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Discussion Starter #1
I did some research on here and mk8 boards, and it seems ball joints are implicated in brake pulls. However, I'm wondering if a ball joint that passes a wiggle test can still cause issues.

Assume the base brake system is ok, new hoses, relatively new calipers, equal heat on both rotors during braking, good bleed and pedal. etc

Don't implicate the ABS or M/C, they were changed recently because of rust and maintenance, didn't make a difference.. THe brake issue existed before and after the brake work.

I understand that the brakes can pull because of bad suspension parts. On my 95 I have new UCAs, but amazingly what i believe are the original ball joints(or ones with at least 130K on them), they seem tight when I wiggle the wheel with the LCA supported or unsupported. I'm thinking though they could be binding or rusting internally, there is no front end noise either.

If i touch the brake pedal at a very slow speed (or even backing up), the steering wheel will turn very quickly to the left, maybe an inch or so, almost like a twitch, and then kind of recover most of the way back.

When I stop at moderate speed, there is (I'll say almost intermittent or speed/effort dependent) left pull, but it seems to even out with a bit more pedal effort. Sometimes it is pretty bad and sometimes it stops arrow straight. I think I have a slight right drift alignment issue, but I had it before with no brake issue.

I'm wondering if anyone else experienced this, I could probably do things like switch rotor and friction material side, but I'm wondering if LCAs that seem ok with testing can still be bad. I hate to change out good parts, and then find its really something else.

Thanks guys.

Also, it seems advance auto is out of the TRW SC control arms. Someone on another mk8 board recently got a set though :(. I should have bought 4 when I did my 91 !
 

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Discussion Starter #2
OK, its Ball joints...

Jacked it up and put a crowbar under the left wheel, good 1/4" ish of play. Tight as a bug though if you shake the wheel (as the manual says). Worth doing this test on your car if your suspension is original. I had no noise whatsoever the only other issue was high steering effort. Please don't ignore these subtle things like brake pull and hard steering.

So..since I'm replacing them anyway very shortly for fun I greased up both joints thru the boot with a needle fitting and manual grease gun with my expensive synthetic grease.

Three things happened...

1)It stops straight as an arrow now.

2)I got my power steering back. I used to get a workout parking this thing, was planning on a rack.

3) The car just rides much better and smoother. Its even more of a pleasure to drive. I can't wait to put in new arms and bushings.

I know this is a stop gap temporary measure, but for people who are putting off doing joints for whatever reason, it may be good idea to prevent metal to metal abrasion so the ball joint wont slip out. I read about all these ball joint failures and its obviously due to metal/rust abrasive interfaces and metal ball or socket wearing away to the point that its diameter is reduced to the size of the socket. The grease can definately buy you some time(but you should definately change them). I wouldn't suggest grease though if you can feel play thru the wiggle test, that should be changed immediately, I had uppers like that.

Now If I can only get the SC arms!
 

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The other thing that causes a brake to pull to one side is a bad rear caliper, on the opposite side from the pull.

It has to do with the way our brakes are split; but the common failure mode is to the right, by design. (The secondary master cylinder usually goes bad first.)

Good Catch!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The other thing that causes a brake to pull to one side is a bad rear caliper, on the opposite side from the pull.

It has to do with the way our brakes are split; but the common failure mode is to the right, by design. (The secondary master cylinder usually goes bad first.)

Good Catch!
That is good to keep in mind too. But from what I understand now if the steering wheel suddenly jerks at low speed and then kind of recovers the Ball joints should be checked immediately.
 

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I check the rubber covers every time I do the oil; they go first. I also inspect the rubber brake lines.

It's good practice to give them the prybar test when you do brakes, as well as giving the other points a workout; my entire front end was toast by 200k miles.
 

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Sounds like a strut rod bushing to me. I have seen many ball joints that dont wiggle but they will "separate" some when pried that way. To do this you need to have the tire off the ground and put a 30-45* prybar under the tire and pry upward. If the joint is bad, you will see the spindle and ball joint shaft raise up and leave the "cup" of the ball joint sitting in the LCA. You might as well check everything you got.
I just thought I would chime in though because I had the same "problem" and it was strut rod bushings.
-Rob

EDIT: just noticed you had already fixed it. I need some coffee!
 

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Sounds like a strut rod bushing to me. I have seen many ball joints that dont wiggle but they will "separate" some when pried that way. To do this you need to have the tire off the ground and put a 30-45* prybar under the tire and pry upward. If the joint is bad, you will see the spindle and ball joint shaft raise up and leave the "cup" of the ball joint sitting in the LCA. You might as well check everything you got.
I just thought I would chime in though because I had the same "problem" and it was strut rod bushings.
-Rob

EDIT: just noticed you had already fixed it. I need some coffee!
I agree. Another thing to look at is strut rod bushings in the future. And don't get aftermarket. Go OEM when it comes to strut rod bushings.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sounds like a strut rod bushing to me. I have seen many ball joints that dont wiggle but they will "separate" some when pried that way. To do this you need to have the tire off the ground and put a 30-45* prybar under the tire and pry upward. If the joint is bad, you will see the spindle and ball joint shaft raise up and leave the "cup" of the ball joint sitting in the LCA. You might as well check everything you got.
I just thought I would chime in though because I had the same "problem" and it was strut rod bushings.
-Rob

EDIT: just noticed you had already fixed it. I need some coffee!
Well, if the grease in the boot helped(stops perfectly now), I think we have our man!


the bushings look ratty but they are very tight and have no play and the arm won't move. UNFORTUNATELY I changed them a few years ago and didn't use antisize!!!! Now the pass side is Tight to the point that I'm having trouble getting them off to replace the arm!!!!!!! Tried everything, tons of pb, kroil, even broke a massive sears screwdriver! The sleeves are rusted to the strut rod!!

Thinking of wedging some radiused duct work sheet metal in there...I may try that today.

That is another story. Any suggestions???? I don't want to take the strut rod off the frame. that is probably worse rusted! Thinking of loosening the strut rod bolt and making some hard stops.
 

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Thinking of loosening the strut rod bolt and making some hard stops.
As long as you know a good body shop just in case, that might work. :)

I personally wouldn't try that, but hey, I'm open minded. :zdunno:

Take pics! :thumbsup:
 
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