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How to tell if ball joints are bad?

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Old 07-07-2009, 06:41 PM
jwshira0821 jwshira0821 is offline
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How to tell if ball joints are bad?

I have an '02 4X4 crewcab V-10. I had the tires replaced recently and the tire shop said the ball joints on the left side were worn. Wanted mucho dollars to replace. Ford dealer said they are worn on both sides, but not "badly" worn. Neither would tell me exactly how they know this.
What can I do in my driveway to tell if the ball joints are indeed worn, and how worn is too worn?
No other front end work has been done (104,000 miles now) except for replacing the "links" a couple years ago. Should I consider any other bits and pieces while I have things torn apart?
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:00 PM
cattlerancher cattlerancher is offline
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Jack up one side and put a long bar underneith tire and lift up, if theirs any looseness its probly ball joints. They usually last about 100,000 miles
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:42 PM
EXv10 EXv10 is offline
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Have somebody put a bar or 2x4 under the wheel after it is jacked up while you watch for movement at the joints. Does it pull when you hit the brakes? Tire wear on the inside? Make creaking, squeeking, or clacking noises? If it has over 100k miles they are probably worn out. You can save money by doing it yourself. Be prepared to work...........Posts in here.
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:45 PM
ironmine ironmine is offline
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Originally Posted by cattlerancher View Post
Jack up one side and put a long bar underneith tire and lift up, if theirs any looseness its probly ball joints. They usually last about 100,000 miles
If you watch the balljoints as you manhandle the tire/wheel with a prybar, you'll see what/if balljoint is moving, and how much. Better yet, have a buddy man the pry bar as you watch the ball joints.

All of my balljoints --- I changed them out one side, then the other side --- failed in the 60K -70K mileage range. Stock suspension.

Unless you see wear in the axle u-joints, there really isn't much else to change while you are in there. There are even little kits that our sponsors sell (I don't know anything about them). The balljoints, axle dust seas, knuckle seals, o/rings, and I go ahead and change the needle bearings in the hub assy since they are so cheap.

Good luck.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:40 PM
EXv10 EXv10 is offline
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The U-joints are usually good unless they spent a lot of time under water because they get very little action compared to the ones on the rear driveshaft. I wouldn't attempt to change the needle bearings unless they need it. (Too many stories about screwing them up and causing them to fail by changing).
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:05 PM
ironmine ironmine is offline
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Originally Posted by EXv10 View Post
The U-joints are usually good unless they spent a lot of time under water because they get very little action compared to the ones on the rear driveshaft. I wouldn't attempt to change the needle bearings unless they need it. (Too many stories about screwing them up and causing them to fail by changing).
I've never heard one story of screwing up needle bearings. People have been changing them since RacerGuy wrote his guide, like 5 years ago, since they are cheap and NAPA, etc has them on the shelf. Its easier to replace them than to properly clean them and repack them.

I remember someone here recently stating he didn't understand the bearing, because he had a *cageless* bearing with hardly anything holding the rollers in place.

They pop in and out. No?
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:35 PM
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Just relaying what I have been reading. I think Krewat had one of the posts. One thing I learned when I was a mechanic was; The less you disturb, the better off you are.

You didn't read the same posts I read.
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironmine View Post
People have been changing them since RacerGuy wrote his guide, like 5 years ago, since they are I remember someone here recently stating he didn't understand the bearing, because he had a *cageless* bearing with hardly anything holding the rollers in place.

They pop in and out. No?
I read that. I think he thought it was cageless because it came with a tube or something inside it to keep the needles clean.
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwshira0821 View Post
I have an '02 4X4 crewcab V-10. I had the tires replaced recently and the tire shop said the ball joints on the left side were worn. Wanted mucho dollars to replace. Ford dealer said they are worn on both sides, but not "badly" worn. Neither would tell me exactly how they know this.
What can I do in my driveway to tell if the ball joints are indeed worn, and how worn is too worn?
No other front end work has been done (104,000 miles now) except for replacing the "links" a couple years ago. Should I consider any other bits and pieces while I have things torn apart?
Welcome to FTE. We carry both the Moog brand ball joints and also a less expensive alternative that's good also.

Here's a link to the ball joint section of our site.If you have any questions,I'd be glad to answer them for you.

Ford Truck Ball Joint
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:02 PM
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With 104k on the original ball joints I'd say they are more than likely shot.
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:07 PM
EXv10 EXv10 is offline
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+ 1 on that. Look into Amazon.com
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:14 PM
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I had my truck at the dealer getting other warranty work done, and it had a slight pull.Told them to check the ball joints. They told me they were fine just needed an alignment. Since my crew cab wont fit on my alignment lift I told them to go ahead and do it. Still pulled when I got it back so I checked them myself, left side was shot and right side was not too great. This was with 33K miles on the clock. My point, trust noone when checking them but your own eyes. Replaced them with MOOG and got new seals from ford, been great so far.
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:26 PM
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Thet will cause truck to pull. I do all I can myself.
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:26 AM
sgsavvy sgsavvy is offline
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+ 1 on that. Look into Amazon.com
look into amazon?
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:08 PM
jwshira0821 jwshira0821 is offline
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Thanks to all who offered advice. I jacked it up and used a couple 2X4's as a lever under the tire...had the wife step on the lever and watched the ball joints...mucho movement. Now I know what I'll be doing this weekend instead of fishing.
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