car is eating rear ball joints

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#16
Looks like the job of that joint is to (1)keep the tire from leaning towards the inner fender and(2) resist reaction forces when braking. Is it possible to install it backwards? Are the right upper and left upper supposed to be different part numbers? Does a worn joint get the spindle "out of center" by letting the spindle move towards the front or rear of the car?

Hey...I'm as stumped as you are... maybe some of my questions will help us think in a new direction.
 
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#17
Are you just replacing the bushing or the entire bushing assembly with that axial ball and rubber cap? Lifetime warranty should ease the pain, and just like with the M-16, keep on taking it apart and putting it together, learn quickly how to do it blind folded, in a matter of a couple of minutes. Thought you were laying out big bucks in this process.

Maybe by that time, Moog will figure out what's wrong and give you a replacement that will last a couple of miles longer.

Was no lifetime warranty on those 78 Caddy rear disk calipers, only available from Caddy at 300 bucks each. Back then, 300 bucks would buy you more than a cup of coffee.
 

billr

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#18
Do I understand correctly: the ball on the inner sleeve is steel and bears against a steel spherical pocket in the outer sleeve, which is pressed into the knuckle? It's steel-on-steel with just grease in between? How about the exhaust, is it any where near that upper rear bushing thingy?
 
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#19
I suspect the design incorporates features that the pictures don't show. Typical ball joints are like a hamburger where the ball is the meat, the bread is cupped to fit the meat(ball) and the tapered/threaded part sticks up through the top bun (surrounded by sesame seeds).

For the Caddy, both buns have holes in them, and the hollow sleeve-like tube (like a hot dog that swallowed a golf ball). The outer edges of the buns are crimped into a sleeve, and rubber seals keep it,well...sealed. The whole deal is pressed into the knuckle and the hollow hot dog can act just like a ball joint.

In fact, it doesn't take much imagination to modify the knuckle and control arm to work with a conventional ball joint, mounted sideways.
 

billr

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#20
Um, that made me hungry, but I'm still not clear if it is metal-to-metal or there is a rubber bushing in there; like old-time front A-arm inner bushings.
 

jjm

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#21
At this point, I would just replace the entire knuckle assembly with an original GM part and be done with it. At the very least, find a very low mileage vehicle that hasn't had any work done on the rear, and use that knuckle assembly.

I don't like the idea of blowing that kind of money when the parts that are worn only cost a few dollars and should easily be replaced, but what other choice do you have. Wasn't too thrilled about having to buy a $800 OEM power brake booster for my wife's '01 Camry when the only thing that was bad was a $10 seal, but since the seal couldn't be found, I had to go for a new booster (which I did wind up getting for $575 with my dealer discount).

Last thing I would do is screw around with aftermarket parts. A lifetime warranty is of no use if you have to spend your life changing the warrantied component over and over again. Granted, maintaining a Caddy is the closest thing you can get to perpetual motion, but this is ridiculous.

It looks like a straightforward job, and the failures are not the result if improper installation... just typical poor aftermarket part quality.

As Crunch always said, "OEM parts only hurt once".

Joe

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mhamilton

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#22
s it possible to install it backwards? Are the right upper and left upper supposed to be different part numbers? Does a worn joint get the spindle "out of center" by letting the spindle move towards the front or rear of the car?
Not really backwards, it's shouldered to prevent that. Yes, the top is about half the size of the bottom ball joint. When it's worn, the caster doesn't move, just the camber. What you see in this picture that looks like rubber, is just a hollow boot.



Are you just replacing the bushing or the entire bushing assembly with that axial ball and rubber cap? Lifetime warranty should ease the pain, and just like with the M-16, keep on taking it apart and putting it together, learn quickly how to do it blind folded, in a matter of a couple of minutes. Thought you were laying out big bucks in this process.
Yeah, the entire bushing gets pressed in and out. I have never tried to open one of them up to see what was inside. I think, if I remember from taking apart the old ones, you can press the inner piece out of the shell. I may have to do that when I replace these this time around.

Do I understand correctly: the ball on the inner sleeve is steel and bears against a steel spherical pocket in the outer sleeve, which is pressed into the knuckle? It's steel-on-steel with just grease in between? How about the exhaust, is it any where near that upper rear bushing thingy?
I can't tell you if it's metal-on-metal or metal-on-rubber or how it's constructed internally. The exhaust is far away from the spindle and tire, this top bushing is in the wheel well.

At this point, I would just replace the entire knuckle assembly with an original GM part and be done with it. At the very least, find a very low mileage vehicle that hasn't had any work done on the rear, and use that knuckle assembly.
I do think you're right. I'm sure we coudl sit here forever guessing what the issue may be, and never find a solution. The only other thing I can do is call up the company and see if they can get any more info from Moog. I'd also like to (when I get the new ball joints) is take apart the old ones and see what their failure mode is. That would probably be as helpful as anything.

Last thing I would do is screw around with aftermarket parts. A lifetime warranty is of no use if you have to spend your life changing the warrantied component over and over again. Granted, maintaining a Caddy is the closest thing you can get to perpetual motion, but this is ridiculous.
LOL! So I shouldn't buy the Jag? ;)
 
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#23
mhamilton..just noticed you changed 'toe' to 'camber'. Nice catch. That makes more sense.

I think you should shop for a replacement part that lists a different country of origin, in an effort to get one of a different design. Or replace the whole knuckle. Must be a problem with Moog.
 
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#24
What is the just the complete knuckle assembly ($500)? Both upper and lower control arms with that bushing or just the upper? Count four bushings for both sides, so are we talking 500 bucks or $2000.00. Then Hamilton said they only lasted 55K.

Only have one rear ball joint in my 92 DeVille, most expensive one is 17 bucks. Was concerned about the rear air shocks back in 99 when I purchased this thing, dealer put two new air shocks in the trunk. They are still in the box. Last year was problems with brake, fuel, and AT cooler lines, just replaced the bad sections. Was troubled by the high cost of those 3/16" double flare couplers. Two nuts and the couple were in a bag for 69 cents, sold separately now for $4.50. That added up in a hurry. Then brake problems popped up, was the master cylinder, but got an OE from rock auto for 42 bucks including shipping.
Then the intermediate pipe breaks off from the cat, it was in great shape, was just the coupler, replaced that and the muffler while I was at it, another 40 bucks. Then last week the EGR valve went bad, was another 62 bucks. Hamilton reported replacing his compressor not too long ago, said my system blew. Turned out in was only 12 ounces low, couldn't find any major leaks, but wasn't charged in about ten years, could be just an ounce or two leakage per year.

So in this last year ended up putting in 200 bucks worth of parts in this car, wife told me time to get rid of it. But then she tells me yesterday, her co-worker just got rid of her VW, don't know the year or model, but in the last six months was paying her dealer 1,500-2000 a month, assumingly for just minor repairs. How can people afford to drive cars today?

In my opinion since 1976, Cadillac only had two years of half way decent cars, the 92 and the 93, can't figure out how they are still in business. We looked at a 2011 with a $68K price tag, not much larger than our Cavalier. That other dealer was asking $7K for that 2001, was a very clean looking low mileage car, but I didn't want it.

Since I purchased my 88 Supra, my Toyota dealer has become totally insane in parts costs. Thank goodness its not a daily driver and have the internet to do shopping. Then my Ford dealer that always gave me the best prices wanting $380 bucks for that ZX2 component kit.
 
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#26
From the photos, looks like that rubber cap can be pulled out and that ball shaft can slide out. Hamilton should do that and put some high quality grease in there.

Been doing that a lot lately, asking, where is the grease?
 

mhamilton

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#27
Ooh, just stumbled across this video for the Dorman version of these parts: http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=1533918
They have a nylon liner inside. That's interesting to know. So when I get the metallic clunking, it's worn through the nylon. They also apparently do the cold pressing, as I have been doing. Really the only way I can see for these to fail is that the knuckle wears through the nylon, either from poor construction or lack of lubrication.

This morning I called up Rockauto customer service about this problem. Told the guy the whole long story, asked if he could call Moog and find out if there was some installation instruction I was missing, or what they thought could possibly cause 3 ball joints to fail in such a short time. He got back to me and said the tech at Moog had no idea why I was getting this failure rate. Also couldn't tell me what was inside, he didn't know. And his solution for me was to buy the parts from the dealer :p

Nick, the entire knuckle assembly with 2 ball joints from GM is $500. But I'd have to buy a new bearing capsule as well, there's no way I'm trying to press out that crusty assembly in my car (the result of 3 winters up north). The aftermarket ball joints are, as Danica stated, about $25-35 each. The Moog parts I paid $25 each.

Currently Rockauto shows Dorman (not a big fan) and Raybestos as manufacturers of these replacements. No information on where either of those are made. I'll go out on a limb and say China. Now, the question for me is whether I try 2 new bushings in that right side and see what happens. Or if I go find another knuckle, get a new bearing assy, and 2 new bushings. I really don't see what would possibly be different about my knuckle. I can clean it up and it would be as good as any junkyard part. Hmmm... not sure what I should do.
 
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#28
Stop treating your Cadillac like a Toyota. Your Eldorado was meant to be polished, not driven. $.02

But seriously...I think you should give Dorman a shot. And try to remove the boots to pack them with grease if they are not full.
 
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#29
So GM makes you buy the knuckle because its too difficult for their mechanics to press in new bushings? And Dorman solved that problem by providing collars to aid in the press in operation.

That gal at the beginning of that video is kind of cute, but not more than that about pressing in those bushings.

Recall a GM drag link that used for nylon short rods with one end concave to fit the balls. GM wouldn't sell me those sockets, because you need a large screwdrive to remove the end screws, wanted 300 bucks just for that drag link. I made those sockets out of Delrin, lasted forever and was very simple on my lathe.

So won't they just sell you that nylon sleeve? Or even make your own out of Delrin. Are they really Nylon? Trademark of DuPont! Or just some cheap Chinese plastic.
 

mhamilton

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#30
Stop treating your Cadillac like a Toyota. Your Eldorado was meant to be polished, not driven. $.02
Haha... "he never drives it! He just rubs it with a diaper!" ;)

You think Dorman is the way to go? I guess it's a crap shoot with either... the Dorman have a limited lifetime warranty, $30 for the set of upper/lower. Raybestos have a 2yr warranty and are $30 per bushing. If they fail the same way as the Moogs then it'll be in 3 months, so no worry about that. I just wonder if I get what I pay for. I've seen some real junk parts with the Dorman name on it.

So GM makes you buy the knuckle because its too difficult for their mechanics to press in new bushings? And Dorman solved that problem by providing collars to aid in the press in operation.
I have no idea... I had no problem finding two sockets that worked perfectly to press those in. Think a 24mm and a 19mm out of my 1/2" drive set. I'd be happy if they lasted the 2 years of the warranty period.