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  #1  
Old 08-23-2004, 04:48 PM
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Ball Joint Question W123

Based on an earlier post, I am pretty sure I have a lower ball joint problem in my 83 300d Sedan. I would like to try to confirm this by "lubricating" the joint. I was thinking of trying to clean up as much as possible with brake cleaner, the boots are definitely ripped. I was then wanting to spray in some kind of lubricant as best I can, something that'll kind of work its way down and around the ball joint. What would be best to use, WD40 type stuff, grease, regular oil via an oil squirt can? I just want to lubricate them a bit to see if the creaking goes away or quiets down and will confirm the bad balljoint diagnosis.
How dangerous are bad joints? Car is stable, no shimmy, I cannot feel play wiggling the wheel assembly. I ask because I will most likely not have time to replace these until spring but will be driving the car this winter. I know these are tough to replace, would it be less than say $350 to have an indy take care of them?
Thanks for any advise.
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Old 08-23-2004, 05:10 PM
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regular motor oil, but gear oil would probably be better, being thicker and having the little squirt top on the bottle. I did just this to my 82 SD several years ago trying to diagnose the noise. It did help quiet the noise and I do it periodically (oops, it's overdue) until I get a chance to relace them. I have more play in mine than I'd like, but the car still rides nice, especially with that rebuilt motor! Without the boots, the joints wash out faster, maybe this time I'll use grease on top of gear oil.
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Old 08-23-2004, 05:12 PM
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The ball joint job scared me to death until I did a few of them. Not bad actually. Taking the steering knuckle off was the easiest. Now I just have spare steering knuckles with new ball joints pressed in and simply swap them when the car makes the familiar noise.

I would use anything like WD-40 or PB Blast cuz you're not trying to fix it, just locate the issue. In most of my cases, I could reproduce the noise by applying downward pressure on the front fender. Kind of a creaking noise.

In all three cases, the noise was remedied by the ball joint replacement.

Someone else may weigh in on this, but my local mechanic said that the ball joint (even when bad) was not as likely to break as say a tie rod end. I didn't trust that however and went ahead and did it.

Don
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Old 08-23-2004, 09:01 PM
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The thing can and will break eventually, if it does you can get killed or kill someone, or both.

Gilly
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Old 08-23-2004, 10:04 PM
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I actually considered this repair fairly simple. I rented the balljoint press from Performance Products and went at it. The hardest part was getting the old joints out. A few good shots with a mini-sledge and they started to move. Finished off with a section of 1" brass rod as a punch. New joints went in easy with the PP press. I did both in under three hours. RT
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Old 08-24-2004, 02:07 PM
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rwthomas, did the press you used release the steering knuckle at the upper and/or lower joint? What are the rental terms? That might be a good option
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Old 08-25-2004, 01:33 AM
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Pete,
I used a cheap import pitman arm puller from Autozone to separate the upper balljoint. Worked great. Once you separate the upper you can pull the top of the steering knuckle/spindle out far enough to hit the top of the lower balljoint stud with a mini-sledge. This releases it immediately. Don't mess with the outer tierod, just unbolt the steering arm. The PP press rental was $100.00 Pricey but it works extremely well and you don't have to mess with the dust boot like if you try and use a standard style balljoint press. Hope this helps, RT
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Old 08-25-2004, 09:27 AM
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thanks, that does help. I saw the press on their website, but I suppose you have to call and ask about the rental. How long do you have to use it, and do you just send it back and forth UPS?
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Old 08-25-2004, 09:21 PM
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Pete,
The rental program is you "buy" the press and then return it and they credit your account less $100.00 I think the rental is for a month? Call and ask them. UPS for shipping. The PP press is extremely robust. Never seen a tool so overbuilt. RT
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Old 08-26-2004, 09:06 AM
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RT, thanks again
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