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Old 04-06-2013, 14:28   #1 (permalink)
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Ball joint or tire on wrong?

03 Taurus SES

My front driver side tire is wearing on the inside. Its too the point wire is showing. Using a trick dad taught me I realized that my camber was off. I held a small level tool to the tire and noticed it was way off tilted with the top going inwards. I pulled the tire off, put on my spare. When I held the level to the spare, it was level.

The guy at the tire shop said that I need to pay almost 100 for an alignment, will need to replace both tires even though the passenger side one is not badly worn and I will need to redo both ball joints on the front.

Before I pay anything I want a second opinion but know shops around my area would love to take advantage of the fact I'm a young female.

My question is A. Could the tire have been put on wrong (by that I mean lug nuts not tightened in a circle and not across like I was always taught)
or B. could it be a bad ball joint? or C. could it really be alignment if only one side has an issue
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Old 04-06-2013, 15:10   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Ball joint or tire on wrong?

If the alignment is out that will cause the abnormal wear on inside .Could check wheel / tyre is not buckled or twisted . Get steering checked for wear and any faults rectified first before getting wheels aligned otherwise you will be wasting your time and money on tracking .As long as wheel nuts tightened correctly and wheel on square , should be o.k
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Old 04-12-2013, 00:14   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Ball joint or tire on wrong?

Let me elaborate a little further. Ok, its coming from the front drivers side. When driving at a higher rate of speed (typically anything above 25mph) I hear a noise that sounds like I'm driving on a flat tire. I'm not as I've checked all tires are aired properly.

The tire was wearing on the inside. Did a at home check with a level it showed tire was tilted in the camber was off, took that tire off put another one on its no longer tilted or wearing wrong but I'm still hearing the noise.

Is there anyway I can check to see if its a ball joint before replacing it. Watching a DIY video has shown me I don't have the proper tools to do it myself and I really can't afford to take it to a shop.
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:37   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Ball joint or tire on wrong?

Checking it with a level won't work. Your tires are slightly toed inward at the front of the tire which will pull the top of the tire out when driving.

When you jacked the vehicle up to put the spare on you preloaded the suspension which will make the wheel set at a different angle until you drive it again.

Ball-joints are a real pain to change out of this vehicle. The ball-joint press that you rent from your local part store will not have the correct adapters to press the joint in or out. Been there, done that. You have to find a master press kit that has the special Taurus adapters, or the adapters themselves to go with the standard press kit.

You'll also run into problems when trying to drop the lower control arm down low enough to clear the knuckle. Also the joint presses into the knuckle and not the control arm. All around Pain in the arse!

You might check the wheel bearing as that's the usual suspect of the noise you are hearing. Also can throw out your alignment.
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Old 04-21-2013, 21:43   #5 (permalink)
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cool Re: Ball joint or tire on wrong?

jwko is right about pressing the ball joint out and in. I have a large Dodge Truck and Jeep ball joint set from OTC and it does not have the exact adaptors to do a 96-2007 Taurus/Sable. I can tell you pushing it out is a bit easier than pushing it back in. The C-Frame press with an adaptor pushes the ball joint out of the spindle. The forcing screw pushes the adaptor against the ball joint which pushes it out. I think it didn't push it all the way out, and had to hammer the joint to get it out the rest of the way.

With the new one, you need 2 adaptors. One on the forcing screw pushes against the bottom of the spindle, on goes on top of the ball joint and pushes it into the spindle. The adaptor I use for the top is like a little cup, but it's too deep to push the joint all the way in. Enter a stack of fender washers. The washers will not damage the joint, the washers wil just get a little bent but it works. The pushing adaptor is barely the right size. It fits around the outside of the spindle hole. Be forewarned, the new joints boot can snag on the spindle hole. If the boot can be removed without damage, do it before install, then put the boot back after the joint is in. If you can't easily get the boot off spray it with some lube.

Separating the joint from the lower arm in the beginning once the taper is popped isn't all that bad... if you have a huge pry bar. Pry down on the control arm until it clears the ball joint. I think I removed the axle nut too to let the axle slip out of the bearing and allow the spindle to swing out of the way and clear the lower arm easier. Hope this helps.
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