ball joint replacement, initial inquiry
My 98 2WD has almost 104,000 miles on it and has never had the ball joints replaced. I glanced at them and they look generally fine, no cracking of the rubber or otherwise deteriorated or appear obvious that they need attention. I do plan on doing a more thorough inspection to check for excessive play/movement, and I if there is I'll certainly go ahead now with replacing as necessary. Although I've never done balljoints before, I've been looking at various info I can find that describes doing the job, and I'm confident I can handle it with proper instructions and hopefully some tips from the forum etc. From time to time I do notice/hear some kind of looseness from the front end when driving, which of course could be a number of things but I'm just wondering if even though the balljoints seem to look fine if perhaps that's not the case at all. Tire wear seems fine and even, and alignment seems good while driving (no veering off or such).
1. At the mileage I stated would it generally be expected that the balljoints are likely worn and high time for replacement, or not necessarily.
2. At my location the roads aren't that well maintained, a lot of rough spots on the pavement and bumpiness and such that I typically drive around on, does that kind of situation put more wear on the balljoints?
3. When/if I get around to doing the balljoints is it the lowers or the uppers that usually need replacement first?
4. Any comments on the pros or cons of changing out the whole upper control arm(s) with the Moog type so I can have zerk fittings and the balljoints would then be replaceable in the future. Is that almost always worth the initial extra expense.
5. My front shocks are only a year or so old, and wheel bearings where replaced a few years back, and I don't put a lot of mileage on the vehicle. Other than those things I've just mentioned, and looking at the balljoints, what else there in the front suspension should I try to at least take a good look at?
Any comments appreciated!