My 2000 4X4 2500 diesel is on the lift minus ball joints as I type. I could blame the original owner for all my problems. He drove it in the winter a lot all over his farm and delivered Christmas trees and ornamentals with it for 250,000 miles. But then why all the self abuse?
There was no way the wheel bearing/hub was coming out using the power steering & socket technique or by the "loosen the bolts 1/4" and tap on the bolt heads" as the manual laughingly suggested. No 'effing way. Some sage genius suggested using the sawzall. I cut the ball joints in a few minutes had the hubs and axles out of the way. The hubs are going to the machine shop to press out the old bearings.
Now to get the ball joints out. No way is a wimpy ball joint press moving them. All the other ideas failed to budge them as I farted around for a day trying to get the ball joints out before waking up 2 nights ago with this idea.
To remove lower ball joint: Use abrasive disc on the cut-off tool and cut a groove completely across the top of the ball joint, using care not to cut into axle housing. Take your cut-off tool to the bottom of the ball joint and cut up as high as you can around the joint all the way into the ball. Take your air hammer to the top of the joint and stick it in the groove and blast the ball out of the joint. Now take your sawzall and stick it in the groove and cut what remains of the ball joint vertically at each end of the groove. Take your time, you want to ALMOST cut all the way through the ball joint, but you do not want to cut into the axle tube. Use big hammer and punch to drive ball joint remains out of the axle.
Top ball joint removal uses the same idea. Cut the top of the ball joint off all the way around with the sawzall. Pop the ball up through the joint. Then cut a couple slits almost-all-the-way vertically through what remains of the ball joint. The **** it out of there.
I hope this helps someone. If I ever do one of these again, I'll save a lot of time and effort and go straight for the sawzall.
Have a nice day