Best tools for separating tie rods and control arm ball joints

azaustin

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Today I pulled the K-frame on my 65 Dart coupe. I was able to separate a couple of the tie rods using my pickle forks, but they didn’t work well on the upper control arm ball joint. I used to have a nice Snap-On Pitman arm puller (CJ-119?), but I think it got loaned out and never came back, along with a couple of other front end (tie rod) pullers I used to have. I know I’ll need a special socket to remove the ball joint from the control arm, but does anyone have any favorite pullers for the other stuff? It’s been a while since I‘ve done any front end work and I’m sure there is some newer, better stuff out there. Any suggestions?
 

1969reddart

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This thing is awesome.
Harbor Freight Tools.

62B7110F-BCD4-49DB-B4AB-234D4DF6175E.png
 

azaustin

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Thanks. Mancini sells a kit for early A bodies (now out of stock) that includes the BJ tool for early A’s and the torsion bar tool, among other things. I have the torsion bar tool (works great) but would like to to find a set that does ball joints, tie rod ends, and control arm bushings on early A’s. Toolman Mike, any ideas? I don’t mind spending a little money to get something that works.
 

67Dart273

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Pickle forks ruin often unreplacable boots, if this is something that is going back together. If the ball is shot, then pickle fork away.

An actual puller is great especially on tough ones

Often a pry bar and whacking the casting holding the taper will fall out. A dead blow hammer is a real advantage.

TORQUE the nuts. You get some big jackass over-tightening the studs, it can ruin things and make them almost impossible to get apart. I ran into that on the Dodge RAM 4WD conversion.

Also, a big help to me on tough ones on the Dodge project was that I picked up a couple of old SPLITTING MAULS for 12--15 bux apiece and used them as sledges on the pickle fork. Yeh, they WERE that tight!!

At the price of HF pitman/ ball pullers, dont be afraid to cut/ weld/ modify them for special needs
 

Bodyperson

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Thats pretty cool. It helps to use 2 hammers To “break” the taper. Hold a 2 pounder one one side of the knuckle and a smack it with a dead blow ball pean on the other side. Usually that’s all you really need. Shock it about ten times and give it a little direction. No taper break? Do it some more. Make sure the joint isnt in a bind.
 
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azaustin

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Interesting stuff. I’ve already tried “shock therapy” with various hammers (bronze, lead, etc.). I’ve got two cars to do, so I’m looking for some tools that will “first do no harm.” OTC used to make some great stuff, and some of Snap-On’s pullers looked suspiciously similar. I just thought I’d survey FABO and see what‘s new. Summit, Mancini, and others have stuff. And, of course, there is always Harbor Freight… I had a really nice pickle fork for my PH-50 air hammer, but it seems to have disappeared too.
 

Bodyperson

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Interesting stuff. I’ve already tried “shock therapy” with various hammers (bronze, lead, etc.). I’ve got two cars to do, so I’m looking for some tools that will “first do no harm.” OTC used to make some great stuff, and some of Snap-On’s pullers looked suspiciously similar. I just thought I’d survey FABO and see what‘s new. Summit, Mancini, and others have stuff. And, of course, there is always Harbor Freight… I had a really nice pickle fork for my PH-50 air hammer, but it seems to have disappeared too.
Bronze and lead aint gonna give you the shock you need.
 

duster 344

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On the second car, I would do the ball joints while the k frame was still in the car. The frame is held solid and there’s some weight hanging on them. Two free hands one for the pry bar one for the hammer
 

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I usually just hit the heavy cast parts with a hammer, pickle fork other stuff and use puller for Pittman arm a good 2/3 jaw puller kit comes in handy also.front end work is heavy hammer swinging and physical I used to do alot of truck work LOL!
 

azaustin

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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I did use a 4 pound maul first without much success. I’ll get everything loose eventually. I just wanted to tap the considerable knowledge and experience on this website to see if there was anything new out there. I’m going to convert both my cars to KH disc brakes and have the spindles, LCA’s, etc., besides the brake parts. Every tie rod end, ball joint and bushing will be replaced on both cars, so I wasn’t worried about a pickle fork damaging the boots. If I can’t find a good puller I‘ll just bolt the K-frame back on my coupe and play whack-a-mole with the spindles again.
 

jos51700

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Thats pretty cool. It helps to use 2 hammers To “break” the taper. Hold a 2 pounder one one side of the knuckle and a smack it with a dead blow ball pean on the other side. Usually that’s all you really need. Shock it about ten times and give it a little direction. No taper break? Do it some more. Make sure the joint isnt in a bind.

This but use two five pounders. I rarely need more than one hit and it won't damage the spindle if you aim carefully. Pickle forks are for trips to the salvage yard where I don't feel like lugging hammers around and might need to tension a taper shaft to keep it from spinning.
 

LO23M8B

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As bcfchief and duster 344 said. You can do this on the tie rod ends also. Always use a puller on the pitman arm. I never use a pickle fork. And I never hit a hammer with a hammer as it can shatter one. I have a 5 pound hammer that has seen a lot of mopars in its day.
 

ch1ll

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The HF is the way to go. You don’t have to wait for one and not pay stupid money on other ones made in the same place, China or India.

Best if you pop them out while the car is assembled cause they tend to fly like bullets when they let loose. You know death by ball joint.
 

ch1ll

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Best thing about the hf tool is no smacking stuff with a hammer and I drove one out that was 50 years stuck stupid.

And I dont let hammer mechanics work on my cars.
 

azaustin

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I’m getting older and swinging hammers under a car up on a lift can be a dangerous thing. Not sure what happened to my old Snap-On pitman arm puller, but I found a nice used one on ebay today and ordered it. It will fill the hole on my CJ series puller board like the old one did. Also ordered most everything else I needed from Mancini today and it’s on the way. Thanks for the feedback. I always defer to the guys that are still doing it for living. The puller board in the photo was on my truck, and I kept it after I turned my tools in. Some stuff is in other toolboxes, some just disappeared. My old tools are old friends.

5A4C9373-D12C-43A9-A6FF-D7CE2AA992CC.jpeg
 

azaustin

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Thanks for your response. The puller on the right looks pretty heavy duty. I’ve always preferred a puller with a ”thrust button” or some kind of tip that moves independently of the pressure screw. The puller on the left looks very much like a short frame puller from the CJ1000 set in my picture. The right-hand jaw is chromed like the Cj series. These were very good pullers, rated at 7 tons, versus the 4 tons of some of the competing sets. The steering wheel puller shown in the upper center of the set was, and is, my favorite for that purpose. It was the first tool I bought from a Snap-On dealer, many years ago. Still have it.
 

66fs

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I broke the original Arm and replaced it with the updated version, OTC. I love the Old Forge tie rod puller, it has a cupped end to keep it on the stud and the arms tighten as you tighten the screw.
 
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