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Old 12-30-2013, 10:45 PM   #1
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Adjustable ball joint question

My son's '99 TJ has 33's on aftermarket wheels, and we noticed that the front tires are wearing unevenly (cupping on the inside). We had the front-end alignment checked at our trusted shop and they said the stock ball joints with over-sized tires are causing negative camber which cannot be adjusted. They recommended adjustable ball joints, but we couldn't afford what they wanted for the job.

We have replaced both front wheel bearings since putting the tires on the jeep, and they said the setup is going to continue to put strain on the bearings as well as wearing the tires faster. We don't know how long the bearings had been in there, but we bought the thing with 185k miles on it (with stock rims and tires). I'm not as concerned about the bearings (at this point), and I don't expect the ball joints to fix that problem, just the uneven tire wear.

We would like to do this job ourselves provided we can find the right parts. What do folks here recommend? I find Moog to be referenced in several posts, and I found them when doing a basic search online.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

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Old 12-30-2013, 11:10 PM   #2
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Do you have your print out or results from the alignment they tried?

Ive done some research on here about adjustable ball joints my self. You really shouldnt need them unless something some where is bent, axle, knuckle etc. Some shops really are not good at aligning solid axle, lifted, over sized tire rigs. Your camber would have to WAY out to NEED adjustable ball joints. Caster isnt to be corrected with adjustable/off set ball joints.

The info I found on this site was mostly from member:UnlimitedLJ04. Hopefully he will find this post for you.

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Old 12-30-2013, 11:17 PM   #3
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I found the post that you quoted, but I wasn't confident that the comments were applicable to a TJ. I trust the shop we use, but wanted to verify their input, which is why I decided to post a question here. There is nothing bent on the front end, and both sides have approximately the same amount of negative camber. We didn't get a print-out because they were only doing the work on the bearing replacement.
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:26 PM   #4
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Before I looked into it, really before I looked into anything when I first bought my Jeep...shops told me they couldnt get it to align. With in a month of owning it I had replaced ball joints, axle u-joints, all TREs and swapped to the ZJ tie rod. I had done basically a bunch of "front end" maintenance that was overdue. After that it aligned just fine at a local "mom and pop" garage that a member on here works at.

I hope some one with more knowledge on the subject jumps in to help you. If not maybe PM unlimitedlj04.
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Old 12-31-2013, 02:17 AM   #5
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Edit: my bad, didn't pay attention that you are positively getting negative camber on the alignment. Deleted my response.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:23 AM   #6
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My concern would be strength of the adjustable vs standard joint. But if this see 98% street than not too much of an issue.
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WBN3 View Post
My son's '99 TJ has 33's on aftermarket wheels, and we noticed that the front tires are wearing unevenly (cupping on the inside). We had the front-end alignment checked at our trusted shop and they said the stock ball joints with over-sized tires are causing negative camber which cannot be adjusted. They recommended adjustable ball joints, but we couldn't afford what they wanted for the job.

We have replaced both front wheel bearings since putting the tires on the jeep, and they said the setup is going to continue to put strain on the bearings as well as wearing the tires faster. We don't know how long the bearings had been in there, but we bought the thing with 185k miles on it (with stock rims and tires). I'm not as concerned about the bearings (at this point), and I don't expect the ball joints to fix that problem, just the uneven tire wear.

We would like to do this job ourselves provided we can find the right parts. What do folks here recommend? I find Moog to be referenced in several posts, and I found them when doing a basic search online.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.
The only things that will effect camber are bent axle, bent steering knuckle, really bad unit bearing, or bad ball joints. 33" tires are not going to effect camber any more than stock tires. Camber specs on our Jeeps are -.25° +/- .63°, so between +.38° to -.88°. If your camber falls within those specs, it is fine. To check ball joints, slightly jack up one wheel at a time and use a pry bar under the tire to see if there is any movement in the joints. A print out of your alignment numbers would be really helpful. How was your toe-in? What tire pressure are you running on your 33's, and how are your shocks and control arm bushings?
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:55 PM   #8
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I had mine on the lift today, and was told and shown where my ball joints were loose and needed replaced. What else should I consider swapping out while it's apart?
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:45 PM   #9
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Look at the hubs (bearing units), the tie rod ends, check the steering stabilizer and the track bar for tightness
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:52 PM   #10
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cupping can be from incorrect toe-in....

before putting off-set ball joints in, you want a print out describing exactly how bad camber, caster, toe, etc is....otherwise how do you know what offset ball joint to install, or even that you're installing the correct component(s)?
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Old 01-09-2014, 05:51 PM   #11
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Front end alignment numbers

Okay, did some more work on this trying to get a straight answer (pardon the pun)...

Went through the front end and checked all tie rods, control arms and track bar for slop... there's none. Everything is tight, but I did notice one of the front shocks appears to need replacement (slurping sound when rocking the front end up and down on the springs). Did not jack it up to test ball joints, but did have a second shop, which I was referred to by someone I trust, check the alignment. They said the same thing about adjustable ball joints. Got a printout from them (attached).

Things I forgot to mention that may be meaningful: it has a Rough Country 2.5" suspension lift, put on 2 years ago; wheels and tires were put on about 18 months ago; replaced both unit bearings in the last 6 months, which may also explain the tire wear.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:57 PM   #12
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toe was way out, but fixed now. camber is also way out of spec. the front axle housing might be bent.

most likely, the cupping came from the toe. for the most part, the camber will evenly wear one side of thread more than the other. that far out, it will be noticeable in tire wear after some significant mileage.

look into a HP D30 swap...
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:05 PM   #13
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Thanks for the feedback. An axle swap is a bit outside the scope of what we're going to be into... between the unit bearings and the toe-in, I do agree that the cupping is probably not going to be a long-term problem. Uneven wear from one side of the tire tread to the other will be, and my most likely solution appears to be the adjustable ball joints as suggested by both shops. What would you recommend for those?
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Old 01-11-2014, 07:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
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What would you recommend for those?
a HP D30 swap...or at least a good used LP D30 axle housing.

the adjustable ball joints will be more expensive than an good used axle housing.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:49 AM   #15
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Okay, just to update this thread - I'm hard headed but I get the message. After looking into this more, the front axle tube is definitely bent. I measured ground clearance from bottom of the axle tube at various points and was able to get as much as a quarter inch difference on level, flat concrete. Took it to a 4x4 shop who confirmed just by eyeballing it. Looking into acquiring a good (i.e. straight) used front end, but in the meantime will probably just have Discount flip the tires on the rims to even out the wear.

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