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picto27

Bottom Ball Joint Problems

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Hi all, I'm new to posting but have been a member for a while now. I have found this forum a great source of diy help and information. I have search for ages to find a solution to my problem. I hope that someone here can help.

My car has recently been for MOT(passed) but I got 2 advisories of slight movement in front lower balljoints. My car is a 53 plate T25 model.

My question is about the refitting of a new lower balljoint.

Does the lower balljoint need to be press fitted to the steering knuckle?

Should I have removed the steering knuckle completely from the vehicle and fitted the balljoint to the knuckle on bench?

I have inserted the balljoint into the knuckle and used a trolley jack to apply pressure to the bottom of the balljoint but when everything is tightened to the specified torque I can still feel and see some very slight movement at the knuckle when I grab the wheel from each side and shake.

Granted it's better than it was but still not right.

It must be something that I'm not doing correctly as I replaced both lower balljoints, both front wheel bearings, both outer CV joints and also all lower arm bushes around 18 months ago.

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If that was my car I would just leave the ball joint replacement until either it knocked or failed the next one two or three years MOT.

Some MOT testers can go over the top,, if it was excessive they would have failed it.

I bet you in two years time it will still pass an MOT.

The wording in the MOT bible states permissible ball joint play, some folk decipher this as a pending wear problem.

This is just my opinion tho,

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Are u mad! Do u actually know how serious a failing balljoint (nevermind 2 failing balljoints) can be? Obviously u haven't driven in extremes of rain or snow with a failing balljoint. Driving in a straight line becomes almost impossible. Nor have u had the privilege to experience how scary it can be when ur vehicle suddenly shifts in the road as if on rails.

Both balljoints did knock periodically and varying degrees of movement could be felt when the wheel was jacked up and the wheels grabbed at the sides.

Well anyway I have now replaced both bottom balljoints, and to answer my own question I did have to remove the steering knuckle and press the joint in at the final part of the insertion. When I removed the failing joints I noticed a very slight deposit inside 1 side of the knuckle/balljoint hole and also a rusty mark on the corresponding side of the old balljoint swivel, obviously this was where water was allowed to seep in because it wasn't fitted correctly. So I cleaned them up with a small rounded file. Then I put the joint and knuckle into a vice with a socket to accept the swivel part of the joint, so as not to damage anything. Everything is snug now with no abnormal movement.

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no not mad, just got 30 yrs experience in the motor trade and I know how fussy these MOT testers can be,

IF the ball joint HAD worn to excess then the tester would have put a failure against it.

I read all the time on forums, (and being a technical rep/moderator) on another site, thses advisories from testing stations leave all lot to desired.

I can remember not too long ago on here, someone posted about a failure on his car due to the drivers seat having wear/play in the frame, thats the point I am trying to make.

Your quote,,,,

Both balljoints did knock periodically and varying degrees of movement could be felt when the wheel was jacked up and the wheels grabbed at the sides. If the ball joints had worn to a degree that a knock and play was evident then the tester would have failed said item.

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I can give you three personal examples of over zealous mot testers.

My Celica GT4 Turbo,,,I was advised that rear brake pipes were showing signs of corrosion....little did the tester realised was that these pipes have a plastic protection coating and it was just the plastic had bubbled a wee bit due to age and the pipe beneath was in perfect condition..

Another example, My 14 yr old MR2..I was advised that slight play in steering rack end joint....7yrs later the car is to passing the mot and I have not replaced any steering component. All I changed was the MOT test station.

My wife's MR2 roadster FAILED its mot on incorrect number plate..little did the tested realise was in fact it was an Irish personal plate and he stated that we can not have an I as a digit. He stood his ground and still failed it.

I got VOSA involved and they correctly pointed out that an I is acceptable on an Irish reg number, so the mot station had failed it wrongly.

And going back to your comment.....yes I have driven in many different circumstances, covering 60k a year as a dedicated technician for a reputable car manufacturer...I have come across every different scenario you could imagine from major RTA,s on motorways to drivers stuck down ditches due to coming off the road in wet conditions..

So in reality I think I have far more "road" experience than most

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Hi all, I'm new to posting but have been a member for a while now. I have found this forum a great source of diy help and information. I have search for ages to find a solution to my problem. I hope that someone here can help.

My car has recently been for MOT(passed) but I got 2 advisories of slight movement in front lower balljoints. My car is a 53 plate T25 model.

My question is about the refitting of a new lower balljoint.

Does the lower balljoint need to be press fitted to the steering knuckle?

Should I have removed the steering knuckle completely from the vehicle and fitted the balljoint to the knuckle on bench?

I have inserted the balljoint into the knuckle and used a trolley jack to apply pressure to the bottom of the balljoint but when everything is tightened to the specified torque I can still feel and see some very slight movement at the knuckle when I grab the wheel from each side and shake.

Granted it's better than it was but still not right.

It must be something that I'm not doing correctly as I replaced both lower balljoints, both front wheel bearings, both outer CV joints and also all lower arm bushes around 18 months ago.

Hello mate,

no you did the job correctly as the bottom ball joint is the usual tapered fit so as long as the ball joint shaft isn't turning when you tighten the nut up then it's ok. When you say grab the road wheel .... if that's at the sides then the movement you feel may be in the track rod end.

Pete.

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Hi pete,

I understand what you say about the indication failing TRE but I could physically see the notchy movement of the bottom balljoint and not the TRE.

I have since change the balljoints on both sides and when they were removed I noticed a small burr/rusty mark on 1 side of the joints and the hole in the knuckles. Which I assume stopped the balljoints from being completely seated in their respective assembly holes in the knuckles. I cleaned these and inserted the new joints and then used a bench vice to press them in completely.

I have now had a HUNTER 4 wheel geometry alignment completed and received a clean bill of health in all steering joints. I'm sure the guys would have mentioned if they had found any faults. They were very thorough with their briefing afterwards

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Hi Phil,

Sorry if I upset you by inferring that you were a novice or fairly inexperienced road user. I have 20 years driving experience, including 5 years recovery experience (many, many RTAs viewed/experienced and recovered) and also for the last 12 years have driven many 000's of miles up and down the highways and bi-ways of the country as an HGV driver.

I am a fairly experienced motor Diy'er. Not a Pro like you but experienced enough to know that any single bush, bearing, or balljoint may have acceptable wear with slight movement (but not worn excessively) may not even be felt adversley in steering and control of the vehicle, but if both (or all) have acceptable wear (as individual parts) then adverse steering and control may be felt more severely.

This was the case with my balljoints, occasional shifting in the road as if on rails, ocassional vibration in the steering and very ocassional knocking from the steering. Very controlable then all of a sudden I'm glad to be wearing a seatbelt, no accidents but quite a few eye-opening "whoops" moments.

Again sorry if I offended you, this was not my aim.

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