While replacing the ball joints on a Chevy S-series Blazer, a friend showed me a better way of removing the rivets that hold the ball joints in place.  The rivets at the upper ball joint are fairly easy to chisel off on this model, but, the lower ball joints, with their larger rivets is where I normally have the most trouble.

Up to this point I had always used the torch to cut the heads off or an air hammer with a sharp bit to chisel the heads off.  The cutting torch works if you are skilled with it.  Torch noobs beware!  With the cutting torch, you can easily cut right in to the control arm and really mess up that rivet hole, possibly making the rivet even harder to remove because it can become partially meted (welded) into the control arm.  The air hammer can be just as challenging.  That tool makes a lot of noise and can take quite some time to cut all the rivet heads off.  Likewise, you can also cut into the control arm if you're not careful.    

What my friend showed me was a better way of using the air hammer chisel to remove the rivet heads.   He first uses a cut-off wheel to make a slot through the center of the rivet head.  That gives the rivet head the appearance of a flat head screw.  Then he proceeds to chisel off each half of the previously slotted rivet head.  Slotting the rivet head makes all the difference.  Now, instead of struggling to get through the whole rivet head, chiseling through each half is like cutting through butter.  Then you simply drive whats left of the the rivet bodies out with pointed air hammer bit.


Approved safety glasses with side shields or full face shield must be worn at all times when grinding or cutting. 

Make sure all recommended guards and shields are in place and adjusted properly when using grinding and cutting equipment.

A dust mask should be worn when using abrasive materials for grinding.

Safety glasses should always be worn when using hand tools.  This includes the use of any air or electric powered tools.

Always use hearing protection when operating pneumatic hammers or chisels.