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why do my ball joints need replaced so often?

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Two questions: what brand of parts are you using and do you trust those guys to be honest and know what they're doing?
I don't know, they all knew what they were doing, and do I trust them?

3/2009 A-frame joints, 2 lower ball joints
HELL NO I don't trust this one

5/2013 lower ball joint (didn't say which side)
can't tell

2/2014 lower ball joint (didn't say which side)
can't tell

9/2015 2 upper control arms, ball joint (didn't say which side)
sort of no

4/2019 "left front control arm ball joint assembly"
definitely trust this guy

5/2021 right upper ball joint and control arm
can't tell

Lots of garbage parts on the market these days...

Have you altered the front suspension at all?
nope. bone stock with OEM wheels and P225/70R15 tires.

Put all new NAPA upper and lower control arms (ball joints already installed) in my 98 Ranger in July 2018. Still going strong to this day. Well over 30,000 miles since doing it. And btw, they have zerk fittings.
okay I guess then I'm asking is this normal when you don't use NAPA parts. they never asked what I wanted. this last time they installed Moog.

Yes, "lifetime" ball joints are usually good for 100k miles, car makers consider that a "lifetime" for any vehicle

Replacement "lifetime" ball joints do not usually last as long

Replacing them with lube-able ball joints, i.e. have Zerk fittings, will get you more miles as long as you lube them

Larger that stock tires wear out ball joints faster, its the extra weight of the wheels and tires
I would be happy with 100k miles. I can't tell exactly how many miles before they go kaput because they don't always say which one(s) they replace and I haven't been asking to keep track. got OEM wheels and the right size tires. but I have been keeping the receipts and those have the mileage...

You should post the mileage too.
3/2009 A-frame joints, 2 lower ball joints
87,978

5/2013 lower ball joint (didn't say which side)
123,759

2/2014 lower ball joint (didn't say which side)
(no mileage on receipt) (estimated 133k)

(can assume both ball joints replaced 3/2009 have gone bad, one on 5/2013 and the other on 2/2014. assuming it's not the same one)

9/2015 2 upper control arms, ball joint (didn't say which side)
143,858

4/2019 "left front control arm ball joint assembly"
203,429

5/2021 right upper ball joint and control arm
221,814

but this isn't miles for ONE PARTICULAR ball joint. could be they fix one, then the other goes bad, ...
average of 11k per year

Everything mentioned above - cheap parts, big tires, poorly designed lift or lowering jobs, lack of maintenance, driving habits, etc.

Mine is 4x4, with 35" tires and I definitely offroad it. No way am I going to see 50,00 miles or anything close to that. But I expect them to fail prematurely due to those conditions. I lube them and check them fairly often.
none of the above. OTOH I didn't lube them. didn't know, and probably didn't have grease fittings anyway.

Don't forget to mention horrible roads and potholes. Bumpy rough railroad track crossings taken at too high a speed. Don't know about anyone else, but the roads here are pretty substandard. Just going around a left turn in an intersection, it feels like you're on a washboard road.
roads are sort of bad. do a lot more highway than city driving. have hit huge potholes in the city once in a while.

If you are putting quite a lot of mileage on the truck, I would insist on a quality branded part with zerk fittings. If you are putting about 20,000 miles a year, they may be worn, but not totally shot. I usually use Moog parts, that almost always come with grease fittings. I know my original ones are probably going to need to be replaced sooner rather than later, and it has 46,000 miles, most of which were city driving, with below substandard roads.
average of 11k per year. mostly highway. now I can start asking for good parts.

Use Moog ball joints AND grease them with each oil change.
I haven't been. so is this what you get?
 
Last edited:


RangerBilly

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Location
Chicago Illinois
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1993
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Ranger XLT Long
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3.0 V6
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Automatic
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2WD
My left ball joints (probably the OEMs?) popped in August of last year, so we had the truck towed to a local mechanic who we have trusted for several years. The truck had about 160,000 miles on it at the time, mostly city driving over Chicago's infamous potholes. I told him that I wanted to replace the ball joints with Moogs that had grease fittings. He told me that Moogs were all he uses! So, it's good to have a mechanic on the same page, right? They will be getting lubed before winter starts, for sure!
 

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