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Every ball joint replacement instructional video or website I've looked up online indicates that to remove the ball joint you must use a special tool to pop the ball out of the socket.

When ordering new parts for my Mk1 Golf/Rabbit I realised the ball joints look like this:

I'm assuming I can just bolt off/on the ball joint at the base. The only thing that concerns me is the top - I'm not sure how that attaches as it does not appear threaded.

Would anyone know if any special tools are required for this job?

enter image description here

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    I'm unfamiliar with the Mk1 Golf but sometimes these types of ball joints are riveted in place. Those bolts are replacements for the rivets. – Ben Apr 26 '17 at 3:05
  • Yes, you will need to drill out the rivets if the old ball joint is original – user28910 Apr 26 '17 at 18:13
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Just to integrate the comment of Ben and the answer from Chuck:

Most of the time the ball joints are riveted to the suspension arm, then you need to drill the rivets to remove the joint. The top of the ball joint gets locked by a pinch bolt. Displayed is a similar design: enter image description here

Just remove the pinch bolt and use a crowbar/similar tool between arm and knuckle to force the suspension arm downwards (perhaps use a piece of wood to protect the anti-rust coating of the arm).

On assembling use thread locker on the pinch bolt and on the base bolts. Also use the correct torque (I do not know it) on those bolt as those are connections that allow no fault

  • I usually use a prybar to spread the gap a little bit (the gap the pinch bolt clamps down) then wiggle and pull the ball joint down and out. It's not just a pinch bolt; it also catches the notch on the shaft. So if it doesn't go back in, look down the hole and see if it's aligned. The ball joint can't escape unless the pinch bolt falls out entirely. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 27 '17 at 19:40
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Looking from the picture, the balljoint is held in place by a pinch bolt. All you will need is a hammer, chisel(screwdriver), and some spray lubricant. I would also use thread-locker on the bolts that connect the balljoint to the spindle. Ive seen them loosen over time when you dont use thread locker.

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On the Mk1 Golf, only the early models had the balljoints riveted in. I've had Mk1 Golf since 1998 and have never encountered a ball joint that wasn't bolted to the wishbone.

It's also worth mentioning that there are two sizes so it's important that you measure the diameter of the spindle piece that goes into the hub. I once encountered a car that had two different sizes across it's front wheels.

You generally don't need anything more than a sturdy pry-bar to remove the hub from the balljoint. I usually free them by placing something sturdy on the wishbone and jumping on it. Make sure the car is very well supported though.

  • Welp, over the weekend I had a chance to look. Looks like, on this 1993 car, they were still riveting. I'm getting the steering rack replaced by a professional so I think I'll get them to do these too. – MeltingDog May 1 '17 at 21:55

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