I'm currently reassembling my rebuilt front-end on my '95 9C1. I ran into a bit of a problem with the upper ball joints last night. I'm using Napa/TRW ones since nobody locally carries Moog.
Anyhow, when torquing down the top nut (manual says 125 ft-lbs), the nut went down past the cotter pin hole before it was tight. I ended up using a large washer underneath the nut and I switched to the old stock castle nut (it was a little thicker).
Is there anything wrong with this situation? Tell me now before I get everything reassembled! I haven't done the other wheel yet, so I don't know if it's the same.
Upper balljoints are really cheap to replace though, so I would say go get a new pair and try again. Like Ed said, anywhere from the low number to the high number, the low number should put the cotter pin hole into the castle nut somewhere, and you should be able to tighten to somewhere less than the high number to get the hole to line up with notches in the castle nut and get the cotter pin in.
Geez, my CSM is new, probably a 3rd or 4th printing run. You'd think they'd have fixed that by now. That type of error is lawsuit material.
Anyhow, I got it all taken care of. I hadn't assembled the passenger's side yet so it got torqued correctly from the start.
Broke loose the lower ball joint and retorqued, it seemed to work fine. REPLACED the upper ball joint and retorqued to 61 ft-lbs. The nut was still too far down and I needed to use a washer. Great... so my spindle is fubar'd from the overtorqued upper ball joint? Shall I just send GM the bill?
I figured the upper joint being overtorqued by 100% probably could use replacing. Good thing too, the threads looked like they were stripping. I didn't replace the lower, since the upper torque value on it is 90 it was only over by 35-40% and hopefully not damaged.
Everything seemed to work once together so it's at the alignment shop now. *cross fingers*
Ok, this is a really good topic... I've talked with several mechanic friends who used to work at gm dealerships. They said they used to always use their impact wrenches on the tie rod ends, and the ball joints.. Everything is a TAPERED fit, so will only tighten so much.. So why do you guys think that over tightening will ruin a ball joint? The same for the tie rod ends.
At 35ft lbs my center link and idler arm were barely engaged. So I tightened until I began to compress the foam pad that goes between them, and could get the cotter key in. It was closer to 55 ft lb to do this though.