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Old 12-29-2006
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NAPA Ball Joints

I am about to replace the ball joints on my 2wd coil sprung Ranger. Just by looking at the different ball joints available, the NAPA Heavy -Duty ball joints look to be the best quality. The boots even look much more durable than other brands. But this is just me looking at them.

I cannot express how frusterated I get trying to keep the front end alligned properly. The upper ball joints were replaced ~50K ago with Moog greasable ball joints, but they are loose now. The lower ones are factory and the rubber boots are mostly gone from them. I have the adjustable camber bushings already installed, but I continually face camber problems ever since I put on my spindle lift.

I am going to replace all 4 ball joints and wanted to know if anyone has had any luck with a particular brand. I'm not just real concerned with price because they all seem to be within $20 or so bucks of one another.

Any suggestions, experience, horror stories with NAPA ball joints?

Thanks
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Old 12-29-2006
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Do a search for this, John, N3ELZ just re did his and he used the NAPA ones I think... This was maybe a week or two ago the post was made.
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Old 12-29-2006
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I used the greaseable ones. Even if something gets through the boot, you can force it out just by re-greasing it. They're quite nice and I put their greaseable ball joints on as well.
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Old 12-29-2006
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I think I'll give the NAPA greasable ball joints a go, then.


I should have done all four at once a long time ago instead of doing one here and one there- I know I would have saved an allignment or two that way. Guess you live, you learn...
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Old 12-29-2006
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My 35's, hard driving style, and constant immersion underwater have taken a toll, lol. I know what you mean. It's nice to do all at once, but sometimes it's just not practical economically, lol.
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Old 12-29-2006
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I got moog greasables and I havent had a problem even with camber and Im dropped 5.5 inches in the front with an eccentrics kit.
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Old 01-04-2007
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So the NAPA greasable ball joints are installed and, wow, my front end is sooo much tighter. It feels like a new truck. I never thought maintenance could provide such happiness

It is also a good feeling to not be worring about bad camber burning through a set of expensive mud tires.

And to the economical part of this, I figure if I can bounce around off road, bail off in mud and water, and just generally drive it like it ain't mine- well I figure I can afford to do a little upkeep on my vehicle.


Thanks for the replies. It is good hearing from people who can justify spending some money on their vehicles every once and a while
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Old 01-08-2007
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Are the moogs really worth it???? I've got to do the whole front end sometime. Might just go wit hthese.
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Old 01-08-2007
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Moog's or Napa's greaseable ones are worth it -- especially with larger tires and if you immerse them regularly. When you grease them you can force out contaminants and keep them properly lubed. I like them a lot.

I now have greaseable joints everywhere except my passenger upper control arm.
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Old 01-08-2007
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The greasable joints are only good if you keep up on greasing them, otherwise the sealed ones tend to last longer.
I've used NAPA front end parts before, they are usually cheaper but I haven't had much luck as far as longevity on fleet vehicles. I get better service out of either OEM or Moog joints. When in need of parts, I usually end up using what ever is available in a pinch, but prefer the Moog joints. Many OEM joints are rubber or nylon lined, so they ride quite, many heavy duty joints are brass/bronze lined, so there's no plastic or rubber parts to squash or wear out, but they require constant lube. The HD joints are pretty much all metal construction other than the grease boot itself.
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Old 01-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reelfishin
Many OEM joints are rubber or nylon lined, so they ride quite, many heavy duty joints are brass/bronze lined, so there's no plastic or rubber parts to squash or wear out, but they require constant lube. The HD joints are pretty much all metal construction other than the grease boot itself.

That's good information. I noticed that there was some kind of hard nylon liner inside the socket part of the joint. I wasn't real sure what it was for. Only the lower ones had the liner, though. The upper joints appeared to be all metal with no liner.


We will see how the NAPA joints hold up. I don't really like how the factory ball joints are not greasable. Some veicles might actually drive down a wet or sandy or poor road where the grease could become contaminated.

On the other hand, the non-greasable ball joints such as the factory ones look to be better sealed as far as boot fitment goes. Don't get me wrong, the rubber boots on the greasable joints look quite heavy duty, but they don't look like they seal at the base of the joint as well.

Just my observations.
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Old 01-09-2007
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I'm a kind of person who greases when he changes oil. U-joints, ball joints, drive shafts, etc. So since i got the ranger....it's annoying. No greasible nothing. Yet another thing I feel the factorys are making so you have to go to the dealersip to buy stuff and replace and install.....sucks.

I'm going greasers, no madder what. I've gots to. even if only one joint needs it, all the joints will get replaced.

Thanks for the info guys. $340 at the local napa for all new greasables in the front.
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Old 01-10-2007
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Most non greasable joints are sealed to be water tight so long as the boot is intact. Most grease fitting type joints have only a contact style boot that allows dirty grease and contaminates to escape when regreasing. There are a few that have sealed boots that actually snap tight, but these tend to tear if overgreased.
The problem with a lot of greasable joints is that they allow sand and water in in larger quanities than does a healthy sealed joint. While you will eventually relube and force out the dirt, water and old grease, what about the damage that has been done in the meantime. The worst offender is the sand, and if the joint is nylon or rubber lined, it gets embedded in the bushing area of the joint forever.

Both types have their advantages, the OEM uses the sealed joints since they last the longest with normal use and only minimum maintenance. This is done for marketing, warranty cost, and durability. Most owners do very little to their vehicles, this is often taken into consideration when designing a vehicle. I would venture to guess that far more than half of the drivers on the road today wouldn't know what to do with a grease gun.

If and when I replace the ball joints in my current trucks, I will be looking for quality in the construction of the joint. One with an all metal construction and most likely grease fittings since I don't run much in dirt and do keep up on services myself.
My first choice however would be the OEM joints since after all, the originals have lasted for 130,000+ miles (they're still in good shape as of my last oil change), but cost will most likely steer me from OEM Ford replacements.
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