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How can you tell if your lower ball joint is bad on a super duty?

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by axl, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. axl

    axl Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    I took both of my trucks (06 250/5.4, 01 250/7.3) in to a couple places to check front suspension see if anything is in need of replacement.

    Belle tire says...front passenger lower ball joint on both ($500 ea)

    Harolds Frame shop....everything is good

    Master Auto...01 passenger lower ball needs replacement

    How do I know who is right and who just wants my money?
  2. Danscapes

    Danscapes Senior Member
    Messages: 164

    Check your warranty first. I had mine go out right at 36,000 miles and the dealer replaced them for free. I also raised hell with them because there was no grease fittings on any of the ball joints. As far as I'm concerned that's a big no no for maintenance purposes. So they put aftermarket ones on (with grease fittings) for free.
  3. axl

    axl Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    both trucks are out of warranty
  4. JDWalkbehind

    JDWalkbehind Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    Jack up the front axle so the wheel is off the ground, try to move the wheel left and right, then try to move it back and forth/up down. it shouldn't have any give or play to it. if it does you know they're bad. Also as a result of the ball joint being bad, if it is bad, the inner part of the tire will start to wear and there might be some vibration when you drive. hope that helps
  5. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,613

    Or take a 6' breaker bar and pry up on the wheel with the tires slightly off the ground, may be hard to diagnose by hand. I've had sets last 80K, one set had to be replaced at 20K. You can rent the tools for free at Autozone; not a hard job at all. You'll be a pro after one side, lots of good write-ups online.
  6. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    This is the quickest and easiest way.
    Tire shops do it all the time.
  7. cubicinches

    cubicinches PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,415

    That's the way to check them. Also, support the truck on the axle so the suspension doesn't move when you pry. Raise the truck so the tire is only an inch or two off the ground for good prying leverage. Have someone watch both the upper and the lower while you give the wheel a good up and down jerk with a long bar.
  8. suzuki0702

    suzuki0702 Senior Member
    Messages: 649

    that is the way to properly diagnose these trucks. i dont know anyone who can oscilate a 33" tire on a pengiulum up and down by hand!
  9. f250man

    f250man PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,124

    I second that use a bar it will be easier and if its got any play that way will tell you.