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Old 06-11-2011, 02:15 PM   #1
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Ball Joints

i took my 2009 jeep wrangler into goodyear for alignment, they said they could not align because i needed to replace front adjustable ball joints. I took it back to the dealer so they could replace it under my maxicare warrenty. I paid my $100.00 deductable and they said there was nothing wrong with the ball joints. I took it to another mechanic for alignment they said they cant align because it needs ball joints. He showed my how to test them by putting a pole under the tire and lifting heard and felt knocking and saw play so i took it back to the dealer and the service manager and a new technition showed me how they test for ball joints and said that it was within specifications and they wont replace ball joints until they are out of specifications. What do i do? i dont want to lose a new set of tires and more money.

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Old 06-11-2011, 08:57 PM   #2
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Caught between the old rock and a hard place.

Have the dealer do the alignment if they say it can be done. Be sure you get a copy of the specs, before and after. The machines I'm familiar with like Hunter will print out as stated, also will list preferred specs and allowable tolerances. Ours printed in color, black for specs, green for good settings, and red for out of spec ones, so they stick out like a sore thumb. Since most customers have no clue about alignments, some techs sometimes will flip the printer so it prints all in black. So stuff that's off will not be so obvious, unless you know what your are looking for.

If the tires start to wear, go right back to the dealer.
When/if they tell you the ball joints are bad and why your tires wore, you already have documentation of you questioning the ball joints before they aligned it.

Most new style joints have a wear indicator built into them. Right where the grease fitting is. Rule of thumb, if the boss the fitting is in is exposed your joint is good. If it's flush or sunk, it's shot.

Now then a trick some alignment shops pull on unsuspecting customers. Jack the vehicle in the wrong place, and the ball joint will look/feel bad.

Dependent on the spring's location, either on the lower control arm or the upper, you have to jack the vehicle on the control arm, or on the frame to properly check the ball joint. Do it the wrong way and they can make a brand new joint look bad.
And you buy it hook, line, and sinker, and they sell you a set of ball joints.


If you go this route or another, post a copy of the spec sheet they gave you.
I've been doing alignments for 35+ years, and I'll be more then happy to look the sheet over for you, and let you know if it's kosher or not.

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Old 06-11-2011, 09:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelby427
Caught between the old rock and a hard place.

Have the dealer do the alignment if they say it can be done. Be sure you get a copy of the specs, before and after. The machines I'm familiar with like Hunter will print out as stated, also will list preferred specs and allowable tolerances. Ours printed in color, black for specs, green for good settings, and red for out of spec ones, so they stick out like a sore thumb. Since most customers have no clue about alignments, some techs sometimes will flip the printer so it prints all in black. So stuff that's off will not be so obvious, unless you know what your are looking for.

If the tires start to wear, go right back to the dealer.
When/if they tell you the ball joints are bad and why your tires wore, you already have documentation of you questioning the ball joints before they aligned it.

Most new style joints have a wear indicator built into them. Right where the grease fitting is. Rule of thumb, if the boss the fitting is in is exposed your joint is good. If it's flush or sunk, it's shot.

Now then a trick some alignment shops pull on unsuspecting customers. Jack the vehicle in the wrong place, and the ball joint will look/feel bad.

Dependent on the spring's location, either on the lower control arm or the upper, you have to jack the vehicle on the control arm, or on the frame to properly check the ball joint. Do it the wrong way and they can make a brand new joint look bad.
And you buy it hook, line, and sinker, and they sell you a set of ball joints.

If you go this route or another, post a copy of the spec sheet they gave you.
I've been doing alignments for 35+ years, and I'll be more then happy to look the sheet over for you, and let you know if it's kosher or not.
That's a great explanation! Gotta love/hate the garage tactics used on the unsuspecting customer! It seemed odd to me that ball joints on an '09 would be worn out but I suppose anything is possible. I just had my 99 aligned and forgot to ask for a spec sheet. I put a 3" + 3/4 spacer up front, total lift achieved front and rear was close to 4". I bought cam bolts for the lower CAs but after the alignment, it doesn't appear they turned them it all. It does drive better so maybe they did but only very little. I souls have marked them. At least the wheel returns to center quicker now. I set the toe with a tape measure beforehand but for $58, I'm happy to know a laser set it exact, paid too much for my tires to have them wear unevenly! Sorry for hi-jacking the thread topic...
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:01 AM   #4
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ty for you help im going to replace all fore front ball joints with a set of Synergy Suspension ball joints, but i feel like im giveing up is there any way to save the old and get reembursed the money for the new ones im putting in? these are covered under my extended warrenty and i want jeep to pay for them ive already paid my deductibable if i put new ones on is there any chance i might get reembursed or do i need the tires to go bad under the old ones before jeep will replace them?
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:34 AM   #5
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Doubt it. If you replace something that was already checked by the dealer and deemed good, why would you expect the warranty to pay for you changing them out.
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil05LJ View Post
It seemed odd to me that ball joints on an '09 would be worn out but I suppose anything is possible...
Doesn't surprise me at all. My '11 needed the balljoints replaced with just 5000 miles on the Jeep. The stock balljoints are plastic, and commonly fail with very few miles on the vehicle. Show me a JK with 30,000 miles on it and I'll show you a JK that needs new balljoints, ... whether the owner knows it, or not.

I replaced mine with Poly Performance ball joints, even though the Jeep was under warranty.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:31 PM   #7
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I actually took my 09 4dr into a local shop today. After my alignment Monday I noticed more of a difference in the way the front was handling. Actually more like the last month or so. Anyways they took it for a test drive with me and noted he didn't notice much. But then did an inspection and told me both ball joints were starting to go along with the damper. An estimate of about $700. I don't think I can tackle he ball joints myself but the damper doesn't look to difficult.
But I tried to read up as much as I could about the wobble jeep is notorious for and a lot of good info out there. I have about 55k on mine and its good to know that others are having issues similar.

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