The cotter-pin hole of the ball-joint is currently parallel to the control arm, and hence it is difficult to insert a cotter pin.

How can it be made perpendicular to the control arm? In other words, how can we rotate the stud of the ball-joint?

Another question is what tool is used to tighten the castle nut of 2001 Saturn SL1 to 55 lbs-foot. The space is too limited to use a torque wrench. We cannot use even an fixed size wrench we have.

1 Answer 1


The ball is not solid in the joint. It's made to move. The easiest way to do this is to separate the ball joint from the knuckle (or whatever it's connected to), then put a nail or some kind of straight stiff object which will fit into the hole, and clock it to your desired orientation. Then reassemble, ensuring you don't turn it in the process. Just keep checking it along the way to make sure it doesn't turn.

It may be a little stiff (or really stiff, if it's a new ball joint), but it will turn. It's the whole purpose of a ball joint is to provide zero deflection while allowing the connection to spin on an axis.

As far as the torque goes, it's been my experience you want this tight, so tighten it. 55lb-ft seems low, but if that's what the book says, then I get it ... however, if you have a wrench on it (which it sounds like what you are using), tighten it pretty much as tight as you can get it with the wrench by itself. You'll probably be right in the neighborhood. If the castle nut is not quite clocked right, tighten it more until you can get the cotter pin into the hole without friction. Use a hammer if you have to on the wrench to get it that "little bit more" to allow alignment of the hole and castle nut.

  • I can't believe you just suggested hammering on a wrench. [sigh] You were my hero . . .
    – SteveRacer
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 3:43
  • 1
    I'm sure he meant gently tap @SteveRacer ;)
    – GdD
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 8:11
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    @SteveRacer - That's why you buy wrenches with a lifetime warranty (and are easy to exchange) ... if they cannot stand up to a little gentle persuasion, then you get them replaced. :o) Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 19:45
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 I suppose. Wait, was this about wives or tools? I wish I could post a picture in a comment; it's OT as an answer. But I prefer that "hook trick": Two combination wrenches, box end on the ball joint nut, then another box end combination wrench hooked over the other wrench's open end. Twice the lever arm; twice the torque. Less abuse and less "exchanging". Alas, no Sears left near me...
    – SteveRacer
    Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 1:10
  • @SteveRacer - Actually, I use the dual wrench method myself! Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 1:12

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