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Replacing Ball Joints on 69 AMX

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Jmader View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jun/13/2021 at 8:32am
I am rebuilding the front suspension on my 1969 AMX.  I was hoping to find someone to speak with about some things I have happening that don’t seem right?  For example, after I torque the castle nut on the ball joint it’s VERY hard to turn to replicate steering left or right, and the more I do the castle nut will unscrew.  Is this normal and I should rely upon the cotter pin to keep it in place? Then, if I remove the castle nut, the lower control arm
Just drops, I would have expected it to stay in place after the ball joint is pulled up from tightening it before.  

If anyone could help me please message me and I’ll give you my phone number!  Thank you!


Edited by Jmader - Jun/13/2021 at 8:35am
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Joseph Lamb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joseph Lamb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/13/2021 at 12:47pm
Sound interesting to say the least 

I did all the suspension and ball joints and tie rods  on my 1971 SST Javelin and maybe I can be of help to you . This stuff is simple ...but simple things sometimes get crazy !




1971 Javelin 360 SST
1973 RS Z28 350 L82 4SPD 38
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1958 Chevy Biscayne 235 powerglide
1997 Jeep TJ 151 5 speed
1960 Lark Convertible
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 6PakBee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/13/2021 at 3:12pm
Originally posted by Jmader Jmader wrote:

I am rebuilding the front suspension on my 1969 AMX.  I was hoping to find someone to speak with about some things I have happening that don’t seem right?  For example, after I torque the castle nut on the ball joint it’s VERY hard to turn to replicate steering left or right, and the more I do the castle nut will unscrew.  Is this normal and I should rely upon the cotter pin to keep it in place? Then, if I remove the castle nut, the lower control arm
Just drops, I would have expected it to stay in place after the ball joint is pulled up from tightening it before.  

If anyone could help me please message me and I’ll give you my phone number!  Thank you!


You have a problem with the "fit" between the spindle and the ball joint stud, too much clearance.  Is it the wrong ball joint or is the spindle damaged?  I can't tell you.  But the fact that tightening the nut is freezing up the front end is a dead giveaway.  Is the dust boot removable on the ball joint you are using?  If so I would remove it and try reassembling.  I would bet that you'll find the ball joint body is being drawn up tight against the spindle.
Roger Gazur
1969 'B' Scheme SC/Rambler
1970 RWB 4-spd Machine
1970 Sonic Silver auto AMX

All project cars.

"Shotgunning works great for pheasants, not so great for electrical problems"

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/13/2021 at 10:55pm
It's not really clear what the issue is.

I think 6pakBee may have hit it -- but first, have you worked on a ball joint or other part with a tapered stud before?

Assuming it's even reasonably clean, simply pushing the stud by hand into the tapered hole, the part ought to be TIGHT from the taper metal to metal contact. Does that happen?

The TAPER does the work. The nut just pulls it up so that the metal to metal taper can do the holding. The taper-plus-nut is not a bolt. The taper is a wedge.

...now back to the top level -- if this is not the case, then you have the wrong part (ball joint). Older AMCs use a "large taper" part that is not commonly found in parts stores, and the correct ball joint is usually $75. Last time I bought a pair (2018?) I had to get them from Galvins.

1960 Rambler Super two-door wagon, OHV auto
1961 Roadster American, 195.6 OHV, T5
1968 American, 199ci, T14
AMC pages: http://www.sr-ix.com/AMC/

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Jmader View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jmader Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/13/2021 at 11:22pm
I believe you are right.  I determined my original knuckle was bad, the old ball joint seized to it and I gave to a body shop to torch it free.  Turns out they drilled it out.  So I thought buying a new one would fix it and there is far less room but still no interference fit.  I’m speaking someone tomorrow I’ll let you know what I learn.  Thanks for your guidance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joseph Lamb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/14/2021 at 10:23am
all sounds like you are on the right track !!!!ball joint is too small or .............

this is a simple system so that should be it .

Call me need be but that is wgere I would be looking ....

Keep up the good work !
1971 Javelin 360 SST
1973 RS Z28 350 L82 4SPD 38
YEARS
1951 Nash Statesman 4 door
1958 Chevy Biscayne 235 powerglide
1997 Jeep TJ 151 5 speed
1960 Lark Convertible
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve_P Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/14/2021 at 11:16am
The knuckle has a taper in it to match the ball joint.  You need some replacement parts!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/15/2021 at 12:06am
Body shop? Drilled out? These are all very hard parts (the knuckle is cast). How on earth did they drill out a ball joint?! 

A good machine shop could have got the stuck ball joint taper out without ruining the knuckle. At home, they usually come out with a pickle fork (so-called), but there are other types of ball joint pullers. Then there's various technique, fluids, strategic heat, pressure, combinations, etc. Usually something works but I suppose it's possible, not.

When you get new parts don't let that body shop near them.

There's a spec for the ball joint nut tightness. Don't just crank things as tight as you can get them. A taper is extremely strong, inherently, due to the precision and weird characteristics of intimate steel surfaces. 

Almost nothing on a car goes "as tight as you can get". Rear axle nuts (250 ft/lbs), "big nut" yoke couplers (300 ft/lbs), a bunch of foolishness in early American front suspensions (80 ft/lbs). The four critical 7/16" bolts that hold spindle+steering arm+brakes+knuckle are only 40 or 50 ft/lbs.



Tapers shoudl be spotlessly clean, and I wipe them with oil. 99.9% of the oil is squeezed out and does nothing, but some will linger at the microscopic edge of the top and bottom and (help) prevent rust (chemical) bonding there.

1960 Rambler Super two-door wagon, OHV auto
1961 Roadster American, 195.6 OHV, T5
1968 American, 199ci, T14
AMC pages: http://www.sr-ix.com/AMC/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve_P Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2021 at 1:27pm
Originally posted by tomj tomj wrote:

Body shop? Drilled out? These are all very hard parts (the knuckle is cast). How on earth did they drill out a ball joint?! 

A good machine shop could have got the stuck ball joint taper out without ruining the knuckle. At home, they usually come out with a pickle fork (so-called), but there are other types of ball joint pullers. Then there's various technique, fluids, strategic heat, pressure, combinations, etc. Usually something works but I suppose it's possible, not.

When you get new parts don't let that body shop near them.

There's a spec for the ball joint nut tightness. Don't just crank things as tight as you can get them. A taper is extremely strong, inherently, due to the precision and weird characteristics of intimate steel surfaces. 

Almost nothing on a car goes "as tight as you can get". Rear axle nuts (250 ft/lbs), "big nut" yoke couplers (300 ft/lbs), a bunch of foolishness in early American front suspensions (80 ft/lbs). The four critical 7/16" bolts that hold spindle+steering arm+brakes+knuckle are only 40 or 50 ft/lbs.



Tapers shoudl be spotlessly clean, and I wipe them with oil. 99.9% of the oil is squeezed out and does nothing, but some will linger at the microscopic edge of the top and bottom and (help) prevent rust (chemical) bonding there.


The 68-9 upright, steering arm, and spindle are all forged; IIRC 104X steel.  I'm not going to look up the spindle bolt torque, but 68-9 are 7/16-20 UNF grade 8 which should have a torque of ~80 lbf-ft.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Trader Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2021 at 2:18pm
I wondered about "drilling out" a ball joint also. There are many other methods. If they drilled out the taper from the knuckle, then a new ball joint would not seat and a new knuckle will be required as Steve_P eludes to.
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