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Ball joints too tight
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wcfvw69 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Ball joints too tight Reply with quote

J1 wrote:
wcfvw69 wrote:
For the amount of work it is to install the ball joints, I'd go with the best quality and brand (TRW) you can get. I'd also bench check them before installation. Basically, take them out of the box. With the nut on the ball joint stud, put a wrench on the nut and turn the stud in the ball joint. It shouldn't take too much effort to spin the stud. Some people have reported that it took a strong effort to spin the stud in the ball joint. They still went ahead and installed them and found they were too tight and caused the problems you're having.

My just bought new lower TRW ball joints are too tight. Won't budge unless it's in a vise and you really really crank on them. With the above bench test the stud does not spin. Based on this thread might I have some lemons? Seems like TRW is usually ok so maybe I will ask the retailer to let me look through his stock for better ones.

Uppers seem fine. Firm but movable by hand.


You just can't recommend any brand ball joints these days. One year brand x is good, the next they are shit. The only way to tell if they are decent is to do the bench test before installation.
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dpiercy
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2021 4:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Ball joints too tight Reply with quote

Hi Folks - my first post on Samba. I learn SO MUCH from all of you very generous people, that I thought I'd put in my $.02.

I just acquired a 69 Ghia Vert - going through everything including ball joints... The boots were in tatters on mine, so I thought - "New Ball Joints will be so much better"... now I'm in the "my front end is way too tight club". My car is SO hard to steer and rides like I welded the front spindles to the frame. All I needed was boots and new grease. I'm trying something a bit different first before I go and buy new ball joints...

This is an EXPERIMENT... please be kind: I thought I would try to accelerate the break-in period some are mentioning, and I tried this on one of my "extra" new ball joints I had - and it seemed to work very well:

I took the spindle loose from the ball joints and removed the top swing arm to get wide access to the ball joint. The bottom can stay on the car. I removed the ball joint boot, and I I took my 1/2 drill (hi torque) and tightened it down to the pin of the ball joint and pulled the trigger (in low speed hi-torque mode). This spins the ball in the socket a LOT more than we would driving it around. I let it spin for about 3 minutes, and the joint gets HOT... but let it cool down and it's nice and smooth. I add some more grease and spin it some more - working the grease more into the joint.

Will this prematurely wear down the joint? Probably - but I'm not sure what the difference is between "premature wear", and "finally broken in enough to enjoy the friggin car"... I like either one.

-Duane
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John Moxon Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 1:41 am    Post subject: Re: Ball joints too tight Reply with quote

Welcome to The Samba Duane and thanks for the new angle on an old problem. I'll be intrigued to hear what others who have experienced the same problem have to say.

You're safe on the Ghia Forum, only constructive comments here. Smile
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TDCTDI
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:29 am    Post subject: Re: Ball joints too tight Reply with quote

dpiercy wrote:
Hi Folks - my first post on Samba. I learn SO MUCH from all of you very generous people, that I thought I'd put in my $.02.

I just acquired a 69 Ghia Vert - going through everything including ball joints... The boots were in tatters on mine, so I thought - "New Ball Joints will be so much better"... now I'm in the "my front end is way too tight club". My car is SO hard to steer and rides like I welded the front spindles to the frame. All I needed was boots and new grease. I'm trying something a bit different first before I go and buy new ball joints...

This is an EXPERIMENT... please be kind: I thought I would try to accelerate the break-in period some are mentioning, and I tried this on one of my "extra" new ball joints I had - and it seemed to work very well:

I took the spindle loose from the ball joints and removed the top swing arm to get wide access to the ball joint. The bottom can stay on the car. I removed the ball joint boot, and I I took my 1/2 drill (hi torque) and tightened it down to the pin of the ball joint and pulled the trigger (in low speed hi-torque mode). This spins the ball in the socket a LOT more than we would driving it around. I let it spin for about 3 minutes, and the joint gets HOT... but let it cool down and it's nice and smooth. I add some more grease and spin it some more - working the grease more into the joint.

Will this prematurely wear down the joint? Probably - but I'm not sure what the difference is between "premature wear", and "finally broken in enough to enjoy the friggin car"... I like either one.

-Duane



While new ball joints tend to be stiff for the first few miles, the most common causes of overly tight new ball joints are either they were damaged during installation or that the joints were clocked incorrectly.


If your ball joints turn easy enough that they can be spun up with a drill, then itís likely that your ball joints are clocked incorrectly & therefore binding when the car is lowered down. This will also lead to stiff suspension & ultimately failed ball joints.


There are two notches on each ball joint, if you draw a line through those notches, that line should be perpendicular to the center line of the pivot point of the trailing arm.


TDCTDI wrote:
Ö.so I started to disassemble the front beam.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



I had to heat up the nut on the top of the shock to persuade it off.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



And once that was off, I had to do the same to get the sleeve off of the trailing arm.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



While trying to remove the spindle, I noticed that the steering was binding but I managed to remove it once I popped the ball joints loose.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



I then cut the sway bar clamps off.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


After removing the trailing arms, I realized why the steering was binding, the ball joints had been clocked incorrectly the last time they were replaced.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


You can see how the indexing notches are not perpendicular to the bearing races on the trailing arms. You can also see that the ball joint wasn't completely pressed into the arm.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.




After removing the boots from the new ball joints, I pressed them into the arms.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Era Vulgaris
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 6:38 am    Post subject: Re: Ball joints too tight Reply with quote

dpiercy wrote:
now I'm in the "my front end is way too tight club". My car is SO hard to steer and rides like I welded the front spindles to the frame.


VW type 1 ball joints are not 360 degree movement. They are directional in their movement. More than likely they are installed in an incorrect orientation, and that is what is causing the binding.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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dpiercy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Ball joints too tight Reply with quote

As expected... lots of advice! Thanks to all.

While this may be my first post, I have combed through a BUNCH of forum posts before doing anything on anything on my Ghia.

I've done everything on this car except push in the ball joints. Didn't have the equipment to press them in. The joints are aligned perfectly. My 69 did have the notches, but my mechanic marked the original position with a wax pencil just to make sure.

I've since taken the car on a test drive- it is MUCH better after spinning the joints with the drill. I ended up doing a bit of spinning - for about a minute, then cooling - spinning more. They are all still without any slack or wobble, and don't flop around at all, but MUCH less effort in the steering wheel and the front suspension seems more pleasant.
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pennacook
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2021 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Ball joints too tight Reply with quote

I did my top and bottom ball joints in October on my Ď69 Ghia. You can rent a press from some auto parts places, but I ended up going to Harbor Freight as the kit from Autozone didnít have the right combination to remove the old ones and press the new ones. We pencil marked as a fail back in case the lines didnít match up, but all went well and after a front end alignment (as I did outer tie rods as well), the car drives better.
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cometspop
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2022 10:06 am    Post subject: Re: Ball joints too tight Reply with quote

Hello fellow members, first post, sadly its about tight cip ball joints, completely wasted two outa four, should have known tryin to get top quality german parts to play nicely with china crap just doesnt work,Ill try spinning them with a drill and hope for the best Sad thanks for all the advice
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Ian Godfrey
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2022 3:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Ball joints too tight Reply with quote

I recently bought some more Febi Bilstein ball joints and they are still good
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