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If the ball joint is worn you’ll see it move up and down in it’s socket. Then take a 4’-5’ long pry bar or 2X4 and place one end under the tire. Next, a large pry bar is used to try to wiggle the control arm up and down while leveraging against the cinder block. Here’s how to check. © 2015 Autointhebox.com. On my 1990 when the ball joint was bad the clunk was most noticeable turning off the road into a parking lot where the sidewalk was inclined so the first wheel was raised a little higher as I turned in. [1:39] Now remove the ball joint bolt from the upper A-arm. If you have McPherson struts, let the strut extend as far out as you can before you try to check the wheels for play. Look for the grease fitting. Another way to check for a worn lower ball joint is, raise the vehicle until that tire is 5"-6" off the floor. As it wears the boss will recede into the housing. Alternatively, have someone look at the ball joint while you attempt to move it. The pinch bolt at the bottom of the wheel bearing housing is normally the hardest part of the replacement. when the wheels are off the floor. Experienced mechanics will also just check play by the feel, listening closely for any clicking or easy motion that suggests the ball joint is worn out. 3. Just like a McPherson strut, because the spring is on top of the upper control arm when you jack the body up the ball joint doesn't have a load on it so put a bar under the tire and see if there is any play in the ball joint. And make an effort to pry them apart. Then, a cinder block is laid near the wheel bearing housing. Drive over speed bumps. Any recommended procedure for inspecting a ball-type joint from an OEM or suspension component manufacturer rarely involves a pry bar, and almost never involves a set of pliers. 2. Make sure your car is jacked securely, preferably on jack stands. Check your stabilizer bar end links as was mentioned above as those are easier to replace. Make sure there is no compression in the suspension when you check the ball joint. Replace upper ball joints if tire movement is 3/8 inch or more. It’ll shudder slightly and look insecure if it needs to be replaced. If you don’t do this, tension will still be on the ball joint when you jack up the car, making it difficult to move and look for play on the joint. Here's how: The ball joint on this style suspension is located at the bottom of the wheel bearing housing. So that's why it is important to inspect the ball joints regularly and make any replacements or repairs as required. I just replaced two of mine using a Harbor freight ball joint press kit. Therefore, the services of a professional mechanic are usually sought for this job. If the movement is beyond specifications, replace the ball joint. It took a little over an hour. Place a long bar, usually a pry par, under the tire. If you can’t find a wear indicator, or if the indicator doesn’t give you a clear enough sign, raise up the car to inspect the joint more thoroughly. Why should I use winter tires instead of all-seasoned ones? Take your car out for a drive. Pry downward on the handle of pry bar until the ball joint stud is out of the steering knuckle.. (If there was not enough space to remove the ball joint nut before, back it off, all the way at this step, until you can push the control arm down enough.) Drivers are recommended to use winter tires when winter is in the air. Using a pair of snap ring pliers, remove the snap ring. Prius is pretty easy to check ball joints. Steps Turn the steering wheel. The 2001 Ford Windstar has a lower ball joint that is directly integrated into the lower control arm assembly. If you have questions about the article, please click here to view the author's contact information including e-mail address, telephone number and mailing address. Part 2 of 2: Checking Vehicles with Strut Suspension Measure any movement at the top outer edge of tire. Always defer to the owner’s manual for more specific instructions and guidance. Step 7: Put the wheels back on. Have you ever take the challenge to diagnose A, Navigation system troubleshooting guidelines f, Original Autel MaxiSys Pro MS908P support 2 Year Free Update Online. Went to two garages and they gave different opinions of how to check ball joints on a 2004 E46. If the ball joint fails, that wheel will lose steering control and could result in an accident. 1. The specifications usually allow one to a few thousands of an inch free-play, but this is essentially nill for all practical purposes. You will be able to see if you have play on the ball joint. A ball joint is basically like a ball-and-socket joint in your body, made of housing, the ball, bearings, and a cover cap, as well as a washer and/or spring. Attach the dial indicator clamp to the lower control arm and locate the dial in a vertical position to measure axial runout at the steering knuckle. Auto manufacturers build different suspension set-ups, so read the manual to determine which type of ball joint your vehicle uses. Length: 820mm (32.1/4") Diameter: 19mm (3/4") Turn the steering wheel and observe the ball joint to check lateral runout. Don’t use a lot of force while doing this—be gentle. Place a pry bar on the control arm near the bushing. Use a pry bar or something similar to lift the tire. As long as the boss protrudes out, the joint should be fine. Naturally getting underneath a vehicle supported only by a jack is not wise. 3. What are the meanings of your car nosies? Alternatively, you could have a helper look closely at the joint itself to see if it appears loose as you move it. If it has the strut-style, use a pry-bar to check the wheel play, since the vehicle is already jacked up. Over time, a car’s ball joints may wear down. The ball joints allow the front wheels of a vehicle to move up and down, protecting against road bumps allowing you to pivot while steering. Loosen the lug nuts. Just like with your doctor, sometimes your … If a ball joint starts to loosen, you’ll hear clunking sounds from the front as the joint rattles in the socket. Grab the wheel at the top and bottom (12 and 6 o’clock) to lift up and pull down. Place a jack under the ball joint and load the joint by raising the jack. Use a pry bar to disconnect the lower A-arm from the spindle. Leverage (pry bar) against axel to press down on swing arm, and wedge a separator (wood block) between axel and swing arm at inboard end of swing arm. The most common indicator is a grease fitting that doubles as a wear indicator. Blog.autointhebox.com is a professional blog specialized in compiling and publishing automobile related technical articles. If any free play is noted or felt at the ball joint, it should be replaced. Ball joints are usually checked with the vehicle lifted off the ground unloaded and articulated with pry bars. Read the dial indicator and check against the manufacturer’s specifications. If you notice significant play when you move the pry bar, you need to change the ball joint. when the wheels are off the floor. Once you have visually inspected and tested the ball joints … A screwdriver may be needed to ease removal. Other says grab the wheel move it inboard/outboard at top … While someone observes the ball joint, lift up on the tire and release repeatidly. This special steel bar has a bent end and a flat heel to sit on the floor. On older Subaru vehicles or those that have been in the rust belt more than a couple years, this bolt will usually snap off, even if heated and if penetrating oil was used liberally. 2. Grasp the fitting and try to wiggle it. In general, you’re going to want to jack the car up in the directed place as you normally would, on the crossing member of the frame. While the vehicle is still on the ground, look underneath the car, on the bottom of the steering knuckle attached to the wheel. Besides, it recommends a selection of high performance diagnostic tools that have been approved and commended by many car owners. It was first published June 28, 2011. Naturally getting underneath a vehicle supported only by a jack is not wise. Its purpose is to allow the wheel bearing housing to rotate around the axis of the ball joint. That's how most techs do it unless the joint is so worn, it flopps all over the place with little effort. In order to replace the ball joint, you must replace the entire control arm assembly. The ball joint assembly in a vehicle with strut suspension should make a slight clicking sound when you move it up and down, and you should be able to hear it easily if it’s worn out and not working smoothly as it should. Now remove the ball joint bolt from the lower A-arm. Use a pry bar or another tool to check the up-down play on the ball joint. For side-to-side play, place a dial indicator inside the wheel rim close to the ball joint.
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