Ball Joint Problems - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Ball Joint Problems

My brother in law has an 09 JKU Rubicon: factory axle 4" lift on 37s. His stock ball joints went bad so he replaced them with the Teraflex joints. It was about a year ago (summer 2018 I believe). The passenger side lower joint is bad again. He has only wheeled it one time in that period. It was light wheeling, mainly just dirt trails and a few rocks. What would cause it to go out so quickly? I guess that is my opinion though (but shouldn't a TF ball joint last longer than a year and a half with mostly on road driving). It is his daily driver. The passenger top and both top and bottom drivers all seem tight. Just the pass lower is showing movement. Thoughts?

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post #2 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 05:33 PM
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I would guess improper installation.

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post #3 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
I would guess improper installation.
Can you elaborate on that. He used a ball joint press. It's seated all the way up against the "C".

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post #4 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 06:08 PM
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Properly torqued or did he just tighten it down and call it a day? Ball joints typically take a 2 step torque process.

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post #5 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
Properly torqued or did he just tighten it down and call it a day? Ball joints typically take a 2 step torque process.
What part of the JK ball joint installation takes a two-step torque process?
As far as I know, it's 70 ft/lbs on the tapered stud, and that's it.

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post #6 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 07:58 PM
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I guess that's how teraflex does it. Others I have done torque the top to 30-35 then the bottom to spec then the upper to final spec. This insures you get the proper even torque on the bottomed top ball joints. If you do one then the other the first may not actually be up to spec.

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post #7 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
I guess that's how teraflex does it. Others I have done torque the top to 30-35 then the bottom to spec then the upper to final spec. This insures you get the proper even torque on the bottomed top ball joints. If you do one then the other the first may not actually be up to spec.
Some designs may require that.
The JK top joints I have seen can slide vertically, so no special torque sequence required.

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post #8 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah when I saw the top joint has lateral movement that blew my mind. TF has a video that shows that it is normal. Strange in my opinion. We're going to replace the upper and lower on pass side and talk to TF about it. I'll try to post our findings.

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post #9 of 17 Old 11-18-2019, 07:47 AM
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Can't u adjust the pre-load on those lowers? Might just need an adjustment.

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post #10 of 17 Old 11-18-2019, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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I think you can. Honestly I don't know much about them. I need to get with him and look closer.

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post #11 of 17 Old 11-18-2019, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRock0740 View Post
I think you can. Honestly I don't know much about them. I need to get with him and look closer.
Install instructions I have seen showed to use the special tool and 70 foot lbs.

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post #12 of 17 Old 11-18-2019, 08:07 PM
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I just adjusted the pre load on mine (pre2017 models). But either set as they start to ware out you just get in there and set the preload again. Mine are the top adjustable and take a $10 tool from TF. Then torq to 90in lbs I think. Made a hell of a difference.
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-18-2019, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 08JKUR33 View Post
I just adjusted the pre load on mine (pre2017 models). But either set as they start to ware out you just get in there and set the preload again. Mine are the top adjustable and take a $10 tool from TF. Then torq to 90in lbs I think. Made a hell of a difference.
Lol. Foot lbs would have been a bit of overkill.

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post #14 of 17 Old 11-20-2019, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
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Can anyone get me a measurement of the inner C opening? Or in other words, from the bottom side of the top of the C to the top side of the bottom side of the C. Gussets were welded on and I want to see if the inner Cs opened or closed up during that process. His is a Rubicon so it's a D44, but it should be the same as a D30. Thanks in advance.

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post #15 of 17 Old 11-21-2019, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRock0740 View Post
Can anyone get me a measurement of the inner C opening? Or in other words, from the bottom side of the top of the C to the top side of the bottom side of the C. Gussets were welded on and I want to see if the inner Cs opened or closed up during that process. His is a Rubicon so it's a D44, but it should be the same as a D30. Thanks in advance.
Just compare what you have now between the left and right. There are too many variances in the outer c's for any type of accurate measurement .

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post #16 of 17 Old 11-21-2019, 09:55 AM
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On the JK axles, only the lower ball joint is load carrying. The upper is a pin "follower" style ball joint that plunges up and down to account for any differences in distance between the ears of the C's. The lower ball joint controls vertical movement, and the upper ball joint controls lateral movement.

For both ball joints to be load-bearing, there must be a method to adjust for variances in the distance between them. The older YJ axles used a threaded insert in the C and the new JL ball joints use an insert similar to D60's.
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post #17 of 17 Old 11-22-2019, 05:21 PM
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I have gone through 5 sets of ball joints with 52000 miles on my 08. The 37" tires and 4.5" backspacing on the wheels is hell on the ball joints. I went through two sets of Dynatracs which lasted about 8k miles. On Teraflex and now I grease the lowers every time I change oil in hopes of extending their life. Front end needs to be jacked up when greasing.

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