So Big O Tire said my truck is crap. - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 12-18-2009
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So Big O Tire said my truck is crap.

I took my truck into Big O Tire because I was planning on getting my suspension problem checked out and possibly fixed. My truck pulls to the right a little bit and has a little shake in the steering wheel and front suspension. Whenever I run over a manhole or hit a pothole while not letting my truck naturally align itself, which is pulling right, my front suspension starts to shake violently back and forth and I have to turn my wheel past the natural alignment to the right and slow down to get it to stop shaking. I was told after the examination that my truck needed $1900 worth of repairs to fix. I was told that I needed to replace my upper and lower ball joints, my sway bar bushings, my shocks and that my right rear axle seal needed replacing. I am no mechanic and I bought my truck with 140000 lift installed for $2000. I am only 20 and I can't afford to pay $1400 to fix my suspension issues.

Now my dilemma. I have seen videos of people replacing ball joints on other vehicles and the general idea of it doesn't seem that difficult (tell me if I'm mistaken), take the wheel off, loosen some bolts, disconnect the hub from the joint, remove the joint (somehow), replace the joint, reinstall. Then for the bushings I'm sure I can find a tutorial on the internet or from you guys on how to do this since I have a general idea of how to remove the sway bar from the suspension. Then the rear shocks look pretty easy to replace since they only bolt to the frame at 4 points, the fronts I have no idea. I have replaced the pinion seal on my diff before so I think the right rear axle seal would be similar to this right?

I just want to know if it is possible for someone like me to be able to fix some or all of these problems following tutorials from the net and possibly from you guys. I possibly have access to a lift if that would help. I don't have all the specific tools but I do have access to general tools (I can probably borrow the specific tools like the ball joint remover from autozone). Do I have the right idea or am I better off paying Big O to do it? I have looked up the price of these parts and I feel like the labor is what makes it so expensive.

If you have any questions about my truck I can try my best to answer them for you. Thanks.
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Old 12-18-2009
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What year and model is your truck? 2wd or 4wd?
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  #3  
Old 12-18-2009
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Realizing I forgot a crap load of information here is some info:

97 Ford Ranger Reg Cab 2wd 2.3l 4cylinder.
My front suspension is an i beam suspension with shocks.
My rear suspension is leafed and I think there are blocks installed with shocks.
I'm running 31's with 1.5" wheel spacers because my 31's would rub against my sway bar when I turned my steering wheel.

I feel it's my duty as a man to learn how my truck works and learn how to fix it!
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  #4  
Old 12-18-2009
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Get a repair manual from the parts store, and it should have most every procedure on there. Then if you have questions you can ask them on here.
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Old 12-18-2009
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If you were closer I would do it for a grand! lol
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Old 12-18-2009
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If you do it your self parts will only be a few hundred.
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  #7  
Old 12-18-2009
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Replacing the rear axle seal is not going to be as easy as replacing the diff seal, but it is not extremely difficult. If I remember correctly for an oppen diff, you've got to take off the wheel (I forget if you have to do anything for the brakes, remove the diff cover, remove a pin, remove the shaft from the axle tube, then you can pull the old seal, replace it and put everything back. It's a bit different than just removing a few bolts, placing on a seal w/gasket stuff and putting it all back together.

As for everything else, I haven't tackled that yet, so I couldn't tell you.
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  #8  
Old 12-18-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anthony.alaan View Post
Realizing I forgot a crap load of information here is some info:

97 Ford Ranger Reg Cab 2wd 2.3l 4cylinder.
My front suspension is an i beam suspension with shocks.
My rear suspension is leafed and I think there are blocks installed with shocks.
I'm running 31's with 1.5" wheel spacers because my 31's would rub against my sway bar when I turned my steering wheel.

I feel it's my duty as a man to learn how my truck works and learn how to fix it!
I know your a little ways away but wanna come over and we can do it? Im really good with ibeams.
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  #9  
Old 12-18-2009
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its not to bad the hardest part would be the ball joints the rest will be easy if you live in ri i would give you a hand
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  #10  
Old 12-18-2009
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Cake to do. Its a saturday job for me
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  #11  
Old 12-18-2009
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So all your comments are really reassuring and I guess I will have a go at it. Thanks for offering to help me out with it to. I'll post here if I need any help with it.
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Old 12-18-2009
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I say grab a Haynes manual, and go for it. Should take an afternoon or so.
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Old 12-18-2009
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I hate Big O Tires, they are retarded. They always tell me that I have a bent wheel because they don't know how to do a proper wheel balance. Plus the f**cked up my oil drain threading, now my truck leaks oil everywhere I go...

But I'm with everyone, try to do most of this yourself. Save some money and learn something new.
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Old 12-18-2009
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The shocks are something that you can do your self with no problem so even if you decide to take your truck in dont let them do those.
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  #15  
Old 12-20-2009
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So I have another dilemma on my hands. I had to install spacers on my truck to offset my wheels so that when I turned them all the way they wouldn't rub against my sway bar. I know that spacers are not the best solution so since I am thinking of getting new shocks is there anyway to make the tires fit without rubbing my sway bar without spacers?
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  #16  
Old 12-28-2009
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So I removed my wheel spacers and took off my sway bar to solve the wheel problem. I was working on disassembling my spindle to get the ball joints when I ran into another problem. I can't get the lower ball joint to pop out of the ibeam. I think the ball joint has a tapered end to it and after hammering away at it for a good while I called it a night and reassembled my wheel.

How can I get the lower ball joint loose from the ibeam assembly? I got the upper ball joint loose by removing the retainer and the tie rod disconnected using a pitman arm puller. I would try to use some puller to force the lower joint out but I only have about 2 inches of clearance between the bottom of the upper ball joint and the top the the lower ball joint and I can't really fit a puller in between the joints. My manual said to hammer the inside of the spindle to knock it loose but it really isn't going anywhere. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I am stuck.

Here are some photos:

This is a photo of the space I have between my upper and lower ball joints



This is a photo of top of the loose upper ball joint

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Size:  79.2 KB

This is the lower ball joint end that won't come out.

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Views: 4
Size:  80.0 KB
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  #17  
Old 12-28-2009
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try swearing at it.... then get really mad and have a go. usually works for me. you could also try and use a torch to heat it up and then quickly cool it and give it a smack or two. should come flying out.
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  #18  
Old 12-28-2009
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In the 2nd picture, where the pinch bolt goes. Hit the knuckle down right below the pinch bolt. It should drop out after a couple downward blows.l
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  #19  
Old 12-28-2009
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HAHA. I was trying to cut down on the swearing as an etiquette thing but yesterday was full of bad words. I'll have a go at it again Wednesday and see how it goes.

Where exactly is the knuckle to strike? Are you saying swing for the fences on the spindle just below the pinch bolt?

Also I had a minor problem putting my caliper back on. I couldn't get the caliper to hold the two pads on the rotor because the rotor and pads seemed to be wider than the caliper. I had to take off the little plastic plates on my pads to get the caliper to fit over the pads and rotor. For some reason the two cup shaped things on my caliper were sticking out farther than one another and I couldn't hammer them deeper to make more space for the pads. I just needed the tiniest of space to fit the caliper on so I took off the plastic plates on the pads. Is this not such a good idea? How can I fix this?
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  #20  
Old 12-28-2009
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The spindle is the part that the wheel bearing are. The knuckle is where the ball joints are. Hit the knuckle right near the pinch bolt.

You need a "C" clamp to compress the piston on the caliper.
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  #21  
Old 01-05-2010
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So I had to give up on the ball joint replacement. I don't have the tools nor the pure hulkness strength required to remove the lower ball joint from the ibeam. I have now gained a respect for the mechanics who have the ability to do these impossible jobs and I understand why they charge so much. I found a shop that does front end for $90 an hour labor. Is that a good rate? I can still tackle the shocks no problem though.
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  #22  
Old 01-05-2010
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since you're replacing the ball joints go to HF and pick up a 4 or 5lb sledge hammer, and a couple pickle forks. heat the snot out of the area around the lower ball joint and go to town at it with the sledge and pickle fork, it will pop out with just a few solid wacks. Then, rent a ball joint press from autozone to press the ball joints out of the now disconnected spindle, and use it to press the new ones in.
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