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98 Deville, '15 Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium, '12 Ford Escape
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3,294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How difficult would it be to drill out the three "rivets" that hold the lower ball joint onto the lower control arm? Can the DIY guy get enough clearance to get a drill in there? I've was planning on using my hammer powered drill minus the hammer setting. My other option is to just let the shop do it, he says he uses a torch to cut the rivets off.

I took my car to the shop where they showed me what was really wrong with the suspension and the news was far better than I expected for my inherited Deville. I only have one ball joint that is bad and one "spindle" not two of everything bad as previously thought.

My local parts supplier can sell me two ball joint options, a "cheap" one for $40 or a "OEM" one from Moog for $60. Is there a better choice that others have used from Rock Auto?

Thanks for the tips.
 

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2011 Crown Vic LX, 2009 Chevy Malibu 2LT
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5,607 Posts
I personally use a hammer and a chisel. Those rivets aren't that big. A sharp chisel and a few STRONG whacks with a hammer will take them right off.

An air chisel is even more ideal.

As far as the brand, I always opt for the cheapest with a lifetime warranty and a grease zerk. The label/color on the box doesn't matter to me.
 

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2000 Base Deville (Now A Slightly Modified Mutt). 2014 E-250
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55 Posts
Hi iametarq,
I just replaced the ball joints on both sides of my 2000 Base Deville.
I removed the A-arms and drilled out the rivets. It was time consuming but not extremely hard.
The A-arms (control arms) are not that difficult to remove but remember, when reinstalling, to wait to torque them
until your car is off the jack stands and resting on it's tires. Bounce the car up and down on each fender
to settle the suspension and then torque. 116ft lbs on the 2 large bolts and 88 inch lbs on the ball joint nut (hard
to get a torque wrench in there so I "guessed on that one). Make sure when tightening the ball joint's nut to the A-arm,
do not "back off" this slotted nut to be able to install the cotter pin. Always advance (tighten slightly) to line up for the
cotter key insertion.

I started out with a small drill bit and then a larger size that was just a little smaller than the rivet body thickness.
I drilled all the way through the rivet (being careful to keep the bit centered so I would not damage
the A-arm) and then carefully chisled off all three rivet heads on one side.
Then using a punch I carefully hammered on each rivet to loosen them up. Then I hammered on the ball joint housing
and they came loose.

I thought about the torch or even grinding the heads off, but was not comfortable with the heat on the aluminum A-arm.

I used Moog ball joints because I think they are at least as good as OEM and they have a grease fitting for maintenance.
I'm old school and like to be able to grease the joints when changing my oil (I also replaced my replaced my outer tie
rod ends with Moog also).
I see you are only doing one side. I replace both sides of anything whenever one goes bad. I guess I think too much.
I always think if this one went bad, the other cannot be far behind....
Hope this helps.
Blessings,Brian
 

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2010 DTS
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You want to use a cold chisel. Not a wood chisel. :tisk: Any decent sized hammer will do.

 

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98 Deville, '15 Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium, '12 Ford Escape
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3,294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
So I have both ends of one of the rivets ground off to the surface of the control arm but I can't tell where the actual diameter of the rivet is. ???? I am guessing I need a sledge hammer to pound them out. I have not removed the control arm. I don't think I have the right tools to do that. Is this going to be impossible without removing the control arm?

EDIT: I actually can see a very faint circle now, but that circle is larger than the bolt diameter that come with my new lower ball joint...I fear I am in over my head. Damn.

I also can't seem to get the ball joint back into the bottom of the knuckle. The knuckle is being supported by my floor jack. its like the axle shaft has extended itself. After reading the FSM for the Deville it states nothing about disconnect anything but the ball joint from the knuckle and "push the strut knuckle rearward" I thought maybe the stabilizer bar was pushing everything out but maybe not. I will remove my jack stand from the knuckle and see if I can then push it back together. I just want to re-assemble everything and see if one of our shops is open tomorrow morning. I am pretty sure I can drive the car one mile...

its all back together but my pride is bruised. ha
 

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Super Moderator
2010 DTS
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87,954 Posts
Once you have the rivets ground down you need a drift or punch to drive them out. Even a 16d nail will do.
 

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70 Deville 77 Fleet 78 Seville 92 Deville 03 Deville
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3,310 Posts
It's never as simple as a manual describes. If you have the heads ground flush then you are 95% of the way there. Keep "denting" the center and they will pop out. Good luck
 
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