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I have a 2005 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 LS that needed new lower ball joints. I have had a very difficult time removing the steering knuckle from the ball joint. I tried penetrating lubricant, hitting it with a 3-lb sledge while jacking up the ball joint bolt, and even tried heating the knuckle. It is on there nice and tight.

I tried hitting different places on the knuckle, and in the process I hit the area above the hole where the bolt for the brake caliper bracket goes. I deformed the hole just enough that the bolt won't go through anymore. Is this something I can just drill out or have I compromised things enough that I should just buy a new steering knuckle?

Lower Caliper Bracket Mounting Hole deformed The bolt only goes this far In the second picture, you can see the caliper bracket mounting bolt only goes through until the threads hit at the very end. I don't think it would take much to drill it out to fit the bolt.

A new Dorman from Amazon is $105, and a used one from the local junkyard is $85.

  • How much would a new one cost? – dlu Aug 5 '16 at 13:40
  • Not a drill but use the proper metric Tap to rework the damaged threads. I would replace it, the caliper may not mount properly (flat and true) due to the distortion. – Moab Aug 5 '16 at 14:39
  • @Moab It's just a hole on the knuckle. The threads that the bolt connects with are on the brake caliper itself. – Nathan DeWitt Aug 5 '16 at 14:40
  • Oh, then you are correct, just drill it out. – Moab Aug 5 '16 at 18:11
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I would get a new or used knuckle to replace that one, I would not trust the damaged caliper mounting hole any more.

  • This is definitely the way I'm leaning as well. – Nathan DeWitt Aug 5 '16 at 13:37
  • Junkyard may be a good place to find a used one. – rpmerf Aug 5 '16 at 13:38
  • Especially considering that the used one might be just as hard to remove... – dlu Aug 5 '16 at 13:41
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With $20 difference to a new one, I'd go new. No hassle getting it off, or having a second-hand one delivered and finding it's covered in rust.

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I would definitely replace it with a new one. There is no way of telling if there are no microscopic cracks / other damages weakening the area around the hole. You also do not know what happened to the one from the junkyard during its lifetime.

I think that, in general, taking shortcuts on the suspension is too risky. Should the ball joint / steering knuckle / caliper bracket fail it would be a major disaster.

Bonus: The install of the new ball joint would be hassle-free.

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