Ball joints and tie rods

SpetsACDC

Active Member
Hi,

My car has a squeak when turning and I'm fairly sure it is the driver's side outer tie rod. I was planning on also doing the passenger outer tie rod.

When I was inspecting the tie rods, I noticed that it looks like the lower ball joint boot is badly cracked:
1999 Mustang ball joints - Imgur
That's not how it should look, correct?

Now I'm thinking that I'll replace the ball joints as well. Does that seem like overkill? I've read that having a ball joint fail will cause you to lose control. Any thoughts / tips?

Any other suspension / steering part I should replace / check while doing this work? My car is a '99 v6 with 120k miles.

Thanks,
Michael
 

getsidewayzdrift

one- wheel peelin!
yeah mine is creaking/squeaking really bad sometimes when I turn the wheel recently and sure enough the boots on my balljoints were completely rotted away so I bought new lower balljoints and inner and outer tie rods, unfortunately I have yet to install them so I can tell you if it has fixed it yet lol but that's my guess.
you should also do the whole tierod inner and outer while your at it, since it'll all be disconnected
also for the special tools needed for the balljoints and inner tierods I would just go To any major parts store and theylle let you rent them, you'll need a balljoint press kit and an inner tie rod socket/tube thing, I believe a deposit of 100$ is needed for the joint press and I'm not sure of the cost of the tierod puller, but you'd get it back after returning the equipment
 

getsidewayzdrift

one- wheel peelin!
oh yeah and having a balljoint fail is definatley not pretty, your wheel detaches from your steering knuckle and usually folds in at the top
 

SpetsACDC

Active Member
Thanks for the info. I'll do my inner tie rods too!

What are you planning on using for an outer tie rod puller? There are a lot of options, and I'm not sure which will fit our cars. Some people use a fork and hammer it in to wedge the old tie rod out.
 

getsidewayzdrift

one- wheel peelin!
Thanks for the info. I'll do my inner tie rods too!

What are you planning on using for an outer tie rod puller? There are a lot of options, and I'm not sure which will fit our cars. Some people use a fork and hammer it in to wedge the old tie rod out.
I plan on just taking the castle nut off and flipping it over and smacking it with a hammer a few times, its should come right out with a few healthy smacks, if not than a pickling fork would be my next bet, but I'm going to attempt to complete the whole job with only renting the balljoint press kit, if all goes well that should be the only specialty tool needed hopefully lol but we know how that goes so well see :p
it sucks I got the parts sitting in a box in my living room begging to be installed, just can't find the time recently between work and 8month old son hah
 

SpetsACDC

Active Member
I did one side this weekend, but haven't test driving it yet...I just finished.

One thing I'm kinda concerned about:
At the end, when it was still jacked up and after I put the tire on, I spun the wheel around. There was some resistance from the brakes. The other wheel has this resistance too so I think it is normal. However, the resistance was greater when a certain part of the rotor got to the caliper; the resistance wasn't constant throughout the full rotation of the tire. I'm hoping the spinning/braking will be normal after I start the car and pump the brakes. I didn't do much to the brake caliper. I just took it off the rotor. I didn't release the brake pressure or compress the caliper piston with a c-clamp. I just put the brake pads in and slid the caliper down over them.
I checked the rotor and it appears straight and flush with the disk brakes.
Any ideas? Maybe my rotor needs resurfaced/replaced or the brake pads aren't seated properly.

I ran into a few other problems...the inner tie rod I bought from rockauto (deeza brand) was 1/16 of an inch too big on the outside nut area where it connects to the steering gear. Therefore, the inner tie rod tool that I rented didn't fit. I ended up buying Moog inner rods which were the correct size.

Also, the ball joint press I rented from autozone was bent. I rented another from oreilly's and it was good. Oh and I didn't have a 7/8" wrench for the press...I had to find a store that had one.

Separating the ball joint from the steering knuckle was hard with only 1 pickling fork. 2 would be better like in this video:
I got it off using the tie rod puller.
 

Phil II

Cone Destroyer
That's quite a few struggles. Glad to see you're making progress.

Did you notice any noises or erratic forces during braking before this project? Your brake rotor may be warped.
 

SpetsACDC

Active Member
Nope, I didn't notice any before this project. I just drove the car around my block and it seems ok. The steering is way off though. I've only done one side and the new outer tie rod wouldn't turn more than 32 times. The old one took 42 rotations to get off. After I do the other side I'll get an alignment. I hope it isn't too far out for them to align it for some reason. The outer tie rods are TRW brand and the inner are Moog.
 

getsidewayzdrift

one- wheel peelin!
Nope, I didn't notice any before this project. I just drove the car around my block and it seems ok. The steering is way off though. I've only done one side and the new outer tie rod wouldn't turn more than 32 times. The old one took 42 rotations to get off. After I do the other side I'll get an alignment. I hope it isn't too far out for them to align it for some reason. The outer tie rods are TRW brand and the inner are Moog.
that's weird, maybe you got the wrong ones by mistake, maybe an alignment shop can still align it when all is said and done but I forsee you needing to replace them again maybe in the near future if they can't do it
 

SpetsACDC

Active Member
I worked on my other side today.

I would have finished, but I don't want to put the spindle back on because the rotor is stuck to it. Since the other rotor may be warped, I was thinking of replacing them.

The rotor is very stuck and I might just get a new spindle & rotor because I've been spraying wd40 and hitting/pulling it with no luck.
 

getsidewayzdrift

one- wheel peelin!
I worked on my other side today.

I would have finished, but I don't want to put the spindle back on because the rotor is stuck to it. Since the other rotor may be warped, I was thinking of replacing them.

The rotor is very stuck and I might just get a new spindle & rotor because I've been spraying wd40 and hitting/pulling it with no luck.
I just replaced both my hub assemblies and encountered this problem as well getting the rotors off the hub, a few taps with a hammer around the inner thick part of the rotor while turning it broke it loose
and personally I'd grab new rotors too while its all apart and you know that atleast one is warped
 

SpetsACDC

Active Member
Sorry for the slow reply.

I finished doing the ball joints & tie rods on both sides. I got the stuck rotor off using getsidewayzdrift's tip of hitting the thick inner part with a mini-sledge hammer. I think both rotors are warped, because the latest side also doesn't rotate too smoothly and it was definitely better before. This weekend I'm replacing the inner hub assy's, front brakes, and front rotors. Was it hard to get the spindle nut off? I'm planning to rent a 250lb torque wrench.

I took the car to get aligned today, and the steering wheel is centered now. I don't really trust the shop that did it. Their alignment cost was $59, but after I told them the background story of the non-straight wheel they said it is $100 because they have to check my work. Then when I went to pick it up, the tech said my car was "really messed up", because he couldn't get the caster in spec for one side. He said I need caster plates and it will cost $800. Reading online though, it doesn't look like this is too big of a deal, and I don't think ball joints/tie rods would cause this. I was very careful to put the ball joints in straight. Also, my car isn't lowered; I got new OEM springs when I first bought the car 7 years ago, because the previous owner had lowered it without caster plates.

I got an alignment 1 year ago and my specs were:
left/right
camber:
-.7 / -.9

caster:
3.1 / 4.1

toe
.13 / .14

now my specs are:
camber:
-1.1 / -.9

caster:
3.7 / 4.4 <--- 4 is the max in spec

toe:
.15 / .15

Thoughts? The car seems to drive fine -- no drifting to one side. Will tire wear be too bad just .4 degrees out of spec?

Thanks!
 

getsidewayzdrift

one- wheel peelin!
getting the spindle nut off isn't hard, getting it back on @ around 230-250ft/lbs was a BITCH for me, I think mainly because I didn't have a big enough breaker bar and basically used just the torque wrench itself, used an electric impact to get it off it took a second but it came off. Also make sure you get new spindle nuts, and if you do, theylle look different than the ones you'll take off, not sure why, but the new ones a one solid piece of metal, old ones were weird, like stacks of metal being held together with another price of metal. Hah


and 800$ for CC plates is a ripoff, even with labor costs
 

getsidewayzdrift

one- wheel peelin!
Thanks

This is the nut I'm getting for a replacement:
Dorman/Spindle Lock Nut Kit (615-098.1) | AutoZone.com

I don't have an impact wrench. I have a breaker bar, but it probably isn't thick enough to fit a large torque wrench. I might have to get a bigger one.
yeah those are the right ones, you'll see what I mean how they're different once you take the dust cap off the wheel, I was concerned at first when I did mine was like "uhhh this doesn't look the same" hah
and yeah the longest steel pipe you can find that will fit around the torrque wrench will be a HUGE help
 

SpetsACDC

Active Member
I'm still waiting on the part from autozone, but I'm hoping it is $5 each.
I changed my oil today and noticed the sway bar bushing is cracked. I quickly researched it and it seems like an easy replacement. The instructions didn't mention an alignment, so hopefully another alignment isn't needed after replacing those. I also hope a broken bushing isn't a big deal so I can drive my car this coming week.
 
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