New ball joints are way too tight. -
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Go Back > Models > Jeep CJ Forum > New ball joints are way too tight.

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Unread 08-19-2013, 03:25 PM   #1
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1980 CJ5 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7
New ball joints are way too tight.

I pressed in new MOOG greasable ball joints. When I installed the knuckles to the spec in the manual they are tightening up to the point I can barely move them. It seems to work like this, the bottom is no problem, 85 ftlbs. It's smooth since that doesn't load the joints at all. I tighten the split ring, 50 ftlbs, it stiffens up. Then I tighten the top nut and at about 50 ftlbs it is smooth again then past that up to 100 it quickly becomes way too stiff. If i understand it, the split ring is pushing the ball stud down in its seat then the big nut on top is pulling it back up. Is there some sort of range that is acceptable for the top nut? I've found it to be livable with 65 ftlbs on the top nut. That seems lower than anything I've found on this forum or the manual.

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Unread 08-19-2013, 03:39 PM   #2
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1985 CJ7 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: The Mojave Desert Palmdale Ca. U.S.A.
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Take a rubber mallet and smack the BJ a couple of times to take the 'bind ' out.
How many pounds of pull, does it take to pivot the knuckle back and forth?
Have'n you along, is like loose'n 2 good men
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Unread 08-19-2013, 05:24 PM   #3
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1997 ZJ 
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I like these instructions.

Put the BOTTOM NUT on to about 50 Ft.Lbs. (a good idea to start the then start tightening up more as you run the knuckle through it's range of motion,
When you start to feel drag, STOP.

If you don't feel a lot of drag, STOP AT 75 Ft.Lbs.

Tighten up the Threaded Split ring to around 50 Ft.Lbs. and leave it alone.

Tighten the top nut down to about 50 Ft.Lbs. and start running the knuckle through range of motion,
Tighten until you start to feel drag, then stop.
DO NOT EXCEED 85 Ft.Lbs. no matter what drag you feel...

With larger vehciels with larger studs, you can go up to about 100 Ft.Lbs. and some Jeep manuals recommend 100 Ft.Lbs for Jeeps,
But I've found that 85 Ft.Lbs. is PLENTY to keep the top stud in place and keep it tight.
1997 ZJ Limited 5.2 V8, NP242
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Unread 08-19-2013, 08:30 PM   #4
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1980 CJ5 
Join Date: Apr 2013
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I was using the procedure in the manual which has you put a (dial-type) torque wrench on a nut and bolt in the tie rod hole. Same effect as using a spring scale. The torque wrench was past the max end of the acceptable range when I torqued the top nut to 75 ftlbs. At a 100 ftlbs it was even worse as I could barely move the knuckle.

If I leave the top nuts at 65 ftlbs, it don't think my wheels will fall off but i certainly don't want a death wobble. Maybe I will leave it for now and check them after I have a few miles on them. Seems strange to me, but the nut won't back off being cottered and all. Is this flawed logic? The only thing I can think of is the taper or height of the new adjusting sleeves being wrong. Hopefully moog would have the right design, but who knows they may be trying to fit more applications. I wish I still had my old sleeves but they came out in pieces.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 09:30 PM   #5
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1980 CJ5 
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As LG says, sometimes it takes a whack with a heavy mallet to set things in place. Then try again. I like to use a 2 lb lead hammer.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 09:46 PM   #6
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when torquing the split ring,torque to spec,then hit the balljoint stud(with a brass hammer)then retorque the split this a few times.then torque the balljoint nut.the threads for the split ring must be CLEAN.if you use antisieze on the threads,use very little.
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Unread 08-20-2013, 04:22 PM   #7
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1980 CJ5 
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Thanks guys. I had time before work today to do one side. I cleaned the threads of the split ring of the antiseize I put on. I hadn't put any on the tapers. I tightened the split ring to 40 ftlbs and the top nut to 75 ftlbs pausing every 20 ftlbs or so to whack it with a dead blow. Nice and smooth now.
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