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Out of curiosity, how does one go about replacing the balljoints in a car? Specifically the rear toe arms from a 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse?

I've got a set of good condition rear arms that have suspect balljoints. Typically one just replaces the whole arm because they've been cheap and it's real easy to do, but parts for these cars (specifically the 95-99 AWD models) are getting rare. I suspect that compatible balljoints will be around for long after replacement arm supplies are depleted. I'd like to learn how to do the work now that I may be required to do in the future to keep these cars on the road! :-)

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Eric the Car Guy has a video where he puts a new ball joint into an Acura or Honda front control arm. Not sure how closely that will match yours, but it might give you the gist of the thing. Actual ball joint replacement starts at about 2:50. – Josh Caswell Apr 13 '14 at 19:23
    
Can you include a picture of your control arms? – Josh Caswell Apr 13 '14 at 19:26
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I see that ball joints are sold for the vehicle, but getting the old ones out looks like a whole different story. I have no clue how to get them out, as it does not appear obvious. It looks more like they are on there for good, to me. – ᴘᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Apr 13 '14 at 21:57
    
After rereading your question I am unsure, is it the rear wheel balljoints or the rear control arms for the front wheels that are your concern. – mikes Apr 14 '14 at 20:17
    
In this particular case, it's the rear toe arms, but I mean it to be a more generic question as they all seem to have the same type balljoint configuration on this car. – Brian Knoblauch Apr 15 '14 at 12:45
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Checking several on line parts retailers they all show an assembly. The control arm and ball joint are sold as an assembly. You can't replace the ball joint without replacing the lower control arm. The can be an advantage since you will now have new rust free, control arm with new bushings. Consider getting new eccentrics (the hardware that actually sets the alignment) while it is apart. It will make reassembly easier. A helpful hint I use is to hit the old eccentric lobes with some spraypaint prior to disassembly. When you install the new or reinstall the old bolts lining up the paint marks will get it close enough to drive to the alignment shop.

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I ended up pulling the eccentric bolts from the bad condition spare arms. I then bought some aftermarket replacement arms that also have have the more typical screw adjustment on them. Screw adjustment was set to roughly the middle, then alignment done with the eccentrics. When they rust into place again, future alignments should still be able to be done with the screw adjusters like a "normal" car. :-) – Brian Knoblauch Jan 10 at 13:54

Replacing Ball Joint

Mitsubishi Rear Control Arm with Ball Joint

  1. DANGER: Your spring may be unsupported once the ball joint is unbolted. Determine if you need to constrain or remove the spring first, using a spring compressor. Support the body on that side with a jack stand.
  2. Remove the cotter or retention pin or and remove the large castle nut.
  3. Break free the shaft. Sometimes a few taps with a hammer will do. Tools called a pickle fork or ball joint separator will also work. I prefer the separator that looks like this, an OTC 6297.

OTC 6297

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Not really what I was looking for. I know how to remove the arm and separate the balljoint from the assembly already. The real issue was trying to replace the balljoint in the arm. As a side note, when I did end up doing the full arm replacment, there was no need to compress the spring. At full suspension droop on my car the spring was completely unloaded (YMMV of course). – Brian Knoblauch Jan 10 at 13:59
    
Sorry, but what you were looking for- a separate ball joint- doesn't appear to exist for your vehicle. – kmarsh Jan 11 at 19:14

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