Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

Ball Joint and 4WD Disconnect Repair Ordeal

BDS, ReadyLift, Smaxx... You name it, we know about it here.

by wet13827 » Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:24 pm

So I finally got around to changing the ball joints on the trailblazer, since i needed to remove the 4wd disconnect innards anyways. A while back the outer bearing suddenly wore out very badly, so I removed the old disconnect, which of course broke off inside the oil pan like it usually does. So I just cut off the end of the CV to bolt to the wheel bearing and drove it without the CV for a month or so. Last weekend I finally had time and all of the parts to do the tie rods, ball joints, and the 4wd disconnect. This set of tasks took an entire 11 hour day, and that was just the passenger side with the disconnect. Drivers side will have to be done another weekend. Here is what I had to do:

The upper ball joint and the tie rods were super easy, took about 40 minutes to do both. Then I started on the lower ball joint, which so far was one of the biggest pains with this vehicle. Those factory GM lower ball joints are insanely hard to get out. I first ground off the stupid crimp thing they put on the top side of the ball joint. I put the ball joint press on it, then cranked it down with a breaker bar. That did literally nothing, so I added some PB blaster and hit it with my impact gun, and that too did just about nothing. I let it sit for a while, smashing the lower control arm every 10 minutes or so with a 10 pound hammer. Still nothing. At this point I was out of backup plans, but my neighbor was home and he had a blow torch. So i borrowed it and heated the lower control arm where the ball joint inserts. I alternated heating and smashing with the hammer until it finally popped the corrosion apart. At that point, finally, the press worked and I got it popped out.

Putting the new one in was a lot easier especially with the lower control arm still insanely hot from the torch. So that was no big deal. At this point all I needed to do was drill out the rest of the 4wd disconnect, which I knew was just a matter of determination. For this, I had limited tools, but i luckily did have a chisel as other users have used, along with some HSS drill bits which cut through that stupid aluminum like it was butter. However, I had to drill probably 30 holes around the circumference of that insert thing, hitting it with a chisel every once in a while. This took about 3 more hours, and finally it all came out in about 100 pieces.

Installing the new 4wd disconnect with anti seize, and a new CV i had on hand was a breeze, and it all seems to work great. the passenger side is basically all new parts except for the strut and lower control arm, but those will have to wait. Sometime in late december when it isnt too cold I will do the drivers side. Just wanted to share, in case anyone is close to doing their lower ball joints.
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:35 pm
Name: William Edward Thornton
Vehicle Year: 2006
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD

by Diacom » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:45 pm

Well done. Had GM just figured out another way to mount our front diff and have it work with the oil pan... Glad you were able to get the disco out.
Posts: 847
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:08 pm
Location: Mt, Great Falls
Name: Noel
Vehicle Year: 2003
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD w/ Aftermarket Locker

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