3 Ball joints per wheel!?

I went to have an alignment done on my talon because she was pulling right a little. My mechanic wanted to do all four wheels and charge me $1300!! He explained that the “rear controls were frozen and had to be replaced and that’s where most of the money was.” When I balked at the price he offered to only do the front end for around $250 and told me the “passenger side lower following ball joint definitely needed replaced.” However he couldn?t finish the work over the weekend because there wasn?t enough time.

During the week I took my car to another mechanic for a second opinion and he agreed that the same joint was in bad shape. He told me that there was no need to replace more than the one bad joint and both mechanics told me that there were 3 ball joints for each front wheel.

When I called my regular mechanic for an official estimate he wanted $600 to replace the ?lower following ball joint? on both wheels with an aftermarket joint that was adjustable. He told me that the original joints from the factory were not adjustable and he needed to get the aftermarket joints so he could fix the alignment.

Here are my questions:

1 Does my ?97 Eagle Tallon TSI really have 3 ball joints per front wheel? If so, why 3 and not just the normal 2?

2 Is there a way of adjusting Camber, Caster, and Toe with OEM parts? If not, why in the world would someone make a car without a way to adjust the alignment?

3 Is it time for me to start looking for another mechanic?

Yes. There are three ball joints. One upper, one lower, and one lateral ball joint on each side.


The issue took a long time to present itself to you did it not? new owner for an older car perhaps?

I’ve had my talon for almost a year now. I expected to sink some significant money into repairs 'cause she’s a '97 and the previous owner was young (I’m 25). It’s possible the alignment issue was always there and I didn’t notice. She only pulls right a little and I’ve been commuting on the highway recently because of a new job.

Here’s what I’ve replaced already: all belts, spark plugs / wires, battery, tires, transmission rebuild, and the drivers side shock tower 'cause it had a 3 inch hole in it.

My biggest question is why should I pay more for adjustable ball joints, and why do I need an adjustable joint for both sides when only one is bad?

The unknown part would be if this car has ever been wrecked or not. Maybe the mechanic sees a problem involving the caster or camber specs that would lead him to believe that installing stock non-adjustable parts may not bring the alignment back into what it should be.

You state the drivers side shock tower had to be replaced so this tells me that this car had, or has, a serious issue with the alignment.

And one simply does not install an adjustable part on one side and a non-adjustable one on the other side. It’s simply not a proper repair and is equivalent to replacing only 1 strut, one brake rotor, etc.

Thanks ok4450, I’ll have the adjustable joints put in.