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Old 11-12-2003, 03:13 PM   #1
Rozzwell
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Default Ball joint? Or not?

Hey guys,

I've done a lot of searching on this, but I'm just basically looking for some good solid facts based on my situation. I'm pretty sure I have all of the information I need, but it never hurts to ask anyways.

Here goes. I have a 94 SL2 with 130k on it. Runs great, fuel mileage has sucked a little lately, but that's another story. Anyways, I noticed a little bit of excessive wear on the inside of the front tires, the wear is consistent between the two front tires, just looks like the toe-in needs to be adjusted.

So I take it into Sears to have them align it. The guy puts it up on a jack and tries to shake the tire. The tire moves, so he comes in and says "the driver's side has a bad ball joint, you'll need to replace it" .

Now, the car tracks straight on the highway, no shaking of the steering wheel, no wierd vibrations, everything seems fine. I wouldn't have taken it in for anything if I hadn't noticed the tire wear (and I've been looking really, really close at the tires lately, just because they're new). I guess I'm really doubting that this car has a bad joint, b/c in my experience when a balljoint is bad, you notice the car generally being a PITA.

My question to you guys is that is is possible for the car to have a bad ball joint anyways? Despite there being no symptoms? I just don't want to be taken to the cleaners by Sears, so I'm looking for an online "second opinion".

If there's anything I can try myself to check for the joint, let me know.

Also, if the joint "is" bad, how hard is it to replace? Is it worth paying the shop $80 (labor) + $150 (parts) to take care of it?

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Old 11-12-2003, 03:53 PM   #2
Qlara
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Default

Maybe it's the front bearing, or the lower control arm bushing wore out.

With that high miles, guess you need new struts already......

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Old 11-12-2003, 04:25 PM   #3
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Struts were just replaced, so I know that's not the problem.

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Old 11-12-2003, 11:13 PM   #4
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Yes, the lower ball joint can be in a state needing replacement without any other outward symptoms. The first sign of a bad balljoint is usually clunking over bumps.

To check the balljoint on an s-series, raise the car so that the wheel(s) are off the ground, then pry between the steering knuckle and the lower control arm. Any visually discernable play indicates the balljoint/contol arm combo needs to be replaced.

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