ball joint - tie rod ends

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by jr, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. jr

    jr Guest

    Hello All,
    My S70, it's a 98, is going to need new outer tie rod end on one side.
    It is inspection time and these parts get checked. For my car they find
    the passenger side has some play and none is allowed so it failed
    inspection. Honestly I am glad they found this as the safety implactions
    are not trivial. This will be repaired asap as this car is driven at
    highways speeds regularly. I gather it will need an alignment after this
    part is put on. Are there any tips to doing this job that anyone can
    offer? Is it logical to do both sides, as one side has failed I wonder
    can the other side be far from failing too? Since an alignment is
    involved does it make sense to any one to do both sides now? fyi 125,000
    miles on the original parts mostly highways miles.

    I have always understood one can get the replacement tie rod end on
    close enought to have it aligned right away. I have never worked on tie
    rod ends before and the chiltons manual I have seems a bit thin on info
    for this procedure.

    On a seperate note the ball joint on the passenger side has a small
    amount of movement. It appears to be part of the arm and not a seperate
    part as in past models. It was suggest to replace this to to be sure to
    be able to sst the alignment correctly. Comments?

    Is it straight forward to remove the bolts on the arm and the nut on the
    ball joint. Does the ball joint come out once the nut is off or is a
    puller needed, I ask as I do not have a puller and would very much like
    to know before I am in the middle of this job. I am going to be doing
    this in the cold temps of winter and want to be as prepaired as
    possible. To get the ball joint side of the arm off will is it necessary
    to remove the rotor and caliper? I have done rotor and caliper before so
    I know what is involved, just not looking forward to doing it in the cold.

    I am considering using aftermarket parts and want to avoid a false cost
    savings by finding the parts don't hold up well and have to be replaced
    much sooner than original parts. Anyone able to share real world
    experience on scan tech, Meyle and any other aftermarket brands.

    Appreciate all replies.
    jr, Jan 31, 2005
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  2. jr

    Rob Beech Guest

    you MAY find theres not much difference in part price. Depends where abouts
    in teh world you are.
    Personally i'd have them both checked and.. probably do both anyway.
    If its just one side thats bad and the other is perfect its worth thinking
    about WHY that side is like it is.
    Could something else be causing it.

    Rob Beech, Feb 1, 2005
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  3. jr

    jr Guest

    Thank you Rob for replying,

    I am in the northeast USA and find that the aftermarket prices are
    approx 1 / 3 the cost of original. a 60% to 70% lower price. That adds
    up when the original parts will cost $525 or thereabouts (both tie rod
    ends and both arms-ball joints).
    I am leaning towards doing both sides which I why I am looking for as
    much info on what is involved as I can get prior to starting. The car
    sees 85% to 90% highway driving and the roads are maintained (pot holes
    and such) fairly well. I wish I knew what could be causing it.

    I am interested in the pitfalls and any tip to taking this on as a DIY
    jr, Feb 1, 2005
  4. jr

    Mike F Guest

    Tie rod ends will last forever if their lubrication doesn't fail and no
    impurities get into the joint, so I'd leave the good one for now.

    The tie rod end is often rusted onto the steering rod, at least in my
    climate, and it sounds like yours is similar. Sometimes they come right
    off, other time you need to use a torch.

    The control arm unbolts from the subframe fairly easily, and the one
    pinch bolt on the strut comes out easily as well. However the ball
    joint is jammed in the bottom of the strut due to rust. A cold chisel
    of the correct size will open the hole that the ball joint is in enough
    to enable easy removal.

    A layer of wheel bearing grease everywhere steel meets steel upon
    reassembly will eliminate the seizing problems for next time.

    When you change the parts, the only adjustment you'll affect is the toe
    on the one side. Assuming that the car is currently perfectly aligned,
    you can get it exactly right if the steering wheel is still points
    straight ahead when
    you're done.

    Mike F.
    Thornhill (near Toronto), Ont.

    Replace tt with t (twice!) and remove parentheses to email me directly.
    (But I check the newsgroup more often than this email address.)
    Mike F, Feb 1, 2005
  5. jr

    jr Guest

    Thanks Mike,
    This is the kind of detail I am in need of. I will try spraying the tie
    rod end with penatrating oil over a few days to see If I can avoid the
    torch. All I have is a propane model and I would like to avoid using it
    if possible. It sounds like the reference to a cold chisle used to cut
    the material that makes the tapered socket the ball joint fits in or did
    I missunderstand ?

    Would a "pickle fork" (a tapered u shaped dual pointed fork) be of any
    help in getting the ball joint out? I wonder if there is room to get one
    in place considering I will be doing this on a jack stand.

    I gather you generally are working with original parts, do you see many
    aftermarket parts of this type coming off that did not hold up well?
    Looking for insight into the classic question of "are aftermarket parts
    going to hold up virtually as well as original?"

    Appreciate your effort to reply
    jr, Feb 1, 2005
  6. jr

    Mike F Guest

    The ball joint socket is not tapered. There hole is not quite a
    complete circle, and a bolt is used parallel to the circumference at the
    gap in the circle to squeeze the hole around the ball joint pin. The
    cold chisel is used as a wedge in this gap (after the bolt is removed)
    to open the hole up slightly. There is no cutting done with the cold

    I've never used a pickle fork, I don't like them.

    I used TRW branded parts on my cars. I can't comment on their
    durability yet, all the parts I've changed have been in use for less
    that a year.

    Mike F.
    Thornhill (near Toronto), Ont.

    Replace tt with t (twice!) and remove parentheses to email me directly.
    (But I check the newsgroup more often than this email address.)
    Mike F, Feb 2, 2005
  7. jr

    jr Guest

    Great additional detail. I did expect a taper. I have seen this
    concept used as a locking method for nuts and bolts. Any suggestions on
    chisel size? I need an excuse to add to my collection. I have a 1/4"
    and a 3/4" and I think a 1/2".

    Since the hole is an deformation fit ( kind like an interference fit but
    different) I take it that the threads on the new ball joint are all that
    is needed to bring it into position, along with some grease as you have
    suggested earlier.

    I am not a fan of the pickle fork. I was doing ball joints on a 740 and
    was having no sucess getting the old one out. Went to the local store
    and was shown one and told they work well. It did work, but is a brute
    force solution.

    Again, thanks for the details
    jr, Feb 2, 2005
  8. jr

    Mike F Guest

    I had a complete set of chisels. The one I used was certainly bigger
    than 1/2" - I probably used a 3/4. You'll be able to see if yours is
    any good right at the start of the job, as soon as you crawl under. The
    new ball joint will slide in place easily if you clean the rust out of
    the hole.

    Mike F.
    Thornhill (near Toronto), Ont.

    Replace tt with t (twice!) and remove parentheses to email me directly.
    (But I check the newsgroup more often than this email address.)
    Mike F, Feb 3, 2005
  9. jr

    jr Guest

    Just reporting back to the group, that without the guidance of the nice
    people that replied to my posts I probably would not have attempted this
    As luck would have it I did the control arm/ball joint on one day and
    the tie rod end a few days later. There was an error on the parts
    delivery and I ended up with the wrong side for the tie rod end being
    delivered with the control arm. I had a 7/8" chisel and it is used as a
    wedge and it worked for me on the control arm. I did use a puller from a
    local auto parts store to get the tie rod end out. The puller made the
    job an absolute breeze to do. Using the puller made the tie rod end leap
    out, I wondered if it was even needed. I did my best to make
    measurements of the new and old parts and the position of the old part
    on the car, and counted threads to get the new tie rod back into it's
    proper position. It was close, but as the car sees a noticeable number
    of miles per week, I decided to get it aligned sooner rather than later.

    This is a great group.
    jr, Feb 11, 2005
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