Alfa Romeo SZ Technical Page

Lower balljoint replacement - 16/09/12

My SZ passed it's last MOT ok but there was an advisory for the lower balljoints...they had noticeable play in them!

A quick search of the wonderweb suggested this was either a very easy job or a very hard job; not very helpful!

So I just had to get on with it...the workshop manual shows replacement of the lower balljoint with the whole wishbone removed from the car and in a vice; this is not necessary.

The new part - Delphi TC346 - cost around £12 each from ebay, delivered.
The offending item, lower balljoint with play!
First, jack up the car and remove the wheel.
Remove the split pin from the castellated nut...this gave me some grief but came out eventually. I found it easier to remove the head and tap it through with a pin punch.

Using a 19mm socket, remove the castellated nut.

Using a balljoint splitter seperate the balljoint from the hub.

Instructions I found for the Alfa 75 didn't say anything about the top balljoint but despite being loose there was no way it was coming out of the hub without removing the top too, perhaps an SZ thing???

Undo the top but don't use the type of splitter shown above as it destroys the rubber boot. I used the scissor type.

Wirebrush the top nut and take it off using a 13mm socket.
The manual shows a specific tool for removing the balljoint but it can easily be done without. Work your way around the joint, using a cold chisel to seperate the arm and balljoint.
Here's the first one out! There was about 1mm of vertical play..
Clean inside the arm, where the new balljoint will sit.

Again, there's a collection of special tools to replace the balljoint but a two legged puller with an 18mm socket over the small top nut is basically the kit required. A large washer is included in the special tools to widen the lip where the puller legs sit. This would have been useful to prevent the legs contacting with the suspension arm, which caused them to fall off twice!

I found some DIY instructions suggested using the small top nut to pull the balljoint into place...there's no way that would have worked with these; I would strongly advise against it unless you want to strip the thread and buy another balljoint!

Time to put it all back together, the new balljoint had a "nyloc" nut but don't forget to replace the top split pin with a fresh one.

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