Ball joint replacement on a '98 Cummins


Leadhead
08-06-2010, 02:49 PM
Along with a few other front-end maintenance tasks, I'm replacing the driver
side ball joints in my '98 2500 Cummins. It has proven to be a frustrating
job since I've never done a ball joint job before in my life on ANY vehicle,
let alone a heavy one such as this. At this point the new ball joints are
pressed into the knuckle and it's ready to be torqued to the axle. My
question is just how critical it is to get the proper torque specs on them?
Chilton's says to tighten the lower to 35 lbs, then the upper to 70 (I think
these numbers are correct, from memory) and then re-torque the lower to
160-170. I'm using an appropriately sized wrench to tighten them, not having
either the right socket or 1/2" drive torque wrench. A mechanic friend of
mine (who is generally a very good mechanic, having managed a dealer's repair shop for some time) told me it's not that important to hit those numbers; rather, basically torque the top one until it feels right, then crank the bottom one as tight as possible. Being a newbie at this particular job I
REALLY don't want to do this job again next year and am looking for some input from you guys so that something doesn't get screwed up.
This truck has almost 280,000 miles (the last 75,000 of them being mine) and
amazingly enough, both ball joints appear to be originals since they don't
have zerks. Hopefully after getting these, the tie-rod ends and the trackbar
done (the trackbar got a Luke's Link) the truck will be drivable again instead
of "herd-able".
All help is greatly appreciated.

Chris Stewart
08-06-2010, 11:57 PM
I don't know about the ball joint problem....yet.

Here's a 2001 service manual in which some info and most techniques should apply.
The download is slow but safe...I recently downloaded it and it's the same thing as the Dodge 2001 Factory Service Manual CD I bought.

http://pdftown.com/Dodge-Ram-2001-Service-Manual.html

Leadhead
08-10-2010, 11:06 PM
Thanks, Chris!

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