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#2643970 - 06/03/12 03:19 PM Recommendations for tough ball joints...
01rangerxl Online   content


Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 7376
Loc: Birmingham, AL
I posted a while back about the boots on my truck's lower ball joints developing small cracks. They have since both torn all the way open. The boots are really brittle. Since these are sealed for life, it's about time for new ones. 120K miles/10 years is okay service life on these trucks, but I think the actual joints would have been able to go longer if it wasn't for the boots becoming brittle.

Anyway, I am looking for suggestions for good ball joints that will last a long time. Preferably with grease fittings.

Deeza looks like they are high quality, but they are sealed for life. The Motorcraft ones on Rock Auto show grease fittings, but the description only says "where applicable." The Raybestos ball joints appear to be high quality and have grease fittings. Moog would have been an option in the past, but I have been reading not so great things about them on here. What about Napa for chassis parts?

Also, it was my understanding that all SLA independent front suspension Rangers had to have the upper control arm/ball joint replaced as an assembly. On Rock Auto though I am seeing lots of standalone upper ball joints for the coil spring suspension (like mine). Most of the upper control arms are for the torsion bar suspension, though there are also ones for the coil spring suspension. Does this mean I can safely assume the uppers can be pressed out and the control arms reused?
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2002 Ford Ranger XLT
3.0 V6 / 5-Speed Automatic / 2WD
157K miles

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#2643975 - 06/03/12 03:27 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: 01rangerxl]
NHGUY Offline


Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3375
Loc: USA
NAPA is Spicer.Nothing wrong there.How about putting poly boots on your current joints?Are the joints loose? I'm not impressed with most of the aftermarket vs OEM ball joints/tie rods.Seems like the aftermarket profit margins are greater meaning the part starts out "cheaper".

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#2643978 - 06/03/12 03:35 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: 01rangerxl]
01rangerxl Online   content


Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 7376
Loc: Birmingham, AL
I thought about changing the boots when I saw the thread about it, but given that I don't know how long they've been exposed to the elements, I think I just want to start with fresh parts since the suspension has to come apart anyway. They are not loose or making the speed bump squeak yet, but I'd rather have ball joints that haven't had stuff grinding around inside. I do want to be sure that what I'm putting on there is better than what's coming off though.
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2002 Ford Ranger XLT
3.0 V6 / 5-Speed Automatic / 2WD
157K miles

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#2643990 - 06/03/12 03:55 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: NHGUY]
stephen9666 Offline


Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 2561
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: NHGUY
NAPA is Spicer.Nothing wrong there.


Affinia rebranded Spicer as Raybestos. So, suspension parts sold under the Raybestos name are what used to be Spicer. I don't think you can get Spicer-branded parts anymore for autos/light trucks.

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#2644029 - 06/03/12 04:42 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: 01rangerxl]
artificialist Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 6899
Loc: Florida
I remember getting NAPA premium chassis parts for my father's Pontiac G6. The outer tie rod ends looked as big as ones used on a 3/4 ton truck. I have a lot of confidence in them.
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#2644033 - 06/03/12 04:51 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: artificialist]
Bluestream Offline


Registered: 09/13/03
Posts: 3951
Loc: Waterloo, ON
Originally Posted By: artificialist
I remember getting NAPA premium chassis parts for my father's Pontiac G6. The outer tie rod ends looked as big as ones used on a 3/4 ton truck. I have a lot of confidence in them.
Size matters! LOL
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#2644041 - 06/03/12 04:59 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: Bluestream]
artificialist Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 6899
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: Bluestream
Originally Posted By: artificialist
I remember getting NAPA premium chassis parts for my father's Pontiac G6. The outer tie rod ends looked as big as ones used on a 3/4 ton truck. I have a lot of confidence in them.
Size matters! LOL

That is why I like so many MOOG parts. They weigh twice as much as the cheap stuff because they cram as much metal in there as they can.
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#2644043 - 06/03/12 05:00 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: 01rangerxl]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 9951
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
Raybestos Pro (Spicer) or Deeza.
The Raybestos service grade is cheap junk, usually Chinese. As someone posted NAPA is Spicer also so thats a good local option.
I'm honestly rethinking the "lubed for life" vs zerk, i work on a lot of German and Japanese and some of these LFL parts have gone 15+ years in terrible conditions.
This video is definitely a sales pitch but it is informative.

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#2644057 - 06/03/12 05:13 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: 01rangerxl]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 24160
Loc: ME
What Trav said. Raybestos makes (sells) two grades. I don't think you could go wrong with the better of two grades, even if Moog or TRW.

If you monkey with bolting a ball joint in your upper control arm, you can throw your alignment off. If you press one in it should be good. For that matter some trucks throw off their alignments if you remove the upper control arm from the frame.

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#2644059 - 06/03/12 05:16 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: 01rangerxl]
01rangerxl Online   content


Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 7376
Loc: Birmingham, AL
Yeah, I saw that video, and while it is a sales pitch, if it really is a better design I'll buy it. I believe the competitor they are referring to in the vid is probably Moog.

I have mixed feelings on the LFL parts. On one hand, the ball joints have gone 120K through some really hard use and never needed any servicing. But on the other hand, in theory, a well made greaseable joint could last the life of the truck even if the boots get torn.
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2002 Ford Ranger XLT
3.0 V6 / 5-Speed Automatic / 2WD
157K miles

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#2644106 - 06/03/12 06:14 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: 01rangerxl]
EricF Offline


Registered: 07/14/09
Posts: 1595
Loc: SF Bay Area
My '93 Ranger 4x4 still has all the original joints & rods. All are greaseable, and have had Synpower grease shot in at each oil change since 52,000 miles. I'm at 213k now.

the raybestos service grade is an ok part, there's no bragging rights to it. almost every time, they simply fit and work. they are made to the OE design, and potentially have any possible OE issues. Whereas Moog re-engineers the issues out of the OE design and offers only a superior products, however you will pay premium for that product.
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#2644112 - 06/03/12 06:20 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: EricF]
01rangerxl Online   content


Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 7376
Loc: Birmingham, AL
Originally Posted By: EricF
My '93 Ranger 4x4 still has all the original joints & rods. All are greaseable, and have had Synpower grease shot in at each oil change since 52,000 miles. I'm at 213k now.


1998+ has a completely different suspension design with all sealed parts.
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2002 Ford Ranger XLT
3.0 V6 / 5-Speed Automatic / 2WD
157K miles

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#2644121 - 06/03/12 06:33 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: 01rangerxl]
abycat Online   content


Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 1248
Loc: grande prairie AB
I got a full set of moog ball joints for my camaro and im quite unimpressed. One lower one is actually damaged and thuds. Its shaft part is pulled out an 1/8 of an inch at least. Ive hit a few small pot holes and same with the wife but nothing major. Very new too, under 1000km old and very few months.

I wont buy them again.
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#2644198 - 06/03/12 07:50 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: abycat]
01rangerxl Online   content


Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 7376
Loc: Birmingham, AL
Originally Posted By: abycat
I got a full set of moog ball joints for my camaro and im quite unimpressed. One lower one is actually damaged and thuds. Its shaft part is pulled out an 1/8 of an inch at least. Ive hit a few small pot holes and same with the wife but nothing major. Very new too, under 1000km old and very few months.

I wont buy them again.


That's what worries me about Moog these days. This isn't the first complaint I've heard about their recent products, so they are off the list for now.

Deeza is tempting since they appear to be high quality and would only run me about $140 for the uppers and lowers. The downside is that they don't offer control arms, so I need to confirm that the uppers can be pressed and the control arms reused.

Raybestos (pro) would be about $200. Not much of a price difference between using whole new upper control arms vs. just using the ball joints.

Ford OE from the dealer would be over $400 for everything...nope! Motorcraft on Rock Auto is a little less, but still pricey.

Still open to other suggestions. I have some time before this actually needs to be done, I just know it's inevitable at this point so I may as well figure out what I want to do about it ahead of time.


Edited by 01rangerxl (06/03/12 07:56 PM)
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2002 Ford Ranger XLT
3.0 V6 / 5-Speed Automatic / 2WD
157K miles

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#2644206 - 06/03/12 07:59 PM Re: Recommendations for tough ball joints... [Re: 01rangerxl]
bdcardinal Offline


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 6608
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
FWIW on your Ranger Ford only offers the upper ball joints in control arm assemblies, the difference for 2wd being coil spring or torsion bar front suspension. The lowers are offered by themselves.
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