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Unread 12-28-2008, 11:48 PM   #1
compfreak530
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how to check ball joints?

im still a newb to suspension all together. but how do i check if my ball joints are going bad? my jeep starts feeling very odd at speeds in excess of 55Mph.. i get intermediate vibs that come and go very frequently. my jeep also drifts slightly. <while driving down the road i notice it will go were it wants. but half the time it will drive straight. my jeep is bone stock but im kind of clueless. i know in while using 4h or 4lo my front end feels to be binding up so im thinking i have something major wrong, what all should i check?

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Unread 12-28-2008, 11:53 PM   #2
mike243
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might be a wheel bearing.
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Unread 12-29-2008, 05:43 AM   #3
tjwalker
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Would be a good idea to get your XJ on a hoist and have somebody familiar with front end/steering components perform a thorough inspection of parts for wear/play. There are really a lot of things that can contribute.

It's possible that you need a front end alignment as well but hold off on that until you inspect all parts as there are certain situations which would require an alignment after replacement of that hardware. Good Luck!
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Unread 12-29-2008, 06:37 AM   #4
compfreak530
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i have access to a lift, but i dont know anyone that is really familiar the front end, could someone perhaps give me a check list of things to check? i`ll jsut search on how to check the items.. thanks
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Unread 12-29-2008, 07:41 AM   #5
Jeds Sr.
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Do you feel the vibs in the seat or the steering wheel? Sounds like your tires are out of balance.

On the front check the tie rod ends and the track bar. Have someone lightly turn the steering wheel right and left while you look for play in each part.
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Unread 12-29-2008, 08:32 AM   #6
compfreak530
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i feel vibes thro my whole xj. enough to vibrate a cell phone off my dash, its not the death wobble just vibes, i know its something with the front end as i hear a clunkish sound comming from the driver side tire while turning either way, i belive that to be the shock tho
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Unread 12-29-2008, 09:03 AM   #7
tangofox007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compfreak530 View Post
i know in while using 4h or 4lo my front end feels to be binding up...
On dry pavement, that is perfectly normal. It's also why 4WD should not be used on dry pavement.
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Unread 12-29-2008, 09:04 AM   #8
lcarney91
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Jack up one front wheel at a time, until the tire is 3-4" off the ground. Take a pry tool of your choice (pry bar, crow bar, jack handle, pipe, etc.) and pry upward on the bottom of the tire. Check for vertical movement of the tire/wheel. Too much movement is an indicator of excessive ball joint wear.

Now, with the same wheel/tire, place hands at 3 and 9 o'clock positions. Move tire from side to side, and check for excessive movement. There should be some free movement when doing this, but not too much. This checks steering/ hub bearing wear. You may want to have a friend do this while you watch the steering linkage. Again, some movement is expected, but not too much.
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Unread 12-29-2008, 09:13 AM   #9
compfreak530
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007 View Post
On dry pavement, that is perfectly normal. It's also why 4WD should not be used on dry pavement.
this was in snowy icy roads, the jeep also pulls very hard to the driver side, but not while in 4 full, has the np242.

thank you lcarney91, i`ll try that today
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Unread 12-29-2008, 09:27 AM   #10
lcarney91
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The acceptable amount of movement is debatable, that's why i left it out. Some say you shouldn't have any vertical movement, but the FSM gives a different spec. I'll let the experts jump in here.
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Unread 12-29-2008, 10:21 PM   #11
onlyinaYJ
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i would just smash the front end and have insurance comp. fix it lol.
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Unread 12-29-2008, 10:54 PM   #12
compfreak530
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umm. no thanks. i paid 300 for my jeep and its almost perfect. no cracks in the leather, headliner looks new. new pioneer stereo,tires have 90% tread left and spare is brand new never been used, carpet has been kept up forever, no cracks in dash looks new,motor is strong to, just a few small ish problems
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Unread 01-08-2009, 01:51 PM   #13
bcdale
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i have the same problem while running in two wheel , have new tires
no play play in front end seems like front end is still in 4 wheel and tach shows 1500 rpm,
and yet @ 60 mph it like its going at top speed.
should drive shaft still be turning or in 2 wheel should it disengage.?
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Unread 01-08-2009, 08:40 PM   #14
jdearmitt
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Yeah it will still turn.
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Unread 01-08-2009, 08:49 PM   #15
1990JEEPXJ
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bad ball joints wont really cause a vibration. i would say that you need tires rebalanced and an alignment.
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