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b_jason
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 9:14 am    Post subject: Ball joint... Reply with quote

Any recommendations as to where to get a quality upper ball joint for a decent price? I'm not very familiar with all the online stores so I thought I'd ask for any suggestions.

it's for an 83 ac vanagon
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bought mine at http://www.busdepot.com Upper and lower good quality German parts, finding a good Auto machine to press in the lowers is a bit harder. Ball joints should be replaced in pairs, both uppers or both lowers.
If you are going to go through all the trouble do all four. Don't forget to check your tie-rod ends. This is also a good time to repack and check your front wheel bearings.
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mjamgb
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 6:14 pm    Post subject: pairs of balls Reply with quote

If you are replacing one due to a torn boot then one at a time is OK (unless you happen to know that the other is very old or has excessive play).
Uppers are a snap, lowers must be done by a VW shop as most "regular" shops do not have the proper mandrel for the joint (close fit and "D-shaped" housing).
Don't bother with a pickle-fork as it nearly never works. Use a screw-type ball-joint seperator for both although I had one upper fall apart with suspension weight and a sharp mallet blow. My tie-rod seperator fits the lowers and worked well.

I got mine at busdepot too. NAPA supposedly has their own brand and beck-arnley (crap) joints. Super-dooper MOOG joints are available (like from www.rockauto.com) for less but I haven't tried to get them for the Vanagon yet.

Mike!
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Captain Pike
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

napa ball joints do suck__________HOWEVER_______if your vanagon has high mileage or rough road conditions your control arm bushings could be shot. This isn't easy to find until they are totally gone. You could replace ball joints all day and they will fail in no time. Do you have excessive tire wear on the inside of your front tires? The replacement of the bushings : 25$ each, you need 4. A shop who knows how to do it___welding is involved to secure the bushings_______if a bone head overheats the weld the plastic in the bushing MELTS, F%&#ing up the whole job.Bla BlaBla..........
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mjamgb
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 3:59 pm    Post subject: and... Reply with quote

That reminds me. If the ball joints are being replaced just due to "normal" wear, then the tie rods are likely to need replacing as well. Doing so on mine tightened up the steering remarkably (although it was already light years ahead of the bay window bus I used to have... sigh, I miss it). One side had been previously replaced (they apparently used a chisel to tighten so I didn't feel so bad) and wasn't bad (kept for a spare) but the other had 1/16" play.

Replacing those tie rods requires either a huge open ended wrench or very large crescent wrench or (don't cringe) a pipe wrench. Once they are started it isn't so bad. The new ones have such a tight joint that getting that first thread started is a bit frustrating (rod can't be held straight... thinkaboutit).

Honestly, I just about rebuilt the entire front end but got lucky in that the bushes were fine (although the radius rod bushes could use replacing if I can find urethane). I also replaced the shocks, flexi-brake lines, repacked the bearings, replaced the axle nut in addition to the other stuff. That lower ball was the only bit I really needed help on (OK, other than alignment).

Mike!
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b_jason
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My van is used alot. Commuting, road trippin', mild off roading. It's got ~160k with 30k being from last year. I figure if I replace just the ball joint that's making the racket I'll make it until when taxes come in--that's when I'm gonna completely refresh all that needs refreshing in the way of suspension; front and rear. Speaking of rear...I was backing out of the driveway this morning and I heard this REALLY loud tickish thump repetatively...like tick tick tick tick. I thought to myself..."oh shoot (only I didn't say shoot), I need to replace one of my rear Cv joints. So I checked it and yep, I do. Those things are friggin expensive!! (at least on my budget) I would like to think that it'll last for a month or so, but I know I need to get it done soon. I'm planning a trip in Jan. to Chicago so I guess I need to find some dough somewhere. Anybody got some drugs they need sellin?
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mjamgb
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:25 pm    Post subject: Dope Reply with quote

Better off takin' it yerself Twisted Evil !

Seriously, just get new boots and repack the joints. I use about 1/2 a tub of Moly disc brake grease to do all 4. Unless something is fractured in there you should be able to get a lot more mileage. If you follow the baywindow FAQs and rotate the joints you may not need to mess with them for another 30-50K miles.

Typically the noise is caused when the boot tears and the joint dries out and then it binds. A good cleaning followed by mucho grease is just the ticket! "Tick tick tick," eh? Mine are usually "BANG-POP BANG-POP BANG-POP" by the time I get to them (lol)!

I found that if you dis-assemble starting at the inboard end (and have a couple different length extensions for your ratchet driver) you don't even have to jack it up to rotate the wheel/axle (safer with all 4 on ground and, tranny in gear and e-brake on!). Re-assemble starting with the outboard end.

I also don't mess with the clamp on the axle as the tension of the boot is sufficient to hold it and then it cannot pressurize/vaccum with temp changes (and deform boot). Extra grease in the boot ensures water won't migrate to the joint.

Mike!
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DanJReed
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got mine from Ken over at [url]www.vanagain.com [/url]- quality German ones. WITH grease fittings! Yey!

Upper ones are cake. 15 min/side tops.
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mjamgb
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 11:03 am    Post subject: Cake Reply with quote

Ja, my left upper was a snap (rapped with a mallet with front end jacked up and it fell apart), right upper would not come apart. Ended up destroying joint with a pickle fork (impatient to wait for proper press) and had to take entire upright to shop to be pressed out.

Mike!
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skimballc
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Jesus H tapdancing Christ. I can not get the upper ball joint to pop out. I drove the pickle fork in all the way it would go and the joint never popped loose. I ordered a press-type ball joint/tie rod lifter tool but it won't quite fit over the ball joint. That thing's stuck in there good. I haven't even moved over to the other side yet. What to try now?
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skimballc
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To clarify, will pulling the tie rod end out enable me to make a wider gap with the pickle fork? It seems to have hit its limit thus far. Thanks.
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atarasi
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had the same problem with one side of my van. I heated up the steering knuckle around the upper ball joint with a small propane torch and then tapped it loose. Sears also has a really inexpensive 3 point tie rod puller that worked just as well.
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skimballc
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am trying to not remove the caliper, so tapping it from the bottom is impaired by the hard brake line. If worse comes to worse, I'll remove it and have clearer access to the bottom of the joint. I think by trying to tap up the control arm might work. That dawned on me after I put the wheel back on and drove it out of my pappy's garage. I have been trying to push the joint up out of the knuckle w/out removing the 2 8mm allen bolts holding it to the control arm, hence pushing everything from the knuckle on downward, which is my theory behind the tie rod removal allowing more space for it drop. After last week's spontaneous engine swap I am essentially being really lazy and want to have a better approach mapped out before I get back into it.
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atarasi
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you tapping the ball joint itself? That won't work. Tap the knuck itself that surrounds the joint. The vibration will loosen it out of there.
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blyhigh
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:35 am    Post subject: Re: Ball joint... Reply with quote

Finally. Took me a day and half. I was able to get a ball joint separator in place well enough so that I could wrench it down. When it popped it literally flew up and hit the top of the wheel well. Scared the hell out of me. Funny thing is I don't even see any rust. I have no idea why it was wedged in there so tight.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Ball joint... Reply with quote

Quote:
I have no idea why it was wedged in there so tight.


It better have been, it's a wedge fit, and that's why the pin and hole are clean, a wedge fit is so tight nothing can enter.
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Ball joint... Reply with quote

blyhigh wrote:
...I have no idea why it was wedged in there so tight.


Few things grip as tightly as a taper fit.

The stopper in a glass decanter should fit so tightly you should be able to pick the whole thing up by the stopper (the usual test to see if it has its original stopper).
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dabaron
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Ball joint... Reply with quote

Ahwahnee wrote:

The stopper in a glass decanter should fit so tightly you should be able to pick the whole thing up by the stopper (the usual test to see if it has its original stopper).


look out antiques roadshow, we got all sorts of knowledge from wrenching on Vanagons.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Ball joint... Reply with quote

blyhigh wrote:
Finally. Took me a day and half. I was able to get a ball joint separator in place well enough so that I could wrench it down. When it popped it literally flew up and hit the top of the wheel well. Scared the hell out of me. Funny thing is I don't even see any rust. I have no idea why it was wedged in there so tight.


Only loosen the nut a half turn and then once you have the splitter under load hit the side of the eye with a 2-4# hammer, using a nice fat punch if you need to. You might actually miss hearing the small pop it will make as it comes loose and will also miss having to go to your dentist or eye specialist.
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