Replacing Ball Joint?

Messages
862
Location
Chicago
The left upper ball joint in my 89 Civic RT 4WD Wagon seems to have gone south on me, so I need to replace it. I looked on Rock Auto and there are a bunch of parts from different manufacturers, ranging in price from around $12 to $90. I don't know why there is such a big range in prices. I've never worked on these things before and am clueless about which ones are good, etc. Here's the Rock Auto link: http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/raframecatalog.php Can anyone give me some advice on how to proceed? I don't know whether I'm out of my depth here and should just get the car towed to a garage, or give it a shot myself?
 
Messages
5,091
Location
USA
Usually the cheapest chassis parts are from China,Taiwan....and wont last very long.Dont cheap out on chassis parts.
 
Messages
36,520
Location
ME
Get a brand like beck-arnley, TRW, Moog. Skip Rare Parts, OE (not OE Honda, despite the name wink ) If the spring rests on your upper control arm, you are going to want to find a way to keep it from flying through your chest. Otherwise, no worries. cheers
 
Messages
648
Location
SF Bay Area, CA
+1 to the replies above. I've done ball joints, though on older American cars and would try it on a ride like yours if I have a factory manual. Doing it yourself really does free up you to buy the better parts. In the Raybestos brand, spring for the Professional Grade. Good excuse to get a torque wrench if you don't have one already smile
 
Messages
609
Location
New Jersey
Just a few things to add: 1. Kudos for keeping this car on the road. Those Civic RT Wagons are great and I wished they made them today. 2. Watch closely for the origin of the parts. I have had to redo jobs more than once when I have bought China-Sourced parts. That's not to say that you can't get good parts from China, just that I haven't done so yet. Plus one million on eljefino's post. 3. Since you are pulling suspension apart, consider replacing anything on one side on the other. Look closely at tie-rod ends, lower ball-joints and struts. Checkk out CV joint boots. You may be looking at stuff that has been in service 23 years! Let us know more about the vehicle and good luck. And as an FYI, the hardest parts of this job is compressing the springs and getting the axle nut off. Beyond that, just take your time and stick with it. Good luck.
 

Cogito

Thread starter
Messages
862
Location
Chicago
Got it done today. The worst part was returning the first control arm which was clearly stamped "R" for one stamped "L".
 
Messages
386
Location
hawaii
I bought a pair of Mevotech ball joints from Rock, they were cheap and when they arrived I found that they're made in India. They carried the same part numbers but they were constructed differently, you could see this plainly. After pressing them into the control arms using factory specified tools (Miller) one of them had play in the stud and flopped around like a 100k mile part. So yes, as far as chassis parts go, you get what you pay for...
 
Messages
8,598
Location
Florida
Originally Posted By: ms21043
I bought a pair of Mevotech ball joints from Rock, they were cheap and when they arrived I found that they're made in India. They carried the same part numbers but they were constructed differently, you could see this plainly. After pressing them into the control arms using factory specified tools (Miller) one of them had play in the stud and flopped around like a 100k mile part. So yes, as far as chassis parts go, you get what you pay for...
I get stuck installing numerous cheap suspension parts, and I can't remember how many times the same part number for the same vehicle was built completely differently. Sometimes I would end up with one from China and another from Taiwan. Don't be cheap, you will end up doing the job again, and the part company doesn't pay for what else fails in the process. One thing I might also add is that on many old vehicles, it often makes sense to just replace the entire control arm, because the bushings are in less than ideal shape.
 

Cogito

Thread starter
Messages
862
Location
Chicago
Yup, artificialist, I replaced the entire control arm. Got one from Autozone, they were the only place that had one in stock. It came with a lifetime warranty, but I dunno where it was made. The guy said it was their 'house brand' and that people seemed to like them. I don't drive a lot and this car probably won't be around a real long time, so it will probably do the job for me.
 
Messages
8,598
Location
Florida
Originally Posted By: Cogito
Yup, artificialist, I replaced the entire control arm. Got one from Autozone, they were the only place that had one in stock. It came with a lifetime warranty, but I dunno where it was made. The guy said it was their 'house brand' and that people seemed to like them. I don't drive a lot and this car probably won't be around a real long time, so it will probably do the job for me.
Autozone house brands could be anything. Some of them are the typical stuff from China. Some of their parts come from "555 Japan" which is a reputable company. Some of their parts come from TRW which builds many OE parts Some of their parts come from MOOG which usually is an upgrade in quality over most OE chassis parts.
 

Cogito

Thread starter
Messages
862
Location
Chicago
As an addendum here.... I had to replace my left front axle. Apparently it was damaged when the ball joint broke cause it started making noises I didn't like when driving the car. I didn't know what was up with it, so I just replaced, and the noises stopped. Not sure what happened, but it's all good now.
 
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