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    1. · Premium Member
      Joined
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      5,137 Posts
      i love this topic because i have a couple :)

      third, probably my favorite, is the ball joint separator tool. i LOVE this tool. pickle forks are soooo stupid in comparison and i refuse to use them.

      https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p...Hf-FKm4ppRMlP7_Z8B8-tq2yI-_C4vLRoCAPcQAvD_BwE

      Oh, yes! And the HF one works well, too.

      https://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-quarter-inch-forged-ball-joint-separator-99849.html

      I broke the 10- year old one, went in to get a replacement, and
      they handed me another, free. So I bought a spare. Because, well,
      having 2 means I can usually find one.

      t
       
    2. · Premium Member
      2000 328i
      Joined
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      11,158 Posts
      Oh, yes! And the HF one works well, too.

      https://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-quarter-inch-forged-ball-joint-separator-99849.html

      I broke the 10- year old one, went in to get a replacement, and
      they handed me another, free. So I bought a spare. Because, well,
      having 2 means I can usually find one.

      t
      the HF is actually the one i have! i have had that thing FLEX and POP when it pops joints. but it's never broken. love it. mines black, but it's many years old. i'm sure it's the same design.
       
    1. · Premium Member
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      5,137 Posts

      Also, once you put a lot of pressure on it with the separator,
      take 2 hammers. Use one as a backer behind the arm where the tie rod attaches,
      then hit the front of the arm a good, solid smack.

      Be careful, as the things often fly apart.


      If that doesn't work, lotsa heat.


      hth


      t
       
    2. · Registered
      1999 e39 528i 2001 e46 325i
      Joined
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      114 Posts
      Discussion Starter · #3 ·

      Also, once you put a lot of pressure on it with the separator,
      take 2 hammers. Use one as a backer behind the arm where the tie rod attaches,
      then hit the front of the arm a good, solid smack.

      Be careful, as the things often fly apart.


      If that doesn't work, lotsa heat.


      hth


      t
      I think I just missed my chance to do that now
      909727
       
    3. · Registered
      1999 e39 528i 2001 e46 325i
      Joined
      ·
      114 Posts
      Discussion Starter · #6 ·

      Also, once you put a lot of pressure on it with the separator,
      take 2 hammers. Use one as a backer behind the arm where the tie rod attaches,
      then hit the front of the arm a good, solid smack.

      Be careful, as the things often fly apart.


      If that doesn't work, lotsa heat.


      hth


      t
      Thank you so much really saved my life (and almost ended it) you were definitely right about it flying apart sounded like a gun shot
      909728
       
    1. · Super Moderator
      2004 325i automagic
      Joined
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      3,878 Posts
      Spoke to my bmw specialist and he said my control arm is fine, don't bother spending on it. He quoted me an hour labour. So i'll leave it and put that money towards the manual swap.
      Nice ... fyi, if you ever do need to change the front control arms (or get the outer tie rod end off of the steering knuckle) you need the following style ball joint separator tool for the steering knuckle connections:


      This will press them out from the steering knuckle without damaging the rubber dust boot. The inner ball joint of the control arm requires a pickle fork and a big hammer to get out, and most likely will tear the dust boot in the process.
       
    1. · Premium Member
      1972 Datsun 240Z
      Joined
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      6,155 Posts
      This is what you need:

      925034



      Crank down on it, but look away / shield your eyes. The ball joint will sound/feel like a gunshot when it separates.
       
    2. · Registered
      2018 Audi S4
      Joined
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      6,385 Posts
      This is what you need:

      View attachment 925034


      Crank down on it, but look away / shield your eyes. The ball joint will sound/feel like a gunshot when it separates.
      I have used this tool on numerous xi outer joints, tighten, smack the arm with a hammer, retighten rinse and repeat. Every time I used it, it worked. Didn't have it on the worst one where I bent my pickle fork even with lots of heat.
       
    3. · Premium Member
      Joined
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      12,040 Posts
      Discussion Starter · #99 · (Edited)
      Bought this ball joint separator:
      3/4" Forged Ball Joint Separator (harborfreight.com)

      With this separator torqued to 30 ft-lbs, which pushed down on the ball joint taper pin at 11,000 LBS (yes , 11 thousands pounds!) and it still didn't pop, then I swing the 4lb hammer on the knuckle and it popped.

      30 ft-lbs = 40.6745 Nm
      The pushing force by the threaded bolt = T/(K*d*(1-lube factor) . I lubed the tool bolt threads with grease. The bolt diameter = 0.545" = 0.0138m
      Force = 40.6745 Nm / (0.2 * 0.0138 * (1 - 40%) = 24,562 N = 5,500 LBS
      But since the separator has the distance from bolt to pivot is twice the distance of ball joint pin to pivot, therefore the net force pushing on the taper pin is
      2 x 5,500 = 11,000 LBS.
      Each E46 Coupe is 3400 LBS, so more than 3 cars stack up on that ball joint pin to have 11,000 lbs pushing on it and the pin still didn't pop out!!!!

      One can see the 11,000 LBS force pushing on the hex end of the ball joint taper pin, causing the hex end deformed as in the pic below. Even at 11,000 lbs the taper pin didn't pop, and only by swinging the 4lb hammer on the knuckle that the pin finally popped loose.

      The beefy tool was flexed under the 11,000 pushing force: I loosen the 19mm ball joint nut to about 5mm gap before applied the tool, but after the joint popped, the tool was still under tension and I had to torque the tool bolt back out. This proves that the tool was stress or flexed under the tremendous force.

      For the inner ball joint, it was easier: hammerer in the chisel (same as a fork) and it popped right away.
      As most people already know that the inner ball joints are perfect most of the time, and mine was perfect also, but I cut the dust boot off to get the chisel closer to the pin.

      There is no need to remove the reinforcement plate, as there is plenty of room at the rear of the wheel to swing the hammer on the fork or chisel for the inner ball joint.

      If I ever do this again for the bad outer ball joint, I will not remove and replace the whole LCA, but only press out and replace the outer ball joint with a rented big C clamp with a torch. This is much quicker and easier than remove/replace the whole LCA.



      925948




      925947
       
    1. · Registered
      03 325XiT 270K, 05 325Xi 142K, 11 E91 Xdrive, 102K miles
      Joined
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      112 Posts
      yeah pickle fork and BFH is all you need(but others can help).
      mistake people make separating the balljoints is not hitting it hard enough. it’s the impact shock that pops it out. i can even separate smacking it with two hammers same time.

      but tips that help a first timer perspective always nice to see.
      i wished somebody had shown me this tool a long time ago - it works for both ball joints and tie rod ends. don't let the fact that it comes from harbor freight put you off. the steel is amazingly strong.

      PITTSBURGH AUTOMOTIVE
      3/4 In. Ball Joint Separator


      three suggestions to make it work well:
      1) grease the threads well before using it. the forces in play will gall the metal and kill the threads in short order
      2) grease or oil the fork before gently slipping it under the boot - if you're keeping the joint. if its being replaced, just make sure the fork is secure
      3) once it is loaded up with force, one sharp rap with a 2lb hammer on the taper will pop the joint.

      it makes one hell of a bang when it cuts loose.
      OP, nice write up.
       
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