, and we'll take that off later.

So we're going to take this nut off, but there's a little section where it's been peened over so that it will lock and won't move. We're going to have to use a punch, and a hammer and bang it back a little bit. Now we're going to stick a pry bar, right here. That's going to lock our hub, so it doesn't spin when we go to loosen the nut. I put it down to the ground on the left side, and we're able to loosen our nut. This is a 34 mm socket. That nut is very tight, so that how you do it. But now that it's loose we can go back up. We'll take this nut off, and we're going to use a punch, and a hammer, this one is very loose, but if yours was rusted on there more you would have to bang that in. So we're going to take these two caliper bracket bolts out, and we'll take the whole caliper off as a whole. This is a 17 mm socket and a ratchet.

Before we take that bolt out, we're going to break the top one free. Take those two bolts out, and you can gently pry the caliper back, and then use a bungee cord, stick it through the caliper bracket. There, just keep the caliper out of the way. Now we're going to pull the router off. So that we're going to take this castle nut off, there is a cotter pin, so we're going to use our diagonal cutters. Bend it back and then use this little punch, try banging it, try to get it through the eye of the cotter pin and pry it out. You want to get that piece out. I was able to move that out a little bit, and we're going to cut it off as best I can. When in doubt, when you can't get the cotter pin out, just try to bend it out of the way. And when you twist the castle nut it will actually just shear off the remainder of the cotter pin. Which will be okay. It's just going to be harder to turn the nut but we'll still be able to turn it. We're going to use a 19 mm socket, extension and a breaker bar. We're going to loosen that castle nut and hopefully shear off that cotter pin. Yeah see, just go back and forth just to make sure it's good. Now we can just use a regular ratchet. Now we can pull it right off. So I'm going to put the nut back on for right this second and then I'm going to use a punch and a hammer. And hammer it right down, right in the center of the stud. Like this. And break it free. Now that it's free I'll take my nut off and there you can see. That's where the cotter pin is we can use a small punch and punch it through or even a drill bit. A small enough drill bit and drill it through.

All right so we're going to take these two nuts and bolts out. This bolt is actually cammed, so you want to make sure you have an alignment done after we're done. But before we take it out we're just going to mark where the knuckle goes to the strut and also we're going to mark the top of the bolt so that we know when we put it back that the bolt faces upwards. Then at least when it goes back together we know that our camber reading will be close. You still want to have an alignment done or checked to make sure, so you don't have excessive tire wear. So we're going to take a 19 mm wrench, a 19 mm socket and ratchet. We'll loosen up these nuts and bolts. This one has a washer, pulling that off with the washer. Should be able to slide the bolt off. As you can see this is the cam that I was talking about on the bolt. Loosen up the bottom one the same way. Pull that nut off, you can pull that bolt up, separate the knuckle from the strut. We're going to pull the speed sensor out.

There's a 10 mm bolt that goes in here. A 10 mm socket, extension and ratchet to get it out. Pull that bolt out. We're going to try a straight blade screwdriver right under this little tab, just pry up on it a little bit. You know it is plastic so you want to be careful. Don't want to pry it too much. And with my needle nose pliers, go back and forth with the screwdriver and needle nose and eventually it should come out. There we go. And there it is. So now we're going to push the axle through, pull that out of the way. And then, because we broke this free earlier, this is nice and loose. Pull the castle nut off and the whole knuckle will pull right out. So we installed our knuckle into a vice so it's easier to work on.

Because of where our bolt broke, right in the center there a part of the old bolt is still stuck in there and is holding our ball joint in. So we can't pull that out until we drill that out. So we're going to have to drill it out first and then we'll be able to remove the ball joint. So I want to clean this area out. So I'm using this wire brush on the end of a drill. Clean it out a little bit because I'm going to try to put this guide in that will help make my drill. When I drill in, it will go straighter, so I just want to clean that out a little bit. Just like that. We can put our guide in. We're using our titanium drill bits. We're going to use a little bit of rust penetrant. We're using the rust penetrant to cool it down, otherwise we're going to burn the drill bit out faster. We can pull the guide off at this point. Yup, all the way through.

We can clean this up a little bit with a little bit of brake parts cleaner just to get some of the rust penetrant out of the way. I'm going to let it dry. Before we drill the hole out and just decide to re-tap it we're going to try to get the old bolt out with an extractor. This is the type that you bang this in and then you use a wrench and you work it back and forth. So I'll bang this in now. You have to drill the hole to an appropriate size based on the size of the extractor. And we're doing it from the front side and we're going to try to pull the bolt out this way. We'll try to twist it out. So the extractor broke. So I'm going to bang out the extractor with a punch. There we go.

We're going to up the drill size to a quarter inch now. Okay. We're going to heat this up a little bit. If you were reusing your ball joint you don't want to do this obviously. But we're going to try to get the knuckle a little bit warm. To eliminate the black smoke we're going to try to take the boot off. Wipe up all the grease that we can get. We're just going to put this rag over here and just in case something pops hopefully it doesn't catch on fire. I'm going to put some gloves on, slide this over my extractor, with a 13 mm wrench I'm just going to go back and forth a little bit. This may not work. We're going to bang that extractor out because that didn't work either. Unfortunately when we were drilling we tried to get this bolt out, we drilled it, not quite center and we tried extracting it, we tried heating it up and it's just too far gone, so we had to get a new knuckle. We got this from a local salvage yard.

This one didn't come with a hub or a ball joint. So we've got a new ball joint from 1AAuto.com and a new hub, unfortunately we live in New England and this bolt was rusted in solid. You may have another solution for this but for us this is what we're going to do. Because we didn't have this knuckle on the vehicle and the bolts were so rusted, we didn't have the leverage to be able to use a breaker bar or a ratchet, so we used an impact and a 14 mm socket. The hub is stuck in there pretty good. It won't just pull out, so what we're going to do is we're going to just tighten the bolts, just a little bit, just to get a couple of threads on there. Then we're going to use a hammer and we're going to tap out the hub. We're going to hold the knuckle. As you can see the shield is starting to get loose so the hub is separating from the knuckle. And there we go. Now we'll take our bolts out, tap it a little bit, there it is. And there's our shield.

Our new knuckle is pretty rusty, so the hub doesn't really fit in there all that well. You don't really want it to fall right in there. But there is some rust here so I'm just taking a file and just going to try to file a little bit of the surface rust off this and you don't really want to get down there too much. Just a little bit of fine. And when taking the hub off we hit the dust shield a little bit. So we're going to take this hammer from 1AAuto.com and we're going to bang it back down. Just flatten it down like that. It's nice and straight. Put our dust shield back on. Install our hub. Before I install our hub I am going to use a little bit of anti-seize, just around the hub. You might want to do this if you know you're going to keep the vehicle for a long time. You may have to take it apart again sometime. This will keep everything from seizing up. Just a little bit. Line that up there.

Now if you're bolts got messed up when removing and they got hammered down. You can shave them down a little bit with like a die grinder or something or get new bolts would be a good idea. I'm just going to put a little anti-seize on these bolts also. All right, now we're going to snug these down with a 14 mm socket, extension and ratchet. All right so we'll snug these up before we're going to torque them. So we're going to put our knuckle in our vice so that it's easier for us to torque. We're going to torque this with a 14 mm socket and torque wrench to 88 foot pounds. We're going to install our knuckle and hub assembly. We're going to slide it through the axle first and then we're going to pull the strut and get that lined in. Take these bolts. Remember this is the bolt that's cammed with the paint mark on the top, get that in first, get the other bolt in. That one ought to go next. Then we have a nut right here.

No I'm not going to torque these yet because this is all very loose. It's going to be hard to torque these while everything's so loose so I'm going to hook everything else up first and then we'll put those nuts on and torque those. So before we install our ball joint you want to clean in this area. You can take a little wire brush. Get as much of the rust out as possible. Or you can use a file and just file it. Make sure it's clean so that the new ball joint slips in fairly easily. Just in case we ever have to do this job again we're going to put a little bit of anti-seize on the ball joint. That will make it so it will not rust in there like our original one. Make it easier removal if we ever have to do it again.

Slide it in, now it's not all the way in, we're going to slip our control arm on the stud first, pull down, get it in the stud. Now we can use a hammer and hammer up. And as you can see, it's all the way up. That's good. Make sure you don't hammer on the threads on the ball joint because you don't want to ruin those threads. So we'll install our bolt that holds the ball joint in, remember our old bolt broke right in this location, so we just want to add some more anti-seize on this. It's messy and it gets everywhere but this will save you from headaches in the future. We have this lock washer, we're going to put that on the bolt and then install the bolt. So we're going to use the 16 mm socket and ratchet, snug it down and then we'll torque it. So we're going to torque this ball joint bolt with a 16 mm socket and torque wrench to 36.9 foot pounds. There we go.

Before I install this ball joint nut. It's going to be easier to put the link in now, because then I'll be able to move around the lower control arm. Get this in, there we go, that's in, and I can put the nuts on and 15 mm socket and ratchet, start tightening these in. As you can see the stud is starting to move so I'm going to need a wrench or some pliers. Because it's tight in there, I'll use some needle nose pliers, locking pliers. It will just hold it for me while I tighten it up. Now we're going to torque these nuts with a 15 mm socket and a torque wrench to 33.2 foot pounds. Next we're going to install the castle nut on the lower ball joint. They call it a castle nut because it you look at it, it looks like a castle.

So I'm going to torque this with an 18 mm socket and a torque wrench to 28.8 foot pounds. Now once you torque it you're going to look for the hole and the hole's not lined up exactly so I'm going to have to tighten it a little bit more to get the hole lined up for the cotter pin. Now it's lined up and I can slip the cotter pin in. All right, so there's a couple different ways you can bend the cotter pin. The way I like to do it, is take some diagonal cutters and bend this up this way so it folds and I'll cut the excess off and this one in the back I'll take a chisel and hammer and just tap it up and then I'll cut the excess off of here.

Next this is our cotter pin from our outer tie rod. It broke, when we were taking the nut off, it just broke it off. We have to remove that so that we can get our new cotter pin in. So I'm going to use a punch and a hammer to see if I can bang it out. If not, we're going to try to drill it out. So that didn't work, so we're going to use a small drill bit and try to drill it out. You don't have to go in straight. It really doesn't matter because we're just trying to get the pin out. Go back to a bigger drill bit. There we go, got it all out. We're going to reinstall the tie rod up into our knuckle. Push up. Take our castle nut, all right, we're going to torque this castle nut with a 19 mm socket and torque wrench. We're going to have to use an extension because the dust shield is in the way. So torque it to 19 foot pounds.

Our castle nut lined up with the hole. But if yours doesn't then you can tighten the castle nut more to get the cotter pin to line up. For this one we'll do the same as before. With some dikes, pull this over and then cut the excess off. There we go. All right, so now that our lower control arm is on and our tie rod is on, this is very stable, we're able to torque these nuts for the strut. So we'll put those nuts on, we'll use a wrench on this side, remember where we painted our mark on the top of the bolt. So we want to make sure that paint mark is up top that will get our alignment closer, but remember when doing this repair with a lot of front end components you're going to want to have an alignment so that you do not wear your tires out. We'll tighten these down, using a 19 mm wrench and a 19 mm socket and ratchet.

So now we're going to torque the nuts and bolts to 112 foot pounds. Same with the bottom one. I'm going to torque this axle nut with a 34 mm socket and torque wrench and I'm going to use a pry bar to hold this from spinning. You can lower the vehicle down and set the pry bar up and then torque it but I'm just going to muscle it. The torque spec is 162 foot pounds. All right next we're going to peene this axle nut down. This just locks it so that when you're driving down the road it won't loosen up on you. So we'll use a punch and a hammer. Sometimes it's easier to use a chisel. You just want it bent down just a little bit. That's good.

Next we're going to install our wheel speed sensor. It goes in this hole here. Push it down and we're going to use our 10 mm bold, get that started and we're going to use our 10 mm socket and extension and a ratchet and tighten this down. Once it's snug, just a little bit more. That's good. Install our router. I'll take a lug nut just put it on so it holds the router in place. We can take our caliper off, take the bungee cord off. Install the caliper. We're going to install these bolts. Line the caliper up. These bolts go into the caliper bracket. Start tightening these down with a 17 mm socket and the extension and a ratchet. We're going to torque these bolts down to 89 foot pounds. Now we're going to pull off our lug nut so we can put our wheel on. Throw the wheel up. Install our lug nuts, I'm just going to tighten these down by hand then I'm going lower the vehicle. Now we're going to torque these to 89 foot pounds.

We're going to do in a star pattern that will make sure that the wheel is installed properly up against the router. And before you drive away you're going want to make sure that you pump the brake pedal slowly multiple times because there will be an air gap between the brake pads and the caliper. So when you pump it it will push the fluid back to the caliper and compress the brake pads.

Thanks for watching. Visit us as 1AAuto.com for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping and the best customer service in the industry.

Tools needed for replacement:

    Drills, Drill Bits & Related

  • Drill Bit Set
  • Drill

  • General Tools

  • Hammer
  • Jack Stands
  • Chisel
  • Floor Jack
  • Vise
  • Center Punch
  • Wire Brush

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Bungee Cord
  • Anti-Seize Grease
  • Marker / Writing Utensil
  • Rust Penetrant
  • Brake Parts Cleaner
  • Safety Glasses
  • Gloves
  • Cloth Rags

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

  • Needle nose pliers

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Torque Wrench
  • 1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Pry Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

  • Complete Metric Socket Set

  • Specialty Tools

  • Pickle Fork
  • Blowtorch

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • 15mm Wrench
  • 19mm Wrench

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