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Old 08-31-2009, 15:14   #1 (permalink)
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When to replace ball joints

Hello

I recently took my 1998 Ford Expedition, which has 110,00 original miles on it into the shop for a clunking noise. The noise only happend twice, both times when I was pulling out of a parking lot onto the street. It only made it on turning right.

I took the truck to a shop that I have used for years and deemed them as 'honest'. The mechanic told me it was my ball joints and would cost $755 to replace them. I'm not disputing the cost, but whether or not they need to be replaced. Are there any other OBVIOUS signs? I've seen other places on the internet where people have said to replace them, as it could lead to an accident if they were to come apart.

My question is this, should I be worried about it or should I wait until there are other indicators? It doesn't seem like at only 110,000 miles, they would need to be replaced. The vehicle has never been rode hard, never towed anything, never been in an accident, never been off road or even driven on a dirt road.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Tripp
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Old 08-31-2009, 15:32   #2 (permalink)
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Re: When to replace ball joints

There are specifications for looseness. 110k does seem early. I think I'd take it to another place and not mention the first ones diagnosis. Things can happen. We had almost every Dodge have balljoint problems at 35K miles. That's early.
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Old 09-01-2009, 18:36   #3 (permalink)
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Re: When to replace ball joints

I concur. Get a second diagnosis and go from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtg143 View Post
We had almost every Dodge have balljoint problems at 35K miles. That's early.
No kidding! My Durango's balljoints were replaced at 55K under a safety recall. Then they were replaced again (thanks to Chrysler and the taxpayers for all the buyout money) at no charge at 100K. Mind you, my Durango is abused (hunting/boat towing/camper towing/Hummer recovery vehicle, etc).

When you do replace, get MOOG urethane joints, they'll outlast the truck! That's when compared to the OE parts.
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Old 09-01-2009, 19:37   #4 (permalink)
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Re: When to replace ball joints

We had a detectives Durango that with 39k miles the upper ball joints were so loose, I wouldn't even drive it back to the Police station. I could move the wheel an inch in and out.
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Old 09-01-2009, 19:48   #5 (permalink)
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Re: When to replace ball joints

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Originally Posted by rtg143 View Post
We had a detectives Durango that with 39k miles the upper ball joints were so loose, I wouldn't even drive it back to the Police station. I could move the wheel an inch in and out.
39K! Ick. I know there were some bad, if not terrible accidents, from the ball joints failing resulting in rollovers and a whole multitude of collisions and other problems. Never mind the liability.... My G6 recently went to the shop for a similar steering problem, but the front end felt fairly straight and together yet I could turn the steering wheel 1-1.5" in either direction with no change in vehicle direction! It took GM three weeks to agree that the steering box wasn't installed properly and had become loose; the car has very low miles on it, too!

Anyway, my Durango gets just as much, if not more abuse than any police version. I use it as a full time tow vehicle and I've modded it slightly to be better at that task. When it's not hauling recreational trailers, it's hauling a landscape trailer or I have it out back in the field/brush cutting and gathering firewood. I need 4.56s and M/T tires! So, um, yeah.
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'12 Chrysler 200 Limited 3.6L 283hp; 13,000m
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Old 09-01-2009, 20:28   #6 (permalink)
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Re: When to replace ball joints

This Durango was only used for invasigations and such. No hard Police work. We had a Dakota wit 44k miles and they were very loose but not that loose.
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Old 09-02-2009, 17:59   #7 (permalink)
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Re: When to replace ball joints

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtg143 View Post
This Durango was only used for invasigations and such. No hard Police work. We had a Dakota wit 44k miles and they were very loose but not that loose.
I know when any of my joints go, I'm going to see if MOOG carries a replacement part in urethane. I've used them once back on my old Spirit, racked up 420K on that car with 352K on the Moog ball joints. The body rusted through but I'm sure the lil' engine could easily go another 200K.
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'00 Durango R/T 360ci 290hp (modded); 138,500m
'06 Pontiac G6 GT 3.5L 220hp; 44,000m
'12 Chrysler 200 Limited 3.6L 283hp; 13,000m
'99 Taurus 3.0L 2V Vulcan 145hp; 154,300m - Traded
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