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Replacing your ball joint covers

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Old May 23rd, 2014, 21:38   #1
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Last Online: Dec 1st, 2018 20:03
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: North Surrey
Default Replacing your ball joint covers

Does your MOT fail sheet say "ball joint dust cover excessively deteriorated/damaged"? Mine did.

Volvo don't supply replacement covers, instead you can get a whole new wishbone for 90 - no thank you. I had to try a few places before I found some at my local indy garage. He supplied me with two boots, spring clips and grease for a fiver. There seems to be a few places offering them online, some people on the forum appear to be about to take the plunge so hopefully they will report back with links. The dimensions for the replacement (measured from an original Volvo one) are:
Top internal hole - 15mm
Bottom internal hole - 30mm
Height - 27mm
The code on the original Volvo one read "TAP CFW14 V4-21509". This is what I got from my local (the code printed on them was "09-193-6"), don't forget you need special ball joint grease.

Tools required
17mm socket and breaker bar
18mm spanner & 19mm open-ended spanner
Fork type ball joint splitter
Jack and stands
Mole Grips (possibly)

Removing the Wishbone
Get the car in the air, axle stand and wheel off

Clean up the thread as much as you can above the ball joint, use your favourite WD40/PlusGas/Rustola/etc to free up the nut. Ooh yes, my covers are a bit bad...

Likewise apply releasant to the other bolts holding on the wishbone

Remove the bolt on the front edge of the wishbone using a 17mm socket and an 18mm ring spanner

Remove the two bolts (17mm) at the rear edge

Now time for fun, using a 19mm open ended spanner, undo the nut on top of the ball joint. You can't undo it all the way as there is not enough clearance with the hub for it to come off, so you have to undo it half way

Insert the ball joint splitter and give it a few whacks with the hammer. BE CAREFUL using your ball joint splitter this way up! I don't really know if it makes a difference but it made a bit of dent on the edge of the ball joint surround, I think it's probably supposed to be the flat bit against the ball joint and the slope against the hub which is how I did the other side (unintentionally - the clearance was better ) and it didn't mark that one.

Once the joint is split, continue undoing the ball joint nut. When I got to the top, the ball joint started to rotate so I used a pair of Mole Grips to hold it still and finally get the nut off.

Turn the wheel out to help clear the hub and remove the wishbone. BE VERY CAREFUL from this point on that you do not pull the drive shaft out of the gearbox (so do not pull the wheel hub away from the car).

Restoring the wishbone - optional step...
My wishbone was a bit rusty when I got it off, so I took the opportunity for a quick refurb. Got all the dirt and flaky rust off with a wire brush

Quick wash

I prised the clip off with a flat bladed screwdriver

VADIS says the torque tolerance for the ball joint should be between 1 and 3Nm, but you need a special tool to measure this. Clear out the ball joint and inspect it, make sure it is serviceable before you continue (it should be a fairly tight when you try and move it and it should move evenly and freely).

Then I got the Hammerite out (top stuff ) and gave them a good lashing

I also gave the insides of the wishbone and the bushes a good blast of silicon spray, be good for at least another ten years

Replacing the ball joint covers
I used the top spring clips that came with my set but the larger spring clips were like cheap key rings (see how the cover is deformed on the left), the original Volvo ones were much slimmer (on the right) so I ended up re-using those.

The lower edge of the ball joint where the cover meets the wishbone was quite rusty, so I filed away the crud being careful to avoid getting any in the joint.

Work the grease into the joint

Fill up the hole

Squirt the rest in the cover

Put the cover on the ball joint, you can slide it on with the top spring clip in place. Squeeze out as much air as you can as you go

I tried various ways but this worked for me for getting the lower spring clip on... start with one end of the clip in the groove

and work it around the cover, sort of pulling horizontally (partly un-spiralling it) to get it to go around.

Re-installing the wishbones

Make sure the surround and hole the ball joint goes into are clean and free of grit, clean it up with a wire brush but don't forget to be careful of your driveshaft falling out.

It helps to get the wishbone in if you tilt the ball joint slightly inward before inserting

Put the inner side of the wishbone in first

Then the ball joint end

Hand tighten the bolts

Put some weight on the ball joint end with a jack to stop it turning and tighten the nut.

Torque procedure from VADIS...

I have to say I didn't torque my ball joint nut - you'd need a crows foot socket but it hasn't fallen off yet

All in a pretty easy job, go and get your retest.
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