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suspension issues...need opinions


February 28, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Detroit Lakes, MN
Year, Model & Trim Level
'95 XLT 4x4
Greetings All-
So, I was hearing a little squeaking coming from underneath when the truck was driving at a slow speed and also wanted to get it in for an alignment check before I put a new set of tires on, so into my local Ford dealer it went. A phone call later I hear the news: 2 upper and a lower ball joint, tie rod ends, and the U-joints are bad (the squeak) but the U-joints are not replaceable so we will need to get a rebuilt drive shaft...all for only $1200.

Basically in shock, I bring it to a local neighborhood mechanic (recommended to me) for a second opinion. He confirms everything. Now, the ball joints surprise me as when I was in for an alignment for the current set of tires, I had to replace them (2 lower and 1 upper), but this was about 48,000 miles ago - what is the life expectancy on them?

Anyway, I know a bunch of you guys will replace the ball joints yourself, but I am not so inclined to do this. Are these $$ values in line of what it should cost??


They have grease fitting on them that people rarely use. Even if you buy new ones They don't always have grease in them. Without grease they last about 48,000 miles. $1,200 Is a bit steep in my opinion. When you say u-joint what kind of drive system do you have?

Just to make sure you aren't getting ripped off, you may want to get a third opinion without telling them about the priors.

If you buy Borg and Warner parts from a discount parts store then you are looking at about $375 in parts and about 5 hours labor at $70/hr. I think $700 would be fair. If you buy tires at a department store they may make a nice package deal for you.

Most stores like Sears have name brand tires. Pep boys sounds cheep and may offer some kind of warranty but I'm not familiar with most of their tire brands. The Walmart folks have good tires but varying degrees of mechanical skill in there shops. I would assume they have to warranty their work.

If I got shocks, tires and the suspension parts for $950+ tax with a 2 year 20,000mile warranty I would drive away feeling good .

As to the drivetrain, it is the ControlTrac 4WD. The new ball joints put on 40,000 some miles ago did have grease fittings on them and the shop that put them on is really good, so I am assuming they filled them. This is all just quite a shock especially in light of needing new tires ASAP. I found a good deal on new BFG AT's at Sears, but obviously waiting on them now.

Thanks for the input.