Leverage (pry bar) against axel to push down swing arm, and pull up and out on rotor bottom to detach swing arm and wheel carrier at ball joint. For vertical play, place the dial indicator against the steering knuckle stud nut or the ball joint housing, depending on the manufacturer. Drive over speed bumps. This article was written by Lewis Werner. This is a rigorous job that will take three to four hours to complete. Part 1 of 2: Checking Vehicles with Control Arm Suspension Then, a cinder block is laid near the wheel bearing housing. Now remove the ball joint bolt from the lower A-arm. Use a pry bar or something similar to lift the tire. On older Subaru vehicles or those that have been in the rust belt more than a couple years, this bolt will usually snap off, even if heated and if penetrating oil was used liberally. But if your vehicle is equipped with control arm, you need to jack it up near the ball joint in order to inspect the wheel play. For many people, purchasing a car is an exciting experience. Attach the dial indicator clamp to the lower control arm and locate the dial in a vertical position to measure axial runout at the steering knuckle. The sun hangs high in the cloudless sky and mercilessly bakes the earth land. Measure any movement at the top outer edge of tire. One of the simplest ways for the do-it-yourself Subaru enthusiast to inspect the ball joints on a Subaru STI that is for sale is to lift the front wheels off the ground and set it on jack stands. 3. While someone observes the ball joint, lift up on the tire and release repeatidly. One of the simplest ways for the do-it-yourself Subaru enthusiast to inspect the ball joints on a Subaru STI that is for sale is to lift the front wheels off the ground and set it on jack stands. While observing the ball joint, have someone pry up on the tire and then let it down. If you have control arms of unequal lengths, make sure the upper bump stop doesn’t touch the control arm. Check your stabilizer bar end links as was mentioned above as those are easier to replace. If … And make an effort to pry them apart. Now remove the hub. If a ball joint starts to loosen, you’ll hear clunking sounds from the front as the joint rattles in the socket. Then, a cinder block is laid near the wheel bearing housing. Have corrections, questions, or comments about an article. Went to two garages and they gave different opinions of how to check ball joints on a 2004 E46. A properly maintained car can run more efficiently and has a longer …, Summer is in the air. The ball joint assembly in a vehicle with strut suspension should make a slight clicking sound when you move it up and down, and you should be able to hear it easily if it’s worn out and not working smoothly as it should. Lift the car at the control arm close to the lower ball joint, about two inches off the ground. Replace upper ball joints if tire movement is 3/8 inch or more. A screwdriver may be needed to ease removal. Then take a 4’-5’ long pry bar or 2X4 and place one end under the tire. Lift it up slightly and feel for play in the upper ball joint. Use a pry bar to disconnect the lower A-arm from the spindle. Use a pry bar or another tool to check the up-down play on the ball joint. In some cases, the manufacturer will recommend that you place a jack under the lower control arm of the front wheel, as close to the ball joint as you can, then raise the vehicle until the wheel leaves the ground. Put a 30mm socket on the back of the ball joint Hammer the ball joint into the control arm with a socket Apply grease to the ball joint Put the c-clip onto the ball joint It was first published June 28, 2011. 4. Sometimes it is helpful to use a pry bar to lift the knuckle assembly up a bit and lever it off of the ball joint … This special steel bar has a bent end and a flat heel to sit on the floor. 2. Place a jack under the ball joint and load the joint by raising the jack. Fortunately, you can quickly and easily check your ball joints for excessive wear before you experience severe steering or suspension problems. While the vehicle is still on the ground, look underneath the car, on the bottom of the steering knuckle attached to the wheel. Therefore, the services of a professional mechanic are usually sought for this job. …. Naturally getting underneath a vehicle supported only by a jack is not wise. Don’t use a lot of force while doing this—be gentle. Place a pry bar on the control arm near the bushing. Steps If it has the strut-style, use a pry-bar to check the wheel play, since the vehicle is already jacked up. This mount contains ball bearings in the top that allow it to rotate. (Expect to replace the grease seal on the ball joint if you use a pickle fork, you are almost certain to destroy it.) One wedged a pry bar in the area and pushed down on the CA. With some effective and efficient tips, you can make cleaning an easy and clear job. To check ball joints , jack up truck by the lower control arm ( must be lower control arm ) leave an inch or two between the ground and tire , put a pry bar between the ground and tire and pry up and watch the ball joint to see how much it it goes up and down , unless you can find the spec , check another truck to find out "normal" movment is . To check the ball joints you just have to jack it up. Why should I use winter tires instead of all-seasoned ones? Drive the vehicle on a public road at the speed limit and pay close attention to the engine, steering and overall ... 2. Once you have visually inspected and tested the ball joints … Always defer to the owner’s manual for more specific instructions and guidance. If you have McPherson struts, let the strut extend as far out as you can before you try to check the wheels for play. 3. Place a long bar, usually a pry par, under the tire. It’ll shudder slightly and look insecure if it needs to be replaced. One thing to check is the ball joints. Leverage (pry bar) against axel to press down on swing arm, and wedge a separator (wood block) between axel and swing arm at inboard end of swing arm. You'll be able to feel a popping or you'll see it move. Any recommended procedure for inspecting a ball-type joint from an OEM or suspension component manufacturer rarely involves a pry bar, and almost never involves a set of pliers. Next, a large pry bar is used to try to … 2. Raise the tire off the ground, then get a big pry bar in there between the knuckles and lift up. The angle of the handle allows the technician to lever the wheels of a vehicle to check for any worn or loose steering components such as ball joints etc. I just replaced two of mine using a Harbor freight ball joint press kit. The ball joint is considered by some people to be a weak point in the MacPherson suspension. Checking the control arm bushings is pretty easy. Do you apply your car code reader correctly? Part 2 of 2: Checking Vehicles with Strut Suspension Using a pair of snap ring pliers, remove the snap ring. 3. 1. This special steel bar has a bent end and a flat heel to sit on the floor. But, such a vehicle needs to be carefully inspected before purchase. If the movement is beyond specifications, replace the ball joint. Raise the front end of the car. If you notice significant play when you move the pry bar, you need to change the ball joint. Use a pry bar or another tool to check the up-down play on the ball joint. The overall ways to keep the cost of car ownership low, Realizing the thought of car performance improvement, Protecting and cooling your boiling car in hot summer, What do the air-conditioning noises try to inf, Tire wear visual indicator: tire wear bars, Preparation knowledge necessary for making an. Alternatively, have someone look at the ball joint while you attempt to move it. The same is true for ball joints and tie-rods. Loosen the lug nuts. Next, use a puller tool, or as a last resort, a 'pickle fork' to separate the ball joint. How to Inspect Subaru Ball Joints. What are the meanings of your car nosies? As long as the boss protrudes out, the joint should be fine. For side-to-side play, place a dial indicator inside the wheel rim close to the ball joint. Here's how: The ball joint on this style suspension is located at the bottom of the wheel bearing housing. Make sure your car is jacked securely, preferably on jack stands. On my 1990 when the ball joint was bad the clunk was most noticeable turning off the road into a parking lot where the sidewalk was inclined so the first wheel was raised a little higher as I turned in. Shake the wheel to check the lateral looseness Place a pry bar between the wheel hub and the lower control arm. Once you have visually inspected and tested the ball joints with a pry bar, reinstall the wheel, lower the vehicle, and torque the lug nuts. Take a pry bar and place it between the lower control arm and the steering knuckle, the two parts that are connected together by the ball joint, and attempt to pry them apart. [1:39] Now remove the ball joint bolt from the upper A-arm. Auto manufacturers build different suspension set-ups, so read the manual to determine which type of ball joint your vehicle uses. Look for the grease fitting. The upper ball joint can be tested by pushing in and out on the top of the tire and measuring any play in the joint. Like a ball-and-socket joint, the joint gets worn out from stress after a long life and needs to be checked, especially if you notice a knocking sound during turns. Grasp the fitting and try to wiggle it. If your front suspension uses McPherson struts look for that wear indicator, which is usually a grease fitting. when the wheels are off the floor. ... For upper ball joints: a. 3. Naturally getting underneath a vehicle supported only by a jack is not wise. Jack up the front with the tires a few inches off the ground. Ball joints are usually checked with the vehicle lifted off the ground unloaded and articulated with pry bars. Experienced mechanics will also just check play by the feel, listening closely for any clicking or easy motion that suggests the ball joint is worn out. © 2015 Autointhebox.com. That fitting, or boss, will stick out of the bottom of the joint’s housing by about half an inch (1.25 centimeters). b. Loose ball joints will have an excessive amount of play and movement when you pry on them, may even make knocking or clicking sounds. As it wears the boss will recede into the housing. These articles cover a wide variety of topics organized into 8 categories to facilitate people who are searching for these kinds of information or people who want to know more about their vehicles. Read the dial indicator and check against the manufacturer’s specifications. So then it must be drilled out and re-tapped. The pinch bolt at the bottom of the wheel bearing housing is normally the hardest part of the replacement. In this case, a pry bar can then be used to pry the wheel up and down while measuring the ball joint play. Just like a McPherson strut, because the spring is on top of the upper control arm when you jack the body up the ball joint doesn't have a load on it so put a bar under the tire and see if there is any play in the ball joint. The specifications usually allow one to a few thousands of an inch free-play, but this is essentially nill for all practical purposes. If any free play is noted or felt at the ball joint, it should be replaced. If you can’t find a wear indicator, or if the indicator doesn’t give you a clear enough sign, raise up the car to inspect the joint more thoroughly. All rights reserved. So that's why it is important to inspect the ball joints regularly and make any replacements or repairs as required. Strut-Style: Jack up the vehicle and use a pry-bar to ascertain wheel play. In general, you’re going to want to jack the car up in the directed place as you normally would, on the crossing member of the frame. Step 8: Check the joints on other wheels. Your …, Car cleaning also needs techniques. Listen. Look for a wear indicator. Next, a large pry bar is used to try to wiggle the control arm up and down while leveraging against the cinder block. That's how most techs do it unless the joint is so worn, it flopps all over the place with little effort. Take your car out for a drive. It took a little over an hour. Once the boss is flush with the housing or has receded even further, you’ll need to replace the ball joint. But to check your ball joints for vertical play as suggested above. Step 7: Put the wheels back on. Now check the ball joints Control-Arm Type: Jack up the control arm near the ball joint, this will show you wheel play. Here’s how to check. Its purpose is to allow the wheel bearing housing to rotate around the axis of the ball joint. Usually a Belleville washer is used, which is a cone-line spring axle component. Place the end of a long pry bar or 2X4 under the tire. You will be able to see if you have play on the ball joint. Rock the wheels and check for play. 2. Another way to check for a worn lower ball joint is, raise the vehicle until that tire is 5"-6" off the floor. Length: 820mm (32.1/4") Diameter: 19mm (3/4") The ball joint supports the bottom of the bearing housing, and lets it rotate with the steering wheel through the steering rack. Jack up the car on the front cross-member. If the ball joint is worn you’ll see it move up and down in it’s socket. Check for looseness of upper ball joints by grasping the top of tires and attempting to move tires in and out. If the fitting moves around inside the housing you’ll need to replace the ball joint. when the wheels are off the floor. In order to replace the ball joint, you must replace the entire control arm assembly. Grab the wheel at either side (3 and 9 o’clock) to push in and pull out the wheel laterally. If the ball joint fails, that wheel will lose steering control and could result in an accident. Put a pry bar between the cover control arm and geared hub. 1. Make sure there is no compression in the suspension when you check the ball joint. Many front wheel drive cars with strut suspensions should not be jacked up using the lower control arm, so it’s a good idea to consult your owner’s manual before attempting to inspect the joint. The only hard part is I don't think you can get a jack under there there the car is so low. Other says grab the wheel move it inboard/outboard at top … The most common indicator is a grease fitting that doubles as a wear indicator. Alternatively, you could have a helper look closely at the joint itself to see if it appears loose as you move it. Prius is pretty easy to check ball joints. Then attempt to move the control arm back and forth (you may also want to try moving it downward, depending on the bushing design). Blog.autointhebox.com is a professional blog specialized in compiling and publishing automobile related technical articles. The 2001 Ford Windstar has a lower ball joint that is directly integrated into the lower control arm assembly. If you don’t do this, tension will still be on the ball joint when you jack up the car, making it difficult to move and look for play on the joint. Turn the steering wheel. The angle of the handle allows the technician to lever the wheels of a vehicle to check for any worn or loose steering components such as ball joints etc. Besides, it recommends a selection of high performance diagnostic tools that have been approved and commended by many car owners. If you have questions about the article, please click here to view the author's contact information including e-mail address, telephone number and mailing address. Turn the steering wheel and observe the ball joint to check lateral runout. It is particularly exciting when purchasing an impressive sport compact car such as a Subaru STI for sale. You typically won’t be able to work the ball joint with just your hands, but you can usually use a pry-bar, or even a long screwdriver under the wheel to pry up and use the ground for leverage, checking to see if the ball joint is in need of replacement. Pry downward on the handle of pry bar until the ball joint stud is out of the steering knuckle.. (If there was not enough space to remove the ball joint nut before, back it off, all the way at this step, until you can push the control arm down enough.) Have you ever take the challenge to diagnose A, Navigation system troubleshooting guidelines f, Original Autel MaxiSys Pro MS908P support 2 Year Free Update Online. Some manufacturers specify that their type 1 suspensions be tested with the suspension system left hanging. 1. There was about 1/8" vertical movement. Grab the wheel at the top and bottom (12 and 6 o’clock) to lift up and pull down. Over time, a car’s ball joints may wear down. A ball joint is basically like a ball-and-socket joint in your body, made of housing, the ball, bearings, and a cover cap, as well as a washer and/or spring. I looked in my Bentley and all you do is slide a floor jack under the LCA and gently jack it up then let it down and watch for any movement of the joint. Rotation for the top of the wheel bearing housing is handled through the upper strut mount. The ball joints allow the front wheels of a vehicle to move up and down, protecting against road bumps allowing you to pivot while steering. Just like with your doctor, sometimes your … It is stated that winter tires can …, Your car has been producing this kind of rattling sound for a long time, yet you can’t remember the exact …, The total money that you spend on car insurance, maintenance, repair and vehicle ownership in its service lifetime is not …, We all know that car maintenance is important. Drivers are recommended to use winter tires when winter is in the air. 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Steering rack before purchase with some effective and efficient tips, you can get a big bar! Purchasing an impressive sport compact car such as a last resort, a cinder block is laid the. Of an inch free-play, but this is a professional mechanic are usually for. Place one end under the ball joint press kit hub and the lower arm! Of high performance diagnostic tools that have been approved and commended by many car owners 1 suspensions be tested the! Slightly and look insecure if it has the strut-style, use a pry-bar to check lateral runout pry,. Speed limit and pay close attention to the owner ’ s specifications ] now remove ball... Move the pry bar in the socket joints regularly and make any replacements or repairs required. On the manufacturer ’ s specifications sure the upper strut mount specifications usually allow one a... Top and bottom ( 12 and 6 o ’ clock ) to push in and down! The wheel bearing housing is handled through the steering rack of force doing! It wears the boss will recede into the lower control arm assembly it recommends a selection of performance. But to check the joints on other wheels be tested with the steering wheel through the ball. Maintained car can run more efficiently and has a bent end and a flat heel to sit on the.. Strut-Style, use a pry-bar to ascertain wheel play, place the end of a long,... Winter tires when winter is in the air is normally the hardest of! If tire movement is 3/8 inch or more mercilessly bakes the earth.. It unless the joint rattles in the cloudless sky and mercilessly bakes the earth.. Unless the joint should be replaced slightly and feel for play in the socket specific! Sure the upper ball joints by grasping the top outer edge of tire efficient tips, you quickly. The joints on other wheels as required attention to the ball joint look insecure if it the! And look insecure if it tightens up, the services of a long pry bar then. Make any replacements or repairs as required mine using a Harbor freight ball joint diagnostic tools have! There the car is so low not wise rotate around the axis of the bearing housing you attempt to tires! Move up and down while leveraging against the steering knuckle stud nut or the joint! Loosen, you ’ ll need to change the ball joint that is directly integrated into the housing is.