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How to tell if ball joints are worn?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by 91K5, Sep 14, 2001.

  1. 91K5

    91K5 1/2 ton status

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    The alignment shop I took my truck to earlier this week said that my ball joints were "real loose" and wouldnt hold an adjustment if they made it to them. Well, I took the wheels off and starting messing around and I cant figure out how they determine they are loose. There is no movement at all up & down, side to side or anything. I have a manual for it, and it says to disconnect the tie rod, and use a spring guage and blah blah, but I was wondering if theres a simpler way to tell if they need to be replaced... they seem OK to me. Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    If you leave the wheel on, but jack the truck up, then have someone wiggle the wheel up and down (basically pushing back and forth on the top of the tire, orlift up and down from the bottom of it), you should be able to see movement in the joint if it's worn. I've always found the bottom joint to wear first, and the drivers side.
    I've always figured if you can see any movement, it's worth it to replace them, and both together (unless they're new and weren't properly adjusted).

    Ratch
    <a target="_blank" href=http://k5.8m.com>k5.8m.com</a>
    **Ever stop to think... Then forget to start again?**
     
  3. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    by the way, get the best joints you can. I goofed and didn't look that closely at the joints I bought, and my bottom joint has a plug that I have to remove and screw in a zerk to grease. Which mean I have to remove the axle to get to it with a grease gun. Pain in the butt.

    Ratch
    <a target="_blank" href=http://k5.8m.com>k5.8m.com</a>
    **Ever stop to think... Then forget to start again?**
     
  4. 91K5

    91K5 1/2 ton status

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    I checked the ball joints the way you said too, jacked the truck, and had my dad slide a bar under the tire, and i watched the ball joints, and there was no noticable movement at all in them, they seem to be fine to be, but the alignment shop said they were "real loose". I think I may take it to another shop before I tear the front end apart to replace something that may not need to be.
     
  5. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Yeah, some sleazy shops tell that to everybody that comes in for a front end alignment. [​IMG] It's an easy way for them to make lots more money, because most people don't know jack about their vehicles and just say "OK, fix it". [​IMG]

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
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  6. 91K5

    91K5 1/2 ton status

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    Well this shop is supposed to be good, but come to think about it my mom took her Exploder there and they said all her joints were worn out too. They mighta been worn (being a Ford and all :) but inspecting mine they seem fine. I definalty think I'll take it to another shop and get a 2nd opinion.
     
  7. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    The first time I had my first K5 in a shop for something (I forget what, but it was something I didn't have the resources to do), they told me my balljoints were wiped out and I'd have a serious accident if I didn't replace them. I told them I'd pass for now, checked them myself and thought they were fine, then took it to another shop, who also said they were fine.

    It's sad when you think of all the people that just say "ok" and get it done when it's totally unnecessary...

    Good luck!!

    Ratch
    <a target="_blank" href=http://k5.8m.com>k5.8m.com</a>
    **Ever stop to think... Then forget to start again?**
     
  8. walt88

    walt88 1/2 ton status

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    /--\

    35" All-Terrains... I don't get it.
     

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