North American Turbocoupe Organization



Ball joint replacement
CB900Fer Offline
Member
#1
I have a 1988 TC that I believe needs ball joints. The wear indicators are just about flush with the surrounding ball joint "housing" and I have a pretty bad clunking up front when I hit small bumps. Well, as I've been reading up on it here, it sounds like a bear of a job so I'm somewhat afraid of doing it, but also I noticed that alot of guys replace the LCA at the same time.

My question is: 1) how do you know if the LCA needs to be replaced? and 2) You can check if the tie rods are bad simply by trying to wiggle the wheel from side to side, right? Because I've noticed alot of guys say those might cause a bit of clunking, but I feel no side to side play in the wheels.

Any help or tips are really appreciated. Thanks guys!
1979 Honda XR250
1980 Honda CR80 Elsinore - sold
1981 Honda CB900F Super Sport
1988 Ford Thunderbird TC - 2.3T, 5 speed, K&N, Gillis, dynomax dual exhaust.
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Pete D Offline
Administrator
#2
You can also get clunking when the sway bar bushing get bad.
Pete Dunham


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Robert Camp Offline
Posting Freak
#3
The LCA's probably don't need replacing, unless you want to go the whole tubular route. It's sometimes as cheap to get them with the bushings and ball joints already installed. But that may not be the case. Replacing the ball joint isn't too bad, if you have the tool for it. Without the tool, forget it. Do a search for the tool and see if it's what you want to spend. You may be able to borrow one from Auto Zone or another one of the parts places. Check around. If you're going to replace the ball joint you might as well look into replacing the busings at the same time.
Robert Camp
'86 Medium Regatta Blue TC, 5-speed, original owner.
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CB900Fer Offline
Member
#4
<If you're going to replace the ball joint you might as well look into replacing the busings at the same time.>

Which bushings? LCA bushings, or am I missing something?

BTW, I know my sway bar links are all good.
1979 Honda XR250
1980 Honda CR80 Elsinore - sold
1981 Honda CB900F Super Sport
1988 Ford Thunderbird TC - 2.3T, 5 speed, K&N, Gillis, dynomax dual exhaust.
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DonH Offline
Posting Freak
#5
To help clarify the situation: If both the ball joints and the control arm bushings are worn out the easiest and usually most expensive way to fix it is to buy new control arms. If the ball joints are worn out they can be replaced with the control arm still on the car using a ball joint press that you can usually borrow from your parts store. The control arm bushings are also replaceable but the control arm has be removed from the car, the old bushings removed and the new ones pressed in with a shop press although some have installed them, with difficulty, with the ball joint press. The way you do it is up to you depending upon what needs to be replace, how much work you want to do and how much money you want to spend. The old cost-benefit analysis.

In regard to the tie-rod ends you should raise both sides of the car, get under, and put your hand on the joint while you move the tire in and out. You may be better able to feel any excess motion in the joint than you can see or hear. Place a pry bar under each tire and lift to see how loose the ball joints are. Look at the control arm bushings for wear and see if you can get any side to side motion of the control arms using the pry bar. Also check that the rack is firmly attached to the cross member, and that the stabilizer bar mounts and bushings are OK. Other possible clunks are loose brake pads, loose or worn out motor mounts, and so on.
1987 TC stock except ATR 2.5"
1983 Pontiac Transam T-top 5.7 T56 [email protected] top speed: 176mph
1978 Fairmont 2.3 4-spd Big-top S/W
1946 Willys CJ2A 134.2ci L4 No-top
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vegas_ss Offline
Senior Member
#6
Quote:Originally posted by CB900Fer:
<If you're going to replace the ball joint you might as well look into replacing the bushings at the same time.>

Which bushings? LCA bushings, or am I missing something?

BTW, I know my sway bar links are all good.
I just finished the front end a few weeks ago... Ended up getting the control arms from Summit ($179 Ford Racing w/upgraded bushings and low friction ball joints). Unfortunately those are sn95 and have the wrong ball joints (shorter taper/stud) for the TC. Correct ball joints were $64/ea (Moog problem solver). Rent a ball joint press or buy one (got one on ebay for $29) and press out the sn95's and press in the TC joints.

Besides the ball joint press you will need a spring compressor (rent one with the press at autozone etc...)... I found a 2 foot piece of pipe slipped over a breaker bar made pretty easy work of getting the control arm and strut bolts off. I'm in a dry climate though, so if you are rusty at all, start with PB blaster or deep creep on those bolts a few days before.
1987 TC, 5sp, Boport Stage 3 Head/2.1 Cam
1996 Impala SS
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Huey866 Offline
Posting Freak
#7
I think its easier to buy the ball joints and bushings, take the control arms off and drop them all off at a machine shop to have the pressing done. I have a local napa owned machine shop and he charged $30 bucks an arm. ($10 every time the press was used.)
87 TurboCoupe - silver, 137k, 5-speed, 3.73, 5 lug swap, MM... Evertything, 03 Cobra Brakes, Griggs Subframe connectors, Bo 1.5, Big Valves, massaged 79 turbo head, Essy Cam Gear, Boblog + Elbow, .63 T-3, Stinger Exhaust/FMIC

Currently dreaming about ball-bearings and Pimps
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#8
Quote:Originally posted by Huey866:
I think its easier to buy the ball joints and bushings, take the control arms off and drop them all off at a machine shop to have the pressing done. I have a local napa owned machine shop and he charged $30 bucks an arm. ($10 every time the press was used.)
That is what I have always done. Unless the control arm itself is damaged or severely rusted, etc, why replace it..... it is just a big piece of metal after all.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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