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Old 02-25-2010, 06:18 PM   #1
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Ball joints

I took my van in to the local Ford dealer today. I wanted them to check the front end alignment, check for loose connections in the steering linkage or the tie rod, and anything else that might be causing the steering issues I've been having. In short, the van tracks straight, but at higher speeds or in corners, I really have to fight the steering. On a straight, bumpy road, the bumps will throw the front end around, and the steering wheel doesn't follow. I have to massively over-correct to the convince the van to stay on the road. Corners are fine once the van settles into the "edge", but a series of corners with changes of direction is very difficult, constantly trying to find the new edge in each corner without oversteering. I hope that makes sense.

I stopped by the dealership, and with the tie rod disconnected and the front wheels hanging, both sides were extremely stiff and difficult to turn. The mechanic reported that the steering linkage was in good shape. Anyway, their bottom line diagnosis is that the ball joints are bad, both sides top and bottom. $677 to replace. The mechanic swears that this is the solution, and that he recently did the same fix to an F-350. The dealership owners are long-time family friends, and the shop has been very good to work with to-date, so I have no reason to distrust them. Also, the information they have provided is consistent with everything else I have experienced or have discussed with others.

Any thoughts or advice from ye wise sages of SportsmobileForum? The trip to the Olympic Coast earlier this month was a constant battle, and with about 5,000 miles of driving coming up in the next two months, I need to be able to drive this thing without fighting the steering all the time. I would really appreciate any advice on the new ball joints.

Thanks,

Jack
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:37 PM   #2
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Re: Ball joints

Sometimes you need to trust your mechanic. Or get a new mechanic. But, you said they've been good to work with, so go with it.

And, if you are fighting the steering it is worth nearly any amount of money to get it fixed.

Mike
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:22 PM   #3
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Re: Ball joints

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
Sometimes you need to trust your mechanic. Or get a new mechanic. But, you said they've been good to work with, so go with it.

And, if you are fighting the steering it is worth nearly any amount of money to get it fixed.

Mike

+1

I had to replace my ball joints at about 30k miles. My mechanic, who I also trust, said that E-350s in general and SMB's weight are tough on ball joints. I went with AC delco ball joints which come with grease ports. My mech said regular grease shots can prolong their life quite a bit.

R
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:34 PM   #4
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Re: Ball joints

I had the same recommendation from the front end shop I use for my SMB and 4x4 F350. He also suggested replacing with a HD ball joint and not OEM.

Now the question is what is the best HD ball joint and who makes it??
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Old 02-26-2010, 06:45 PM   #5
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Re: Ball joints

New ball joints are in, and it's a world of difference. Money well spent.

Speaking of money, my wife went shopping for new clothes today. I said, "Honey, I support you 100%." To be fair, she's not really much of a shopper, and she did need some new clothes, but after new ball joints, the answer would have been the same either way...

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Old 02-27-2010, 10:45 AM   #6
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Re: Ball joints

Here is a list of what to consider...not sure it's the "best" you can get. Also you might want to look into greasable parts as I've heard pros and cons to both. My ball joints only lasted to about 42K miles if I remember correctly.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=907&hilit=ball+joints
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