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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Front lower Ball Joint question '98 SE

Hi guys, I was refered here by someone in another forum, and it looks like I could be hanging around for awhile as my sister has a '98 wagon as her main transportation since last May. It only had 88,000 miles when she got it, and now is around 125,000.

Anyway, I was inspecting her front brake pads last week, and noticed that the dust boot(s) on the ball joint was badly dry rotted. As in broken open. Also there seemed to be no factory grease fitting. I mistakenly jacked under the lower control arm to check for slop, and didn't see any, but now have been informed that you have to let the suspension hang to unload the BJ. True?
What is the frequency rate of these cars having total ball joint failure, before or after the dust boot is compromised? This car's undercarrage is not very rusty, as it came from southern Ohio. No brown rust residue is visible around the ball joint boot.

I live 110 miles from my sister, so I can't check it the correct way until I go back to her place, so I'm looking for some real world feedback, and possible first hand experience testimony.

Thanks in advance.
Tom
 

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mine were still good at 198k miles till i decided to use a pickle fork to try and pop the knuckle free of the control arm. but I'm sure if the boot is torn it should be replaced before it does decide to fail.
 

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I replaced mine at 42,000. Both sides started squeaking at about the same time, espeically when it was hot out side. The car is a 2000 and spent most of it's life in Florida. I had someone else do it because my joints aren't working to good anymore, so I can't say for sure if the rubber boots had deteriorated; I think they were. I don't think they grease anything anymore, most bearings and joints are permanently sealed. These things should last almost the life of the car, I haven't had to replace a ball joint since I did them on my 57 Ford.
 

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Of all the Taurii I have owned, I've only had one ball joint failure. The boot was intact and the joint wasn't loose or sloppy. My wife was doing a 3 point turn in the Town Hall parking lot and SNAP! there it went. Mechanic said lack of lubrication was the problem (a zerk-less Ford part) Replaced both with Ingalls with zerks.
 

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I had to replace mine at 70,000 miles. I supose it all depends on the type of roads you are driving on---potholes, farm, city driving, road heaves, etc, etc. I don't think a Taurus can go a lifetime without ball joints. Also, personally, I would never do that job myself, too much to reckon with for the average DIY person.
 

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If the book is broken and all the grease is gone, the ball joint is not far away from breaking in some way.

Unfortunately, you will have to replace the ball joint, which most people CANNOT do themselves because they do not have the right tools to do it.

Ford stock ball joints are not regreasable, so a whole new ball joint must be bought. Moog's are good as long as they do not fit "snug" inside the hub. A lot of people have confirmed that Moog created the wrong diameter size on a lot of ball joints which caused too much play when inside the hub. A correct one will have to be frozen (or the hub heated up) in order to get the ball joint in (press fitted).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
any opinions on replacement brands?

I've heard some people say they wouldn't use anything but Moog.
AdvanceAuto has either Moog or TRW. $60 vs $41. I always though TRW was a good product.
AutoZone wants $28 for the Duralast.
None of these replacements show that they have a zerk fitting.
 

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zerk fitting?
 

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Are you just talking about the grease balljoint insert?
 

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I've heard some people say they wouldn't use anything but Moog.
AdvanceAuto has either Moog or TRW. $60 vs $41. I always though TRW was a good product.
AutoZone wants $28 for the Duralast.
None of these replacements show that they have a zerk fitting.
In that case.. Moog and TRW have Zerk fittings. (Same with Ingalls)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Niece's husband and I replaced both lowers last evening. He did most of the work.
He purchased the new ball joints from Car Quest, and they had the Moog trademark logo on the box with Car Quest part number.
Used the Auto Zone press and it worked well. We left each knuckle connected to strut & tie-rod, but had to loosen strut pinch bolt on driver's side to slide it up enough to clear the bj stud out of the arm. It wouldn't pry down far enough before hitting frame slot. Used a small puller tool to pop the studs out of the control arm.

Only hitch with the whole job was that the new pass side bj got slightly crooked when starting to press, so had to back off and sraighten it. Then when we were putting the snap ring in place, noticed a small abrasion on the boot, right at the base. It pinched a tiny hole in it when the bj got hung up in the bore.:angry: Nothing you can do about it, unless you want to wait until the next day and buy another new bj. Sister had to go to work next morning, and we were 47 miles from home. Guess we'll just have to check it every oil change until it wears out, then get it warranteed.
It should go at least a good year.
Maybe if we put struts on it later, we can drill it for a 90 degree grease zerk.
 

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I'd replace it now, but have a shop do it. Had to pop mine loose to replace the half shaft's. The driver's side lower was a bear, but finally got it. Turn's out I ruined it, and the tire's started to get chewed up on the inside. The sooner you do it, the less thing's like tire's you're going to take with it.
 
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