Custom Dodge Magnum Forums banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello All...I am in need of some desperate help here very soon! I took my car into my shop yesterday for a little DIY suspension repair (yes I had "The Clunk"). Everything went well until I started messing with these @#$% ball joints! I was forced to replace the Tension Strut Bushings (therefore separating the said Ball Joint from the Tension Strut) as they were torn and clunking every time I ran over a piece of pea-gravel, let alone a pothole! Well I decided "What can it hurt to replace the Ball Joint in this knuckle while I have it apart?...I mean it is kinda loose, and the boot is starting to rot.".......BAD IDEA!!!

With the help of the Ball Joint press rented from AutoZone, a 1/2" impact (Snap-on even), MAP Gas, and about 4 hours I was going nowhere. So I decided to break out the big guns and use the Oxy-Acetylene torch to really heat this baby up....still no luck, so let's use the Air Hammer...EVEN WORSE IDEA!!! While my buddy was Air Hammering away at the base of the Ball Joint, I held the Knuckle good and tight until BOOM! The damned Ball Joint shot out just the threaded piece with the ball on the end right at my chest! I said "@#$% this job today" and was ready to call it quits. And then I realized..no, this car just tried to take me out! So I grabbed the cut-off wheel and started just cutting away pieces, making notches, air hammering the pieces off...still trying to get the thing out of the knuckle. To some avail, I got both ball joints out and new Moog ones ready to install (K80996 is the part number).

Now I decided to use a little emery cloth and clean out the bores and even used some Synthetic High Performance Brake Lubricant to help ease the process. Well yet again the AutoZone Ball Joint Press didn't help me out as the ring that seemed to fit on the collar of the ball joint was just a hair too big. So I went to the hardware store and bought a piece of 2" steel conduit that fit like it was made for it, headed back to the shop and tried it again...It worked! UNTIL it was time to allow the snap-ring part at the base of the ball joint through the knuckle. "Well let's use the Vice and a receiving tube and it'll be fine" we thought...WRONG! It went in until there was about 1/8" left for the snap-ring to fit and then SNAP! The collar on the Ball Joint cracked (probably due to unequal distribution of pressure if I had to guess) leaving me at square 1 all over again. Needless to say at this point, but I'm extremely upset at this whole repair.

I have been doing some reading now, and it appears that MOPAR designed this with the idea of "Special Tools" in mind (there's a Miller Kit that everyone keeps talking about). Now my big question for everyone (who has now endured my pain, laughed a little, and is still reading) is "How in the F do I get these Ball Joints installed into the knuckle without that tool, and without taking it to the dealership and being charged some ridiculous fee?"

Any help would be greatly appreciated, and the sooner the better, as I have it in my shop now clogging up a lift that I could use to make some potential money. I have an actual press, but the whole assembly wont fit in a way that I can press it in...you've (hopefully) read my horror story above, so you know what I've done, tried, and been through. Again, ANY advice is accepted, and ALL is appreciated. Thank you in advance, and PLEASE HELP!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,333 Posts

·
MR 3 FIFTEEN
Joined
·
12,413 Posts
You would have saved yourself a whole lot of frustration by replacing the tension strut itself and lower control arm itself. Take it to a shop to have lower ball joints replaced. Cost me $75 per side and had my car back by the end of the day. That's labor only, not parts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Honestly the lower ball joint is a job I don't feel is worth trying to do at home. For the $60 my local shop charges to re & re the lower ball joint I can't find it worth getting the tool...unless you plan on doing this job many times. But if you just need the lowers pressed out and new ones pressed in I would advise taking it to a shop where they have the proper tools. It is NOT worth the aggrevation you've gone through to save a few bucks. And if you factor in the cost of your own time and labour it is NOT a high price to pay $60 for the shop to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I was doing the repairs at my shop...and again, its the lower ball joint in the KNUCKLE and NOT the ball joint that is on the control arm. The ball joint I speak of is pressed into the steering knuckle itself, and goes through the TENSION STRUT (The arm that the shock attaches to). I tried the repairs myself to nothing good happening, so I decided today to use my lunch break to go to my local Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep dealership - one of many - for them to do the work for me since I had failed. Guess what happened next...? The mechanic that attempted the job, failed more than I. Not only did he not attempt to get the broken ball joint out of one knuckle, he decided to try on the other knuckle with not 1..but 2 ball joints.....broke them both! Needless to say I am now stuck buying another pair of ball joints, as the mechanic nor the service adviser decided to take ownership. WTF do I need to do for these damned things to work properly?! Anyone in the Indianapolis area on here and know of a reputable shop/dealer to take these to? I figured "Hey, they're a Dodge dealership, surely they have the tools and the knowledge to complete such a task"....boy was I wrong! GGGGGRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
oh, and on another end of this rant that I wont go into great detail with...the dealership "neirb'O moT" has the audacity to call me and say "Sir you need to buy new knuckles to solve this problem". I go ahead and ask what the cost is on that part....$533.67 COST and $685.00 LIST!!!! WTF?! Really??? Because your mechanic screwed my new parts up I have to come out of pocket almost $1,200?! No thanks...and you didnt even offer to replace the parts and allow me to take it elsewhere, just that I can come pick up my broken/useless pieces of a car?! Thanks...sorry for the rant ;)
 

·
MR 3 FIFTEEN
Joined
·
12,413 Posts
When I tried removing the first ball joint (and failed), I screwed it up pretty bad. The shop I took it to afterwords actually broke their press while removing it. So it's not totally unheard of. The part that the shock bolts to is the rearward lower control arm. That's held in on one end by the lower ball joint. That's the part you're trying to remove. The tension strut is the part that's closest to the front bumper. It's also referred to as the frontward lower control arm or torque arm. Depends where you get the part from.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top