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Old 03-09-2016, 01:31 PM   #1
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Ball Joint Successes and failures

I am getting ready to replace my ball joints for the 6th time (220K mi). I have put around $20,000 into both front (Dana 60) and rear diffs and would like to get more than 50K out of a set of ball joints. The Dana 60 Pro Steer ball joints are advertised as being more durable but, unless they last more than 100K mi or the cost avoidance for the replacements is substantial, the price for the Pro Steer ball joints is prohibitive.

Other threads have discussed the various options (Spicer, NAPA, Moog, Dynatrac Pro Steer) but, other than the Moogs (Agile) and the short life span of the Ford ball joints I am not seeing a reference to how long the various ball joints are lasting in the Dana 60s.

Is there a thread or a stickie that provides some details on the pros or cons of the various ball joints or has anyone documented the driving conditions and mileage that they have gotten with Pro Steer, NAPA, Spicer or Moog?
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:01 PM   #2
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You do know the Dynatrac Pro Steer's are rebuildable? And reportedly in the field.
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:13 PM   #3
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I was lucky to get 50K miles with the stock ball joints and being I send the van in for replacement the Pro Steer's saves me the trouble of taking the van in.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:35 PM   #4
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JoeH I've read that the Dynatrac HD balljoints can be rebuilt. When I wrote "or the cost avoidance for the replacements is substantial" I was referring to rebuilding the Dynatrac HD balljoints using their kit.

I understand the difficulty of estimating the life span of the Dynatrac or any set of balljoints. I was hoping that we can come up with some examples from our collective experience and determine what strategy will work best for those of us with the Dana 60 front axles. Same applies to tie rod ends and bearing sets (I have had two bearing races disintegrate).

Has anyone rebuilt a set of Dynatrac HD balljoints? After how many miles? Can the Dynatrac balljoints be rebuilt on the trail (or in my driveway) or do the knuckles have to be removed when using the Dynatrac kit?
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:54 PM   #5
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My understanding is that they can be rebuilt in the field without the steering knuckles removed but not entirely sure.

As for longevity it's kinda tough. Some seem to have really bad luck with ball joints and others no issues for 50k or more miles. When I was researching ball joints I searched in the Dodge truck forums. Despite the awesome cummins engine the trucks eat ball joints like there's no tomorrow. Those guys seemed stoked on SKF. Some would argue that a Moog of today is not the same quality as a moog of 10 years ago as they have changed hands and manufacturing shifted to different factories.

Sorry, not much to add. I did post my ball joint findings in another thread. Do you consider the Dynatrac ProRock60 that SMB specs on their 4x4 build the same as a D60 axle?
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Old 03-09-2016, 08:40 PM   #6
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Yes, I am referring to the ProRock60 that SMB installed on my van.
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Old 03-09-2016, 08:48 PM   #7
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I've posted this previously but here it again anyway:

Quote:
The cost of Moog ball joints on Moog-Suspension-Parts.com - A Dealer of the Federal Mogul Brand of Suspension Parts is slightly less than half than the Dynatracs at ~$250. Amazon or Rock Auto is much cheaper. The reputation and apparent quality of Moog has gone downhill in recent years.

NAPA ball joints are apparently made by Spicer (DANA). The only difference between NAPA and Spicer may be just that the Napa is greaseable. It would be interesting to know if it is made for NAPA to higher spec. As an OEM replacement the the NAPA ball joints are highly regarded by the off-road Baja racing crowd. They are made in Taiwan.

XRF gets rave reviews on the Dodge truck forums but are made in Taiwan. However, you can pick up the set for $125 from The Tire Club ... _KITS.html

The results on XRF are mixed and are really not a premium ball joint like Dynatrac.

These were the NAPA part numbers and prices for my application which is the same for an F series truck.
2601395 lower $72.99 ea.
2601248 upper $47.77 ea.

Spicers are a bit cheaper at ~$65 per side.

I ended up going overkill and getting the Dynatracs. USA designed and manufactured and they will probably outlive the life of my van. Otherwise, I probably would have gone with the NAPA joints over the spicers and avoided Moog altogether.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:45 AM   #8
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I have a question. How are you guys determining when ball joints are bad or still OK? I've been around Japanese independent front suspension vehicles a lot and the down and dirty way we would check was jacking the vehicle up and torquing on the tire or a pry bar between the ball joint looking for play. Is there a better way to check on the vans? I have the dynatrac Pro 60 front axle that seems to be the norm for an '06 SMB.

Thanks
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:39 PM   #9
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Eric The way that I have checked the ball joints is to jack up the front axle. With the tires off the ground, put a pry bar or crow bar under each tire and move the tire up. Watch the gap above and below the steering knuckles to see if the gap expands or contracts. When you drop the tire down, again watch for any increase or decrease in the gab above and below the knuckles. If there is any vertical movement in either direction, the ball joints should be replaced.
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:00 PM   #10
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i was instructed to find slop is by jacking tire up until its off ground, then setting just a little weight back on the wheel your checking. that way you dont need a tool to check. you can just feel the wiggle since the weight of that heavyass wheel is actually on the ground and your not trying to manhandle it around and try to feel for slop at the same time. just makes it a little easier to tell if theres any play or not.
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