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88 Lower ball joint seems stiff


NAXJA Forum User
Peabody, MA
I just got new tires for my 88 and when they went to do the alignment they said I had "weak" ball joints. Ok they are probably the original except for one. Anyway I replaced the drives side upper and lower first. And it got really bad bump steer and will not return to center. I ended up doing the other side too and it didn't make the steering worse.

I just popped the knuckle off the lower ball joint and it spins really free. Until I tighten the nut enough to just grab the lower ball joint shaft. Now the guy at the tire center called this memory steer and it will clear up when it wears a bit. But I'm not buying it. Is my new lower ball joint just a dud? I'm thinking of getting a set of Dana (spicer) ball joints. And maybe just swapping the lower out. Also I didn't try to touch that split ring thing as it is mostly fused into the knuckle. I haven't checked the resistance on the passengers side but I'd assume it would get worse if that one was bad too.
Also I didn't try to touch that split ring thing as it is mostly fused into the knuckle.

That is critical as it adjusts the pre-load!
it has one of those low profile fittings. it said it was pre greased but we had an adaptor at work for it and i greased it up. so far no difference.
ok i have replaced the drivers side lower balljoint. I greased it and tried moving it all about. and it seems crunchy from the box. it does feel better than the other one i removed. at least now it will sorta move on its own with the caliper and axle in it will slightly move itself back.

in regards to the split ring. i have the top balljoint that slides in and out and from my reading this should set itself so long as nothing is being crushed or the boots tearing.

i will have to look at the passengers side now and see if that one is still stiff as I'm still not returning to center and have pretty bad bump steer.
I'm going to replace them all with stock Spicer ones and hopefully this will help. i have been driving it for a while 500 or so miles and its no better.