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>>> Never assume the mfr put enough - or any- lube in that new joint! <<<<

In my introduction thread I explained I spent premium for a rather ordinary 93 LX
because a lot of the suspension/ steering hassle work for an older MN12 had recently been done..

Well, the steering never was right from the get-go. The steering wheel wouldn't return to center and steering seemed 'stiff'. I put it down to the caster being out of whack when the prev owner replaced all those parts. But the problem seemed to get worse and there werent any other driveability problems and finally I realized what it was.
Metal to metal in the lower ball joint{s}. Naturally right I after I started thinking of that.. 50 miles from home base... I started hearing the dreaded squeak/squeal. The left bj was obviously dry. I started cussing myself for assuming the guy had changed the lowers.

Well this morning I jacked the car up and looked closely. The lower arms were obviously recent, likely replaced last year as claimed, even the dust boots were relatively clean and supple..... and absolutely flat/collapsed. That means no 'belly' to them.

Now I like to think I'm pretty smart and dont miss much but I am still kicking my butt for not recognizing..
.. the 'pre-squeal' symptom of a bad/dry lower ball joint: steering stiffens and wont return to center.

Because I'd seen it twice before on my previous birds. Waiting too long, the first time it happened and driving about 150 miles with the squeak pronounced and fortunately that ball joint waited to come apart until I was parking the car, so the car falling on its nose caused no real damage. Instead of 20 minutes earlier as I drove at 75 mph.


Here's the point: The guy who installed the assembly probably assumes that because the joint came without a grease fitting it was 'lifetime lubed'.

Well, yeah.. good enough for the one year warranty, I'd guess. I knew better. The second set I installed I pulled the boot - no easy task- and found just enough lube to cover my fingernail. So trying to fill the boot then reinstalling that ring proving difficult I carefully drilled grease zerk holes in the back and force self-threaded them. Must work okay because I put 150 K on those and still had no discernible play.

so this AM, I lifted the arm by jacking close to the knuckle as possible and lifted the tire with a pry bar. No slop that I could see. So, while I know that any squeaky ball joint is damaged by definition, and I'll need to replace it much sooner that I'd hoped, being rather short on free cash right now, I drilled and installed zerks and pumped in grease till the covers bellied nicely, but not 'ballooned'.

It worked! Immediate response in lesser wheel effort, and after driving about 25 miles, centers to about the last inch and improving all the while. but I'm still going to have to plan to replace them in about 25K miles or so.. and I will have to test for slop regularly as they probably wont give the 'squeak warning' before total failure.

Summary: If at all feasible buy ball joints with grease fittings, and be sure to push in a couple shots until you see the covers respond.. NEVER FILL THEM UP!
Each year or 20K, shoot in no more than one or maybe two.
Same goes for outer tie rod ends and links. Half-shot for links, no more than one for tie rods.
But, if you lube your ball joints, test every year for slop, as they probably wont warn you.

BTW: Monroe doesnt use painted coils on their quick struts.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Definitely true... I put new Moog endlinks on the Cougar about 9 months ago and didn't grease them at the time of installation. Now that I have the front end apart again for a complete rebuild, I noticed they were already starting to rust a little inside. :eek:

I'm making sure to pick up another tube of grease to lube everything up with as soon as I get it all back together.
 

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Thanks for the tips! :D

Moved to Suspension.

Joe
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Suggestion: Spend a small bit more and get the moly lube, such as this:

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Valvoline-14-1-oz-399-728-g-Ford-Lincoln-and-Mercury-vehicles-multipurpose-grease-tube/_/N-25ap?counter=34&itemIdentifier=54186_0_0_

Reason? Molybdeum Disulphate (pardon spelling!) is a superior lubricant, but it doesn't disperse well, which is why it is mixed with a lithium base for injection.

It's a better lube, IMO, for front end and U-joint usage.

RwP
Can you go from lithium to moly or will that cause adverse effects if they mix?

I've been greasing my UCAs with lithium mostly because my grease gun came with two tubes of it, but now that I'm getting new tie rods with greasable zerks I was thinking of going moly for everything
 

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Can you go from lithium to moly or will that cause adverse effects if they mix?

I've been greasing my UCAs with lithium mostly because my grease gun came with two tubes of it, but now that I'm getting new tie rods with greasable zerks I was thinking of going moly for everything
The Valvoline will mix (the moly with the pure-lithium), since it's a lithium with moly added.

USUALLY they mix OK.

I think Harbor Freight even has the mini-gun in moly. Well, I've seen it somewhere ...

Other brands SHOULD, but read the label on the back.

(The usual track to making a moly lube for suspensions is to mix the moly with a lithium base.)

RwP
 
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