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ball joints

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by chcav1218, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    How do can I tell if my truck needs new balljoints? I just installed new shocks and the ride is great, but while I was workin I was looking at the ball joints, and I have noe idea how to tell if they're still good.
     
  2. Moonlighter

    Moonlighter Senior Member
    Messages: 643

    Take a jack, unload the ball joints, jack up the vehicle and set a stand, only need to get the tire slightly off the ground, then try moving the wheel from top to bottom if no movement ball joints are good if movement change um. Oh yeah you might as well check the tie rod ends too, side to side movement, more than say 1/4-1/2 inch might mean tie rod ends are out but look at the whole front end while you check, steering boxes will move while doing this test. Also will show you if any front end parts are loose- Idler arm, Link bar etc. while its up might as well put grease in all the fittings you can find.


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  3. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    A little more detail...

    Place the floor jack under the lower control arm as close to the end as possible with the ball joint, lifting the tire off the ground about 3 inches. The jack must be under the control arm and not anything else. You are unloading (as Moon mentioned) the weight from the ball joint. If you lift any where else your test wont be valid.

    Now to actually check the LOWER joint, use a pry bar or 2x4 and slide it under the tire that is lifted. Pry the tire up and down with the bar or 2X4. Use enough force to see if there is any play by lifting and releasing the tire. See if you feel any play...but also have someone else watch to see if there is any play in the balljoint.

    To check the upper joint..while you still have it in the air go to the top of the tire and try moving it in and out. Push and pull it to see if you feel any play. If it is bad it will have a very small bump or pop feel to it. This is also the way you want to check for a loose wheel bearing and is the reason you need a helper to watch to see where (if any) the play is coming from.
     
  4. Moonlighter

    Moonlighter Senior Member
    Messages: 643

    Yeah my bad, i'm used to doing it on a lift, and bringing it down on a stand to support the control arm. Thanks B&B.

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  5. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    Ok, so If i do the test and I find that the ball joints are bad, do I have to replace both upper and lower, or just the ones that are bad? Also, is this something I can do myself or is there some special equipment I would need? I know I've heard something about needed a hydraulic press to push the new joints in place. I may be wrong though.
     
  6. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    If one is bad then you want to replace them both on that side since for the work it takes to change one your much better off to change them both while it's apart.

    If your mechanically inclined I suppose you could do it but you do need some special tools to do it properly. Besides the basics hand tools your also going to need a portable ball joint press, a way to remove the rivets from the upper ball joint (drill,cut off saw etc), a torque wrench that will go up to 175 ft lbs, and a very large socket for the axle retaining nut.
     
  7. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    and buy moog or trw ball joints as thay are about the best in the bissness. DO NOT buy cheep junk ball joints.:realmad: or you will be doing it all over again in about 2-3 months.:angry:
     
  8. bike5200

    bike5200 Senior Member
    from Ky
    Messages: 437

    On my Chevy 01 the ball joint has a inside and out. Read the instruction, don't find out the hard way like I did
     
  9. adksnowo

    adksnowo Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    He has a Chevy so he also needs torsion bar unloading tool!
     
  10. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Not to change ball joints he doesn't.

    Only reasons you ever need to unload the T-bars is to remove the lower control arm or the T-bar itself. ;)
     
  11. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588


    x2 wesport
     
  12. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    Well I'm not so concerned with it, I just checked them and they're tight. One less thing to worry about