I just put in new Bilstein shocks and had recently put on 2 new
tires. The tires I had in the front for the last 20k miles (yeah, I
know I should have rotated them but my rear tires were so low on
thread that I figured it may be safer to leave them on the back) are
way more worn on the outside and some more on the inside. So after
putting the 2 new tires on and the new shocks I thought it might be
good to get an alignment done. The truck is not pulling in any
direction but based on the wear pattern I thought it may be good
because I don't want to ruin the new tires. The shop I brought the
truck to did not even do the alignment because they stated that the
underlying problem is worn ball joints and tie rod ends and therefore
I see the described wear pattern on the tires. I was told the
following needs to be replaced:
ball joints both sides upper front (parts: $320)
ball joints both sides lower front (parts: $320)
tie rod ends both sides inner (parts: $185)
tie rod ends both sides outer (parts: $185)
I just had the truck up on jacks a week ago when I put my shocks in
but I did not check for these things to be worn. I will do that next
myself as there should be noticeable play and should confirm what the
shop is telling me. I talked to a few folks that confirmed that with
the milage on the truck it is expected for the ball joints to be worn
out. So I am not to upset about it. Now I am sensitive to the
behavior of the truck and I can feel that the front end is loose.
After driving the truck for 8+ years and it slowly wearing out I
certainly have not noticed it as I am so used to the truck.
Here are my questions:
I found some good instructions with photos made by folks that actually
did the ball joint replacement themselves, but they were all for 2500
models e.g. http://www.pavementsucks.com/tech/balljoint.php . Anybody
out there who did it himself on a 1500 2WD?
Also, I realize I need a ball joint press (basically a large stable C
clamp with some adapters of different sizes) and I am willing to
invest in it as the labor cost quoted for above procedure was about
$690 and investing into an $75 tool sounds like a good idea looking at
that price tag.
The one item that I do not feel comfortable yet with is the coil
spring. It will need to come out according to my repair manual which
basically suggests to remove the lower and upper control arms
completely which hold the ball joints. The manual just states to put
a chain through it and bolt it together, but leave it long enough so
the spring can fully extend. The idea is to put a floor jack under
the lower control arm, take the steering knuckle out and start to
lower the lower control arm which will release the pressure from the
spring. Is it really that easy? Is there another tool to hold the
coil spring in place or to keep it compressed. I don't want it to
come out flying and hurt something.
Any recommendation on ball joint brands would be good too.
I should mention the truck is stock, so not lifted nor lowered.
Any help and advice is greatly appreciated.
2000 Ram 1500 Pickup 2WD V8 5.9l 132,000 miles