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How to diagnose bad ball joints?


Old 04-07-2012, 08:05 PM
K20Marine is offline
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Default How to diagnose bad ball joints?

I recently took my 04 RAM 1500 (2WD) to get an alignment done. The tech told me he was unable to perform the alignment because I needed to replace numerous parts first. He said I needed to replace; passenger side upper control arm, both lower ball joints, and my driver side inner tie rod. So I have just two questions...

1) How do I determine if those parts listed above are truly bad and need replacing?

2) I know driving dictates, but about how long should these parts normally last?

Thanks for you help
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:14 PM
boosted-fc3s is offline
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Location: Illinois
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Well the upper control arm is a one piece assembly. If you have a bad upper ball joint you have to replace the whole thing.

The oem hardware is all sealed non-servicable. They are usually toast after 100k. I've seen some go less and some go longer. How many miles?

Jack up the front of the truck and you can wiggle the tire side to side like you were sterring to test the tie rod. They are heavy and you need both wheels off the ground, so you really gotta man handle them. If you have a helper its easier to have someone observe the play.

For the ball joints you can use a pickle fork up top to check the up/down play, or jam some other tool thats suficiently flat and strong. For the bottoms use a 2x4 while you got the front end jacked up and push the tire up and have someone look at the lower ball joint, you should see no up/down movement.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:40 PM
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weedahoe is offline
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Its also a good idea to check RockAuto online for prices as well as ebay on new parts (Moog)
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Old 04-08-2012, 05:25 AM
PRADO is offline
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Location: socal
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big pair of channel locks and grab the balljoint and squeeze from the knuckle and lower control arm. like the said u shouldnt really see any play goin up and down.
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