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87 Choo Choo
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Discussion Starter #1
Pulled into the parking deck here at work this morning, turned into my normal spot...got a loud thunk front drivers side and dropped about an inch. Thought WTF...put her in park..got another thunk and dropped another half. Did a quick inspection, upper and lower bushings look good...couldn't see the ball joints. Broken Spring ?

The real pisser is that I was just thinking how good she was running with all the tinkering I'd been doing lately...dang!

I'll pull the wheel at lunch time to see what's what...before I call AAA to get her home :x
 

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Lower ball joint.
 

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87 Choo Choo
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Discussion Starter #5
She's settled so low, I didn't even bother pulling the wheel...nearly resting on the wheel well now. I won't even be able to attempt to limp home. I guess that's why I pay for AAA. :cry:
 

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Last time it happened to me, I had been cruising down IH35 doing about 85 in my old Nova. Took my off ramp and came to a stop light on the feeder road. Just as I stopped, the right front lower ball joint let go, the steering knuckle kicked out, the front end dropped and rested on the lower control arm. I thanked God, towed the car a couple of blocks to the shop and replaced it in about thirty minutes.
 

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87 Choo Choo
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Discussion Starter #8
acauth1 said:
Lower ball joint.
ding, ding, ding...right answer. I've just never had one go before. How the heck can you loose a nut and cotter pin? Easy fix, got her up on a jack. Bad part, had to leave her at work cause the AAA guy couldn't get to her (too many cars in front of me). Sorta good part, got lots of security in my work complex.

Guess who will be spending alot of time under his elky this weekend looking for other previous owner screw-ups.

Sometimes I guess it's better to be lucky than good! I think I'll count my lucky stars on this one!
 

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Good luck, I'd let ya borrow my spring compressor but your a little to far away :lol: You can rent on free at Autozone along the ball joint installation/removal tool.

This is the reason I like to do ALL my automotive maintenance. Sometimes you can catch things before they become a problem. This would have been hard to spot though. :wink: Being an engineer I 'd be curious to see what failed. :?: You'd think if it was just a loose nut you would have had plenty of warning.
 

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87SS said:
How the heck can you loose a nut and cotter pin? Guess who will be spending alot of time under his elky this weekend looking for other previous owner screw-ups.
8O Wow, you lost the castle nut for the ball joint? I've seen some cars where the castle nut has been replaced with a regular 12mm nut and the cotter pin isn't used. That's a car wreck waiting to happen.

Tomorrow, I tear into the front end in my 86 MCSS. New upper and lower ball joints, tie-rod ends, adjustment sleeves, center-link, idler arm, sway bar bushings, end links, and shocks.

:mrgreen:
 

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87 Choo Choo
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1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Got to work early this morning, got her up in the air to have a look see. Found the nut on the inside of the lower control arm stripped. I had brought a few spares with me, but could not get them to thread. Top of the ball joint was stripped as well. I was able to get enough bite to keep her together long enough to allow the tow truck to hook up. I blocked off the opposing spots this time. Dang if I know how those BellSouth caution cones got in the garage :wink:

No sign of the cotter pin, actually didn't look like there had been one in there for awhile. The only visable damage at this point (until I can get her home) was the dust shield...and that's easily replaced.

I went ahead and let a local shop do the work this time so they could check the alignment with the new ball joint in....
 
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