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Discussion Starter #1
Last year I had the clunk-clunk in the back, it was swaybar bushings. It's now fixed.

This year I got the clunk-clunk in the front. I fear it is stabilizer links. I think I've read all the old posts on this subject.

Here's a shot of the front-right:

http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/528/frontstabilizerbarlinks.jpg

The front-left is in no better shape. Whatya think? Is this the likely culprit?

If so, can anyone give me a solid idea of what is involved in getting it fixed? I'm old and in piss-poor health. If I can't fix it myself, at least I'll be able to go to a mechanic and talk $.

Labor estimate for an experienced mechanic: 1 hour for each side?

Thanks,
Puddin'
 

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As far as getting it fixed its a matter of jacking it up, removing the tire, removing the nuts that hold the link to the spindle and bar (hammer or separator) and installing the new end links. If your in as poor health as you say you are it may be best to take it to a shop, however this truly is one of those 1 hours fixes assuming you have a jack, jack stands, a decent set of sockets, and a hammer. I've replaced them on several birds, if you were local I'd do it for you for ridiculously cheap if not free just to help a fellow enthusiast.

As far as whether or not they are the culprit they certainly could be... the lower ball joints look good, how do the upper control arm ball joints look, and how to the stabilizer bar (strut rod) bushings look frame side and control arm side?
 

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It's fairly easy. One way to get estimates is to look it up in EBSCO's Auto Repair Reference Center database. It's like the database most shops have (Mitchells). One feature is a labor estimator. Often your library will have a subscription to this database that you can access online with your library card.


Stabilizer End Kit, Replace (b)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Labor Times

Factory / Regular / Severe
both : 0.4 / 0.6 / 0.7
one: 0.2 / 0.3 / 0.4

Often, I've been experienced mechanics (esp ones that specialize in the car you are bringing in) beat these times -- that's one way they can make more money for themselves by charging "book rate" and taking on more work because they can finish faster than book rate.

Conclusion: Anyone charging you more than 1 hr of labor for both sides is taking you for a ride.
-g
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
As far as getting it fixed its a matter of jacking it up, removing the tire, removing the nuts that hold the link to the spindle and bar (hammer or separator) and installing the new end links. If your in as poor health as you say you are it may be best to take it to a shop, however this truly is one of those 1 hours fixes assuming you have a jack, jack stands, a decent set of sockets, and a hammer. I've replaced them on several birds, if you were local I'd do it for you for ridiculously cheap if not free just to help a fellow enthusiast.
1 hour fix? Both sides? No kidding??

I got 2 of those fiber ramp thingies, plenty of small sockets, hammers, etc. The only breaker bar I've got is my $5 torque wrench. :-(

Well, I somehow picked up a cold earlier this week, likely couldn't change a belt today/tomorrow. I might well have a whack at it over the weekend or next week. Bears mentioning I've never got as far as the spindle, etc. Separator?

Moog parts are desirable? Looks like $43 each from rockauto.

As far as whether or not they are the culprit they certainly could be... the lower ball joints look good, how do the upper control arm ball joints look, and how to the stabilizer bar (strut rod) bushings look frame side and control arm side?
The car has only 73k (city) miles, I'm pretty sure the other stuff is OK, but I'll take another look tomorrow. Likely hit the library, too.

Every time I post a serious query, I am reminded:

YOU GUYS ARE WORTH YOUR WEIGHT IN GOLD!!

Many thanks,
P
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's this damned head cold. Can't think straight.

My ramps won't work. I'd hafta buy jack stands.

Oh well ...
 

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Well, consider that a pair of jack stands and a small jack from Wal-Mart will run $50 or so, which is still less than the labor charge a shop would charge to do the work. Not to mention you've got the tools to simplify any future maintenance. And yes, Moog or Motorcraft on the parts.
 

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It's this damned head cold. Can't think straight.

My ramps won't work. I'd hafta buy jack stands.

Oh well ...
Well, consider that a pair of jack stands and a small jack from Wal-Mart will run $50 or so, which is still less than the labor charge a shop would charge to do the work. Not to mention you've got the tools to simplify any future maintenance. And yes, Moog or Motorcraft on the parts.
I just picked up a pair of jack stands at Advanced for $19.99 last week.
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_2-Ton-Jack-Stands-Torin_10014620-P_N3399_T|GRP2042_____

Can't beat that!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Is Wal-Mart a better bet than Harbor Freight for something that's worth the $?

Here's the thing. You guys fight the good fight and usually win. So ,when you look back on a particular job (like end links), it looks easy, and that's what you tell me ('cause that's what you remember).

Think back on it. If you were a rank amateur (like po' me)and didn't have -any- help (like an extra pair of hands), what kind of "gotcha's" would have given you headaches??? That is what I most need to know.

I'm not worried about $50 for tools. If that and some elbow grease were all that was on the table, I'd take a shot at it (when my head is clear). But if it's not *really* practical for me to get the work done, I really need to just hire a mechanic.

Cheers,
P
 

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The hardest part of getting them out... well, here's the possibles.

1) Nuts are rusted on. Hit the threads with a wire brush and some PB B'laster a few times
2) Ball joints won't come out of the spindle or sway bar. Leave the nut on the end of the threads so you don't mushroom the end, then have at it with a fat hammer. On the sway bar end, you might need to hit up AutoZone and rent one of these to help:


As far as installation... the only thing I've ever encountered that is troublesome is:

1) The ball joint spins with the nut as you try to tighten. Tap the ball joint into the spindle/sway bar so the ball joint is wedged inside, helping to hold it steady.
 

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Hahaha. I've seen this hydraulic Jack + pair of stands on sale by most auto parts stores... I think Oreilly sold me an identical kit under their Team Mechanix (or some other retarded misspelling) brand for $20 on sale too.

I still use the jackstands but I've since upgraded to HF's 3TON steel jack.
This guy is super tough, came well recommended to me by some friends, and can be bought for <$70 after sale and coupon.

http://www.harborfreight.com/3-Ton-Heavy-Duty-Floor-Jack-with-Rapid-Pump-68048.html?utm_medium=cse&utm_source=googlebase&hft_adv=40010&mr:trackingCode=C7710F9E-782A-E011-B31E-001B2163195C&mr:referralID=NA

If we are talking about tools, in general I don't mind buying HF stuff for some items. ON their hand tools, their steel will be no worse than anything WM will sell you and they will come with a lifetime warranty (like Sears). I've had to use it a few times and never had any issues with claiming. One exception: I use craftsman ratchets with HF sockets.

Power/Pneumatic tools: some are good, some are not worth it, there are dozens of sites that give recommendations on what's a decent HF tool.

If i was working on cars for a living, I might consider a higher end brand. However, HF works for my hobbyist needs.
-g
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The hardest part of getting them out... well, here's the possibles.

1) Nuts are rusted on. Hit the threads with a wire brush and some PB B'laster a few times
2) Ball joints won't come out of the spindle or sway bar. Leave the nut on the end of the threads so you don't mushroom the end, then have at it with a fat hammer. On the sway bar end, you might need to hit up AutoZone and rent one of these to help:


As far as installation... the only thing I've ever encountered that is troublesome is:

1) The ball joint spins with the nut as you try to tighten. Tap the ball joint into the spindle/sway bar so the ball joint is wedged inside, helping to hold it steady.
Brandon,

Many, many thanks. It's this kind of stuff that often trips me up as I don't tear into it very often.

Extra points for the pic of the specialty tool. :)

Anybody remember how the calliper comes off? I seem to recall a potential issue with un-bolting it.
 

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Conclusion: Anyone charging you more than 1 hr of labor for both sides is taking you for a ride.
Those labor guides are usually made for newer vehicles, they dont take into account the fact that the car is 15 years old and probably covered in rust. They are only estimates. ;)

Penetrating oil, and a torch usually make quick work of a seized balljoint.

I usually use a Big FN hammer, and a press tool, not a pickle fork.
 

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Those labor guides are usually made for newer vehicles, they dont take into account the fact that the car is 15 years old and probably covered in rust. They are only estimates. ;)

Penetrating oil, and a torch usually make quick work of a seized balljoint.
At our shop, the quote we give customers is the hours on Alldata. Doesn't matter what vehicle it is.

If the job calls for 2 hours, the customer pays 2 hours - doesn't matter if it takes us 1/2 hour or 4 hours. Unfortunately, with some of the yahoo's that work there, it's usually the latter - 4 hours or more! lol

Of course, here in Florida we don't have much rust to deal with.....
 

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At our shop, the quote we give customers is the hours on Alldata. Doesn't matter what vehicle it is.

If the job calls for 2 hours, the customer pays 2 hours - doesn't matter if it takes us 1/2 hour or 4 hours. Unfortunately, with some of the yahoo's that work there, it's usually the latter - 4 hours or more! lol

Of course, here in Florida we don't have much rust to deal with.....
I know, I mostly work flat rate and usually beat book time by half. :tongue: Im just saying, they are estimated times.
 

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That's what I use too, those are great to have!
 

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Harbor freight is nice for the low-use stuff, but you want to buy a really nice set of sockets, 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2, and a set of nice ratchets.

I own some very nice Craftsman tools from the 70's. Wouldn't trade them for the world. :)

Since they're made in China now, I wouldn't even consider them for tools now, unless you need cheap tools to hammer on.

A ratchet with a tooth every degree is a wonderful thing to have. :D

Garage and estate sales are great places to buy tools, btw.
 

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Discussion Starter #19

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Anybody remember how the calliper comes off? I seem to recall a potential issue with un-bolting it.
The caliper has some torx bolts holding it on. You need a tool like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Torx.jpg and make sure you have the correct size as it's easy to round them off. You don't need to take off the calipers to change the end links though.

When my endlinks were rattling I found the only way to get them to make the noise while the car is stationary was to put the hood up, spread both of your arms out and put your palms on the inner edges of both front fenders just behind the front corner lights. Then vigorously push the car left and right. If the endlinks are bad, you should be able to get them to make the niose like that.

They're easy to change like the guys say.
 
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