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  #1  
Old 03-21-2011, 05:40 PM
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Big Daddy Barry
Question about Ball Joints

Yesterday I installed a lift kit to my son's 97 f150

Lifted my Son's 97 4x2

He took it for an alignment today and they told him the upper ball joints are bad along with the pitman arm. They went on how he needs to get whole new UCAs. I had a feeling about the pitman arm because with the truck jacked up there is some steering play left to right. However, seeing as this was a used lift, when I put the lift UCAs on I grabbed each upper ball joint and moved it around. Each moved smoothly. With the tires on and the front end up, the only play I have is left and right steering and you can see where the pitman is moving. Grabbing the top of the tire and shaking it in and out shows no play.

How else can I verify the upper ball joints are good? These are not stock ball joints, they are bolt on doetsch ball joints.
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  #2  
Old 03-21-2011, 08:44 PM
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If the pitman is bad then i would definetly replace it. As for your ball joints, I've noticed that a lot of places "Say" your ball joints are bad when you go into their shop to try and fork extra money out of you. If they didn't have any play when you checked them before then there probably isn't any two days later. Try a different alignment shop.

Also I'm not sure exactly from what model year those controls arms use, but the ball joints are what they use on chevrolet 1500's.
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  #3  
Old 03-24-2011, 07:41 AM
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You could check them yourself. They might seem fine when you wiggled them by hand, but your hand cant put the same force on them that a heavy truck can.
Jack up the truck with the jack under the the lower control arm as close to the lower ball joint as possible. This will take the tension off the ball joints that the spring puts on it when the suspension hangs all the way down when jacked up by the frame or chassis.
Grab the tire by the top and bottom while its off the ground and try to rock it back and forth (top to bottom) while someone watches the upper ball joint. You will see any loosenes in the ball joint that way. I think that the ball joints on your truck are built into the upper control arm and need to be replaced together as a unit.
Should be a pice of cake for a guy who can install a lift kit .....

Good luck.
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  #4  
Old 03-24-2011, 10:44 AM
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Also if your boots are leaking or low, the shop will tell you they are bad as well. Keep grease in them and you shouldn't have any problems. A shop that screwed me on the one thing I asked them to check, tried screwing me out of $800 in ball joints and it just wasn't the case. I did however lose my driveline after 2500 miles of towing a 10k pound trailer, which is what I asked them to check in the first place. I hate shops. good luck.
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  #5  
Old 03-24-2011, 07:05 PM
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My ball joints and most of my front end components dont have grease fittings. This is no mistake by ford as they would like you to replace them often I guess. Most of the aftermarket stuff to replace it does have grease fittings though.
On the rare occasion that I remember to grease them on my own truck I use a needle attachment for my grease gun but that's not as good as having a zerk fitting.
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  #6  
Old 03-24-2011, 07:40 PM
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Big Daddy Barry
These are the ball joints that come on the doetsch UCAs for their lifts. These are not OEM UCAs. I pumped in some more grease and will be ordering a pitman arm and installing it soon.
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  #7  
Old 03-24-2011, 08:09 PM
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Play is allowed in the load carrying ball joint but not in the follower. If there is any play in the upper ball joint, and i mean any the alignment will not hold. Support the lower control arms with jack stands while the wheels are off the ground and use a pry bar to check ball joints. If you can move it even a hair it needs to be replaced. If you do not support lower control arm (load carrying arm/ball-joint) this test is not valid. If you would like to save money pull the upper arms off replace them, and the pitman arm then get it aligned.
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  #8  
Old 03-24-2011, 08:33 PM
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As far as the non-grease fitting bushings/boots go I like those better. Nothing to grease and I would think they last longer (nothing to blow). Also the ones I seen can be replaced before the ball-joint goes bad instead of replacing the entire part. I was looking under my 94' f150 and one side has bushings they other has grease fittings. I drive it around 1500 miles a year.
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  #9  
Old 03-24-2011, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piston91 View Post
Play is allowed in the load carrying ball joint but not in the follower. If there is any play in the upper ball joint, and i mean any the alignment will not hold. Support the lower control arms with jack stands while the wheels are off the ground and use a pry bar to check ball joints. If you can move it even a hair it needs to be replaced. If you do not support lower control arm (load carrying arm/ball-joint) this test is not valid. If you would like to save money pull the upper arms off replace them, and the pitman arm then get it aligned.
Why would I pull the UCAs and replace them?

By the way, the only way I can jack up the front now is under the LCAs. The jack I have is not tall enough
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  #10  
Old 03-24-2011, 10:14 PM
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Paul Morck GoodOlBoy711
If it stock upper control arms, they just replace the whole arm with a new ball joint installed, but if your lift is like mine where it came with aftermarket control arms the ball joints just drop in, but i'm not sure of what kind they need. As for a jack either look into a hi-lift jack or just invest in some 4x4 pieces of wood and build a base underneath it.
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Yah front bumper is too flat on such a curvy truck. Kinda looks like it has down syndrome
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  #11  
Old 03-24-2011, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piston91 View Post
Play is allowed in the load carrying ball joint but not in the follower. If there is any play in the upper ball joint, and i mean any the alignment will not hold. Support the lower control arms with jack stands while the wheels are off the ground and use a pry bar to check ball joints. If you can move it even a hair it needs to be replaced. If you do not support lower control arm (load carrying arm/ball-joint) this test is not valid. If you would like to save money pull the upper arms off replace them, and the pitman arm then get it aligned.
Honestly, this is the best advice in this thread IMO. A bad set of ball joints will hinder the ability to properly align the truck, and if they do get it aligned there is a chance that it wont hold. Contact Doestch if you need ball joints. If you really just want to go along and get it aligned anyways then go to a mom and pop service shop or a brake check if they have those where you live.
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  #12  
Old 03-24-2011, 10:56 PM
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Big Daddy Barry
Quote:
Originally Posted by pizzaman711 View Post
If it stock upper control arms, they just replace the whole arm with a new ball joint installed, but if your lift is like mine where it came with aftermarket control arms the ball joints just drop in, but i'm not sure of what kind they need. As for a jack either look into a hi-lift jack or just invest in some 4x4 pieces of wood and build a base underneath it.
The reason I was asking him was he obviously did not read my post right above his. I do have the aftermarket longer UCAs with the bolt on ball joints.

I am going to get a new jack soon so should not be a problem in the future.

To check the balljoint using a prybar, what exactly am I prying against? The spindle trying to move it around?

Also I have a 3 year alignment with Tires Plus, so I can go in as often as I want for the next 2 years for free
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  #13  
Old 03-24-2011, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barryrod View Post
The reason I was asking him was he obviously did not read my post right above his. I do have the aftermarket longer UCAs with the bolt on ball joints.

I am going to get a new jack soon so should not be a problem in the future.

To check the balljoint using a prybar, what exactly am I prying against? The spindle trying to move it around?

Also I have a 3 year alignment with Tires Plus, so I can go in as often as I want for the next 2 years for free
Ok, to check it lift the truck off of the ground as previously stated. Then wedge the pry bar between the tire and the ground and lift up on it. This is the way i've been shown.
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  #14  
Old 03-24-2011, 11:48 PM
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Paul Morck GoodOlBoy711
Oh, if you end up replacing the ball joints on the upper make sure you post what kind they are, mine are probably gonna need it soon and i'm not too sure on what kind they require ha
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patman View Post
Yah front bumper is too flat on such a curvy truck. Kinda looks like it has down syndrome
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  #15  
Old 03-25-2011, 01:42 AM
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They use a chevy 1/2 ton ball joint, but I am unsure on the years. Lightningexpo or thejake might know.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 06yz250f View Post
Steps:
1) Pretend your a ground hog.
2) Pretend you just made this thread.
3) Pretend you saw your shadow
4) Take yourself and your candy *** drive shaft back to what ever hole you have been in.
5) Try again in 2014.
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Old 03-25-2011, 01:42 AM


 
 
 
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