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Suspension and Chassis Questions about your suspension? Need chassis advice?

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Old 05-02-2010, 11:11 PM   #1
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New ball joints require alignment?

Do you need an alignment when you replace your ball joints? I know that you should get an alignment most every time you screw with the front end, but is it truly required? My alignment wasn't done too long ago and they are like $70 a pop so I was just curious.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:09 AM   #2
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Re: New ball joints require alignment?

An alignment is not needed after replacing balljoints. I replace ball joints all the time at work and dont align every vehicle afterwards, although we do try to sell an alignment with it becuase it is a good idea. Basically if you take a ball joint out and just put the exact same part back in, nothing changes. That being said, you said that you just had an alignment done not long ago and now you are doing balljoints. Is there a reason your doing balljoints? Do you have play in them? Reason I'm asking is becuase if there is play in them and they had play in them when you had your last alignment done, your last alignment is probably not accurate. If this is the case, I would yes, you need one to make the alignment actually accurate.

A good indicator though as to weather or not you will need one afterwards is to drive the car right now, without touching anything. Is the steering wheel straight, does the car pull, do you have abnormal tire wear? If the wheel is straight and the car drives straight now, and doesnt after the new ball joints, then something moved and you need the alignment then.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:32 AM   #3
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Re: New ball joints require alignment?

Hey thanks for the reply. There isn't a whole lot of play in the wheels when checking from 12 to 6 (ball joint test I guess) and there's no play in the wheels at 9 and 3. There is play in the steering box, and I adjusted it, but it came right back, believe it or not. I can see the play when the wheel is turned. I'm replacing it soon as well, but the reason why I want to do the ball joints is because the passenger front makes a nasty grinding noise. I know it's the ball joint because I went and just greased the joint and the noise temporarily went away. I can't get it to totally go away now. I figure it would be a good idea.

That tire wears. It wears on the inside and outside, but not the middle. within 5K it doesn't wear real bad though. That strut is leaking bad as well. Maybe it could use another alignment, I'm not sure. All I know is that at the time of alignment the shop checked over the front end and the only thing they could find wrong was the center link, they said the ball joints were ok then. I guess it could still need another though. It doesn't pull at all though. I'm just scared to get it aligned again because not many know the correct specs for this car. The first shop did a horrid job and it pulled to the right, the next one did ok (as far as I can tell). I just don't want to have to go from shop to shop lol.

I also was wondering if it's necessary to get oversized ball joints. I've never done ball joints so pardon me on all the questions lol.

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Old 05-03-2010, 02:07 PM   #4
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Re: New ball joints require alignment?

Not really sure what oversized ball joints are but I just replaced mine with regular Discount Auto joints. Some people will argue one brand or another but I will leave that for you to decide. As far as the tire wearing on just the inside and outside, that sounds like the tire pressure is too low. Every shop should have the same alignment specs. The alignment machine we have at work has the specs for basically everything in it. All the way from an old Pinto to a new Ferrari.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:37 PM   #5
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Re: New ball joints require alignment?

Thanks. From what I've found on this site is that some specs for the iroc with alignment were incorrect from the factory. The first shop did it from the books, didn't work. The next shop looked at the books and said there's no way this is correct and he did something that supposedly was. It drives totally straight so I've been happy.

The tire pressure isn't too low. This happened on the first set of tires and now it's happening to the second set. Tire pressure is where it's suppose to be. Even when the pressure is the same on all wheels (at spec for the tire), it happens to that wheel and that wheel only. The other wheels wear normally. That area of the car just isn't in the best shape. The ball joint sucks and so does the strut. I think it's a combo from both those. This summer I'm going to send the struts to Bilstien for rebuilding. My uncle did that on his dirt mod and they've held up well with all the crashing and beating involved. Plus, it's $75 each for struts rather than 300-400 for new ones (good ones).
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:52 PM   #6
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Re: New ball joints require alignment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tpi305 View Post
There is play in the steering box, and I adjusted it.
How did you adjust the steering box???? I got play 9 to 3......
I'm stocking up on parts to re-do my front suspension...... Thanks
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:31 PM   #7
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Re: New ball joints require alignment?

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Originally Posted by bitchin_buick View Post
How did you adjust the steering box???? I got play 9 to 3......
I'm stocking up on parts to re-do my front suspension...... Thanks

On the top of the box there's an allen wrench screw with a lock nut. You lift up the car (bring the front wheels off the ground), loosen the lock nut, and you can screw the allen adjustment in, maybe 1/4 to no more than 1/2 turn at a time. Every quarter turn, tighten the lock nut and, while the wheel are off the ground, turn the steering wheel back and forth to check for binds. If you feel that was maybe enough, put it down on the ground and check it. Mine is tightened so much that any more creates a large bind. I can actually feel a small bind at it's present setting. My new box comes on Saturday.

You probably need at least tie rods and maybe even a center link. If you have play in the wheels 9 to 3, the box adjustment won't effect anything (unless of course you have box play on top of the other play). When I got my car, the center link was shot and I had play 9 to 3. The steering would also jerk dangerously around corners.
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:39 AM   #8
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Re: New ball joints require alignment?

Thanks for the input. My bird is already on jackstands and visually looking at my tie rods, they look fine(not bent/warped) which has me puzzled is why I'm wondering about my steering gearbox. . When my ole'lady tugs 9 to 3, I notice alot of movement leading back to the gearbox! Just trying to do my homework while I continue to stock up on parts. I'm redoing most of my front suspension. Already got new ball joints, Sway bar bracket bushings, end link bolts/bushings & KYB GR-2 struts waiting for my lazy self to put them in.... Thanks again for your time. Oh ya, Sweet Iroc!

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Old 05-07-2010, 05:23 PM   #9
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Re: New ball joints require alignment?

You have a nice bird, I like the color combo and the rims are perfect with it. It looks like a real sweet ride. That Regal is nice as well, looks mean!

When the wheel is tugged 9-3, does the wheel being tugged actually move? If it does, you for sure need some actual front end work, apart from the box.

You don't always see tie rod wear. Where they connect is suppose to be tight, but in time they get sloppy (if that makes any sense). I don't know how to really describe it. When you grab the tie rod, you should be able to make it swivel (turn it with your wrist), but it shouldn't move anyway else. At least that's how I understand it, plus that's how my Eldorado is, which all the front end parts are only a couple thousand miles old max; no play at all .

I would replace what you know is bad, but if there's still play in the steering wheel itself, have someone turn the steering wheel left and right, just to where the play ends, and see if the pitman arm moves. I'd check while the car is on the ground, so there's weight on the front wheels. You can observe while looking through the engine compartment. If it doesn't move with the wheel, it's probably the steering box or the pitman, on these cars most likely the box. An old rag joint can also cause some slop in the steering wheel.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:06 PM   #10
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Re: New ball joints require alignment?

Maybe a better explination of what I see. When I'm under the Bird and the ole'lady tugs 9 to 3 It's like steering in the reverse order. She tugs the tire rods pivet causing the center link to pivet to cause where the main lead goes into the steering geerbox to turn/pivet. Almost like steering in the reverse order..... I'm thinking if the gearbox was tight the other previos motions would not happen I'm not a pro is why I am doing my homework but if it was my tie rods I would GUESS (lol) that the movement would end there and not continue to my center link and then to my gearbox Simple projects always spread like wild-fire. I'll just tell the ole'lady the only way to fix my suspension issues is to drop a 454 Big Block in the Bird and the Buick! Hope that explination was more clear to you or someone else. Thanks for letting hijack your thread.... Ooooops!
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:06 PM
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