Could I have damaged the ball joints when I was stuck in the snow? One needed to be replaced a couple of years ago, just due to normal wear, but shouldn't they last longer? I have a 2002 Lincoln LS, it's rear wheel drive and ATS. I got unstuck by driving forward and back, sort of rocking to get a few feet to the cleared road.
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Re: Both ball joints need replacing
Just normal wear, i am like you, they should last longer, and some do, and others don't, thats the nature of the beast. back in the day, they put grease serts in so you could grease them, and very seldom they went out. you did not do any damage to them from the snow or by rocking back and forth. hope this shead some light on your delima. OLD SCHOOL.
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these are a very small diameter stud. if the threads are badly damaged, you will need to replace the ball joint. if it is just the first couple threads that are damaged, you may have luck re cutting the threads with a die. good luck!
To replace those, you need a special press fixture and a good dose of experience. They are pretty much the same as Chevrolet press in joints but much more difficult to get in and out. I generally use the press, a sledge hammer (judiciously) and gently heat the knuckle (warm, not glowing hot) and put the joints in the freezer 'till I'm ready to install them. This makes the job a bit easier (but you need to work quickly). You need to take care not to crush or otherwise damage the new joint and have to keep it perfectly straight or it will get stuck on it's way in. If you have never replaced a joint, this isn't one you want to learn on!! Good luck
first you will need to buy a ball joint press. first jackup and place jack stand under oneside of jimmy1).remove the tire.2)remove caliper and pads and rotor.3) remove cotter pin out of nut for tie rod end then remove nut. 4) loosen tie rod end from knuckle donot split greese boot or hit top of stud as this will damage it.5)remove axle nut and push back axle may be frozen in hub.6) remove both cotter pin and nuts on ball joints then spin on bottom nut a couple threads as no thave knuckle fall to the ground.7)loosen ball joint from knuckle and remove knuckle.8) remove ball joints with press or by rmoving rivits install in reverse procedure
Normal wear and tear will cause ball joints to fail maybe every 4-6 years, if you live somewhere reasonably smooth. If you live in the northeast, the road conditions are quite bad.(Just moved back to texas from newyork), pot holes and poorly repaired roads will reduce the life of all you suspension and steering components greatly. Also driving style, ie. hard cornering and steering, heavy braking, can also be a factor. Make sure you see the faulty component, even if you get a little dirty, it's important to see the failure. Shops will rip you off in a heart beat to get the rates on labor and parts for a car such as yours.