Join Date: Nov 2000
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Re: Changing ball joints?How to set pre-load on top?
Basically, the top and bottom ball joints both go into tapered holes, it's just that the top hole is in a threaded sleeve in order that preload can be put on the ball joints. As mentioned previously, you first tighten the bottom tapered stud into place, then install the upper sleeve and turn it clockwise to lower it down over the upper stud. It is tightened to a specific torque to create the preload on the joints and adjust for differences in dimensions of the parts. Once the upper sleeve has been screwed downward to 50 ft-lbs of torque (I base this on the advice of the others, my trw joints came with install instructions), you can now install the upper nut and tighten it in place simply as a fastener. So it's the torque of the sleeve that sets the preload, and the nuts are just there as fasteners, having been tightened appropriately as fasteners to hold the studs in the tapered holes. Thus the order of the procedure is important.
I used a chisel to get the old sleeve out, and a homemade socket to install the new one. If you can't adjust the sleeve, you've got problems. There's the odd guy out there who will tell you he couldn't remove the old sleeve, so he just left it in. That's not good.