Any tips for separating the upper a arm ball joint?

Started by KingpenM3, February 12, 2021, 08:28:37 PM

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I popped the passenger side with a ball joint separator no problem, but I can't get the driver's side to budge. Haven't put any heat on anything yet, wanted to see if anyone had any tricks first. Thanks.


Go to your local Autozone and rent the proper tool, either a tie rod end separator or ball joint separator or both. I have good luck with the tie rod end separator
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad


Those pickle fork separators can work, but they tend to tear up the rubber seal because they're being forced in.  As Dave said, instead you may want to get a ball joint separator like the one in the link below. You just have to make sure it is the right size that will fit a Mini. You don't need to buy the one linked below or even from that vendor, but that's generally what it should look like and as Dave said it can be rented or borrowed.
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1997 Jeep Wrangler Sahara


You can get the one like Bruce linked from Harbor Freight, or like I said borrow/rent it from Autozone for free. I sometimes use their tie rod end tool instead as these are fairly small ball joints and there isn't a lot of room to get the scissor type in place.

another way to do it is if you have a couple of BFH's, put one against one side of the arm, and smack the other side really hard, it will pop right out.

Tie rod end tool looks like this....
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad


Hitting the upper A arm with two hammers around the ball joint's tapered pin to "ring" the ball joint free really can work. It seems impossible, but it often does the trick.


I start with that for attached to my air chisel and have at it.  If that doesn't work I use a huge hammer.  Does tend to ruin the rubber so I often replace those.


Air hammer on the side of the a-arm also can work.

Or back the ball joint nut off to the end of threads and a quick blast on the top of the ball joint stem with air hammer usually knocks them right out then take the nut off it protects the threads.

Usually, by the time I resort to my ball joint or tie rod separator, it's bad news I always try it just to humor myself but if the air hammer didn't work it's over no way the separator will do it.
At that point, it usually gets brutal with heat and air hammer powered pickle forks.

And I no longer care about the boot it's all about getting it apart at that point.

It's not that the tools don't work in normal cases they do but so do the old ways and I normally start out old school and when it doesn't work I think oh yeah I have a real tool for this only thing is the real tool is no better than old school so it doesn't help.