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Shade Tree Ball joints?

Discussion in 'General Explorations!!' started by LENT45, October 7, 2002.

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    1. LENT45

      LENT45 New Member

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      95 XLT
      All right I got just a quick question. On my 95 XLT, I had one nasty sqeak on the left front tire. I could not set my butt in the truck with out it sqeaking. So I grabbed some spray lube and attempted to soak EVERYTHING down. Na, didnt fix it. <it just made a mess in the driveway>
      I removed the tire and started looking around and found that the sqeak had to be comming the ball joint. <I am no master tech by no means> I removed the nut from the bottom and sorta pulled the spindle down to give me some room. I removed the lock ring on the top of the joint boot and pulled it down. It was packed with something that may have been grease at one time. I took a can of brake cleaner and cleaned it out. Packed it with some grease and put everying back. Went for a test drive and not a peep came out. :) Now for the question:
      What or Is any thing wrong with installing your own grease fittings on these things? And would you suggest this as a quick fix and/or a Preventive Maintence step?

      I know these should be replaced. After all I have close to 145,000 miles on it. Pretty good if this is the only thing I have had trouble on. <KNOCK ON WOOD> :eek:

      =LENT=
       
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    3. Jason_25

      Jason_25 Elite Explorer<br>ECX Member

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      cool,very thrifty!

      Many people just shell out the extra money for replacements. I don't see anything wrong with it at all.
       
    4. dogfriend

      dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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      Do your ball joints have 'plugs' in them where a grease fitting could be added? I think on my 97 there aren't any plugs, so you couldn't add fittings to it unless you drilled and tapped holes for the grease fittings. The problem with trying to drill and tap is that you will probably get metal shavings or chips inside the ball joint which will hasten its demise.

      I added grease fittings to the ball joints and tie rod ends on my 89 Ranger, but they already had plugs. One of the threads stripped out while I was installing them (6mm threads). I was able to tap the stripped threads with an 8mm tap and install an 8mm zerk fitting. Apparently I did not get any chips inside; all of the joints were still ok when I sold it at 125K.

      The way to tell if your ball joints are bad is to :

      1. Jack up the front wheel(s)

      2. Grasp the tire at the top and bottom.

      3. Try to move tire in and out of the wheelwell. Look at movement between spindle and lower or upper control arm (manual suggests using a helper) The spindle should not move more than 1/32 of an inch w/r/t the lower or upper control arm(s).
       
    5. LENT45

      LENT45 New Member

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      No, Ford for some stupid reason did not use "joints" with grease fittings. <seen somebody talk about that somewhere else in the forum> And plus if you take it to the dealer to get replaced, they will install the "factory" ends. (Pretty gosh, darn stupid if you ask me)
      I ended up last night tapping and installing the zerk fitting on the 2 front lower joints.
      <SWEET!>
       
    6. JasonF

      JasonF Active Member

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      Where is the best location to install grease fittings on the stock ball joints? I think I want to do this.
       
    7. dogfriend

      dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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      Yes, they do this because then they can advertise "No scheduled maintenance for 'x' miles." If you had to grease the ball joints, it would be a maintenance item. I guess most people don't clue into the fact that its more cost effective to do simple maintenance than to make every part maintenance 'free' (irony intended).

      You might be able to find aftermarket ball joints and tie rod ends that can be greased.
       
    8. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Staff Member Moderator

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      IMO if you are in there working on the ball join, replace them with Moog greaseable one's otherwise you will just have to do it again later.
       
    9. dogfriend

      dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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      I agree. You may be able to modify the stock ones to accept zerks, but if you have to drill and tap, it is very likely that you can screw up the originals by drilling in the wrong place or getting metal shavings inside. Front suspension parts are pretty vital to maintaining control of the vehicle. You don't want a ball joint to disintegrate while you're driving down the highway.

      I'm pretty thrifty with my money, but I would go the route of replacing them with greaseable ball joints once you need to replace them.
       
    10. LENT45

      LENT45 New Member

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      This is to be considerd a temp/preventive fix for the joints. Yes, you can get greaseable a joint from Napa. "el cheepo' for 28 bucks" Nothing special just a replacement part. If you are constantly strapped for cash and time then this seem like the best way to deal with those joints. And who knows if you add the fittings before the joint starts acting up, like mine did. Then you might get maybe 2-3 more times the life on it.
      And if you plan to do some off-roading? I would not suggest this little shade tree tip. :bounce:

      -L
       

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