Toyota Camry Ball Joint Replacement

Updated on August 11, 2017
hardlymoving profile image

Hardlymoving writes about do-it-yourself automobile maintenance on various makes and models.

On the Toyota Camry, the front wheels rotate on two pivot points: the upper strut bearing sandwiched between the strut mount and the upper spring mount; and on the bottom, the Lower Ball Joint.

The ball joint is a ball-in-socket steering component that permits the directional movement of the front wheels. Constant impact with rough road surfaces, potholes, speed bumps, curbs, and general road obstructions places considerable stress on this important steering component.

The Camry ball joint is lubricated with grease and is sealed with a rubber boot. Unlike on some other cars, this is a "sealed for Life: component with no grease fittings for lubrication. If the boot dry rots or splits, the ball joint must be replaced since moisture and dirt will accelerate wear and cause eventual failure.

Worn ball joints will exhibit excessive free play that may make wheel alignment difficult and cause uneven tire wear. Ball joints that are very worn will "clunk" when the wheel is at full deflection (completely turned) and hitting bumps.

If a ball joint fails during vehicle operation, it can cause partial loss of vehicle control, which can be catastrophic; therefore any doubt as to its condition should warrant replacement.

I've read about various methods of testing the condition of ball joints when the vehicle is stationary. But in my experience, Camrys with suspected ball joint wear that passed these tests continued to exhibit noise. The noises persisted after replacing the strut mount and sway bar links; they didn't go away until the joints where replaced. After the joints were replaced, there was an improvement in steering response and precision.

Ball Joint Removal

There are several methods that can be used for removing the old ball joint but the method below has worked well for me with a predictable outcome.

1. Remove the wheel and support the vehicle with a reliable jack stand.

2. Remove the axle nut cotter pin and remove the 34 mm axle nut that secures the drive shaft to the wheel hub. If an impact driver is not available, loosen the nut before removing the wheel off the hub. It took a few extra minutes but I choose to remove the brake pads, brake caliper, caliper bracket and rotor so the steering knuckle can be swung away from the axle shaft without a lot of hassle and hardware.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

3. Remove the two bolts and one nut that secures the lower ball joint to the lower A-arm (also called wishbone or control arm). Detach or swing the ball joint away from the steering knuckle while pulling the outer end of the axle shaft away from the steering knuckle. This will expose the castle nut and cotter pin that join the ball joint spindle recessed in the steering knuckle. If this proves difficult, a crowbar will help apply downward pressure on the lower A-arm.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

4. Attach a ball joint separator tool (as shown in the illustration) and keep applying turning pressure on the ball joint spindle. When the pressure fit tension is relieved from the spindle, the joint will pop off.

Ball joint separator
Ball joint separator | Source

5. Fit the spindle of the new ball joint into the steering knuckle and fasten the new castle nut as per the manufacturer's recommended torque. A torque wrench is recommended. After the proper torque has been applied, additional torque may be necessary to align the castle nut with the spindle hole in order to fit the new cotter pin.

6.  Reverse the above steps for re-assembly.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • hardlymoving profile imageAUTHOR

        hardlymoving 

        14 months ago from Memphis, TN

        DPFAST,

        You could have used the screw driver with a hammer to gently push the dust shield out ... but whatever worked for you to get the job done.

      • DPFAST profile image

        DPFAST 

        15 months ago

        I just completed this following your article and the only one thing I had to do differently was the CV dust shield. For some reason I couldn't remove it using screwdriver so I made two cuts with my Dremel and then bent the middle part upwards to get access to the locking nut. After new nut was torqued, I slightly hammered the bent part downwards to the same level as the rest of the shield. Another problem I encountered was that the cutter pin was installed sideways and I couldn't remove it by hand so I used a breaker bar to force the nut through the cutter pin since the new ball joint came with its own nut that was the only way I found possible to complete the instal. All the savings I get by doing my own maintenance I invest into tools that help me get the next job done that much easier. All of my gadgets paid for itself many times over a long time ego. Thank you for all your articles on how to. Very helpful.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, axleaddict.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://axleaddict.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)