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Ball joints

Old 09-06-2015, 07:33 PM
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Default Ball joints

Hey guys, I've got a mild pop or clunk in my front end. You really only hear it at slow speeds and uneven bumps. This is a 99 xj 4wd. The shocks, sway bar bushings, springs, track bar, and sway bar disconnects are new. 180k with original ball joints and control arms.

Firestone has told me twice they can't find a problem which is fine since they didn't charge me.

I assume it is ball joints but I'm better at replacing parts than diagnosis. Autozone has a reasonable price and lifetime warranty. Any cons to there product compared to off road dealers online? I rarely go off road.

I read that the autozone loaner ball joint press does not work well on the Cherokee. Can u recommend one that does?

Thanks!
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Old 09-06-2015, 08:53 PM
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Jack up one side enough so a buddy can slide a 2x4 under tire. Have buddy lift up and down 2x4 while you look at ball joints for movement. I also use flashlight aimed at ball joint. Repeat other side. Diagnosis done . I can't remember which (upper or lower), but one will travel a 1/4 inch or so up and down. I should add for my '90 it travels up and down. I was over 300k before I had a ball joint go.

Personally I would not use autozone ball joints, get some Spicer's off Amazon seems the consensus that is oem. I used the loaner tool but I had to make some cups out of scrap pipe to make it work. There is a cup angled for jeeps that helps. There is a you tube vid somewhere that might help.
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:25 PM
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:28 AM
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My son has the AutoZone ones on his 98 now for over 2 yrs. A friend who works at a Jeep dealership installed them for me at my shop for him and had the right tool he borrowed from work.

Last edited by Fred/N0AZZ; 09-07-2015 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:42 PM
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I would put a pry bar on your lower control arms before you start throwing parts at it. I've had several bad control arm bushings give me the same symptoms you're describing. As for ball joints, if you do replace them, I use the Alloy USA ball joints and have had great luck with them but, the spicer units won't let you down either.

The ball joint loaner tool will work, you'll just need to be a little creative. There is a video on Bleepin Jeeps youtube channel that shows what to do.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:51 PM
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Thanks guys!
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:09 PM
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May not be the ball joints, particularly if it drives over rough roads straight and true. I would look at your sway bar bushings, tranny mount, & exhaust hanger at the tranny mount.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by md21722 View Post
May not be the ball joints, particularly if it drives over rough roads straight and true. I would look at your sway bar bushings, tranny mount, & exhaust hanger at the tranny mount.
I had the same issue and it was the exhaust hanger at the tranny. It had rusted and allowed the exhaust pipe to bounce off the frame when on rough roads. Simple fix, welded a new hanger on.... noise gone..
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:32 AM
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I just did my ball joints this weekend. If you go to RockAuto.com you can save a lot of cash. I ordered a full set for less than $30 shipped.

You can do loan a tool to make this an easy job from advanced auto with a $200 deposit. The one from auto zone is cheaper but the advanced one is much nicer and has more adapters.
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