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Old 07-31-2009, 04:00 AM   #1
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Default Ever wonder what happens when..

A ball joint completely fails while driving?

Luckily I was only going about ten miles an hour when this happened.

More pics with a decent camera to follow once I get the car apart.

Getting a low miata onto a trailer is pain in the ***. But not nearly as hard as getting a low miata with a wheel that's got a control arm digging into it, and is pivoting off the upper control arm, and also dragging on the wheel well.

and to top things off the trailer doesn't have an electric winch, so i pulled the car up using a coffin hoist.
It was an exciting morning
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Old 07-31-2009, 08:15 AM   #2
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ouch.

Looks like it dug into your wheel too. Similar to what happened at the track for me, although it wasn't the ball joint that failed.

During the years I had an ae86, I replaced the front brakes because they seized up. I put locktite on where the brakes mount. At buttonwillow track on a mid summer day, my top bolt on the caliper failed and backed out. It lunged forward, bending the caliper bracket, and digging straight into the wheel. The wheel warped out of shape and was no longer useable.

Before you get back on the road with those wheels, make sure the integrity isn't compromised. And while you're at it, check that entire side for any other damage.

EDIT: If you were only going 10 mph, I'm sure it would be fine, but at the speeds I was going when mine happened, it was a catastrophe. I drove home that day using the e-brake to slow down. The entire caliper was held up by one bolt
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Old 07-31-2009, 11:42 AM   #3
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Hurts to see. I'm nervous about tow truck drivers dragging the front while loading, but it looks like this was dragging the whole way up.

Did it happen during a turn by chance?
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:12 PM   #4
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ok, time to buy new ball joins.
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:34 PM   #5
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Now that's stance...
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:51 PM   #6
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ummm....how many miles are on your car?

Thinking those are finally worth the price.
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Old 07-31-2009, 01:35 PM   #7
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Yeah it happened right after a turn, funny thing is that these ball joints aren't even a year old.
so I won't be buying generic **** again, I ordered some from the dealer last night. $62 a pop, I paid 45 for the two on there now.

I'll probably just buy a new wheel, they are pretty cheap, something like 75 a piece.
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Old 07-31-2009, 02:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicacus View Post
Yeah it happened right after a turn, funny thing is that these ball joints aren't even a year old.
so I won't be buying generic **** again, I ordered some from the dealer last night. $62 a pop, I paid 45 for the two on there now.

I'll probably just buy a new wheel, they are pretty cheap, something like 75 a piece.

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Old 07-31-2009, 02:56 PM   #9
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They dont spontaneously fail like that do they? There had to be some warning signs.
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Old 07-31-2009, 02:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saml01 View Post
They dont spontaneously fail like that do they? There had to be some warning signs.
Usually they just develope some play, you might feel vibration from it. Ignore it long enough and that's what happens.
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Old 07-31-2009, 04:01 PM   #11
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Another warning for generic **** parts. We had an egay oil pump fail this week too...
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Old 07-31-2009, 04:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saml01 View Post
They dont spontaneously fail like that do they? There had to be some warning signs.
I didnt notice any wobble at all, the only thing I noticed was a slight squeek when I turned to the right a day before.

Last edited by nicacus; 07-31-2009 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 07-31-2009, 04:50 PM   #13
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Oh crap man, did it catch the lip of the fender and crack the paint? I blew a shock once and had that happen on a big bump. Still need that rear hub?
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Old 07-31-2009, 05:51 PM   #14
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No, the scratch on the fender is from an ex girlfriend putting her knee into the fender. you can still see the biggest chip of paint if you look close in different pictures.

I might still need that hub. I ordered bushings from 949racing the night the ball joint failed. so I'll let you know when I get everything pulled apart.
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Old 07-31-2009, 07:49 PM   #15
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Put this on a CR slammed thread. They'll orgasm.

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PS Man that sucks, sorry to hear
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:08 PM   #16
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Damn. All of the **** I've done and I'm still on original 120k mile ball joints. This makes me kind of worry. Though yours being generic junk, thats probably 80% of the reason. I can't say I have seen an OEM joint fail like this. Can you imagine if you had been doing 60+, or hell, even 35 would have been scary as ****. Just one more thing to make me worry while driving.
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cococarbine3 View Post
Put this on a CR slammed thread. They'll orgasm.



PS Man that sucks, sorry to hear
Just dont tell them thats a GV knock off lip

I changed the joints out. The other side that didn't fail was completely drained of grease, and was probably on the verge of doing the same thing.

More pics after dinner
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Old 07-31-2009, 11:58 PM   #18
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Were these ebay balljoints? There's a thread on cr.net which had 2-3 people with failed ebay balljoints and one with NAPA rebuilds. I buy oem when it comes to things like that.
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Were these ebay balljoints? There's a thread on cr.net which had 2-3 people with failed ebay balljoints and one with NAPA rebuilds. I buy oem when it comes to things like that.
Yes they were. Lesson learned

Here are some pics

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Wheel damage, wasnt as bas as I thought it was, nothing very deep. Still going to get a new wheel.
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The ball joint on the left is the one that came apart, I cleaned off the grease and pressed it back together out of curiosity (wanted to see if I could pull it back apart.)
Ball joint on the right is the other side, with just the boot removed. Notice the small amount of grease, and what grease there is, is full of dirt.



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The other sides ball joint had more play in it than the original ball joints that had 155 thousand or so miles on them. Oddly enough the car didn't wobble at all.

After changing these the car is at least 6 times easier to turn.
It feels like I have power steering again (lines are looped) not like I'm driving an old suburban without power steering.

So the lesson for the day is:

eBay sucks. lucky to be not dead
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