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#4525460 - 09/25/17 07:02 AM Pickle fork or hammer technique?
ZZman Offline


Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 5849
Loc: Michigan
Going to be doing some suspension work and have seen both a pickle fork used or a hammer used on the side of the part to loosen ball joints/tie rod ends.

What seems to work best for you?
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#4525463 - 09/25/17 07:07 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: ZZman]
Chris Meutsch Offline


Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 2632
Loc: Cincinnati
Neither. Go rent the ball joint separation tool from AAP like I did and make your life easier.
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#4525465 - 09/25/17 07:11 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: ZZman]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 16973
Loc: Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Hammer. Pickle forks and seperators are a pain.
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#4525470 - 09/25/17 07:19 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: ZZman]
exranger06 Offline


Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 3946
Loc: Guilford, CT
The pickle fork is basically guaranteed to rip the ball joint boots. Don't use one unless you're planning on replacing the joint/boot anyway.
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#4525477 - 09/25/17 07:32 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: ZZman]
BigD1 Offline


Registered: 08/12/15
Posts: 2580
Loc: NC
Rebuilt the front end on my Toyota pickup this past Spring, and a pickle fork along with a 4 pound baby sledge was fast and easy work.
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#4525502 - 09/25/17 08:03 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: Chris Meutsch]
kschachn Offline


Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 9535
Loc: Upper Midwest
Originally Posted By: Chris Meutsch
Neither. Go rent the ball joint separation tool from AAP like I did and make your life easier.

Agreed, or just buy the one from Harbor Freight that looks like this one. I've used it to separate large ball joints on my BMW that hadn't been dissembled in 20 years. It worked just fine:
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#4525514 - 09/25/17 08:16 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: exranger06]
WyrTwister Offline


Registered: 01/13/13
Posts: 1586
Loc: Texas
Once upon a time I was replacing CV joint boots on a 2002 or 2004 Buick Century , Which necessitates pulling the half shaft .

( Caught the problem soon after the boots split and it had just began to sling grease . The CV joints were still OK . :-) )

I found this to be easier if I took the tie rod end off the spindle . One came loose using a hammer . ended up using a pickle fork on the other side . Naturally I messed up the rubber boot .

Being cheap , I did not wish to purchase a new tie rod end just to get the new boot . I did some internet searching & found NAPA had a new boot in stock , separately . Problem solved .

But , while using the hammer , I had screwed the castle nut back on the ball joint shaft / stud & pounded on the nut . Well , I had messed up the thread at the top of the " castle " .

Had to wait until the next day and purchase a new castle nut at a nut & bolt store .

Best of luck to you all , :-)
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#4525523 - 09/25/17 08:26 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: ZZman]
exranger06 Offline


Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 3946
Loc: Guilford, CT
I've had really good luck loosening tie rod ends using a pitman arm puller. You can sometimes use them for ball joints too.
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#4525534 - 09/25/17 08:42 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: ZZman]
Driz Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 292
Loc: northern NY
You can rent those balljoint removers at Autozone and simply return them when you're done. Just don't expect anything to exotic.

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#4525550 - 09/25/17 09:08 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: exranger06]
andyd Offline


Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 7293
Loc: Marshfield , MA
Originally Posted By: exranger06
I've had really good luck loosening tie rod ends using a pitman arm puller. You can sometimes use them for ball joints too.
Heh heh, compared to a 2 LB hammer That IS exotic grin2
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#4525552 - 09/25/17 09:09 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: ZZman]
HoosierJeeper Offline


Registered: 11/23/16
Posts: 1276
Loc: WI
Sledge hammer.
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#4525563 - 09/25/17 09:15 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: ZZman]
440Magnum Offline


Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 8756
Loc: Texas
I'm a pickle fork user. Its always worked better and with less pounding than any other method. My experience with the puller-type separators is that they usually bend and pop off.
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#4525598 - 09/25/17 09:34 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: kschachn]
ford46guy Offline


Registered: 06/01/13
Posts: 525
Loc: Albany, NY
Originally Posted By: kschachn
Originally Posted By: Chris Meutsch
Neither. Go rent the ball joint separation tool from AAP like I did and make your life easier.

Agreed, or just buy the one from Harbor Freight that looks like this one. I've used it to separate large ball joints on my BMW that hadn't been dissembled in 20 years. It worked just fine:


I had one like that, snapped after about 10 uses. I did really crank it down. My suggestion is as it starts getting tight(and after each rotation) strike it hard with a hammer, or an impact. The compression and impact will release even the worst stuck joints.
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#4525600 - 09/25/17 09:35 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: ford46guy]
kschachn Offline


Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 9535
Loc: Upper Midwest
Originally Posted By: ford46guy
I had one like that, snapped after about 10 uses. I did really crank it down. My suggestion is as it starts getting tight(and after each rotation) strike it hard with a hammer, or an impact. The compression and impact will release even the worst stuck joints.

Well you should strike/tap the ball joint head, not the tool. Sometimes that releases it with very little pressure from the separator.
_________________________
1994 BMW 530i, 227K
1996 Honda Accord, 262K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 397K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 267K

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#4525647 - 09/25/17 10:30 AM Re: Pickle fork or hammer technique? [Re: Chris Meutsch]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41897
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Chris Meutsch
Neither. Go rent the ball joint separation tool from AAP like I did and make your life easier.


I agree with this but the hammer approach may be even better for parts looking to be reused.

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