Sway bar/lower control arm wear

Lincoln LS

  1. 04_Sport_LS

    04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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    As Joe suggested... do the control arm first... then get it aligned. Vibration could be a ball joint. Especially if at 65-70 mph.
     
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    • JT66

      JT66 LVC Member

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      Since before putting on the tie rod ends ( outer ), tires wore much less. I will finish with uppers and flowers then an alignment.
       
    • 04_Sport_LS

      04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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      Best to check out the ball joints first... and replace as necessary. Otherwise you will be paying for an alignment twice.
       
      Last edited: May 28, 2019
    • JT66

      JT66 LVC Member

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      Advice taken. Re-checked the suspension and drivers side upper control ball joint is shot. Also went back and somewhat corrected the outer tie rod ends that were installed and measured there distance on each side. Car performs much better. But definitely doing upper control arm and alignment.
       
    • 04_Sport_LS

      04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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      Well that's not the ball joints I was talking about... but glad you found that problem.

      I was talking about the main, (larger), ball joints at the bottom of the steering knuckles. When they go bad it usually causes a shake/shimmy in the steering wheel at 65-70.

      From all the parts you are finding worn out... it might be best to just replace everything on the front end. At 181k... its probably due for a full rebuild.
       
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      • JT66

        JT66 LVC Member

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        Visual inspection of the lower ball joints checked out ok oer my local suspension guy.
         
      • 04_Sport_LS

        04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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        O.....K I've never known visual inspection to be the proper way to tell if a ball joint is good or bad.

        You can have a ball joint with a torn boot and grease everywhere... and the ball joint will still be tight.

        You can have a ball joint that looks almost new with a perfect boot... and it's completely shot inside.

        Funny how your symptoms describe a bad ball joint.

        Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Ball Joint (Front) | YourMechanic Advice

        Proper way to check the lower ball joint on the LS, (since it's in the knuckle and not in the control arm).

        Jack the car up by the lower control arm and grab the wheel at the 6 o'clock position... and pull/push in and out. If you feel or see horizontal movement... the ball joint is bad.

        or...

        Jack up as mentioned previously... but only a couple inches off the ground. Then stick a pry bar under the tire... between it and the concrete... and pry up and down. If you feel/see verticle movement... the ball joint is bad.
         
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        • JT66

          JT66 LVC Member

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          I'm learning, at a novice pace to pick these things up. Appreciate the the lesson .
           
        • 04_Sport_LS

          04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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          To explain:

          The reason you jack up the control arm... is because the shock/spring is pushing down on the lower control arm... keeping tension on the ball joint.

          By jacking up the control arm..
          you take the tension away... so that the only weight that is on the ball joint is the wheel assembly, brakes, and upper control arm. Only about 100lbs... vs several hundred pounds of spring tension.

          Doing it this way makes it easier to diagnose the ball joint... instead of disassembling everything to check it. And you NEVER want to try to remove the nut on the ball joint with it under spring tension. Things can get real ugly really fast... and deadly.
           
        • FDR

          FDR Dedicated LVC Member

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          The spring does NOT apply any tension to the ball joint if the wheel is off the ground. The spring pressure presses the shock. The shock is at its extended limit when the wheel is off the ground, holding up the lower control arm. There's no additional force against the ball joints beyond the weight of the knuckle/hub/wheel/brake and upper control arm. Please don't tell people to jack up their cars by the aluminum control arms prone to fracture
           
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          • 04_Sport_LS

            04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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            That may be true of the LS... but there are other designs, (at least in the past), where the lower control arm hit a stop that prevented further travel.

            Either way... it is necessary to carry the sprung weight in some way so that the ball joint can be checked properly.

            And if the aluminum control arms are that fragile... they have no business being on the vehicle in the first place. They are tougher than you think they are... otherwise they would not hold up to driving abuse and rough torn up roads, or potholes.
             
          • FDR

            FDR Dedicated LVC Member

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            The sprung weight is carried by the stop in the shock. The aluminum control arms are designed to handle driving loads form the mounting points, not from the intense pressure points brought on by a jack pad concentrating the lifting forces into the contact surface. You're suggesting a potentially risky move for no gain in diag ability
             
          • 04_Sport_LS

            04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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            Not true. The ball joints need to be checked with the suspension at a level similar to if the tire was on the ground.

            With the suspension in "full droop" ... the control arms are not parallel to the ground as they would be if the tire was on the ground. This can put a bind on the ball joint... making it seem like it's good when it may not be.

            By jacking up the lower control arm near the ball joint, (is that better?), you are able to get the arms parallel... and the weight of the vehicle off the ball joint...to check it properly.
             

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