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-   -   OEM Ball Joint Study (http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f96/oem-ball-joint-study-962013/)

ronjenx 02-01-2010 10:55 PM

OEM Ball Joint Study
 
I recently received some old ball joints from Hellbound13. Thanks Hellbound!

I cleaned them up and dissected them to see how they are made, how they function, and determine if they can be made grease-able.
This is what I came up with:

The lower ball joint is designed to bend, rotate, and have no axial or radial movement. They come from the factory with no grease fitting. An inspection of the internal parts revealed it is designed to be grease-able. The amount of grease found in the ball joint was no more than what would be called "butter lubricated" during assembly.
The plastic socket liner has a hole in the top, and grease grooves going down the inside where the ball resides.. The very top of the ball is flat, making a nice grease reservoir. The top of the ball joint body can be drilled in the center without risk of damage, and tapped, providing suction is used to keep the filings from entering the joint during each operation.
There isn't room for a regular zerk fitting because the u-joint yokes will hit. At least that's the case on my Rubicon axle. A flush fitting would work. Here is one source: h**p://www.saeproducts.com/flush-grease-fitting-AK18F.html
Installing a grease fitting in this joint, on the vehicle, would be difficult. I would recommend doing it on the new joint, before installation.

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...x/100_2386.jpg

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...x/100_2387.jpg

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...x/100_2388.jpg

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...intCutaway.jpg

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...shFitting1.jpg

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...shFitting2.jpg



The upper joint does not bend. It can rotate and is designed to allow for axial movement, and no radial movement.
The amount of grease found in the ball joint was no more than what would be called "butter lubricated" during assembly.
Installing a grease fitting in the upper joint is not recommended, as the pressure would likely blow out the thin plastic cover on the top.
The plastic liner in the joint is designed to make up for radial wear, for a while, at least.
So, installing grease fittings in only the lower ball joints may sill extend the lives of all four ball joints.


http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...BallJoint1.jpg

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...x/100_2394.jpg

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...x/100_2395.jpg

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...x/100_2396.jpg

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...x/100_2397.jpg

http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/y...intCutaway.jpg

Ole Yeller 02-02-2010 01:16 PM

Wow!! Very impressive!! :thankyou:

ronjenx 02-02-2010 01:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ole Yeller (Post 8811893)
Wow!! Very impressive!! :thankyou:

Thanks. It was a fun little project. I intend to put the grease fittings in my lowers to see if it makes them last longer.

I am also looking for an old JK front unit bearing for a similar project; mainly to see if my XJ hub tools will work on the JK hub.

N2rock 02-02-2010 01:43 PM

I'll second that- VERY IMPRESSIVE!

muttytruckster 02-02-2010 04:00 PM

This is the perfect detailed description a person needs to understand the ball joint. Awesome job, thanks for taking the time to post this.

USAntigoon 02-02-2010 05:20 PM

ronjenx

Thanks for sharing..Job well done...:thumbsup:

Hellbound13 02-02-2010 06:20 PM

Hmm, my lower ball joints seemed worn when I did the pry bar test, but now seeing it sawed in half it does not seem so.. :confused:

ronjenx 02-02-2010 07:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hellbound13 (Post 8813933)
Hmm, my lower ball joints seemed worn when I did the pry bar test, but now seeing it sawed in half it does not seem so.. :confused:

You can't go by looks. It's the measurement you got that's important.
If the axial play on the lower ball joint was more than 0.050", it was worn.

chickenhawk7 02-02-2010 08:01 PM

So I was looking for my ball joints. They are close to the battery, right?

FatBuoy 02-03-2010 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chickenhawk7 (Post 8814851)
So I was looking for my ball joints. They are close to the battery, right?

Yes, but only on 07s and 08s. In 09 they moved them to the other side.

Ole Yeller 02-03-2010 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chickenhawk7 (Post 8814851)
So I was looking for my ball joints. They are close to the battery, right?

I think it's actually closer to the muffler bearing on 07 08 and near the blinker fluid on 09 10.

AlterEgo 02-03-2010 06:14 PM

Just look for the bat and glove joints. Its right there.

chickenhawk7 02-03-2010 08:04 PM

See, this is why I just love this forum. Everyone is so helpful. I was thinking it was close to the battery, but started to get a little overwhelmed when trying to locate the muffler bearing. I will find it, just got to keep looking. So the muffler bearing is actually in the same area as the battery, right?

Ronjenx, don't be offended by my stupid humor. It was a good write-up, just havin' fun.

Ole Yeller 02-03-2010 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chickenhawk7 (Post 8821700)
See, this is why I just love this forum. Everyone is so helpful. I was thinking it was close to the battery, but started to get a little overwhelmed when trying to locate the muffler bearing. I will find it, just got to keep looking. So the muffler bearing is actually in the same area as the battery, right?

Ronjenx, don't be offended by my stupid humor. It was a good write-up, just havin' fun.

If you haven't seen it before, KaleCoAuto, Hard to find automotive items! has all those hard to find parts. :laugh:

ronjenx 02-03-2010 08:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chickenhawk7 (Post 8821700)
See, this is why I just love this forum. Everyone is so helpful. I was thinking it was close to the battery, but started to get a little overwhelmed when trying to locate the muffler bearing. I will find it, just got to keep looking. So the muffler bearing is actually in the same area as the battery, right?

Ronjenx, don't be offended by my stupid humor. It was a good write-up, just havin' fun.

No offense taken. I almost contributed to it.


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