how can you tell if ball joints are bad? - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Wrangler Forums > TJ Wrangler Technical Forum > how can you tell if ball joints are bad?

Dan's Old as Dirt Birthday Sale!Ruffstuff Axle Simple Swap Kit!Ruffstuff XJ Unirail Channel Reinforcement....

Reply
Unread 03-08-2011, 06:38 PM   #1
mediumdaddy
Registered User
1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: The Town, Utah
Posts: 853
how can you tell if ball joints are bad?

Never messed with anything like this before, but how can you tell if they are bad, or on the way. and how does one go about changing them? oh front ones, by the way. thank you!

__________________
-If you won't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them!!
Utah Jeepcrew #63
mediumdaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2011, 06:43 PM   #2
WreckMaster
Registered User
2002 WJ 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Long Beach, NY
Posts: 68
jack up the jeep from the axle until the tire is a couple inches off the ground. put a prybar under the tire. Then put a pipe under the prybar sideways. Push down (pry up) onthe prybar. if you feel play upand down then ur ball joints are bad. Always better to have somebody else look from in front if u can't see.
__________________
02 Grand Cherokee Limited, 4.7L. Bone Stock Family Truckster.
2" Rough Country BB, 255/70/17 Grabber AT2's
WreckMaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2011, 06:46 PM   #3
Benderff
Registered User
 
Benderff's Avatar
2006 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: , Pacific NorthWest
Posts: 5,125
Jack up the front end. Use jack stands also to keep it safe.
Grasping the top and bottom of each wheel, pull on the bottom and push on the top to feel for play. Then pull on the top while pushing on the bottom. You are rocking from the side of the vehicle to the center of it to test for clearance between the ball and the socket. You really need to but your back into it. If you feel ANY play you have a bad ball joint or the it may be loose wheel bearings (but you may be able to 'feel' where the clearance is). Replace both sides even if only one side feels loose.
Shade-tree style is to try to rock the top of the tire while it on the ground but that can only test the top ball joint


You only have front ball joints.

Do this to replace them. http://www.stu-offroad.com/axle/ball...alljoint-1.htm
__________________
Benderff is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2011, 06:47 PM   #4
mhcurlee
Registered User
2006 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: talladega, al
Posts: 187
get a buddy to get behind the wheel and quickly steer the wheel back and forth while you get under and watch the joints. It should be easy to spot a bad joint (they will have slop/play )
mhcurlee is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2011, 07:20 PM   #5
WreckMaster
Registered User
2002 WJ 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Long Beach, NY
Posts: 68
you won't see a bad ball joint from turning the wheel back and forth. Thats how you check tie roads and steering components. The weight of the jeep is on the bal joints, You need to jack it up from and support it from the axle. But pushing it by hand is not sufficient, but it will work if they are absolutely wasted. Like I said b4, Use a pry bar also. You will be surprised how much more efficient it is.
__________________
02 Grand Cherokee Limited, 4.7L. Bone Stock Family Truckster.
2" Rough Country BB, 255/70/17 Grabber AT2's
WreckMaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2011, 07:34 PM   #6
mrblaine
Wizard of Brakes
 
mrblaine's Avatar
1999 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Quail Valley, California
Posts: 25,642
There are almost zero lower balljoints in use after a few thousand miles that do not have some up and down play. Up and down play in the lowers will also translate into up and down in the uppers because the upper pins float up and down inside their races.

If you jack it up and lever the tire up and down and replace the balljoints because there is some up and down play, you're wasting time and parts.

I just went through this with John who was having serious DW issues and many many folks told him it was his balljoints including some mechanics at shops.

His DW is now gone and he still has his original balljoints with over 110,000 miles on them.

OTOH, if you have the slightest side to side or front to back play in the uppers, replace them because they will cause DW.
__________________
I am Savvy
blackmagicbrakes.com
mrblaine is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2011, 07:37 PM   #7
lumpster
Web Wheeler
 
lumpster's Avatar
2012 JK Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: kansas City MO
Posts: 4,544
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblaine View Post
There are almost zero lower balljoints in use after a few thousand miles that do not have some up and down play. Up and down play in the lowers will also translate into up and down in the uppers because the upper pins float up and down inside their races.

If you jack it up and lever the tire up and down and replace the balljoints because there is some up and down play, you're wasting time and parts.

I just went through this with John who was having serious DW issues and many many folks told him it was his balljoints including some mechanics at shops.

His DW is now gone and he still has his original balljoints with over 110,000 miles on them.

OTOH, if you have the slightest side to side or front to back play in the uppers, replace them because they will cause DW.

out of curiousity, what did you guys do to get rid of his DW? I know every jeep is different, and what worked for him, may not work for everyone.
lumpster is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2011, 07:44 PM   #8
mrblaine
Wizard of Brakes
 
mrblaine's Avatar
1999 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Quail Valley, California
Posts: 25,642
Quote:
Originally Posted by lumpster View Post
out of curiousity, what did you guys do to get rid of his DW? I know every jeep is different, and what worked for him, may not work for everyone.
Diagnose and replace. Or, he finally found all the worn out parts and replaced them from 100,000 miles of slightly out of balance tires. The list was long and expensive that would have been mitigated by keeping his tires balanced.
__________________
I am Savvy
blackmagicbrakes.com
mrblaine is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-19-2012, 02:21 PM   #9
Danny0717
Registered User
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblaine View Post
There are almost zero lower balljoints in use after a few thousand miles that do not have some up and down play. Up and down play in the lowers will also translate into up and down in the uppers because the upper pins float up and down inside their races.

If you jack it up and lever the tire up and down and replace the balljoints because there is some up and down play, you're wasting time and parts.

I just went through this with John who was having serious DW issues and many many folks told him it was his balljoints including some mechanics at shops.

His DW is now gone and he still has his original balljoints with over 110,000 miles on them.

OTOH, if you have the slightest side to side or front to back play in the uppers, replace them because they will cause DW.
So are you saying its OK to have this up and down movement? I have this issue and its causing a real problem when driving on the freeway when i hit a bump. Should i replace them or not or what should i do?
Danny0717 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Suggested Threads





Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.