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In fall 2010 I replaced the lower balljoints on my 1994 Cougar with new ones from Autozone. In the process of selling it a year later (fall 2011), I put new tires on it all around; this is when I found that the Duralast balljoints were junk.

I'm sure many of you have changed your MN12 LBJs. Otherwise, I might need pictures to go along with what you are about to read. Did you get Duralast replacements like I did? The new balljoint is pressed into the LCA, then the new rubber dust boot that came with it slips over the top, to hold grease in and contaminants out. Then the steering knuckle is put on top of this... (etc.)

Well, here's the thing- That steering knuckle compresses the rubber boot, making a crease in it around the circumference of the balljoint. It took less than a year for mine to crack right along that crease, exposing a nasty mess of grease and God-knows-what-else. This is not improper installation; this is poor design (under a "lifetime" warranty, go figure).

If you compare the Duralast BJ to the stock one, you'll find the original has a smaller permanent dust boot that is not removed or installed separately, and slides right up through the LCA with the rest of the BJ.

I went back to Autozone for new ones and they brought me two different boxes. They were both the right part, yet from different manufacturers. One was a Duralast like I just described, and the other was labelled "Evergard", which had a smaller dust boot that looked like OEM equipment. The clerk had no explanation for Evergard part; it's just what happened to be in stock that day.

I replaced one side with the Evergard balljoint, then hesitated to install the Duralast on the other side. I don't want this going bad in less than a year, especially not when selling the car to a buddy of mine.

I took the fresh Duralast BJ, and the year-old one just like it, back to Autozone. They refunded the purchase price of the old one under warranty, but when I asked for another Evergard, they could not get it anymore. I returned the new Duralast BJ while I was there and left, not wanting to put it on the car.

I visited the other parts stores in town, finding the same poor design with the big rubber boot at Oreilly and at Advance Auto. Eventually I found myself at a CarQuest and to my relief got what I was looking for.

I bought the good balljoint, and installed it right away. I then took this second year-old balljoint back to Autozone for its warranty refund. I have learned my lesson, but I will still shop at Autozone. Well, that is, if they have a sale on name-brand stuff like Meguiar's wax, or SeaFoam... ;)
 

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PostWhore, The AFDB is on a lil tight.
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SCP.com sells good LCAs. Mine are doing fine after years.
 

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Interesting post. I just put the Duralast Ball Joints on my car yesterday as a matter of fact. The knuckle does compress the boot as you say, but I find it hard to believe that if you grease it like your supposed to and monitor your suspension regularly, like your supposed too. That they would crack, but I guess I will see lol. I do know I'm not going to drop them back out unless they fail for some reason.

I'm taking the car on a 4 day, 600 mile round trip starting tomorrow. I guess I will see how they perform lol wish me luck, if they are as bad as you say they are, I'm going to need it :)
 

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Durr-a-last is junk, for the most part. Personally, I only shop at autozone under a last resort situation, example, it's sunday and nobody else is open.

MOTORCRAFT/FORD/TRW stuff is still readilly available brand new, and, well it does cost more, it is worth every penny. Moog is also an acceptable substitute, however, I think I'll go Motorcraft next time. I ordered my uppers and lowers from rockauto, they sent two Moog and two TRW....Moog has a zerk fitting, TRW is sealed. All the boots on the ball joints with zerk fittings are now leaking fluid from being over filled...this is probably my fault, but this is why I now prefer sealed units. Plus, when it comes to ball jonits, nothing is quite as nice as stock OEM stuff.
 

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What's wrong with Ford/Motorcraft parts? That's what I installed when I did the front-end. Do it right the first time.... my brother went though alternators at a rate of one per year, I don't know the brand but it was from a generic auto parts chain....
 

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That was your first mistake replacing on the ball joint u should replace the complete lower control arm and your problem is solved
 

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What's wrong with Ford/Motorcraft parts? That's what I installed when I did the front-end. Do it right the first time.... my brother went though alternators at a rate of one per year, I don't know the brand but it was from a generic auto parts chain....
That's another one...alternators...went through a few of them on birds from auto parts stores...and "lifetime" warrentee is fine, I suppose, as long as you do the work yourself...still a PITA when you have to keep changing them. All the "aftermarket" alternators I have ever purchased at Kragen/Autozone/O'reiley etc. all have MOTORCRAFT stampings on them, so they must all just be rebuilt ford cores to begin with, so, who knows what they "replace" on them when they "refurbish" them...this is why ford is putting cores on damn near everything now...to try to put an end to "aftermarket" rebuilds of their stuff...but I'm getting off topic, sorry for highjacking...
 

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For things like alternators and starters - I'd find a local rebuild shop that's been around for ages (helps if the building looks like the sign on the side saying "Generators and Starters!" looks like it was painted back when Ike was president ... ) and let them rebuild.

Sad to say, the local guy does one a car for me. Never have to take them back.

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That was your first mistake replacing on the ball joint u should replace the complete lower control arm and your problem is solved
You know, it's funny you should say that...

Though my buddy owns the Cougar now, I got myself a 1996 TBird which replaces it. The previous owner of this TBird replaced the lower balljoints not too long ago, so I took a quick peek--
Sure enough, the big goofy rubber boots are beginning to crack; the cracks are about halfway around the boots already.

So when I had a free day I bought some new good balljoints from CarQuest and went at it. I had all the stuff out of the way, and was getting the press clamp set up, when I took a closer look and realized the new balljoints that he had installed were one piece with the LCA, not removable.

I looked at the LCA, the camber bolt, the tires, then back at the balljoint and decided to leave this for another day. I wiped the boot down real clean and wrapped it with electrical tape several times. I put everything back together and greased it all back up again.

I plan to wait until I need tires (or something else justifying an alignment), then replace the LCAs with original-type ones, that have removable balljoints like Ford designed it. Until then, I will keep a good eye on things and make sure that even as the cracks grow, everything stays greased up.
 

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I use MOOG (TRW) Full LCA's, and Duralast Full UCA's Never had a problem and I beat on my car pretty hard.
 

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The consensus here is go Moog, TRW or Motorcraft for ball joints or go home.
 

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Or a dura last lower arm is a trw in the box
 

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PostWhore, The AFDB is on a lil tight.
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I might add if you cant locally pick up a known good brand LCA or UCA the ones at scp.com work well, they arent as good as motorcraft but they haven't ripped a boot since I put them on years ago.
 

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SCP.com sells good LCAs. Mine are doing fine after years.

SCP sells NOTHING that is theirs. So, you're talking about one of the three (actually two) real manufacturers listed in the post below bought by them at a discount, maked up and resold to you ...

The question is then ... What brand do you really have?

The consensus here is go Moog, TRW or Motorcraft for ball joints or go home.
Agreed 100%. And, FYI the Motorcraft UCAs and LCAs are made by TRW.

TRW was the OEM supplier to Ford for Tbird suspension parts.
 

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And, FYI the Motorcraft UCAs and LCAs are made by TRW.
I seem to recall someone (maybe it was Matt) saying that there actually is a difference in the Motorcraft and TRW UCAs. I actually bought the two and from what I could tell, one has a zerk fitting and the other doesn't. But whatever, moot point. :)
 

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That may be true. I don't think the presence or absence of a zerk fitting would be enough to distinguish one brand from another.

FWIW the moog UCAs I have, have zerk fittings too ...
 

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When I bought my pair of Moog LCA's, one was a sealed TRW and the other had a zerk fitting.
 

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First off, the former Moog Auto Parts and TRW Auto Parts are owned by Federal Mogul.

Moog joints have zerks, TRWs don't. Federal puts TRWs into some Moog boxes, and I'd bet you'll find Moog in TRW boxes.

The sealed ones are tighter inside, and use teflon (well, of the good ones - have NO idea about the cheap Chinee crap).

The greasable ones, in order for the grease to have a place to go, have a bit more slop in them to begin with, but are greasable.

I prefer greasable for ball joints personally, but not everyone does.

RwP
 

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First off, the former Moog Auto Parts and TRW Auto Parts are owned by Federal Mogul.

Moog joints have zerks, TRWs don't. Federal puts TRWs into some Moog boxes, and I'd bet you'll find Moog in TRW boxes.

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RwP
Uh, not the way I understand it. If you find mixed parts in their boxes I'd guess that's because of returns and exchanged at the different auto parts suppliers.

TRW and Federal-Mogul, aka Moog, are not the same company.

Moog is a division of Federal Mogul. HQ in Southfield, MI.

TRW world HQ is in Livonia, MI
 

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Uh, not the way I understand it. If you find mixed parts in their boxes I'd guess that's because of returns and exchanged at the different auto parts suppliers.

TRW and Federal-Mogul, aka Moog, are not the same company.

Moog is a division of Federal Mogul. HQ in Southfield, MI.

TRW world HQ is in Livonia, MI
Huh.

No, sealed boxes at RockAuto AND at O'Reilly's.

Been reported out of sealed boxes at AutoZone also.

So much for supposition.

Not that that's a BAD thing - TRW makes good parts.

Bet then that FM was buying TRWs due to not having enough Moogs to fulfill demand.

Or some such.

Edit: Called one of my friends - he claims that the FM plant that makes some of the Moog components - is the source for TRW! Which means that Moog is boxing whichever they have handy, I guess.

So, no, not the same company selling to the distributors, but the same company MAKING.

That'd explain how many have gotten one side TRW one side Moog front LCAs when both boxes said Moog on them.

RwP
 
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