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Robert needs a favor

Discussion in 'General Explorations!!' started by Robert, September 20, 2002.

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    1. Robert

      Robert Well-Known Member

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      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '13 Ram 1500 Longhorn
      I'm looking for someone in the Phoenix area that has replaced their lower ball joints that is willing to come over to my house this weekend and help me replace mine. It doesn't look too difficult, however an extra set of hands and wheels to go get those needed items that I might be missing.

      I have picked up a bad vibration at 65 MPH on anything but the smoothest of roads. Every little bump in the road seems to get amplified. I had my tires re-balanced and it didn't change anything. When I jack the front tires up, I can't get them to move up or down by hand. However, when I put a pry bar under it and push lightly on it the tire will move up and down. The lower balljoints appear to compress whereas the upper ones don't budge. I'm not sure how much play there should be when using a pry bar but with 95K on the ODO it seems pretty likely that they are worn out. I would like someone that has done them before and knows what a bad one looks like to help.

      I have an assortment of Craftsman tools and air tools in my garage. I'll keep you fed and hydrated while you are here. Is anyone free preferrably tomorrow that could come by for a while? Send me a PM if you are available with a phone number.

      Thanks in advance

      PS. Even if you aren't available this weekend but are on another weekend, let me know in case I can't come up with the ball joints locally tomorrow.
       
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    3. Doug

      Doug I'm Awesome! Moderator Emeritus

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      The lower ones are cake the upper ones are a pita. and if your lower ones are bad im willing to bet the upper ones are bad too.
       
    4. Rhett

      Rhett Let Them Eat Cake Elite Explorer

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      I would help if I was in your neck of the woods but I'm pretty far away.

      My truck could probably use new upper and lower ball joints too, given that my truck feels every bump on the road, worse than it used to. It's up to almost 92,000 miles, similar mileage to yours, probably the same maintenance needed.
       
    5. Robert

      Robert Well-Known Member

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      Lower ball joints are in. Not too bad. I spent more time running back and forth to Home Depot (pipe) and Harbor Freight Tools twice (pitman arm puller) than I did replacing the ball joints. The hardest part was pressing the new one in the control arm in my vice. I'll take it for a drive tomorrow and see how it feels.
       
    6. Rhett

      Rhett Let Them Eat Cake Elite Explorer

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      Yes, I'd be interested in what difference it makes...particularly concerning the overall ride quality...
       
    7. dogfriend

      dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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      Please post results - I'm getting some vibration under certain conditions and I'm starting to suspect that my ball joints may be getting bad also. I think my mileage is a little less than yours (80K).

      For information only - my factory manual and chiltons both say that the movement should be 1/32 or less between knuckle and lower control arm. This is more than I thought it would be. I think if you get any perceptible movement, the ball joint is probably worn.
       
    8. Robert

      Robert Well-Known Member

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      I can't really tell if the new ball joints did anything. I still have a vibration but my tires are cupped. I think my tires are the reason for some of the vibration. I still feel what feels like rapid oscillations when going over small bumps that are close together. I don't remember it doing this for the first 90K miles. After I put on the lower ball joins my toe in was way out. When I took my foot off the gas it slowed down much quicker than it should have. I took it to Sears to have them do their free suspension diagnosis and they said my suspension was in good condition and the only thing they could find was that I needed an alignment. I knew that already so I had them do it. The only thing off was the toe in. I'm surprised since my torsion bars have been cranked up 1 1/2" for the last three years. My camber and caster were both right in the middle of factory specifications (even with the TT lift). Now that the toe is set correctly it will coast down much more gradually and hopefully put an end to my cupping tires.

      I'm not certain that I needed to put on the lower ball joints since the only way I could get the knuckle to move against the lower control arm was by prying on it with a 3' pry bar. It didn't take much effort though but trying to move the tire with just my hands was not enough to get it to move. When I got the old ones out, I could press the shaft in and out of the socket by probably 1/16" or more. The shaft was very easy to move around in the socket as well. The new ball joints took a lot of effort to get them to move in the socket and could not be moved up and down. The steering was also much harder to turn (but it is lightening up a bit now). I am fairly certain my shocks are OK since I removed the rear ones before doing the ball joints and they were very hard to compress. I checked my front ones out when I did the ball joints and they felt fine also. Bouncing my Explorer up and down only results in one or two bounces before it stops. It just feels like something is loose that is moving around over bumps. Even my gas pedal vibrates over the bumps.

      This weekend I'll have to look at it again since Sears focused on the front suspension and possibly the rear. I want to check my body mount spacers in case they are loosening up and look over the rear suspension a little more in depth.

      As a temporaty test, I lowered my pressure to 30 PSI (from 35 PSI) and turned my torsion bars down 1/2". It felt like a boat wallowing in the ocean so I quickly went back home and put it back to my original settings. I can't believe that Ford's original settings were so mushy.
       
    9. Jason_25

      Jason_25 Elite Explorer<br>ECX Member

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      Robert, have you considered replacing the control arm bushings? Do they appear to be worn? I think these things are often overlooked in the 95+ suspension and I could see how they could definitely cause a vibration.
       
    10. dogfriend

      dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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      I have the same cupping or "feathering" on the outboard edge of the tires. I swapped the tires to the rear and it helped vibration but I still feel it in certain situations. I need to get alignment checked, but haven't found the time to do it. Also, I didn't rotate the tires for 20k miles , so I attribute the wear problem to that.

      Right now, when I lightly apply the brakes, I can feel a slight vibration for a half second or so then it goes away when I apply more brake. I'm fairly certain that it isn't a rotor warp problem, because I've had that before and it doesn't feel the same. I'm thinking that something is loosening up in the front suspension.
       
    11. Jason_25

      Jason_25 Elite Explorer<br>ECX Member

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      Yeah I have the cupping too. I'm gonna go out tomorrow and see If I can tighten those big bolts that hold the lower control arms on, and see if that does anything.
       
    12. jasonb

      jasonb Jackstand Wheeler Moderator Emeritus

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      while searching for an answer to this problem (the aparently famous 65mph vibration) it seemed that the wheels and tires wasn't the problem for many. a lot of threads and posts referred to the drive shaft being out of balance or having bad u-joints. i have the 65mph vibration, but i have one wheel that is just slightly out of true. i didn't notice if this was with 1st gen or 2nd gen or both but it seems to be a pretty common problem.

      i fixed the problem for free. all i had to do was slow down! hehe.. actually, i find myself going about 60 most often.. but i'll go through the 65 area fast to get to 70 where it usually stops vibrating.
       
    13. Robert

      Robert Well-Known Member

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      Yeah, I am sure the control arm bushings are fine. I took a look at them when I pulled the lower control arm off. When I put it back on I tightened the two bolts to 140 ft/lbs per the specs. I did let my tire rotation go much longer than I should have also which I attributed to the cupping. I went probably 20K-25K between rotations. The tires had always looked fine with no signs of cupping until I did the rotation. Within a few weeks of rotating them I noticed shiny spots on my front tires about every 3" around the outer edge. Since I didn't notice them on my front tires before I rotated them I figured that my tires just got "used" to being in their position for so long that once I rotated them I upset them. I rotated them back to their original position however the cupping showed up almoste immediately this time. I am pretty sure that the vibration is due to the cups that are now on my tires. Unfortunately it will probably take a few thousand miles to wear through the cups now that my toe-in is set correctly. Hopefully the vibration will get lesser and lesser with each mile I put on it. I do remember hearing a "clank" while I was driving down the freeway a few months ago. Within a few days I remember feeling the vibration. I thought I probably threw a weight off one of the wheels. About a month ago I had Discount rebalance them. It didn't help the vibration though. I thought I looked at the driveshaft also since I know there are some weights welded (or glued?) on it. I will double check it this weekend. If one of them fell off, it should be pretty easy to spot where it used to be.
       
    14. Robert

      Robert Well-Known Member

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      As a side note, 'U' joints could be a possibility although I don't get any noises from them. At 65 MPH though the vibration is the worst. A little below or above and I can still feel it, but barely. At 65 MPH though my rear view mirror shakes enough that everything in it is blurry.
       
    15. jasonb

      jasonb Jackstand Wheeler Moderator Emeritus

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      hah. yeah mine is really at about 63 at its worst. stuff in the console will shake.. the mirror, the rear hatch glass... everything! good luck with it. hope its just the tires.
       
    16. dogfriend

      dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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      Mine isn't as bad as you guys are describing. Just feel it thru the steering wheel.

      Swapping the cupped tires to the rear seemed to help with the 65 mph vibration. I still have some vibration at other speeds, but I'm most concerned about the vibration when first applying the brakes.

      I'm going to put a dial indicator on all of the rotors as soon as I can find some time. The factory manual has some procedures for checking runout of the wheels and tires and for checking radial runout of the wheel studs.
       
    17. Jason_25

      Jason_25 Elite Explorer<br>ECX Member

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      Mine is probably the tires too then. :(

      Mine is so bad that I just don't drive faster than 60 ever.
       

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