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View Poll Results: what ball joints/tie rod ends did you buy, and what was your experience?
moog, and i love them! moog is the best. 2 50.00%
moog, but i'm disappointed. not worth the premium! 1 25.00%
some other greasable brand, and they're surprisingly great! 1 25.00%
some other greasable brand, and they suck! 0 0%
some non-greasable oem-style replacements. they work for me! 1 25.00%
some non-greasable oem-style replacements. why did i make this mistake? 0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-17-2016, 06:38 PM   #1
ultravioletnk
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Attention don't waste your money on moog ball joints

i recently ordered a few parts from rockauto, and i was really on the fence before i did so. confronted with an array of brands, i had nothing but anecdotal evidence from forums and the pictures on rockauto to choose a part from.

i read in many places (i'm looking at you, OldNuc) that the moog tie rod ends are supposed to be really great, but they're an absolutely insane $29.79 each! ultra-power, a chinese brand, offers comparable tie rod ends for only $4.31 each. after much deliberation, i decided to order 8 of the ultra-power tie rod ends, enough to do all of my saturns, for the price of one moog part instead of paying double for only two. i couldn't be happier that i made that choice! by comparable, i mean that the ultra-power parts are packaged well, are greasable, come with all parts needed for replacement, and arrive as stiff as any good new ball joint. the design is extremely similar to the moog parts. not only that, but the boots are sealed at the upper and lower edge with metal clips like the oem boot, whereas many tie rod ends use an open-edge boot design that invites dust in. even moog's much-recommended tie rod ends use an open boot! china may have a bad historical reputation in terms of quality, but they only keep stepping up their game. stop by a harbour freight sometime and you'll see what i mean. (pittsburgh tools are top-of-the-line!) i'm absolutely blown away by the quality and completeness of the product and packaging, for 1/6th of the price of the "reputable" component! that's 3 sets of ultra-power replacements on BOTH sides for the price of one single moog replacement on ONE side.

here's the real kicker, though. i also ordered one pair of moog "problem solver" swaybar links, as they were on closeout and therefore the cheapest option. i'd heard that these are supposed to be the best oem replacement swaybar links for the s-series, so i was pleased with my purchase. when i inspected them upon arrival, one link was in perfect brand new condition, with two stiff ball joints. looking good! i should note that these use an open boot design, like moog's tie rod ends. the other link, however, had one extremely loose ball joint, as though it had been used for years! this is a brand new, clean component, in box, without even the grease zerk installed yet. i am absolutely appalled. i filed a return request with rockauto and have no doubt that they will respond in kind, so i'm sure i'll get a good part. the more concerning thing to me is the fact that moog has a near-religious following on these forums and elsewhere, leading many people to purchase their products with an expectation of superior quality. in my experience, that is not the case, and the only thing you are paying extra for when you buy a moog part is the name.

now i've seen a few threads here and there where people instantly try to claim the poster is paid to promote a certain brand. i would like to take a moment to say that not only is ultra-power not paying me, but i'd never even heard of them until i compared my options on rockauto. i have never even communicated with any tie rod end manufacturer. my opinion is motivated by the relationship between the price and quality of a part, nothing else. after reading people's fervently written posts claiming that moog is the end-all be-all of ball joints, i felt the need to balance that sentiment with my own very disappointing experience. the moog swaybar links are beefy, and by all means would be better than oem components if their ball joints were more consistent in quality. given the price premium for moog parts, however, i would actively recommend trying other, cheaper brands. if you look for greasable fittings, it's hard to go wrong. even a very low quality part will last 100k+ miles with regular greasing.

my final sentiment is the most important. when shopping for parts, never make decisions based solely upon brand, and do not assume that price is indicative of quality. supply chains change, manufacturers make cost-cutting decisions, and finally 2007's (can you believe that's 9 years ago?!) forum thread saying to only buy XYZ brand part sets the reader up to overpay for a low quality part.
...
rings-1996 sl2 ~215k mi
janus-2000 sohc2 ~170k mi
phoebe-1995 sl1 ~240 k mi
tethys-1994 sw2 ~302k mi
rip mimas-wrecked 1996 sw1
pandora-1999 sc2
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Old 09-17-2016, 06:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

Supply chains change.. Brands don't always hold true over time.
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Old 09-17-2016, 07:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

I got Autozone Duralast nongreasable control arms and they seem to have held up OK with 60-70k miles on them. The sway bar bushings are cracked looking now but have yet to fail. I will not change them until they fail because that was the most horrific car repair experience I ever had (on the Saturn). I think they had a lifetime warranty so, supposedly, I'd get a new pair for free.

The dust boots tore apart with less than 10k miles on the greasable Raybestos tie rod ends I got. Both sides. I replaced the boots and haven't had any further issues.
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Old 09-17-2016, 09:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravioletnk View Post
i recently ordered a few parts from rockauto, and i was really on the fence before i did so. confronted with an array of brands, i had nothing but anecdotal evidence from forums and the pictures on rockauto to choose a part from.

i read in many places (i'm looking at you, OldNuc) that the moog tie rod ends are supposed to be really great, but they're an absolutely insane $29.79 each! ultra-power, a chinese brand, offers comparable tie rod ends for only $4.31 each. after much deliberation, i decided to order 8 of the ultra-power tie rod ends, enough to do all of my saturns, for the price of one moog part instead of paying double for only two. i couldn't be happier that i made that choice! by comparable, i mean that the ultra-power parts are packaged well, are greasable, come with all parts needed for replacement, and arrive as stiff as any good new ball joint. the design is extremely similar to the moog parts. not only that, but the boots are sealed at the upper and lower edge with metal clips like the oem boot, whereas many tie rod ends use an open-edge boot design that invites dust in. even moog's much-recommended tie rod ends use an open boot! china may have a bad historical reputation in terms of quality, but they only keep stepping up their game. stop by a harbour freight sometime and you'll see what i mean. (pittsburgh tools are top-of-the-line!) i'm absolutely blown away by the quality and completeness of the product and packaging, for 1/6th of the price of the "reputable" component! that's 3 sets of ultra-power replacements on BOTH sides for the price of one single moog replacement on ONE side.

here's the real kicker, though. i also ordered one pair of moog "problem solver" swaybar links, as they were on closeout and therefore the cheapest option. i'd heard that these are supposed to be the best oem replacement swaybar links for the s-series, so i was pleased with my purchase. when i inspected them upon arrival, one link was in perfect brand new condition, with two stiff ball joints. looking good! i should note that these use an open boot design, like moog's tie rod ends. the other link, however, had one extremely loose ball joint, as though it had been used for years! this is a brand new, clean component, in box, without even the grease zerk installed yet. i am absolutely appalled. i filed a return request with rockauto and have no doubt that they will respond in kind, so i'm sure i'll get a good part. the more concerning thing to me is the fact that moog has a near-religious following on these forums and elsewhere, leading many people to purchase their products with an expectation of superior quality. in my experience, that is not the case, and the only thing you are paying extra for when you buy a moog part is the name.

now i've seen a few threads here and there where people instantly try to claim the poster is paid to promote a certain brand. i would like to take a moment to say that not only is ultra-power not paying me, but i'd never even heard of them until i compared my options on rockauto. i have never even communicated with any tie rod end manufacturer. my opinion is motivated by the relationship between the price and quality of a part, nothing else. after reading people's fervently written posts claiming that moog is the end-all be-all of ball joints, i felt the need to balance that sentiment with my own very disappointing experience. the moog swaybar links are beefy, and by all means would be better than oem components if their ball joints were more consistent in quality. given the price premium for moog parts, however, i would actively recommend trying other, cheaper brands. if you look for greasable fittings, it's hard to go wrong. even a very low quality part will last 100k+ miles with regular greasing.

my final sentiment is the most important. when shopping for parts, never make decisions based solely upon brand, and do not assume that price is indicative of quality. supply chains change, manufacturers make cost-cutting decisions, and finally 2007's (can you believe that's 9 years ago?!) forum thread saying to only buy XYZ brand part sets the reader up to overpay for a low quality part.
Recommendations are only good on the date made and if you had actually done the homework required you would have found all the info for the items you just purchased. The Asian import suspension parts show up in everyone's box and some even in white boxes. What you, the buyer, have to figure out is what is the QA on that Asian part from THAT supplier. In the past I have directed people to an eBay seller located in Canada who does specify the high quality Asian imports and when he has them they last just fine thank you but they are also in the upper mid range price level.

If you would have had the wit to inquire about what is working today instead of dredging up ancient history you would have likely received much different answers. Bottom price Asian parts run the complete range of quality by the container shipment. Some are found to be full of metal chips from machining in the ball sockets and some are just fine all from the same container.

None of the rear sway bar links are worth their price so just buy plenty of them. The sealed ones last longer though. You can make your own as well.

Do not forget the quality or lack thereof of the elastomer LCA busing. Good elastomers are expensive.

You may be less than happy with MOOG but many commercial suspension shops still install MOOG components, I have no idea why though.

Google always finds interesting things, "Ultrapower is a store brand for Advance Auto and this brand often has parts made in China or at least low bid." <---interesting and explains inconsistent quality and closeout pricing.
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Old 09-17-2016, 10:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Recommendations are only good on the date made and if you had actually done the homework required you would have found all the info for the items you just purchased. The Asian import suspension parts show up in everyone's box and some even in white boxes. What you, the buyer, have to figure out is what is the QA on that Asian part from THAT supplier. In the past I have directed people to an eBay seller located in Canada who does specify the high quality Asian imports and when he has them they last just fine thank you but they are also in the upper mid range price level.

If you would have had the wit to inquire about what is working today instead of dredging up ancient history you would have likely received much different answers. Bottom price Asian parts run the complete range of quality by the container shipment. Some are found to be full of metal chips from machining in the ball sockets and some are just fine all from the same container.

None of the rear sway bar links are worth their price so just buy plenty of them. The sealed ones last longer though. You can make your own as well.

Do not forget the quality or lack thereof of the elastomer LCA busing. Good elastomers are expensive.

You may be less than happy with MOOG but many commercial suspension shops still install MOOG components, I have no idea why though.

Google always finds interesting things, "Ultrapower is a store brand for Advance Auto and this brand often has parts made in China or at least low bid." <---interesting and explains inconsistent quality and closeout pricing.
i don't know what you're saying about inconsistent quality, i ordered 8 of the same part and they're all identical and of impressive quality. i did a fair amount of research and what i found is essentially what your post above says.... brand means nothing and your best bet is to look very closely at the pictures of what you will be receiving. it has been my experience that there is no guaranteed reliable way to get "perfect quality" parts, and those means which you often recommend tend to be unnecessarily expensive.

i felt no need to create another "which brand is best" thread, i've read plenty of those and they all dissolve into anecdotal evidence and some degree of flag-waving. my point is that by paying attention to what you will be getting and the price, not the brand, you are more likely to get an excellent deal. keep in mind that rockauto has incredible customer service, and these tie rod ends have a 1yr warranty, so this purchase was a minimal risk compared to $30 for one single tie rod end. there's just no way that one overpriced part is worth 6 of its cheaper yet nearly identical competitors.
...
rings-1996 sl2 ~215k mi
janus-2000 sohc2 ~170k mi
phoebe-1995 sl1 ~240 k mi
tethys-1994 sw2 ~302k mi
rip mimas-wrecked 1996 sw1
pandora-1999 sc2
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Old 09-17-2016, 10:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

I gave up on Moog quality when I ordered 2 TRE's and got 1 with a grease fitting and one without...different parts yet they had the same part number and same box. I'm sure all brands do it that way as the part serves the same function, but it's annoying to get different parts with the same number.
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Old 09-17-2016, 11:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

ultravioletnk; Inconsistent in the same container. In case you are unaware of how goods are shipped from Asia to the US they arrive in the 20 foot long shipping containers via container ships, it is big business.

You can either do your own QA if you have the skill or continue buying suspension parts based on price and a picture. I find it incredibly ignorant and risky to buy suspension parts of questionable quality as your life and everyone around you depends on these things to not suddenly fail.
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
I find it incredibly ignorant and risky to buy suspension parts of questionable quality as your life and everyone around you depends on these things to not suddenly fail.
i cannot imagine how a tie rod end would suddenly fail. every bad tie rod end i've ever had, including some obviously bottom-of-the-bin cheapo components that came on our jeep, has deteriorated slowly to the point that the vehicle starts to wander. at that point the vehicle is no longer comfortable to drive and the part gets replaced before any real risk of accident appears. even the worst quality ball joint will have some slop, clicking, or other indication long before any form of catastrophic failure could occur. you're a very knowledgeable and experienced member here and i respect you greatly, but i don't appreciate the fear-mongering.
...
rings-1996 sl2 ~215k mi
janus-2000 sohc2 ~170k mi
phoebe-1995 sl1 ~240 k mi
tethys-1994 sw2 ~302k mi
rip mimas-wrecked 1996 sw1
pandora-1999 sc2
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

Looks like you have no idea of all the various failure mechanisms of this cheap crap. You have only described excessive clearance which has several possible causes and is only 1 of several possible credible failures.
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Old 09-18-2016, 06:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

Hello, I had ordered a set of Moog LCAs off Ebay earlier this summer for the SW1. They show up. One is made in Canada the other China. Canadian one still has crude casting marks on it. It was just hit with a grinder to remove the rib and then not sanded. It also has a bad paint job. The Canadian one looks like it was made in China twenty years ago The Chinese one is smooth and has a nice powder coat finish. Yes the Chinese have stepped up their game. Rick

Last edited by CZECHLAGER; 09-18-2016 at 06:11 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:27 PM   #11
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

The cleanup of the outside of the casting has what to do with the long term use of the part? I'm more interested in the quality of the metallurgy used to make the parts. Long life and breakage are dependent mostly on the tolerances used and the materials used. A nice paint job without the underlying quality isn't worth a lot to me.
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Old 09-20-2016, 05:01 AM   #12
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Looks like you have no idea of all the various failure mechanisms of this cheap crap. You have only described excessive clearance which has several possible causes and is only 1 of several possible credible failures.
and yet, i note that you have not provided descriptions or examples of these. i'll be sure to report back if i encounter any problems whatsoever.
...
rings-1996 sl2 ~215k mi
janus-2000 sohc2 ~170k mi
phoebe-1995 sl1 ~240 k mi
tethys-1994 sw2 ~302k mi
rip mimas-wrecked 1996 sw1
pandora-1999 sc2
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Old 09-20-2016, 04:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: don't waste your money on moog ball joints

The title of this thread was intriguing enough to warrant a further look into Moog. Not surprisingly, since beginning in 1919 in the USA, they've grown to manufacturing in sixteen countries; http://www.aftermarketsuspensionpart...og-parts-made/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O17uF6A6aiw. Moog's website includes anti counterfeiting features, probably against clones; http://www.moogproducts.com/en-globa...urHistory.aspx.

There's Moog(1) and then there's Moog(2);

Moog(1) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqZBfx6yfCM, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75OInwzGKG0

Moog(2) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkM2F90JJIc
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