Replacing the Saab 9000 lower balljoints


The front hubs on the Saab 9000 are attached to the lower suspension arm by means of a ball joint to allow the hub to swivel. These will eventually wear, leading to problems with steering and handling, as well as being a failure point on the UK MOT and presumably on the statutory inspections in other countries. This procedure describes how I changed the balljoints on my '96 Aero.

I actually replaced one of these while I had the hub off the car for other reasons. This was rather easier than changing the joint on the car, and I recommend replacing the ball joints if the hub is removed and the ball joint has seen a few miles. However, the procedure I describe here is for replacing the ball joint with the hub still on the car.

Please note that it is recommended to use new nuts and bolts when fitting the new joint. The place that supplied the ball joint, Euro Car Parts, listed the set of nuts and bolts as a separate item.

Time required

Naturally, this will vary with both the individual and what they find when they get there. However, this took me about forty minutes for one side. This was my first time and it took me a little while to figure out how to separate the balljoint from the hub. I could probably do it again in less than half an hour, following the procedure below. Naturally I wouldn't be taking notes and photographs, either.

Tools required

I assume some basic tools, such as a jack, axle stands, socket set, etc. However I do not assume you will already have all the necessary metric socket and spanner sizes, especially if you are in the USA. Here is a list so you can make sure you have all the necessary sizes before you start.

  • 13mm
  • 17mm
  • 13mm
  • 16mm
  • Hammer
  • Large flat-bladed screwdriver


  1. Jack up the front of the car and place it on axle stands. If you are not sure where you can safely place the jack and axle stands on a 9000, go here for more information.

  2. Remove the roadwheel.

  3. Remove the circlip from the top of the ball joint spindle and remove the pinchbolt (17mm spanner, 16mm socket or vice-versa). The pinch bolt on my car did not come out easily, so I soaked it with dismantling lubricant (Plus Gas), screwed the nut back on so it was flush with the end of the bolt to protect the threads and tapped it lightly with a hammer to free it. I punched it the rest of the way out with a screwdriver.

  4. To free the spindle from the hub, tap the end of a large flat-bladed screwdriver or chisel into the gap to open up the clamp a little. Then place the screwdriver or chisel between the top of the spindle and the CV joint housing and drive it into the gap. If the spindle doesn't separate easily (mine didn't), soak it in dismantling lubricant and tap it back in from underneath. Repeat the cycle of moving the spindle down and up in the clamp until it can be freed.

  5. Using a 13mm socket and 13mm spanner, remove the lower mounting bolts and remove the ball joint, levering the lower control arm downwards if necessary.

  6. Fit the new joint to the control arm, and torque the three bolts to 30Nm (22lbft).

  7. Apply anti-seize compound to the the ball-joint spindle to aid removal in the future. Manoeuvre the hub over the ball joint spindle, levering the control arm downwards if necessary, and insert the spindle into the clamp. Refit the pinch bolt, again with the application of anti-seize compound, and torque to 50Nm (37lbft).

  8. Refit the roadwheel.

  9. Lower the car.

  10. Torque the roadwheel bolts to 115Nm (85lbft).

  11. Have the wheel alignment checked, and adjusted if necessary.