Jku ball joint life expectancy - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-09-2016, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Jku ball joint life expectancy

I am really new. 2k on my 16 jku. Have have been reading this forum until my eyes get tired. Just wondering how long oem ball joints last with a stock, stock jku. Also what other parts wear out quickly, besides brakes and such

Thank you

John
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-09-2016, 05:56 PM
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Too many variables. Really hard to say, just keep checking them for play.

2007 JKR | PSC Big bore box | Rock Krawler 3.5" x-factor arms l SteerSmarts YETI track bar, tie rod, no drill flipped drag link, Griffin | Synergy frame brace | 37x12.5x17 Nitto RG's | Dana front DS | Fox IFP shocks | Artec front armor kit/Currie JJ's | Teraflex rear axle bracket | EVO Rockstars | Ridged D's, A pillar mounts | VKS sliders l Trek Armor seat covers | Superchips/Sprint booster | Savvy half doors w/ Bestop uppers
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post #3 of 17 Old 01-09-2016, 06:08 PM
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Stock JK OEM ball joint life expectancy varies widely. Some have gone out in 20,000 miles; some have lasted over 100,000 miles. Mine lasted 76,000 miles.

One variable may be people's opinions of what constitutes a worn out ball joint.

I measured the axial and radial play on mime at each tire rotation. That removes the subjectivity of the assessment.
Mine seemed to reach the 2/3 wear point rather quickly, then the final 1/3 of the wear took quite a while.

I replaced the originals with Synergy ball joints. They have zero play with 35,000 miles on them.

Here is what you need to know to check your ball joints as time goes by.

Radial (side-to-side) movement in the upper ball joint should not exceed 0.060" (1.5mm).

Axial (up and down) movement in the lower ball joint should not exceed 0.050" (1.25mm).


A dial indicator is the best instrument to measure ball joint play.

Jack the front tire off the ground.
Place a jack stand under the axle next to the jack.
Lower to put some weight on the jack stand.
Place a long pry bar under the tire, from the side.
Have someone pry the tire up and down while you watch the lower ball joint for up and down play.
Axial (up and down) movement in the lower ball joint should not exceed 0.050"

Have someone grab the tire at top and bottom to wiggle the top in and out while you watch the upper joint for side play.
Radial (side-to-side) movement in the upper ball joint should not exceed 0.060"

Even if the upper joint checks good, change both if the lower checks bad.



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Last edited by ronjenx; 01-09-2016 at 06:19 PM.
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post #4 of 17 Old 01-09-2016, 06:39 PM
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I have 40,000 miles on my 14 jkur all the miles have been with either 285/75-17 or 35x12.5-17 tires lots of off road miles. My stock ones still are fine. like was stated some movement does not mean they are worn out.
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-09-2016, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. I knew it was a question with no answer. Just reading about these aftermarket ones failing rather quickly, made me think. And plastic in a ball joint just seems crazy to me
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-09-2016, 07:25 PM
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I'm curious about other peoples service life and tire sizes...

2011 JKU 60k and i think I'm needing to R&R the oem balljoints with something heavy duty. Its my wifes DD and she hits potholes constantly with 35x12.5 Nitto TGs

Last edited by Stangbuster; 01-09-2016 at 07:28 PM.
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-09-2016, 09:19 PM
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About 40k

2007 JKR | PSC Big bore box | Rock Krawler 3.5" x-factor arms l SteerSmarts YETI track bar, tie rod, no drill flipped drag link, Griffin | Synergy frame brace | 37x12.5x17 Nitto RG's | Dana front DS | Fox IFP shocks | Artec front armor kit/Currie JJ's | Teraflex rear axle bracket | EVO Rockstars | Ridged D's, A pillar mounts | VKS sliders l Trek Armor seat covers | Superchips/Sprint booster | Savvy half doors w/ Bestop uppers
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-09-2016, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stangbuster View Post
I'm curious about other peoples service life and tire sizes...

2011 JKU 60k and i think I'm needing to R&R the oem balljoints with something heavy duty. Its my wifes DD and she hits potholes constantly with 35x12.5 Nitto TGs
As others have said, everyone's experience will be different, but here's mine. My 2012 has about 32K miles on it and has been on 37s since about 5K, so about 27K of abuse, which included a few pretty gnarly trails, a trip to Johnson Valley, and a couple of times out on Pismo Dunes.

Just recently it began showing signs of death wobble, and over the course of 3 weeks and about 300 miles went from, "Uh oh, I think it's gonna be DW," to downright scary. I did Planman's steering diagnostics and found the track bar, drag link, and ball joints all shot -- at just a bit under 32k!

I'm not the first to say this, but you can go to the last page of my build thread and see the pics -- pay attention to the torque on your frame-side track bar bolt! Oh, and get a hardware upgrade kit, at the very least, so the bolt actually fits the hole. That's probably the first place you're going to begin to see slop, and when it starts moving, the threads will just eat the hole like a file. Follow ronjenx's advice and check those ball joints. And when you do, throw a torque wrench on that track bar bolt and be sure it's still holding at 125 Ft/Lbs. (Some go higher, but that's the spec.)

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post #9 of 17 Old 01-11-2016, 08:31 AM
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i changed my stock balljoints out at 65K miles for Synergy. 30K on 35" tires.

I noticed the jeep had a slight wander on the road so i started to replace all the steering parts and added a new track bar. I finally got around to replace the balljoints and now it drives good.

the stock upper balljoint seemed good but bottom was wasted.

09' White JKU Rubicon with some stuff
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-11-2016, 08:35 AM
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Bottom usually goes first. We have a 2013 in the shop now with a little over 60K on it and the Ball Joints are shot...

-Jason


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post #11 of 17 Old 01-11-2016, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronjenx View Post
Stock JK OEM ball joint life expectancy varies widely. Some have gone out in 20,000 miles; some have lasted over 100,000 miles. Mine lasted 76,000 miles.

One variable may be people's opinions of what constitutes a worn out ball joint.

I measured the axial and radial play on mime at each tire rotation. That removes the subjectivity of the assessment.
Mine seemed to reach the 2/3 wear point rather quickly, then the final 1/3 of the wear took quite a while.

I replaced the originals with Synergy ball joints. They have zero play with 35,000 miles on them.

Here is what you need to know to check your ball joints as time goes by.

Radial (side-to-side) movement in the upper ball joint should not exceed 0.060" (1.5mm).

Axial (up and down) movement in the lower ball joint should not exceed 0.050" (1.25mm).


A dial indicator is the best instrument to measure ball joint play.

Jack the front tire off the ground.
Place a jack stand under the axle next to the jack.
Lower to put some weight on the jack stand.
Place a long pry bar under the tire, from the side.
Have someone pry the tire up and down while you watch the lower ball joint for up and down play.
Axial (up and down) movement in the lower ball joint should not exceed 0.050"

Have someone grab the tire at top and bottom to wiggle the top in and out while you watch the upper joint for side play.
Radial (side-to-side) movement in the upper ball joint should not exceed 0.060"

Even if the upper joint checks good, change both if the lower checks bad.


My passenger side upper synergy balljoint has up and down play (axial) but does not have side to side. I has more play than my drivers side upper for sure. I sent synergy a video of the movement but they said it was normal. Just not so sure about that what say you guys?
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post #12 of 17 Old 01-11-2016, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyLarry View Post
My passenger side upper synergy balljoint has up and down play (axial) but does not have side to side. I has more play than my drivers side upper for sure. I sent synergy a video of the movement but they said it was normal. Just not so sure about that what say you guys?
Up and down play in the upper is not a factor. It's designed to slide up and down.
With that in mind, the only way to see the upper slide up and down, is if the lower allows it to. That's why the only play you measure in the upper ball joint is radial play, (side to side).

2008 Unlimited Rubicon Automatic
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post #13 of 17 Old 01-11-2016, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronjenx View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyLarry View Post
My passenger side upper synergy balljoint has up and down play (axial) but does not have side to side. I has more play than my drivers side upper for sure. I sent synergy a video of the movement but they said it was normal. Just not so sure about that what say you guys?
Up and down play in the upper is not a factor. It's designed to slide up and down.
With that in mind, the only way to see the upper slide up and down, is if the lower allows it to. That's why the only play you measure in the upper ball joint is radial play, (side to side).
Yeah that's what I figured just thought it was weird because the other upper has no axial play. Both lowers have no axial play as well
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post #14 of 17 Old 01-11-2016, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyLarry View Post
Yeah that's what I figured just thought it was weird because the other upper has no axial play. Both lowers have no axial play as well
The upper and lower ball joints are on the same knuckle. So, I can't see how you would get axial play in the upper while having no axial play in the lower.

2008 Unlimited Rubicon Automatic
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post #15 of 17 Old 01-11-2016, 06:58 PM
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134,000 on mine gonna have em changed soon the front end feels a bit scetchy

Black Jeep
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post #16 of 17 Old 01-23-2016, 02:57 PM
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I just changed mine at 37k on my 2012....on 37s. My symptoms were just like 'unlimidozer'described above. Once they started failing....it got back quickly. Some synergys from Marcus and all is right and right again
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post #17 of 17 Old 01-23-2016, 10:34 PM
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Give this a read...

http://www.fourwheeler.com/how-to/su...jk-suspension/

Ton of shit, and not listing it all..
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