Take a pry bar and place it between the lower control arm and the steering knuckle, the two parts that are connected together by the ball joint, and attempt to pry them apart. If you have questions about the article, please click here to view the author's contact information including e-mail address, telephone number and mailing address. The ball joint is considered by some people to be a weak point in the MacPherson suspension. Drive the vehicle on a public road at the speed limit and pay close attention to the engine, steering and overall ... 2. This mount contains ball bearings in the top that allow it to rotate. The sun hangs high in the cloudless sky and mercilessly bakes the earth land. Drivers are recommended to use winter tires when winter is in the air. If a ball joint starts to loosen, you’ll hear clunking sounds from the front as the joint rattles in the socket. Its purpose is to allow the wheel bearing housing to rotate around the axis of the ball joint. One wedged a pry bar in the area and pushed down on the CA. In general, you’re going to want to jack the car up in the directed place as you normally would, on the crossing member of the frame. You'll be able to feel a popping or you'll see it move. As long as the boss protrudes out, the joint should be fine. Use a pry bar or another tool to check the up-down play on the ball joint. Why should I use winter tires instead of all-seasoned ones? Check your stabilizer bar end links as was mentioned above as those are easier to replace. Prius is pretty easy to check ball joints. Have corrections, questions, or comments about an article. Rock the wheels and check for play. Then, a cinder block is laid near the wheel bearing housing. If it has the strut-style, use a pry-bar to check the wheel play, since the vehicle is already jacked up. Use a pry bar or something similar to lift the tire. Use a pry bar or another tool to check the up-down play on the ball joint. If any free play is noted or felt at the ball joint, it should be replaced. Drive over speed bumps. The angle of the handle allows the technician to lever the wheels of a vehicle to check for any worn or loose steering components such as ball joints etc. Once you have visually inspected and tested the ball joints with a pry bar, reinstall the wheel, lower the vehicle, and torque the lug nuts. Check for looseness of upper ball joints by grasping the top of tires and attempting to move tires in and out. Using a pair of snap ring pliers, remove the snap ring. Experienced mechanics will also just check play by the feel, listening closely for any clicking or easy motion that suggests the ball joint is worn out. One of the simplest ways for the do-it-yourself Subaru enthusiast to inspect the ball joints on a Subaru STI that is for sale is to lift the front wheels off the ground and set it on jack stands. Checking the control arm bushings is pretty easy. This is a rigorous job that will take three to four hours to complete. Then take a 4’-5’ long pry bar or 2X4 and place one end under the tire. For many people, purchasing a car is an exciting experience. Your …, Car cleaning also needs techniques. Once the boss is flush with the housing or has receded even further, you’ll need to replace the ball joint. If your front suspension uses McPherson struts look for that wear indicator, which is usually a grease fitting. Jack up the front with the tires a few inches off the ground. 2. Now remove the hub. Just like with your doctor, sometimes your … The 2001 Ford Windstar has a lower ball joint that is directly integrated into the lower control arm assembly. Over time, a car’s ball joints may wear down. Raise the front end of the car. Naturally getting underneath a vehicle supported only by a jack is not wise. If the movement is beyond specifications, replace the ball joint. To check the ball joints you just have to jack it up. The pinch bolt at the bottom of the wheel bearing housing is normally the hardest part of the replacement. For vertical play, place the dial indicator against the steering knuckle stud nut or the ball joint housing, depending on the manufacturer. Leverage (pry bar) against axel to press down on swing arm, and wedge a separator (wood block) between axel and swing arm at inboard end of swing arm. And make an effort to pry them apart. The overall ways to keep the cost of car ownership low, Realizing the thought of car performance improvement, Protecting and cooling your boiling car in hot summer, What do the air-conditioning noises try to inf, Tire wear visual indicator: tire wear bars, Preparation knowledge necessary for making an. 3. In this case, a pry bar can then be used to pry the wheel up and down while measuring the ball joint play. ... For upper ball joints: a. …. One of the simplest ways for the do-it-yourself Subaru enthusiast to inspect the ball joints on a Subaru STI that is for sale is to lift the front wheels off the ground and set it on jack stands. Put a 30mm socket on the back of the ball joint Hammer the ball joint into the control arm with a socket Apply grease to the ball joint Put the c-clip onto the ball joint Fortunately, you can quickly and easily check your ball joints for excessive wear before you experience severe steering or suspension problems. The angle of the handle allows the technician to lever the wheels of a vehicle to check for any worn or loose steering components such as ball joints etc. Naturally getting underneath a vehicle supported only by a jack is not wise. You will be able to see if you have play on the ball joint. The only hard part is I don't think you can get a jack under there there the car is so low. If you can’t find a wear indicator, or if the indicator doesn’t give you a clear enough sign, raise up the car to inspect the joint more thoroughly. Place a jack under the ball joint and load the joint by raising the jack. 2. Alternatively, you could have a helper look closely at the joint itself to see if it appears loose as you move it. Grab the wheel at the top and bottom (12 and 6 o’clock) to lift up and pull down. Do you apply your car code reader correctly? Usually a Belleville washer is used, which is a cone-line spring axle component. Attach the dial indicator clamp to the lower control arm and locate the dial in a vertical position to measure axial runout at the steering knuckle. I just replaced two of mine using a Harbor freight ball joint press kit. Next, a large pry bar is used to try to wiggle the control arm up and down while leveraging against the cinder block. Rotation for the top of the wheel bearing housing is handled through the upper strut mount. Replace upper ball joints if tire movement is 3/8 inch or more. Like a ball-and-socket joint, the joint gets worn out from stress after a long life and needs to be checked, especially if you notice a knocking sound during turns. If the ball joint is worn you’ll see it move up and down in it’s socket. For side-to-side play, place a dial indicator inside the wheel rim close to the ball joint. Place a pry bar on the control arm near the bushing. [1:39] Now remove the ball joint bolt from the upper A-arm. As it wears the boss will recede into the housing. Ball joints are usually checked with the vehicle lifted off the ground unloaded and articulated with pry bars. It took a little over an hour. With some effective and efficient tips, you can make cleaning an easy and clear job. Sometimes it is helpful to use a pry bar to lift the knuckle assembly up a bit and lever it off of the ball joint … The ball joints allow the front wheels of a vehicle to move up and down, protecting against road bumps allowing you to pivot while steering. Turn the steering wheel. Look for a wear indicator. Many front wheel drive cars with strut suspensions should not be jacked up using the lower control arm, so it’s a good idea to consult your owner’s manual before attempting to inspect the joint. 2. Steps Then, a cinder block is laid near the wheel bearing housing. Measure any movement at the top outer edge of tire. One thing to check is the ball joints. Now remove the ball joint bolt from the lower A-arm. I looked in my Bentley and all you do is slide a floor jack under the LCA and gently jack it up then let it down and watch for any movement of the joint. Then attempt to move the control arm back and forth (you may also want to try moving it downward, depending on the bushing design). Lift the car at the control arm close to the lower ball joint, about two inches off the ground. Loose ball joints will have an excessive amount of play and movement when you pry on them, may even make knocking or clicking sounds. Pry downward on the handle of pry bar until the ball joint stud is out of the steering knuckle.. (If there was not enough space to remove the ball joint nut before, back it off, all the way at this step, until you can push the control arm down enough.) That's how most techs do it unless the joint is so worn, it flopps all over the place with little effort. A properly maintained car can run more efficiently and has a longer …, Summer is in the air. Here’s how to check. Went to two garages and they gave different opinions of how to check ball joints on a 2004 E46. But to check your ball joints for vertical play as suggested above. While the vehicle is still on the ground, look underneath the car, on the bottom of the steering knuckle attached to the wheel. While observing the ball joint, have someone pry up on the tire and then let it down. Take your car out for a drive. © 2015 Autointhebox.com. Alternatively, have someone look at the ball joint while you attempt to move it. Other says grab the wheel move it inboard/outboard at top … It was first published June 28, 2011. It is particularly exciting when purchasing an impressive sport compact car such as a Subaru STI for sale. Leverage (pry bar) against axel to push down swing arm, and pull up and out on rotor bottom to detach swing arm and wheel carrier at ball joint. Loosen the lug nuts. (Expect to replace the grease seal on the ball joint if you use a pickle fork, you are almost certain to destroy it.) The ball joint assembly in a vehicle with strut suspension should make a slight clicking sound when you move it up and down, and you should be able to hear it easily if it’s worn out and not working smoothly as it should. To check ball joints , jack up truck by the lower control arm ( must be lower control arm ) leave an inch or two between the ground and tire , put a pry bar between the ground and tire and pry up and watch the ball joint to see how much it it goes up and down , unless you can find the spec , check another truck to find out "normal" movment is . Grasp the fitting and try to wiggle it. Look for the grease fitting. Two Parts: Checking Vehicles with Control Arm Suspension Checking Vehicles with Strut Suspension There was about 1/8" vertical movement. Now check the ball joints Control-Arm Type: Jack up the control arm near the ball joint, this will show you wheel play. 1. Part 2 of 2: Checking Vehicles with Strut Suspension On my 1990 when the ball joint was bad the clunk was most noticeable turning off the road into a parking lot where the sidewalk was inclined so the first wheel was raised a little higher as I turned in. Next, use a puller tool, or as a last resort, a 'pickle fork' to separate the ball joint. Step 8: Check the joints on other wheels. It’ll shudder slightly and look insecure if it needs to be replaced. This special steel bar has a bent end and a flat heel to sit on the floor. Next, a large pry bar is used to try to … The specifications usually allow one to a few thousands of an inch free-play, but this is essentially nill for all practical purposes. If you have McPherson struts, let the strut extend as far out as you can before you try to check the wheels for play. 3. These articles cover a wide variety of topics organized into 8 categories to facilitate people who are searching for these kinds of information or people who want to know more about their vehicles. Here's how: The ball joint on this style suspension is located at the bottom of the wheel bearing housing. If the fitting moves around inside the housing you’ll need to replace the ball joint. That fitting, or boss, will stick out of the bottom of the joint’s housing by about half an inch (1.25 centimeters). Place a long bar, usually a pry par, under the tire. You typically won’t be able to work the ball joint with just your hands, but you can usually use a pry-bar, or even a long screwdriver under the wheel to pry up and use the ground for leverage, checking to see if the ball joint is in need of replacement. In some cases, the manufacturer will recommend that you place a jack under the lower control arm of the front wheel, as close to the ball joint as you can, then raise the vehicle until the wheel leaves the ground. when the wheels are off the floor. It is stated that winter tires can …, Your car has been producing this kind of rattling sound for a long time, yet you can’t remember the exact …, The total money that you spend on car insurance, maintenance, repair and vehicle ownership in its service lifetime is not …, We all know that car maintenance is important. Part 1 of 2: Checking Vehicles with Control Arm Suspension Strut-Style: Jack up the vehicle and use a pry-bar to ascertain wheel play. So then it must be drilled out and re-tapped. All rights reserved. Raise the tire off the ground, then get a big pry bar in there between the knuckles and lift up. Always defer to the owner’s manual for more specific instructions and guidance. A screwdriver may be needed to ease removal. If … Just like a McPherson strut, because the spring is on top of the upper control arm when you jack the body up the ball joint doesn't have a load on it so put a bar under the tire and see if there is any play in the ball joint. Shake the wheel to check the lateral looseness Place a pry bar between the wheel hub and the lower control arm. Another way to check for a worn lower ball joint is, raise the vehicle until that tire is 5"-6" off the floor. Read the dial indicator and check against the manufacturer’s specifications. Make sure there is no compression in the suspension when you check the ball joint. Some manufacturers specify that their type 1 suspensions be tested with the suspension system left hanging. The upper ball joint can be tested by pushing in and out on the top of the tire and measuring any play in the joint. A ball joint is basically like a ball-and-socket joint in your body, made of housing, the ball, bearings, and a cover cap, as well as a washer and/or spring. If it tightens up, the steering will bind so you can have a stiff spot as you turn the steering wheel. Lift it up slightly and feel for play in the upper ball joint. Auto manufacturers build different suspension set-ups, so read the manual to determine which type of ball joint your vehicle uses. 4. 3. Blog.autointhebox.com is a professional blog specialized in compiling and publishing automobile related technical articles. The most common indicator is a grease fitting that doubles as a wear indicator. If the ball joint fails, that wheel will lose steering control and could result in an accident. Besides, it recommends a selection of high performance diagnostic tools that have been approved and commended by many car owners. Therefore, the services of a professional mechanic are usually sought for this job. In order to replace the ball joint, you must replace the entire control arm assembly. b. The ball joint supports the bottom of the bearing housing, and lets it rotate with the steering wheel through the steering rack. Don’t use a lot of force while doing this—be gentle. But if your vehicle is equipped with control arm, you need to jack it up near the ball joint in order to inspect the wheel play. when the wheels are off the floor. But, such a vehicle needs to be carefully inspected before purchase. How to Inspect Subaru Ball Joints. Once you have visually inspected and tested the ball joints … Make sure your car is jacked securely, preferably on jack stands. While someone observes the ball joint, lift up on the tire and release repeatidly. Step 7: Put the wheels back on. Turn the steering wheel and observe the ball joint to check lateral runout. 3. If you have control arms of unequal lengths, make sure the upper bump stop doesn’t touch the control arm. Place the end of a long pry bar or 2X4 under the tire. This article was written by Lewis Werner. Listen. On older Subaru vehicles or those that have been in the rust belt more than a couple years, this bolt will usually snap off, even if heated and if penetrating oil was used liberally. This special steel bar has a bent end and a flat heel to sit on the floor. 1. The same is true for ball joints and tie-rods. What are the meanings of your car nosies? So that's why it is important to inspect the ball joints regularly and make any replacements or repairs as required. Any recommended procedure for inspecting a ball-type joint from an OEM or suspension component manufacturer rarely involves a pry bar, and almost never involves a set of pliers. If you notice significant play when you move the pry bar, you need to change the ball joint. 1. Length: 820mm (32.1/4") Diameter: 19mm (3/4") Use a pry bar to disconnect the lower A-arm from the spindle. 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