Balljoint work

#1

i have a 2001 tundra 4x4. this truck has been great and hasnt really cost us any serious money for repairs until now. i have been told that my lower balljoints need replaced. the dealership said it would cost about 520 dollars complete. and that included the lineup. now i believe i should just go ahead and have the lower and uppers done at the sametime. i have a buddy that says he could do this job and that he would charge about 150 dollars for the labor for all 4. and then i would just have to get it lined up. sounds good but is this a good idea to let someone other than a pro do this kind of front end work. i have heard that the existing lowers may need to be heated to get them off cause they are pressed on. if that is the case. do the knew ones need to be pressed before installing them. and is there a special tool for doing it if so. guess im just not certain which way to go and looking for some opinions.

#2

Is your buddy a suspension specialist? If so, let him do the job. If not, find someone else.

You don’t need a Toyota dealer for this, but you need someone who knows what he/she is doing.

I don’t think you need the upper joints if the lower joints are the problem. Save your money.

#3

First…Who told you they need to be replaced???..And do you trust them???

Balljoints are one of those items that’s replaced needlessly. Mainly because they are such a critical item and it’s easy to convince the owner that they need to be replaced. When I took my Pathfinder to Tire and Battery for a wheel alignment…they told me I needed new balljoints. At the time the truck was only 3 years old and less then 100k miles. I said “Show me”. They gave me a song and dance. I left…And checked them myself…they were fine…In fact they’re fine now…10+ years later and over 330k miles. Some vehicles have been know to have premature ball joint problems (GM is notorious for them). If think this person isn’t trustworthy…then get another opinion.

If you really do need to get them replaced…this is NOT rocket science. Any decent mechanic can EASILY do this…All that’s needed is the special tools. The hardest problem is that the bolts may be rusted and difficult to remove. But don’t get CHEAP parts. Moog makes EXCELLENT suspension parts. OEM are usually fine too…but if the ball joints do need to be replaced so soon…I’d go aftermarket.

#4

If your buddy can replace the ball joint’s, then he should be able to check if they’re worn, and it’s not hard to do.

Place a floor jack under the lower control arm and jack the vehicle up until the tire is 4"-5" off the ground. This unloads the lower ball joint. Now place one end of a 4’-5’ long bar or a 2X4 under the tire. Pry up and release the tire as someone watches the ball joint. If it’s worn, you’ll see the ball joint moving up and down in it’s socket.

Tester

#5

Some Toyota Tundras are under a ball joint recall. I don’t think the '01 model is covered under that but you might do a net search and check up on it.

If the truck has high mileage and the lowers are bad I’m of the opinion you should replace all of them. Check the shocks also, as bad shocks can contribute to ball joint failure.

As to your buddy doing it; that depends on his mechanical ability. You know about that more than we do. No heat, but a ball joint press tool is needed. This tool can be rented from some auto parts houses. Return the tool and get your money back.

#6

The lower ball joints will come out with a hammer usually. (24 to 40 oz.) If you have an upper and lower control arm, there is no need to replace the upper ball joints until they wear out, which may be in about 80,000 more miles, if ever. Look at the new ball joints at the parts place. If they are smoothly tapered, ( Sort of like one end of a football) they should go in easily. You can heat the hole they go into with a propane torch if necessary. If you have ABS, see if the manual says to disconnect it, or just make sure you don’t mangle the sensor. Or, get an estimate from an independent shop. If you can save $150 off the dealer price, let them get dirty.

#7

hey, thanks everyone for your input. you have been very helpful. hope you all have a very nice new year.