Hardlymoving writes about do-it-yourself automobile maintenance on various makes and models.
This article will show you step-by-step how to replace the front suspension lower ball joint on a '03-'07 Honda Accord. The video shows this replacement being done on a 2004 4-door Accord LX. This service can also be done on a '04 - '08 Acura TSX.
Replacing the ball joint can help correct issues with wheel alignment, tire wear, and traction issues.
The owner of the Accord in the video had been complaining of a clunking noise coming from the front end of his car when making turns on an uneven road surface. Also, the steering was sloppy and the car would tend to drift at higher speeds when hitting any road bumps.
Specialty Tools Needed
- 32-mm CV axle nut socket (for detaching the CV axle from the steering knuckle)
- Ball joint press tool (for removing and installing the ball joint)
- Honda-specific ball joint Press adapters (for removing and installing the ball joint, see photo below)
- Powered impact driver (this makes it much easier to remove and install the CV axle nut and ball joint)
Video: Replacing the Lower Ball Joint on a '03-'07 Honda Accord ( or '04 -'08 Acura TSX)
This seven-minute video will show you visual step-by-step help for completing the replacement of the front lower ball joint on a Honda Accord. The steps are also described lower down in the article.
Step-by-Step Instructions: Honda Accord Lower Ball Joint Replacement
Step I. Remove the Brake Components
- Disconnect the brake line bracket from the steering knuckle.
- Disconnect the ABS line bracket from the steering knuckle and upper control arm.
- Remove the 10-mm bolt holding the ABS sensor in the steering knuckle and pull out the sensor.
- Remove the two caliper bracket bolts that hold the caliper assembly to the steering knuckle. Pull the assembly away from the brake rotor and support the assembly to relieve any tension on the brake line.
- Remove the two screws that hold the brake rotor onto the wheel hub. Use a phillips impact tool to remove the screws. If you use a standard phillips-head screwdriver, there's a good chance you will strip the screw heads.
- Remove the brake rotor. If the rotor is stuck in place due to rust, apply hammer blows between the wheel lug studs to vibrate the rotor loose.
Step II. Detach the Steering Knuckle from the Upper Control Arm
- Remove the cotter pin and nut from the upper control arm.
- Apply hammer blows where the ball joint stud is recessed into the upper portion of the steering knuckle. The blows will eventually make the ball joint stud pop out of the steering knuckle hole.
Step III. Remove the Lower Ball Joint Nut, CV Axle Nut and Tie Rod End Nut
- Remove the cotter pin from the lower ball joint castle nut and remove the castle nut.
- Remove the CV axle nut. The nut has a indent against the CV shaft, and this indent must be bent away from the shaft. You can use a screw driver with a hardened tip. The 32 mm axle nut can now be removed with a powered impact driver. If an impact driver is not available, prevent the wheel hub from moving by using a long pry bar lodged between the wheel hub lug studs and fixed to the ground. A cheater bar or long breaker bar must be used to break the high tension on the CV axle nut.
- Remove the cotter pin from the outer tie rod end castle nut; then remove the castle nut.
Step IV. Detach the Steering Knuckle
- Apply hammer blows to the steering knuckle where it meets the outer tie rod end. The tie rod end shaft will eventually break loose.
- Push the CV axle shaft out of the wheel hub. If the shaft is stuck due to rust, use a punch tool with a hammer to break the tension between the shaft and the wheel hub splines. DO NOT apply heavy hammer blows to the CV axle without a punch. This will potentially damage the threads of the CV axle. There's an indent in the CV axle to accommodate a punch tool.
- Apply hammer blows to the steering knuckle where it meets the lower ball joint stud. The stud will eventually break loose with strong hammer strikes (see video).
- Pull the steering knuckle out of the lower control arm.
Step V. Remove the Lower Ball Joint
- Pry loose and remove the bearing dust ring from the steering knuckle. You can use a screw driver.
- Cut away the dust boot from the ball joint.
- Mount the Honda-specific ball joint press adapters on to the ball joint and join the adapters with a ball joint press (see video at 2:15). Apply torque to the adapters by turning the ball joint press screw. I prefer using my powered impact driver to turn the screw. The ball joint will eventually pop out of the steering knuckle.
Step VI. Install the New Ball Joint
- If the new ball joint's dust boot is not flush with the ball joint housing—that is, if the boot protrudes outside the diameter of the joint—the boot must be removed in order to press the ball joint into the steering knuckle's ball joint hole. Before you remove the boot from the ball joint you have to take a metal compression ring off the boot.
- Mount the new ball joint on top of the steering knuckle ball joint hole. Position the Honda-specific adapter under the ball joint stud and connect the ball joint press tool on top of the ball joint and below the Honda adapter (see video at 2:40 or so). Turn the press tool screw to press the new ball joint into the steering knuckle until the top of the ball joint is flush with the steering knuckle's ball joint hole.
- Install the dust boot onto the ball joint. Then install the compression spring over the boot to prevent the boot from slipping off the ball joint. The spring can be spread evenly by fitting over a metal cylinder of a larger diameter than the ball joint. The cylinder, with the spring attached, can be fitted over the ball joint boot. You can then slide the spring onto the ball joint boot (see video at 3:20 and following).
- If the ball joint came with a grease fitting, inject grease into the ball joint using a grease gun. Note: the grease fitting cannot remain attached to the ball joint, because it cannot clear the CV axle bearing housing without touching it. You have to remove the grease fitting and replace it with a grease fitting plug which should have come with the ball joint kit.
Step VII. Mount the Steering Knuckle
- Install the wheel bearing dust shield. Light hammer blows around the perimeter of the shield, or using a large socket and hammer around the inner lip of the shield, will press the shield back into place.
- Position the stud of the new ball joint into the lower control arm and wiggle the CV axle shaft into the wheel hub splines. When the axle shaft appears through the wheel hub, screw on the CV axle nut ... hand-tighten the nut to prevent the shaft from popping out.
- Screw on the castle nut on to the ball joint and tighten.
- Using a hydraulic jack, lift the lower control arm until the upper portion of the steering knuckle can attach to the ball joint stud of the upper control arm. Screw on the castle nut on to the ball joint and tighten.
- Install cotter pins into both upper and lower ball joints.
- Connect the outer tie rod end to the steering knuckle, screw on the castle nut, tighten and install the cotter pin.
- Torque down the CV axle nut and install the cotter pin. Align the nut with the indent mark that was previously bent up to remove the nut.
Step VII. Install and Connect all Brake Components
- Re-attach the ABS brackets to the steering knuckle. Insert the ABS sensor into the steering knuckle sensor hole and fasten in place with a 10 mm bolt. Attached the last ABS bracket to the upper control arm.
- Install the brake rotor onto the wheel hub and hold the rotor in place with the two phillips screws.
- Attach the brake assembly onto the steering knuckle via the brake rotor and screw on the two mounting bolts.
- Attach the brake line bracket to the steering knuckle.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 hardlymoving