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Geek w/Gearhead Complex
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I'll be brutally honest because I don't want someone to make the same mistake. Basically life started to get in the way, I ignored the "hey moron" signs and KEPT ignoring it ...and it almost bit me in the ass royally yesterday. I got lucky as I will explain.

About two years ago (yes, 2 years) I've had a problem with my passenger side ball joint. How it started was I got new tires and when the they went to do the allignment the tech said there was too much play to do the allignment. Hmm, confused, I mildly ignored it because well, it was off by a HAIR at best so ...score, no money spent.

About 6 months ago, I noticed when I brake, the car would yank to the right. and I mean HARD. It got to the point where I could compensate AS I was hitting the brake. I grew annoyed and thought it was the rack (there was enough play, so thats got to be it right?) so ok, fine, why not, we replace it -- steering tightened up a bit, yes. Did the pull go away, absolutely not. I still ignored it.

Around the same time, I get this nasty creeking noise as I turn my wheel. I hit it with some pb blaster and :eek: the sound went away for about 2 weeks. I did this a few times over the course of ...mmmm a few weeks.

I kept ignoring it until yesterday. Here's where I lucked out. I was leaving work for a quick coffee run, pulled out of the space, started to leave the complex. I let go of the wheel (allowing the allignment to bring the car back to center) and the INSTANT I left go of the wheel -BOOM- down it goes. Totally ruined my evening. Didn't get the car BACK to a place to work on until 10 (happened @ 2:30, called @ 3). If this would've happened @ speed, I'm sure I'd be concrete spatter.

Totally ruined my evening. So here's some info for everyone incase you need to replace a ball joint. I noticed this info was spread all over the place so ...now its in 1 place.

If this happens (seperation failure) ...don't drive the car. you could screw up the fender and rip suspension pieces out. There's your warning on that.

1. Parts
Autozone has 2 types, a cheap one (17$) and a lifetime one (~29).
Napa has 1 type, ~29 as well
Advanced sells the whole assembly, 55.94 but they usually don't stock it.
There's probably more places, but these were in the area. I did NOT call the dealerships (hmm, could've done that...oh well)

2. Tool Rental -- balljoint press, it looks (ok it IS) a glorified C clamp with some special sleves for pushing out and pushing in. It's 89.99 but you get it all back.

3. Total time to complete job - we did it in about 3 hours. It's definately possible to do it in much much shorter time (maybe ...1.5hours). It took only 30 minutes to get the old part out.

4. Can someone post up some pictures with a how-to?
 

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this is 2 bad ball joints that have failed that i've read about today.

http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.php?p=1022901#post1022901

it's very important to check out any noises you hear from you're suspension. it "suspends" the car up off the road and if it fails, you WILL break stuff, possibly wreck, and worst case end up in a box. these cars are old enough that a full suspension rebuild should be on everyone's list who hasn't already done it.

aside from that, it's good to see you're ok and you got it fixed. better to ruin your afternoon than to ruin your family's life. no offense but don't be such a cheap-o when you know there is a problem.
 

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Geek w/Gearhead Complex
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Discussion Starter #3
aside from that, it's good to see you're ok and you got it fixed. better to ruin your afternoon than to ruin your family's life. no offense but don't be such a cheap-o when you know there is a problem.
None taken and cheap-o I am not. What I did do was completely and utterly ignore what I knew to be the problem in every single way I know.

(The girl did ask the million dollar question of "what would happen if" ...yea, she wasn't too happy.)
 

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and where would you get the whole arm?

Alignment needed afterwards?

~MG~
 

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I'll be brutally honest because I don't want someone to make the same mistake. Basically life started to get in the way, I ignored the "hey moron" signs and KEPT ignoring it ...and it almost bit me in the ass royally yesterday. I got lucky as I will explain.

About two years ago (yes, 2 years) I've had a problem with my passenger side ball joint. How it started was I got new tires and when the they went to do the allignment the tech said there was too much play to do the allignment. Hmm, confused, I mildly ignored it because well, it was off by a HAIR at best so ...score, no money spent.

About 6 months ago, I noticed when I brake, the car would yank to the right. and I mean HARD. It got to the point where I could compensate AS I was hitting the brake. I grew annoyed and thought it was the rack (there was enough play, so thats got to be it right?) so ok, fine, why not, we replace it -- steering tightened up a bit, yes. Did the pull go away, absolutely not. I still ignored it.

Around the same time, I get this nasty creeking noise as I turn my wheel. I hit it with some pb blaster and :eek: the sound went away for about 2 weeks. I did this a few times over the course of ...mmmm a few weeks.

I kept ignoring it until yesterday. Here's where I lucked out. I was leaving work for a quick coffee run, pulled out of the space, started to leave the complex. I let go of the wheel (allowing the allignment to bring the car back to center) and the INSTANT I left go of the wheel -BOOM- down it goes. Totally ruined my evening. Didn't get the car BACK to a place to work on until 10 (happened @ 2:30, called @ 3). If this would've happened @ speed, I'm sure I'd be concrete spatter.

Totally ruined my evening. So here's some info for everyone incase you need to replace a ball joint. I noticed this info was spread all over the place so ...now its in 1 place.

If this happens (seperation failure) ...don't drive the car. you could screw up the fender and rip suspension pieces out. There's your warning on that.

1. Parts
Autozone has 2 types, a cheap one (17$) and a lifetime one (~29).
Napa has 1 type, ~29 as well
Advanced sells the whole assembly, 55.94 but they usually don't stock it.
There's probably more places, but these were in the area. I did NOT call the dealerships (hmm, could've done that...oh well)

2. Tool Rental -- balljoint press, it looks (ok it IS) a glorified C clamp with some special sleves for pushing out and pushing in. It's 89.99 but you get it all back.

3. Total time to complete job - we did it in about 3 hours. It's definately possible to do it in much much shorter time (maybe ...1.5hours). It took only 30 minutes to get the old part out.

4. Can someone post up some pictures with a how-to?
I am going to replace both upper ball joints, lower ball joints and front links on the 1995 front end before we drive it very much. Only thing wrong is the boots have rotted away. Car was setting up for quite a spell. Cannot get new boots but I will feel better with all new parts. Priced these parts at rockauto.com and with shipping they were still lower priced than any local parts supplier. These parts were Spicer parts. I ordered a replacement ac control for my 2000 Malibu from them and was well satisfied with price after checking with dealer. It was an AC DELCO control same as dealer offered. my tb truck.
 

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worst case end up in a box.
The worst case is to put someone else in a box. Failure to maintain you're car could hurt some one else more then you.
 

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and where would you get the whole arm?

Alignment needed afterwards?

~MG~
at an autoparts store.....an alignment is always highly recommended when doing such work.
 

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Alignment...No matter how much care I take, and mark what comes off, I have yet to keep the car in alignment when doing suspension work.

When I took mine in after the front end rebuild, everything I had ever unbolted was out of alignment. Even tho I paint-marked everything, and measured it, and all.

Do all the work you are going to do, then get a four wheel alignment; With an IRS, the 4 wheel part is very important.

If you do the work over a few weeks, and you take care to keep the alignment close, you can drive a few weeks without one; at the expense of wearing tires.

Any hard pulling to one side or the other needs to be addressed; nothing simple or unimportant ever causes that...

Glad to see no-one got hurt.

The horror stories that I've read here gave me the motivation to replace my front end; with my daily drive, it would be bad (lol) to lose a ball joint... 100% interstate highway, in rush hour traffic.
 

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Well...using an aftermarket ball joint that is greaseable is a bad idea. The OEM ball joints were teflon lined which is the reason they had no grease fitting. If you replace them with greaseable joints they are metal to metal joints with a higher amount of friction which will affect your handling negatively. I believe you can get the correct ball joints from TRW or Ford.
 

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mine are trw w/o grease fittings. they've been making them with grease fittings for a long time so i don't think it'd be that bad
 

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Well...using an aftermarket ball joint that is greaseable is a bad idea. The OEM ball joints were teflon lined which is the reason they had no grease fitting. If you replace them with greaseable joints they are metal to metal joints with a higher amount of friction which will affect your handling negatively. I believe you can get the correct ball joints from TRW or Ford.
Huh? Affect handling how? More understeer? More oversteer? Explain what is adversely affected and how you know of the effect; enquiring minds want to know.
 

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So you're saying it doesn't affect the handling at all, just the driver's ability to feel what the car is doing...

In a 4,000 lb car with power steering, I have a hard time believing it makes a measureable difference. Have you ever driven cars back to back with factory and greasable ball joints? Preferably on a track or autocross course with lap times to show the difference? Or are you just speculating?
 

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Read above...I just told you why they chose the teflon lined ball joints. And if you can't feel what the car "feels" on the road you are affecting the handling of the car. Believe it or not...your choice.
 

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Always a scary situation, it also happened to me and another guy here on the forums we posted about it like a week ago. I have heard of them going out on crown vic's like this too, but they it seems to always be at a low/idle speed. Could they be designed to do this? I wouldn't think so...
 

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Read above...I just told you why they chose the teflon lined ball joints. And if you can't feel what the car "feels" on the road you are affecting the handling of the car. Believe it or not...your choice.
Sorry, just because you say it on the internet doesn't make it so. The handling of the car has to do with how the suspension reacts to both driver and road inputs. The driver's "feel" has nothing to do with this. If the only difference is the feel, then all you have to do is adjust your driving style to compensate.

To summarize, you have no firsthand experience driving identical cars with the different-style ball joints. You have no facts to back up your assertion that the greaseable ball joints negatively affect the car's handling. All you have is an opinion based on speculation, not evidence, empirical or otherwise.

I'm not trying to be a jerk, and I do know what you're trying, but failing to say; I just don't believe on a giant boat of a car with power steering it makes a measureable difference. The reason I'm kicking this dead horse is your previous statement:

"using an aftermarket ball joint that is greaseable is a bad idea... If you replace them with greaseable joints they are metal to metal joints with a higher amount of friction which will affect your handling negatively."

Some moron is going to read this statement and interpret it to mean that at any second, their car might head straight into a ditch because the ball joints negatively affect the handling. And we both know that's not true.
 

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Sorry Tobey, your in over your head with this one.

Duffy Floyd has forgot more about these cars than you or I will ever know.

The guy is a walking super coupe encyclopedia.

I attended a meeting where he gave a presentation about these cars, and we both spoke to some engineers that worked on the mn12 project.

These cars are very sensitive to changes in the suspension or driveline, and I bet that something such as a Teflon coated balljoint versus something else would affect handling.

These cars aren't dumptrucks.





Sorry, just because you say it on the internet doesn't make it so. The handling of the car has to do with how the suspension reacts to both driver and road inputs. The driver's "feel" has nothing to do with this. If the only difference is the feel, then all you have to do is adjust your driving style to compensate.

To summarize, you have no firsthand experience driving identical cars with the different-style ball joints. You have no facts to back up your assertion that the greaseable ball joints negatively affect the car's handling. All you have is an opinion based on speculation, not evidence, empirical or otherwise.

I'm not trying to be a jerk, and I do know what you're trying, but failing to say; I just don't believe on a giant boat of a car with power steering it makes a measureable difference. The reason I'm kicking this dead horse is your previous statement:

"using an aftermarket ball joint that is greaseable is a bad idea... If you replace them with greaseable joints they are metal to metal joints with a higher amount of friction which will affect your handling negatively."

Some moron is going to read this statement and interpret it to mean that at any second, their car might head straight into a ditch because the ball joints negatively affect the handling. And we both know that's not true.
 

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These cars aren't dumptrucks.
Nope, they're 4,000 Pound Sleds :D

Anyway, Fubarian. Which ball joint did you break? The upper or the lower? (Sounds like the lower)

In case you haven't seen these threads yet; there's some good pictures of bad uppers HERE and a broken lower HERE.
 

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Well...first hand knowledge huh? Well I did have greaseable ball joints in my car before I was educated by the same Ford Development Engineer whom I quoted from. Did I ever have my car on a track as a before and after...NO. Did I make other suspension changes when I changed the lower control arms in order to get not only the correct ball joint as well as the correct inner control bushing and shock bushing back into the car?...YES. Did the car handle better to my liking...YES. Can I say it was all due to the replacement of the ball joint...NO.

Point remains you should use what the car was designed with unless you KNOW the aftermarket part you are installing is equivalent to or better than the OEM. Of course you might be one of those fellows that like poly bushings everywhere too.

Believe what you choose and modify/maintain your car as you desire. Makes no difference to me. I was just trying to pass on the benefit of my knowledge from owning an SC / MN12 for almost 18 years plus what I have learned through some of the contacts I have made in those years.
 
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