Thunderbird almost killed me the other day/ball joint-control arm related - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2009, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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Cool Thunderbird almost killed me the other day/ball joint-control arm related

so, a few days ago im driving down the highway,about 70 mph, i think i hit a pothole or something, and BAM! my wheel pretty much breaks off out of nowhere and i wreck the car.
IM ALL LIKE "WHAT THE [email protected] JUST HAPPENED??!!!


so i take a look underneath and the ball joint connected to the lower control arm had broke completely apart.

the car wreckage isnt totally bad,will need body work though, needless to say that i went ahead and bought a brand new suspension kit, which includes new upper and lower control arms,tie rods and ends, sways bars and links..all for both sides,cant risk this ever happening again.

all my parts just came in so im about to be a busy,frustrated,cussing mofo!!!!!!


anyways im just thankfull im alive and that no cars where really around me when this happened,and very thankfull my car can be fixed.


pictures coming really soon.

air silencer removed, dorman intake manifold,clear corner lights,psp with psp windshield mount,blue led moded gauge cluster.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2009, 08:59 AM
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Wow man, glad you're okay...

The lower ball joint failed on my mom's '93 when she had it some years back - only she was going about 15. Naaasty business...

-Brandon
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2009, 10:36 AM
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Glad you're OK and that car isn't tore up too much!

How many miles on your Bird?

I recall riding with a budy in his 69 RoadRunner back in about '72-'73 at near 100 when right lower ball joint failed, we spun once as the car veered off to the right and through a closed gas station parking lot before stopping, missing the curbs and gas islands. LUCKY. No body damage, just a tow home and new ball joints.

Fellow down the street had his left lower fail coming out of his driveway on his Chevelle once.

Seen a few others over the years, only Birds I've seen do it were a few pics here.

Regular inspection is the best defense against it. Jack under the lower control arm to take all pressure off ball joint and use a long steel bar as a lever between floor and bottom of tire to lift while feeling / looking for any play.

Some lower ball joints also have an indicator built in that protrude from the bottom and as the joint wears and the ball moves up in the joint, the indicator also moves up. When flush, she's wore out. Even with the indicators, inspection is key.

A fine pair ... ... and whatever you do, Have a Safe Trip!
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2009, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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my car has 124,000 on it now, and man i tell you, the past 4-5 months a lot of stuff has been breakin on me, my plastic intake manifold broke about a month and a half ago, i had to replace my brake calipers and a couple rotors about 5 months ago, and now ball joints are falling apart.

one of these days afters all the work im doing maybe she'll be good again.

air silencer removed, dorman intake manifold,clear corner lights,psp with psp windshield mount,blue led moded gauge cluster.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lozer81 View Post
my car has 124,000 on it now, and man i tell you, the past 4-5 months a lot of stuff has been breakin on me, my plastic intake manifold broke about a month and a half ago, i had to replace my brake calipers and a couple rotors about 5 months ago, and now ball joints are falling apart.

one of these days afters all the work im doing maybe she'll be good again.
I'm having a similar problem with my cat. 190,000km on her and things are starting to go. I replaced one ball joint, I'll need to replace the other as soon as I can afford to, but its still ok for now.

I've had to replace my rear calipers as they were totally seized, and I'm getting a P1443 code.... plus bad mileage, so Ill need to do some other work there, as well as replace some sensors.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2009, 11:48 PM
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The car didn't almost kill you, you almost killed yourself by failing to properly maintain your car...

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 09:01 AM
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Glad you are safe! That happened to me as well, except about a week previously My car started sqeaking when I would turn the wheel and the night before it pulled left drastically so I knew something was wrong. I was pulling my car out of the car port to take a look and fix the problem and it fell out on my as I was pullling it out. I was thankful as well... Only problem for me is I had my car out of commision for 4 days or so becuase I had a hell of a time locating a Camber adjusting bolt.

Good luck man!

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 09:39 AM
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Cool

In my old 67 GTO convt felt a bump - then watched my right frt. tire pass-by me headed down the road. I came slowly to a stop expecting, the goat to fall to the ground on the right frt side. But, it didn't... just slowed to a stop. Was going 55 when the wheel took off without me. I had froze, used no brake, just got off gas and held on to the steering wheel waiting for hell to break loose... but nothing, so I easied to the right, off the payment to the grass.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 10:56 AM
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Upper and lower balljoints are a requirement for any of these cars, if they haven't been done.

The way to tell is to look at the rubber boots; if the boots are bad, the joint either is or soon will be.

All these cars are at a minimum 13 years old; the rubber is disintegrating, so the joints will wear quickly after that.

Vacuum lines, bushings, pretty much everything rubber will need to be replaced if it's stock in the next five years at the longest. Do ALL the vacuum lines and evaporation tubing now, and save yourself some diagnosis time...

I have 2 96 Cougars, and both have had to have this stuff replaced; it's more due to age than wear at this point... One has 240k, one has 140k, but both have had the same issues.

Check the toe compensators on the rear suspension arms; their bushings seem to be my latest issue, lol.

Glad no one was hurt!

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 02:44 PM
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Good lookin out Grog!! I imagine I better check on my Merc as well as my Bird

93 Bird/ Trick Flow 5.0-- awaiting some fresh paint
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 01:23 AM
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Mine happend about 2 months after i bought the car. I wasnt aware of this problem at the time, i was going around the corner about 3 homes down the street and it just dropped like a rock. So happy it didnt happen the day before because all i was doing is highway driving.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 02:21 AM
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This falls under the category of paying attention to the sounds your car makes and generally being in tune with it. It's nice to cruise in the summer with the windows down and the music rockin', but it's important to occasionally not blast the tunes and listen for abnormal squeaks, moans, creaks, and the like. Since our cars our not new this is especially important; an original suspension component is definitely tired iron. Back in my full time wrenching days I replaced a handful of lower ball joints on mn12s and fn10s in the parking lot of 'the shop' that were towed in. Upon returning said vehicles to 'mobile' state I usually found a few other front end parts that were also on their way out.

This also reminds me of a story about my father. He was about 20 driving an old Cadillac down the freeway when sparks started flying and his left front wheel went sailing down the road in front of him. Why did it come off? He probably was ignoring some horrendous sound for awhile. He said it was one of the scariest moments of his life.

Even if you're not the most mechanically inclined person in the world it is easy to just jack your car up and shake your tires around a little. Hell, even kick the tire when its up in the air, if it clunks, that's a bad thing. I'm sure lozer81 is going to be paranoid about his car after his incident; i'm glad your okay by the way. I'm going to get off my high horse now.

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Last edited by coolhandzep; 06-14-2009 at 02:29 AM.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 04:38 AM
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I hope you didn't buy an eBay suspension "kit" with all of those parts or look forward to doing this all again.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 05:27 AM
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Grog

Where do you get that hard vacum line that is in the cars. Do they sell them in colors as well? I am looking for this type of line for my t-bird as well as for my windstar. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tino View Post
Grog

Where do you get that hard vacum line that is in the cars. Do they sell them in colors as well? I am looking for this type of line for my t-bird as well as for my windstar. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I replaced mine with colored thick wall PVC tubing from Mcmaster-Carr; pvc is really too thermally sensitive for under hood use, but it's been working so far. And I have the rest of the roll in case it melts...

The original stuff was so hard it just crunched when I moved it.

Someone else may have a better idea... Anyone?

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by coolhandzep View Post
Even if you're not the most mechanically inclined person in the world it is easy to just jack your car up and shake your tires around a little. Hell, even kick the tire when its up in the air, if it clunks, that's a bad thing. I'm sure lozer81 is going to be paranoid about his car after his incident; i'm glad your okay by the way. I'm going to get off my high horse now.
Specifically here are the tests from the Ford Book:

Component Tests


Ball Joint — Upper

Raise vehicle and place jackstands under the front suspension lower arm so there is no load on the upper ball joint.

Attach Dial Indicator With Bracketry TOOL-4201-C or equivalent at the upper ball joint to be checked in such a way as to measure the lateral movement between the front wheel spindle and the front suspension arm bushing joint (3085).

Grasp the tire at the top and bottom and slowly move the tire in and out. Note the reading (radial play) on the dial indicator. If the reading exceeds 0.4 mm (0.015 inch), replace the front suspension arm bushing joint. Refer to Section 04-01 .

Ball Joint — Lower

Raise vehicle and place jackstands under thefront suspension lower arm so there is no load on the front suspension lower arm ball joint.

Attach Dial Indicator With Bracketry TOOL-4201-C or equivalent at the front suspension lower arm ball joint to be checked in such a way as to measure the lateral movement between the front wheel spindle and the front suspension lower arm.

Grasp the tire at the top and bottom and slowly move the tire in and out. Note the reading (radial play) on the dial indicator. If the reading exceeds 0.4 mm (0.015 inch), replace the front suspension lower arm ball joint.


If you don't have a dial indicator, pretty much any movement means to replace the part. These are pretty simple tests and may save your life! I check mine at every oil change, takes 2 minutes.

95 4.6L Rusty Survivor!
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