Ball joint concern!!! -
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-13-2003, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Ball joint concern!!!

Okay I replaced my ball joints on my '84 CJ7 after a rather nasty break on the Rubicon last weekend. Here is my concern. As per the manual I tightened the lower ball joint stud to 70ftlbs then the top adjuster sleve to 50ftlbs then the top castle nut to 100ftlbs. When I got to the top nut as I started to tighten the ball joint wanted to unseat itself from the knuckle just slightly. I resorted to loosening everything back off, reseating the upper balljoint then same sequence but tightened the adjusting sleve to 60ftlbs instead thinking this would keep the upper ball joint seated a little better when I tighten the top nut to 100ftlbs. This seemed to work as the upper balljoint remained seated. Would this indicate the knuckle being worn and the upper balljoint a bit loose (although it was mighty hard to press in) or is this exactly what the adjusting sleeve is for? Just want to be sure. Don't want my knuckle falling off at 55mph on the freeway. Thanks.

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post #2 of 8 Old 07-13-2003, 08:47 AM
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That's what the adjusting nut is for. As for your knuckle falling off that's almost impossible. Look at how the ball joint goes into the knuckle and which direction weight is sitting on the knuckle and ball joint. For the ball joint to come completely off the knuckle the front axle would have to be in the air with no weight on it.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-13-2003, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply CSP. As for it being almost impossible for the knuckle to fall off the ball joints, this is exactly what happened on the Rubicon last weekend. Nothing like seeing your tire horizontal to the ground. Low and behold and much to everyones amazment including my own the knuckle slid right off the balljoints without breaking anything but the inner axle ear and the ujoint. Five guys standing around looking at the rig saying "thats impossible". I just got lucky I guess. Anyway thanks for the reply I feel a little better now, pretty sure I got this thing right.
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-13-2003, 03:33 PM
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That is strange! If it happened once I would keep a close eye on it. You did put the snap ring on the lower ball joint right?
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-13-2003, 03:44 PM
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Interested in your post because I have that exact same job ahead of me. MY problem being that the steering knuckles on my 80 CJ-5 are really stiff and require quite a bit of force to turn even with the axle shafts out and the tie rod disconnected. I don't know if it makes a difference on the steering but I found out they were stiff when I pulled the front end out to change gears. I have been having a little bit of uncertainty in the steering at highway speeds--The Jeep doesn't want to track well. I guess this could be the cause?

Also, I noticed that mine lacks the snap rings from the factory.
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-13-2003, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Apparently after some research and talking to my local Jeep shop/experts my '84 didn't/dosen't have snap rings. When installing the new ball joints it becomes plainly obvious that this is true because after the joints are seated all the way there is no way in hell you can get the snap ring in the groove.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-14-2003, 04:05 AM
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I installed new ball joints on my 82 CJ7 the old lowers had a snap ring but the replacements, when seated fully, did not have enough space for the snap ring. i made sure that there were no burrs and the knuckle was cleaned of dirt and rust etc. before instalation.

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post #8 of 8 Old 07-15-2003, 05:56 PM
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That breakage is not very common, but it happens. 2 of my friends have had it happen, and I've heard of others. A u-joint or shaft breaks and if you don't notice it fast enough it will beat on the ball joint and pop it out. I'd say its about 1/20th as common as breaking a shaft. If you have to drive out without replacing a broken shaft or u-joint, do it in 2wd and with the hubs unlocked. We once removed a front drive shaft so the guy could use low in 2wd. If you don't have hubs, take it apart and remove the inner shaft, beat the stub shaft so it won't bind anywhere, put it back together and go. If you have a front locker you can use 3wd like that.

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