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Unread 03-18-2009, 08:46 PM   #1
FlipFlop425
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2004 WJ 
 
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Front ball joints

Is there a write-up on how to replace front ball joints floating around anywhere?

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Unread 03-18-2009, 08:56 PM   #2
newfieZJ
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This is for a ZJ , but should be a very very similar process . There aren't many write ups on the topic , I recently checked too . Hope it helps

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/steering-ball-stud-replacement-96-gc-710428/
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Unread 03-18-2009, 10:40 PM   #3
JasonStebbins
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I replaced both ball joints on both sides last week. I'll do my best to explain :

You WILL need a ball joint press to properly install the new ball joints. You can rent one from most auto part stores. Mine was $145.00 to rent but you get it back when you return the press.

PB BLASTER IS YOUR FRIEND

1. Jack up your Heep and remove the tire
2. Remove lock nut and cotter pin
3. Remove the 2 bolts that hold on the caliper (10mm?)
4. Remove the 3 bolts that hold the wheel bearing on (12mm)
5. Remove wheel bearing/hub assembly
6. Pull out the axle (make sure to re-grease boot when re-installing)
7. Remove the crown nuts on each ball joint
8. Remove the tie rod/track bar (not sure which one it is, it's attached to the knuckle)
9. At this point, the knuckle should come off after a couple whacks with a hammer, there's a nice little nub on the knuckle to hit
10. Remove snap rings from each ball joint (if applicable)
11. The lower ball joint has to be pressed down to remove, and up to install. The upper ball joint has to be pressed up to remove, and down to install

I'd definitely recommend getting the lower ball joint out first.

That's about it. Make sure the ball joints are fully seated before you put everything back together. It should take about an hour and a half if everything goes smooth (don't count on it)
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Unread 03-18-2009, 11:01 PM   #4
Upside
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How bad were your ball joints after 175K? Did you notice a big improvement in steering?
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Unread 03-18-2009, 11:13 PM   #5
JasonStebbins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Upside View Post
How bad were your ball joints after 175K? Did you notice a big improvement in steering?
They were shot to hell. The boots were as flat as a pancake and no longer would hold grease.

Oh yes, I wish I would've took a video to show how sloppy the knuckle was. Before I changed them out, my steering wheel would move a good 2 inches before the tires actually started to turn. I would recommend this repair to anyone with a lot of miles. I got all 4 ball joints on eBay for $42.00 shipped.

I would highly recommend getting an alignment after changing them. Mine were original, so I had to beat the **** out of them in order to remove them!
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Unread 03-18-2009, 11:29 PM   #6
rustynail
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My ball joints are MOOG. After tax they were $300 Canadian. I'm not saying you need to spend this much money but if you run large tires I would avoid the cheap ones. It is a pretty big job for the first time and it does not make sense to me to do all that work and put in cheap parts. You get what you pay for so don't be too stingy.
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Unread 03-18-2009, 11:32 PM   #7
Upside
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Thanks for the info. I have 210K on mine and I've replaced everything in the front end except the ball joints. At some point in the future I'm going to be replacing my ball joints. For my steering linkage I went with the ebay stuff and wasn't happy with it. I'll go for the MOOG parts from Rockauto for the ball joints.
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Unread 03-18-2009, 11:45 PM   #8
MEinSoCal
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looks like another project for me to do since i'm now at 190K. my steering does feel pretty loose and sloppy. i'm sure after changing this out, along with new TREs, it would feel much better
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Unread 03-18-2009, 11:45 PM   #9
JasonStebbins
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I probably wouldn't trust eBay for major parts such as steering linkage, but all the ball joints have to do is swivel, so I would never dump $300.00 into them.
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Unread 03-19-2009, 12:19 AM   #10
rustynail
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the lowers hold the weight of the front of the vehicle and take the forces of bumps and turning so they do more than just swivel.
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Unread 03-19-2009, 01:06 AM   #11
Virmagicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonStebbins View Post
I probably wouldn't trust eBay for major parts such as steering linkage, but all the ball joints have to do is swivel, so I would never dump $300.00 into them.
G/L with the ball joint installation in a year or so ...
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Unread 03-19-2009, 10:21 AM   #12
FlipFlop425
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thanks guys. I am hoping it is my ball joints on my passenger side bcv when I hit a bump there is a thud u feel on the pass side floor, my steering is a little sloopy and I have dw... Are these symptoms? Also I know its not a tre or dle bc they are 3 months old and they are moog.
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Unread 03-19-2009, 12:07 PM   #13
JasonStebbins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZJ-Orvis View Post
the lowers hold the weight of the front of the vehicle and take the forces of bumps and turning so they do more than just swivel.
That's why there are nuts that hold them on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by virmagicus View Post
G/L with the ball joint installation in a year or so ...
Even if they do go bad for some random reason, $42.00 a year shouldn't be too hard to obtain!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlipFlop425 View Post
thanks guys. I am hoping it is my ball joints on my passenger side bcv when I hit a bump there is a thud u feel on the pass side floor, my steering is a little sloopy and I have dw... Are these symptoms? Also I know its not a tre or dle bc they are 3 months old and they are moog.
Bad ball joints would definitely cause more severe bumps and sloppy steering, but you'd have to ask someone else on here if they would be the cause of your DW. I don't think they would unless they were literally broke.
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Unread 03-20-2009, 08:44 AM   #14
FlipFlop425
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i am pretty sure a bad ball joint will cause dw. the only thing that makes me think that its not a ball joint is because there is no play in the wheel.
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Unread 03-21-2009, 06:49 AM   #15
TMCXJ
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Bad balljoints definitely A cause of DW. What are you guys thinking???? And using cheap products with the attitude of "Well at least if they go every year that's still a cheap fix" is - well, nuts. Just don't be driving alongside me when they let loose on ya. If the accident doesn't take you out I will. You know better. If you're gonna wrench your own stuff, you are held to a higher degree of responsibility. Period.
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