Author Topic: Ball Joints  (Read 2588 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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Ball Joints
« on: November 24, 2015, 08:54:22 AM »
I noticed some wear on the inside of both front tires on my 2006 F-150 so I took it in to get an alignment.  I've put 190,000 miles on this truck myself and taken good care of it, but suspected it may have some busted suspension/front end parts.  Sure enough they come back and tell me before they will do an alignment, I need all new ball joints.  $900 quote.  I say "thanks", take my truck home and jack it up to inspect everything.  I find one busted lower ball joint, AND a busted inner tie rod (which they weren't even going to replace.)  I'm pretty mechanically inclined but have never tackled this job before so I youtube it and after picking up 2 inner and 2 outer tie rods and a lower ball joint I did it.  I skipped the low grade cheap parts, went with much better parts, rented a ball joint press for FREE from Autozone, AND replaced the damaged tie rod (and all of the others too) that the shop failed to find.... And I spent less than $300 total after an alignment.

This is a job these shops can do in an hour, they probably use cheap parts, and they're charging $900.  It's insanity.

I feel like I've under utilized the free tool rental program at autoparts stores. They have ALL kinds of stuff! Very cool.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 08:55:59 AM by shotgunwilly »


  • Stubble
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Re: Ball Joints
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2015, 10:43:45 AM »
Nice job! 

I did my front ball joints recently using the free tools from the auto store as well.  While it was time consuming and somewhat of a pain, it was a good feeling after it was done.

Brakes are another thing that the shops and stealerships must rake money in on.  Simple to do, you just have to take the time to figure it out. 

Gone Fishing

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Re: Ball Joints
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2015, 11:33:40 AM »
Good work!  I have a feeling I am about to explore this region of my car as well.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Ball Joints
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2015, 11:23:31 AM »
  I have a 2001 F150 XLT with 109,000 miles on it, owned since 9/2002, and I've saved $1000's in repair costs by DIYing in my back yard.   Did some things I wouldn't have dreamed of back when I first started DIY'ing in 1970.
    One thing I recommend are DIY junk yards like Pullapart. I have 3 within 35 miles of me.  They seem to always have comparable versions of my truck on their lots.   If you own a vehicle with a small market share, these are unlikely to appear on their lots.  They charge between $1 and $2 for admission, and you only pay for the parts you remove from the lot and take home.   You can bring your own tools, but not power tools, tools which use fire, or jacks.
   Besides a source of cheap parts, they are excellent for practicing your repair skills, especially the ones involved with removing / breaking off old rusty nuts & bolts.
   Best deal I ever got was to pay $3 for a broken left external rear view mirrow glass portion.   IIRC, a new one cost around $300.  This particular model was one of the very,very,very few that could simply be removed with a small pry bar.  Most other mirrors are a lot more difficult to remove and replace.  As easy as this was to work on, I did break one into pieces while trying to remove it.   I paid nothing for that, since I didn't take it out of the lot.  I soon found another one, and was able to pop it off the old junker and onto my junker.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Ball Joints
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2015, 02:28:59 PM »
My ball joint experience is horribly different.
My first car was a '67 Malibu with 3 'on the tree'.
It had 120K, maybe 130K when a ball joint broke one winter and spun me to the side of the road.
It was towed to the local service garage and parked in back.
They couldn't begin to work on it for a week.  BUT I NEEDED MY CAR.  So I worked on it myself; on gravel, below zero. I had no way to get a ball joint press, so I assembled it as best I could with 2 jacks and a big channel locks.  It took three days.  I'd work for as long as I could, start it up and run the heater on full for a while.
I drove it to the next service garage and had them re-replace the ball joint (I had called to make sure they could do it righht away). They wouldn't properly install 'my' brand new ball joint, which I kinda understand.
The body was rough, but it ran great.  Until I blew up the engine racing a Vega, which I later learned had a V8.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Ball Joints
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2015, 11:41:52 AM »
"So I worked on it myself; on gravel, below zero."  I too have worked in winter on my cars & trucks in my back yard.   Discovered that covering the entire part of the vehicle I was working on with a huge and cheap HarborFreight tarp, combined with a electric space heater underneath, made it much more comfortable.   Cold temps then were problematic only when it was windy.