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Don't Loose A Ball Joint At 65 MPH !

Use this forum for general conversation amongst yourselves when you don't have anything better to do. We like gossip! Try to keep the technical out of it.
Post Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:02 am

Posts: 1654
I certainly wouldn't want to be read as posting that US manufacturers get the 'dud' units from the manufacturer, that's the next best thing to posting conspiracy theories about NASA's secret spaceship hangar at Roswell and how Stanley Kubrick filmed the Apollo landings at Shepperton.....

However, I do believe that US manufacturers have had a tendency for quite a few years past, to specify inadequate parts for cost reasons, and this is the reason for Jeep's problems with the Cherokee/Liberty model. The H-D quality issues, which have been much aired lately on the HDRCGB forum, can be pretty much summarized under this heading, too.

ball joints do suddenly break with no previous symptoms, usually due to inadequate lubrication or excessive service loads. I've driven enough 4x4s offroad for enough years to have seen it many times.

for what it's worth I bought the stroker flywheels and pistons for my 45 project from T&O. This is partly because there isn't a tremendous choice for such specialised items, and partly because I had always thought that if I ever built a stroker, it would have to be T&O because of their racing pedigree. I had intended to buy the cams from KNS, but so far this hasn't come about, mainly because it seems very difficult to get a response from them. However this issue is by no means closed, so it could yet happen.

Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...

Post Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:21 am
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

There was nothing inferior about the joint that broke in my Merc Ford product. Odometer read 275, 659 miles at breakage. :wink: What is that ? About 11-1/2 times around the earths equator? :lol: No complaints on product quality from me ! I see this as quite remarkable. If the joint had a lube fitting, the joint would still be going. I still see the dry running as the culprid though. It doesn't take long to wear a part out when rubbing to dry metal parts together. I heard noise earlier but I thought the noise was coming from the control arm rubber bushings. I squirted the bushings with WD40 but that didn't remove the noise. As I look back on the lack of poor steering, handling, and ride problems, I attribute this to the fact that the joint which broke, was the lower one. The weight of this large vehicle probably kept the joint seated. Good thing an upper didn't go out ! The vehicle weight and spring tension combination, would have shot the upper arm through the fender well and fender. :mrgreen:

Post Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:17 am

Posts: 1654
sometimes things just happen.... the Ford Ranger is making a lot of progress in the 'working pick-up' market over here, by the by; mainly against the HiLux which doesn't seem to be the beast it once was.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...

Post Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:10 pm

Posts: 304
Location: oklahoma usa
I would definitely say that at 275k miles you've got the money's worth out of that ball joint.

Sorry, but the Big 3 car makers are not specifying inadequate parts for cost reasons. In regards to the Jeep there is likely a reason behind any higher than normal incidents of ball joint breakage.
Many Jeeps are AWD, often see rough service, including boon docking, etc. so of course their joints are going to take more of a beating than a garden variety Toyota Camry for instance.
This does not mean the joints are of inferior quality. It's like wondering why guys who hammer cars at the drag strip suffer more transmission failures than their neighbors who never go to the strip.

If the joints were legitimately inferior this means they would all fail prematurely, and they don't.

If you want to use that logic about Jeeps are you willing to apply it to Toyota also? ... oints.html

The same complaint has been made repeatedly that Ford also uses inferior ball joints and that is not the case. The last Mercury I owned got a pair of lower ball joints at around 250k miles (only slightly loose) and that car was still running and driving well when I sold it with over 410k miles on it.
My current Ford has almost a quarter of a million miles with no joint problems at all.

A friend of mine who has Softtail would probably disagree that HDs are problematic. He put a 140k miles on it in 4 years and it still ran like the day he bought it new. The ony reason the mileage quit accruing is because the bike got ripped and may have wound up in TX with a well known outlaw club. No way of knowing for sure.

Post Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:52 pm

Posts: 1654
all 4x4s break ball-joints, you're right, goes with the territory if you use them off-road.

Interestingly enough, and despite their generally pretty poor reputation for reliabilty, Land Rovers very rarely have this particular problem.

as for Jeeps, I used to be a huge fan of the Wagoneer, and the 'old' Cherokee has a small, but strong, following among working users over here. The Liberty, less so, and I suspect this is because it is an attempt to diverge into a new product type which isn't quite right.

Toyotas aren't perfect but they are pretty good. I particularly like the way they are sorted in detail; the whole vehicle lasts the life of the main components. That's a general comment on japanese design, really; thoroughness.

the Ford Ranger is doing well in the 'working' market, but bear in mind that US Ford models and UK ones are different. Ford are mainly a supplier of small to medium family cars over here, with a strong presence in the 'fleet' market.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...

Post Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:20 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

Well.....I just did not have the heart to bury the ole girl. She had been so reliable up until the ball joint let go so I decided to have all the joints replaced. When I went to the parts store, they said Ford/Mercury used to force a complete control arm purchase. But now...the aftermarket tool producers had come up with a puller and installer combination to replace just the ball joints. The puller ran me around 25 bucks and the joints less than a hundred. Anyhow....I just fixed her and have been running her since. She is still reliable and is like the energizer bunny. I kept an eye on the odometer the past few days...hoping I would have the opportunity, and the road berm room to pull over and take this pic. Luckily I was on the interstate had had plenty of time to come up via one 10th per mile, and crawled along the shoulder until she hit the magic mile mark. She keeps going and going and going. :) Pa


Post Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:20 pm

Posts: 2688
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Maybe I should check the ball joints on my '97 Civic that has 450,000 miles on it. Naw.:D

Post Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:14 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

Chris Haynes wrote:
Maybe I should check the ball joints on my '97 Civic that has 450,000 miles on it. Naw.:D

Dang Chris ! And I was so impressed with this car. :lol: Today I put another 185 on her. I'll catch up with your trophy sooner or later. :lol:

Post Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:08 am

Posts: 309
Location: Ohio
If you guys quit spending all your money on motorcycles maybe ......... :mrgreen: I feel like a real piker with just 150k on my jimmy next to the two of you. :)

Post Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:04 am
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

That is where I find the spare change for motorcycle parts Bro. :wink: I burn't the old money tree in the fireplace in order to keep the furnace from running up a big ole gas bill. :lol: I can't vouch for what type of repairs Chris may have had to make over his super high milage period but that ole Merc girl of mine has never had engine or drive train repairs. Besides standard lube changes, I threw a set of plugs and wires on her once, repaired a couple of rotted out brake lines, replaced brake lining three times, replaced all coolant hoses for insurance purposes, and changed out rubber many times. :lol: Hopefully.... the body will stay on her a bit longer now. :wink:


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