Bad ball joint or bad strut? - Newbies Forum

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Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Sunday, November 13, 2011 8:10 PM
How can you tell if you have a bad ball joint or strut? I bounce thr front and it bounces twice after I let go. Every time. I was told it was the ball joint but I'm not too sure. It rattles sometimes when I go over bumps. And also I have to take the hub off to replace the lug nut studs, but I can't get the axle nut off. Is it reverse or regular threaded? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Monday, November 14, 2011 5:51 AM
This rattle, what type is it, like a thunk or a ping. A ball joint really has nothing to do with the car bouncing. Sounds more like a strut. And as far as the lug nut studs go, I've replaced these without taking the hub off, should be enough clearance behind them at a certain point to be able to tap them out, Then ya just put the new one in and tighten lug nuts down to seat them. But if not, The axle nut is a lock nut torqued at 186lbs, Try a 3-8 foot breaker bar depending on your weight, may have to get a friend, lol(PITA); And this nut also requires replacement if removed. And I can't remember if they are reverse threads or not, i don't think so though.
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Monday, November 14, 2011 6:10 AM
The rattle sounds almost like the rotor rattling. But I tightened the caliber so I don't think that's rattling any more. It sounds like metal hitting metal. When I jack the car up and wiggle the wheel I can see the strut moving a little, and the ball joint still has the rubber around it. As for the studs, I'll try it again but I think I rotated the hub around and tried to push the stud out and couldn't get enough room behind it to pull it out, but I'm going to try that again.
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Monday, November 14, 2011 6:31 AM
And when I take off slowly or go in reverse, it makes a thumping noise. Sounds just like the lug nuts are loose and the wheels wobbling. But I know they're all tight.
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Monday, November 14, 2011 6:45 AM
Update:
I just went out and jacked up the car. When I grab the sides of the wheel and wiggle it, I can see play in the ball joint. But when I grab the top and bottom and wiggle it there is no play.
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Monday, November 14, 2011 7:15 AM
it's best if you pull the tire. Sounds to me like a bad inner tie rod... When you are referring to the ball joint... do you mean the lower ball joint on the lower control arm? Where it bolts to the knuckle? Also, how many miles are on the lower control arm?









Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Monday, November 14, 2011 7:49 AM
I was told that the inner tie rod end is fine but never checked for myself. Yes I'm referring to the lower ball joint. Control arm has never been replaced. Its got 140,000 on it. But I know there's play in the ball joint. It wiggles a little I just don't know if this is real bad. Do you say inner tie rod end because it'll wiggle side to side and not up and down?
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Monday, November 14, 2011 1:18 PM
If it is the ball joint, they are fairly easy to change on our cars since you really don't have to get em pressed, just have to replace the piece that holds the ball joint on the end of the control arm. On how bad it is, if it has play in it, it has the chance of breaking with the next pothole.

Quote:

And when I take off slowly or go in reverse, it makes a thumping noise. Sounds just like the lug nuts are loose and the wheels wobbling. But I know they're all tight.

Have you tried checking the CV Joint. A bad CV joint will usually make a noise like this.
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Monday, November 14, 2011 5:24 PM
It has about 1/8 inch of play. And if the cv joint was bad would it make noise when i turn the wheel and back up? And also i wasnt aware that i needed to replace the axle nut if i take it off. Good to know.
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Monday, November 14, 2011 5:33 PM
How many miles are on the vehicle?



Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 5:13 AM
SLOCAV wrote:

How many miles are on the vehicle?


OP said 140,000, with this mileage it could be any of the things stated above, a good way to check the CV joints is to grab the axle and try to spin it, if there is any play in the joints when trying to spin it, bad CV joint, replace halfshaft(axle). There will usually be a little play from side to side though, nothing to worry about.

And when you say grabbing the wheel on the sides and wiggle it, are you talking about as if you were trying to steer the wheel. if so, may be the tie rod. What does it do or sound like when going down the road?

Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 6:09 AM
I'd be replacing pretty much everything unless money is tight as hell. Go the the junkyard even and pick up some full struts, mounts are more than likely shot and rattling. Control arms with new ball joints can be bought for 35 a side on ebay, Dorman brand.




Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 5:13 PM
farmer12607 wrote:

SLOCAV wrote:

How many miles are on the vehicle?


And when you say grabbing the wheel on the sides and wiggle it, are you talking about as if you were trying to steer the wheel. if so, may be the tie rod. What does it do or sound like when going down the road?


Ya thats what i mean. I guess it could be the inner tie rod end. I will also check the cv joint.
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 5:16 PM
Sometimes it sounds like a thumping when driving down the road. Almost like the lugs are loose and the wheel is wobbling.
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 2:43 AM
It's really hard to figure out exactly what it is without actually being there looking at it myself, And SLOCAV mentioned the Strut mounts, this could also be a possibility, strut mounts like to make thumping noises too. You could also have more than one thing going wrong too, Other suspension parts don't like it when others go bad because they have to pick up the slack from the bad part. All these parts work together to keep the wheels in the right place.
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 6:03 PM
Ball joints are $10-30 each for the car. Tie rods are $15 each. Taking the wheel bearing off takes 5 mins. CV joints take 30 mins. I've done all of this on my car in the past 2-3 weeks.


2000 Ford F-250 7.3 Powerstroke 4x4 - Not stock
1973 16' Tahiti Speedboat
1983 200 HP Mercury BlackMax
1997 Chevy Cavalier with 275K miles
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 7:08 PM
Its its an outer/inner tie rod you will be able to move the wheel left and right (have someone hold the wheel or else you feel the little play you have in the wheel lock), but not in and out at the top and bottom. If it does both, thats the hub. It takes about 20 minutes to swap an out tie rod , but you need an alignment afterwards because no matter what you do your toe will have changed. Mine changed a lot.

Also, torque spec on the wheel nut should be under 140 lbft because ever hub I've ever seen says that torquing the wheel nut to over 140 lbft will cause pre-mature hub failure. Although the drivers side could be higher than the spec because the wheel spinning forward can tighten the nut on that side a small amount (which is why drivers side hubs often fail first).

When I had loose lugs (long story) it sounded like a bag CV joint because it only made the clicky noise when I was just maintaining speed or coasting. When I was putting significant torque to the wheel, braking or accelerating, it wouldnt make the noise any more.


1994 Saturn SL2 Home Coming Edition: backup car
2002 Chevy Cavalier LS Sport Coupe: In a Junk Yard
1995 Mazda Miata R-package Class=STR
Sponsored by: Kronos Performance

WPI Class of '12 Mechanical Engineering
WPI SAE Risk and Sustainability Management Officer
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Thursday, November 17, 2011 2:01 PM
It takes 20 mins to swap a tie rod if everything cooperates... or if it has 275K miles on it like mine does, they like to fight you. Doh!

When I replaced my hub, the instructions just said to torque it to recommended specs... So I checked on the internets, and my Haynes manual. Both said 186lbs. My torque wrench only goes to 150lbs, so I did it to that and then leaned on it a bit with a breaker bar. The key is that you have to do it with the wheel off the ground.


2000 Ford F-250 7.3 Powerstroke 4x4 - Not stock
1973 16' Tahiti Speedboat
1983 200 HP Mercury BlackMax
1997 Chevy Cavalier with 275K miles
Re: Bad ball joint or bad strut?
Monday, November 21, 2011 6:37 AM
Ok I think I'm going to replace the tie rod ends and start with that. Thanks everyone.
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