I finally bought a Borg and Beck one from SNG Barratt. It's got a much smaller underside - like a smaller version of the British Parts item - and it easily takes the bolts with socket over. The pin is a bit longer than my original one, so this reduces the space on top to get a spanner or socket on the big nut on top of the joint - makes it impossible actually, even with an open-ended spanner.
So I had to undo the top balljoint so that the vertical link could pivot downwards which gives easy access to the lower balljoint's top nut - just remember that the vertical link, hub, disc and caliper weighs a lot, so you need to be ready to lower it carefully onto and axle stand, or your knees whilst sitting on a stool like I did.
You can torque the lower joint's top nut quite easily this way.
Unfortunately, I stupidly tried to undo the upper balljoint's big nut first instead of the two fixing bolts in the wishbone in order to pivot the link out because I feared the two bolts would be seized and snap off after a Youtube video warned me about this potential for disaster. As it happened, the two bolts were very stiff but some Plusgas and patience had them out with no problems. After cleaning them with a wire brush in my drill, along with the spacers, all went together again quite nicely. That is, all except for the upper balljoint's big nut. That just keeps spinning around with the balljoint pin which is a problem.
A garage advised me to use my impact wrench to spin it quickly before it turns the pin inside the joint, whilst bracing the balljoint with a long bar fed over the joint, between the wishbone arm and shock absorber, and underneath the crossmember/subframe. So that's what I'll do when I can get someone to sit on the iron bar to apply force to it while I used the impact wrench from below.
The attached picture shows the three types of lower balljoint for comparison. The original on the left, SNG Barratt (Borg and Beck) middle, BritPart on the right. The comparative space for a socket to go over the bolt head is easily seen.
I don't know which is better for durability, as I was more concerned about being able to fit a socket onto the four small bolts so that I could just fit the damn thing onto the car.
One other thing to think about is that the bottom plate of both the replacement joints is noticeably thinner than the original. This means that the bolts protrude above the joint slightly towards the rubber boot. On the original the bolts were slightly recessed so there was no danger of damage to the boot. I found the SNG Barratt bolts were a few millimeters longer than the BritPart ones so I decided to use the Britpart bolts because I was worried that the length of protrusion might start to snag on the rubber boot and damage it. You could grind the bolts a bit shorter but I felt that using the slightly shorter bolts would suffice in my case.
I hope this thread gives others facing this job a few pointers as to what they might encounter.
- Original, SNG Barratts, BritPart.jpg (1.86 MiB) Not viewed yet
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