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I R SMRAT.
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all! I guess since this is my first post here, I'll introduce myself. My name is Shane and I live in Houston, TX. I drive a 1999 Ram 1500 Sport 4X4 with 93,000 miles. I just bought the truck 3 days ago and am trying to fix all the problems from the previous owner's maintenance (or lack thereof).

Next on the list of this to replace: ball joints. I got under the truck over the weekend to grease the joints only to discover that just about all of them had ruptured dust covers (grease bladders). I greased them anyway but the grease just kind oozed out everywhere. After greasing, I realized just how dry these things were. The steering loosened up....to the point where the truck wants to wander all over the highway now. Also when going over small bumps and whatnot, the front end seems very loose and it rattles.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure it's worn out balljoints. This truck has a lot of them though and i wanted to know what to buy. I've done balljoints once before and they're not that hard. I want to replace all of them (there seems to be about 4 or 5...can't remember). Anyone know what I need to ask for at the parts house?

Thanks in advance! Nice place, BTW. ;)
 

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Welcome to DodgeTalk. As far as the suspension goes, there are only two ball joints per side (1 upper & 1 lower). The rest of the joints are for the track bar and steering linkage. For the average person it is a pretty tough job. Make sure you have a ball joint press kit before starting. If you have a choice be sure to get ones with grease fittings. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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The Green Machine
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If you've got a NAPA around - these are the ones I used:

P/N: 260-1291 and 260-1342
 

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Did mine a few weeks ago, there are a couple of good posts with pics on this site. All told it took about 7 hours of time to do mine, but 1 hout of that was getting a new breaker bar since I broke the old one I had in the shop.

ALl in all, it is not too bad, but take your time.

Jim
 

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I R SMRAT.
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
WOW! Thanks for the replies, guys! Great info!

I've never done ball joints before but my neighbor has on his '85 Chevy 2500 and he said he'll help me. I'm pretty handy but it's good to know as much as I can!

There is a NAPA near kinda near me but they have such crummy hours, by the time I get there, they'll be closed. There's an O'Reilly and Auto Zone just down the street, I'll check there. Thanks for the part numbers though!

As far as the track bar and steering linkage, I probably need to replace all the joints there too. Is that pretty much the same story as the ball joints? They look like ball joints (that's why I assumed at first). Those joints all have ruptured dust covers. They don't feel too loose yet, but might as well do everything in one shot even if the truck is down a couple days (I've got a bike as an alternate).

If I can buy the ball joints and steering linkage ball joint "thingies," I'll do it tonight so I can put all of that in the freezer for a couple days (advice from the neighbor).

Thanks again! And thank you for the welcome!!!

EDIT: Ugh. After re-reading this post, I sound like an idiot! :thatfunny Anyway, I'm reading over the tutorials and it does seem like a big job. Oh, well. I'm tired of the truck feeling like the whole front end is gonna fall out of it when I go over bumps. I would do it the lazy-man's way and go to a shop, but I suffer from a seemingly incurable disorder known as "Walletus-Emptyus"
 

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I did mine half a year ago. I ran into a major prob. One of them popped out 2 weeks later. I had to end up welding it in. I'm thinking I must have had it off center when I pressed it in. Good luck, I found my self cursing my truck and throwing tools a couple times while doing this job.
 

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I R SMRAT.
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Discussion Starter #7
That gives me hope. ;)

Just kidding, man. Sorry that happened. What if you need to replace that one that was welded later on?
 

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The Green Machine
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In my sig is a link to the write up I did when I changed mine last month - it's not that hard of a job, just make sure you have all the proper tools before starting (hint - having a compressor and good impact wrench make the job MUCH easier ;) )
 

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******* SPACESTATION
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Like said above, it's not that hard. You just need to have plenty of elbow grease (or a good cheater bar) and a good socket set.
I didn't use a spring compressor, I dropped the lower control arm using a hydraulic jack. Much easier & quicker than monkeying with a spring compressor IMO.
Took about 5 hours to change all 4 ball joints, counting a 10 minute whopper & fries lunch.
 

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My ball joints $hit the bed at around 77K for mi. I purchased Moog joints, as my mechanic advised me to be wary of "Pep Boys" no-name type Tiawan ball joints. While I did not exactly do my ball joints myself, I did however have my buddy show me how to do it (with some $$$ bribery of course). After reading this thread, and what I went through there is NO way IMO, one can easily install ball joints with a rachet. My buddy has a Snap On ball joint press kit, and it made the job go fairly smoothly. One ball joint gave us major grief as it cocked slightly while being pressed into the bore, so be very patient an ensure the joints start into the bores correctly. You are also going to need some type of a puller to remove the crudded axles from their bores. My buddy used a blunt nosed air hammer on the backside of the axle flange, and again made fairly easy work of removing tha axles. I learned a lot that day, and I learned that if you ain't got air, you're in for a week long battle (especially northern trucks prone to salt and sand corrosion).
 

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I R SMRAT.
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Discussion Starter #11
edglock21 said:
In my sig is a link to the write up I did when I changed mine last month - it's not that hard of a job, just make sure you have all the proper tools before starting (hint - having a compressor and good impact wrench make the job MUCH easier ;) )
I saw that write up you did. Excellent how-to, edglock21! I actually have that bookmarked. ;)

Well, found out my buddies hydrolic jack is shot. I'm spending money faster than it's coming in! Gotta get a jack now.

Thanks for the information everyone!!!
 

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******* SPACESTATION
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Polar_Bus said:
After reading this thread, and what I went through there is NO way IMO, one can easily install ball joints with a rachet.
Mine were Timken brand i think, they make good bearings so I figure the ball joints can't be complete trash.

All I used was a manual ball joint press (free from Autozone), a big ass crescent wrench, dead blow hammer, my craftsman 1/2" socket set w/ breaker bar, and a whole lotta pullin.
I didn't say it was easy...maybe I should have been more specific: you need to have a good bit of strength.
Not all of us have access to air.
Removing the lower control arms from the truck (was rustproofing them & the coils) may have made it easier, but not much.
Beats paying $650 to have them replaced.
 

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The Green Machine
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chizzle1 said:
I didn't use a spring compressor...
Me neither - maybe I shoulda added "air" in front of "compressor" ;)

:D
 

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******* SPACESTATION
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my mistake, I was gonna ask why a spring compressor? lol :tup:
 

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I R SMRAT.
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Discussion Starter #15
Ok, so I'm a really huge idiot, but this time I don't mind. :D I finally got the truck off the ground and found that the ball joints are still holding for now. The only problem that I can feel in either wheel, is the driver's side outer tie rod end is gone (1 inch or so play in the tire side to side). So all I need is that for right now. PHEW! The tires have no play at all top to bottom and the passenger side is snug. The dust covers are ruptured on almost every joint under there but I'll just check them often and grease them if needed.

Thanks fellas! Sorry for startin a thread for nothin. :D
 
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