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auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: May 21, 2022 06:53PM
I have a 2012 Equinox that is past due for ball joint replacement on both sides. Alone, that's not nearly as expensive as also replacing the control arms and/or control arm bushings.

How likely is it that if the ball joints are done-for, the control arms are as well?
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: Cary
Date: May 21, 2022 07:14PM
It should be cheaper, from a labor perspective, to change control arms (which come with new ball joints and bushings).

Parts are more, labor less (or equal) for control arm job.

I would change the control arms.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2022 10:20PM by Cary.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: May 21, 2022 08:09PM
An entire front end kit from RockAuto is $323. [www.rockauto.com]

or just the lower complete control arm assembly is between $80 and $100, depending on brand.

With power tools, and a lift, it shouldn't take long to swap the control arms.

New strut assemblies are about $140 each, including new springs.

When I have done mine, I tear everything down to the frame and replace everything at once.



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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 21, 2022 08:54PM
What racer said. And I also agree that you should do both. But the ball joints keep your car wheel from flopping over, the control arms keep it tracking correctly. Both are crucial but the ball joints are much more so.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 21, 2022 08:57PM
But if you've never done suspension work, it could be a little daunting if you encounter rust or a stuck bolt.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: May 21, 2022 09:54PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
But if you've never done suspension work, it could be a little daunting if you encounter rust or a stuck bolt.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 21, 2022 10:55PM
Quote
cbelt3
Quote
mrbigstuff
But if you've never done suspension work, it could be a little daunting if you encounter rust or a stuck bolt.

The one thing that's missing is the iron fence post for "leverage."
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: Diana
Date: May 21, 2022 11:56PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
Quote
cbelt3
Quote
mrbigstuff
But if you've never done suspension work, it could be a little daunting if you encounter rust or a stuck bolt.

The one thing that's missing is the iron fence post for "leverage."

Ah yes, the cheater bar.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: May 22, 2022 05:33AM
If a nut or bolt is really stuck, a penetrating oil like PB Blaster and an impact wrench are one's best chances of removal.

Often cranking with a cheater bar will twist the body of the bolt, eventually breaking it off.

Lighter impacts and penetrating oil can break a bolt or nut loose and remove either without further demolition needed.






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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: May 22, 2022 04:10PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
But if you've never done suspension work, it could be a little daunting if you encounter rust or a stuck bolt.

I never have... and probably never will. wink smiley

I was just asking because of the large variance in estimates from a few shops depending on what they were actually replacing.

A few months back, my regular shop quoted me just over $700. That's for control arms, too. Recently, I decided to check online and found a quote for ball joints at under $300. Then I checked with a third shop who was surprised that they sell ball joints alone, and told me I would very likely have control arm bushings that needed to be replaced as well.

I guess I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and pay the money.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 22, 2022 04:40PM
If the control arms have never been done, you should do them.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: Cary
Date: May 22, 2022 06:12PM
If parts are available, you can replace ball joints and bushings. It just is a lot more work, and generally more expensive due to that.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/22/2022 06:20PM by Cary.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: Harbourmaster
Date: May 22, 2022 08:30PM
Back when I was a kid, and cars were made of solid steel, EVERYTHING was replaceable and that’s how you repaired stuff.

The only REAL reason to replace a control arm is if it’s damaged or rusted beyond safety.

Mechanics these days suffer from the same illness as most young folks. You don’t even try to fix something you just replace it with a new one.



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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: May 22, 2022 11:02PM
Quote
Harbourmaster
Back when I was a kid, and cars were made of solid steel, EVERYTHING was replaceable and that’s how you repaired stuff.

The only REAL reason to replace a control arm is if it’s damaged or rusted beyond safety.

Mechanics these days suffer from the same illness as most young folks. You don’t even try to fix something you just replace it with a new one.

yes, but if you are wrestling with presses and clamps for 3 hours pressing out and in bushings and joints, plus the cost of parts, when for 1.5 hours of labor cost, you can buy replacement control arms already done, you are expected to. It's cheaper for the customer. Many newer vehicles have aluminum control arms not really designed to replace the joints and bushings in. You can, but it isn't a best practice.

I have run across lower control arms where the hole for the lower ball joint wasn't round and the proper size. I had them reamed and used oversized ball joints. What do you do when you can't ream them oversized because oversized parts aren't avail?

I must confess, when I gut the suspension on my Skylark, I might buy the repro control arms with joints, and poly bushings already installed. After having a shop press out and press in the parts, and buy the parts, I can get the repro arms for about the same price as a set, and have my originals as spares in case of an accident.



********************************************
“A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand.” Seneca the Younger

The police have no duty to respond. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005) or Warren v. District of Columbia[1] (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981)

Judge Lee wrote that “we cannot jettison our constitutional rights, even if the goal behind a law is laudable." 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

[www.youtube.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/22/2022 11:03PM by Racer X.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 23, 2022 07:07AM
Quote
Racer X
Quote
Harbourmaster
Back when I was a kid, and cars were made of solid steel, EVERYTHING was replaceable and that’s how you repaired stuff.

The only REAL reason to replace a control arm is if it’s damaged or rusted beyond safety.

Mechanics these days suffer from the same illness as most young folks. You don’t even try to fix something you just replace it with a new one.

yes, but if you are wrestling with presses and clamps for 3 hours pressing out and in bushings and joints, plus the cost of parts, when for 1.5 hours of labor cost, you can buy replacement control arms already done, you are expected to. It's cheaper for the customer. Many newer vehicles have aluminum control arms not really designed to replace the joints and bushings in. You can, but it isn't a best practice.

I have run across lower control arms where the hole for the lower ball joint wasn't round and the proper size. I had them reamed and used oversized ball joints. What do you do when you can't ream them oversized because oversized parts aren't avail?

I must confess, when I gut the suspension on my Skylark, I might buy the repro control arms with joints, and poly bushings already installed. After having a shop press out and press in the parts, and buy the parts, I can get the repro arms for about the same price as a set, and have my originals as spares in case of an accident.

yeah, this. I did it years ago on an A-Body GM but with the new arms, they are super tight tolerances. you need a really good press, not just c-clamps to get that sucker in. not something that the diy person has at their disposal. then there is the price, as racer said. it drives me crazy that a huge piece of aluminum is tossed aside, when it takes so much energy to manufacture and all it needs is a rubber bushing.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: May 23, 2022 10:46AM
Quote
mrbigstuff
it drives me crazy that a huge piece of aluminum is tossed aside, when it takes so much energy to manufacture and all it needs is a rubber bushing.

Auto parts like control arms are largely sold with a core charge. The used part gets returned for a credit. Most get used for remanufactured parts after being evaluated for damage that would preclude being reused. Bushings and other wear parts get replaced using proper tooling, the part gets sold. Those that are damaged get recycled. They are not just tossed aside.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 23, 2022 02:19PM
Quote
JoeH
Quote
mrbigstuff
it drives me crazy that a huge piece of aluminum is tossed aside, when it takes so much energy to manufacture and all it needs is a rubber bushing.

Auto parts like control arms are largely sold with a core charge. The used part gets returned for a credit. Most get used for remanufactured parts after being evaluated for damage that would preclude being reused. Bushings and other wear parts get replaced using proper tooling, the part gets sold. Those that are damaged get recycled. They are not just tossed aside.

They maybe recycled but they are not usually subject to a core charge. You may be the thinking of brake calipers.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: May 23, 2022 02:41PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
Quote
JoeH
Quote
mrbigstuff
it drives me crazy that a huge piece of aluminum is tossed aside, when it takes so much energy to manufacture and all it needs is a rubber bushing.

Auto parts like control arms are largely sold with a core charge. The used part gets returned for a credit. Most get used for remanufactured parts after being evaluated for damage that would preclude being reused. Bushings and other wear parts get replaced using proper tooling, the part gets sold. Those that are damaged get recycled. They are not just tossed aside.

They maybe recycled but they are not usually subject to a core charge. You may be the thinking of brake calipers.

I have seen core charges on just about any suspension assembly that is a replacement for an OEM part when I have bought them in the past. I know my mechanic gets the core charges as well, but he doesn't pass on the credit to me. Instead he collects that and charges a bit lower labor rates than some other shops in the area.

I have not seen core charges on performance replacement parts as the part coming off will not be usable as a core by the manufacturer. Components such as the ball joints or tie rod ends also do not have core charges.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 23, 2022 06:09PM
Quote
JoeH
Quote
mrbigstuff
Quote
JoeH
Quote
mrbigstuff
it drives me crazy that a huge piece of aluminum is tossed aside, when it takes so much energy to manufacture and all it needs is a rubber bushing.

Auto parts like control arms are largely sold with a core charge. The used part gets returned for a credit. Most get used for remanufactured parts after being evaluated for damage that would preclude being reused. Bushings and other wear parts get replaced using proper tooling, the part gets sold. Those that are damaged get recycled. They are not just tossed aside.

They maybe recycled but they are not usually subject to a core charge. You may be the thinking of brake calipers.

I have seen core charges on just about any suspension assembly that is a replacement for an OEM part when I have bought them in the past. I know my mechanic gets the core charges as well, but he doesn't pass on the credit to me. Instead he collects that and charges a bit lower labor rates than some other shops in the area.

I have not seen core charges on performance replacement parts as the part coming off will not be usable as a core by the manufacturer. Components such as the ball joints or tie rod ends also do not have core charges.

You may want to check with your mechanic on those sort of extra charges.

I'll give you some examples of cars I've recently (within the last few years) worked on:

2008 Nissan
Control Arms - no core charge
[www.rockauto.com]
Brake Calipers - core charge
[www.rockauto.com]

2000 Volvo
Control Arms - no core charge
[www.rockauto.com]

Brake Calipers - core charge
[www.rockauto.com]
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: May 23, 2022 06:23PM
I have it scheduled with my regular shop now...

But I'm thinking maybe the Rock Auto thing is the way to go with a dealer service shop (called and got a quote and they said I could bring my own parts and that theirs were very expensive). The reason I was shopping around is because the location is a PITA, plus they always want me to drop the car off the night before or first thing in the morning. Both are spectacularly inconvenient (no spouse and no second car).

In the past I have been able to arrange to bring the vehicle in early afternoon and wait, but in this case they don't do the alignment in house so they said that wouldn't work.
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Re: auto experts: ball joints and control arms?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 23, 2022 06:27PM
Quote
AllGold
I have it scheduled with my regular shop now...

But I'm thinking maybe the Rock Auto thing is the way to go with a dealer service shop (called and got a quote and they said I could bring my own parts and that theirs were very expensive). The reason I was shopping around is because the location is a PITA, plus they always want me to drop the car off the night before or first thing in the morning. Both are spectacularly inconvenient (no spouse and no second car).

In the past I have been able to arrange to bring the vehicle in early afternoon and wait, but in this case they don't do the alignment in house so they said that wouldn't work.
\

Yeah, time is worth something, perhaps differently for your tailored situation, of course. I've got used to dropping the night before.

Whatever, or whomever you bring it to, ask if they don't mind getting the parts from RockAuto or similar place. Some will let you drop the parts off in the car and use those. Some are adamantly opposed to this, and of course any official places will balk at such a suggestion, as they make a fair amount from the "official" parts.
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