Dealer replaced frame - the ball joint failure?

I have an 03 Tundra 4x4. 200k miles. In the last year I replaced the upper and lower ball joints on both sides.

Six months ago I got rear ended and the frame broke due to rust. Turns out it was covered by a recall and Toyota actually replaced the frame. It took them five months.

So I just got my truck back two weeks ago. It’s been driving fine. No (foreshadowing) symptoms of a bad ball joint. Not shocking cause there shouldn’t be.

Then, yesterday, the driver front wheel goes perpendicular. Lower ball joint sheared off.

Dealer says they told me on page 40something (of a literally 1” thick) work order that it needed to be replaced. I asked a few things including why would it when it wasn’t old- but they had no answer to that.

Question a: could they have damaged it?
Question b: is a sheared off ball joint ever a symptom of something else? (Besides bad maintenance, thanks ;). )
Question c: what could happen in the process of changing a frame that would take a lower ball joint from a year old fail?

I installed a brand new ball joint, and when I torqued the nut to spec, the ball joint stud snapped off.

Nobody goes out of their way to purposely damage a ball joint.


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I doubt the shop that replaced the frame damaged the 1-year old ball joint. It may have been defective out of the box, and only just now decided to break. Was it an oem ball joint?

An accident can do that to a ball joint. Yes, it loosened or was damaged in the crash.

Did the stud break or did the ball joint separate from the housing?

It seems that the technician recommended to replace the ball joints because of play found in the joints.

When replacing the frame the upper and lower control arms are unbolted from the frame, the suspension assemblies are transferred to the replacement frame without touching the ball joints.

Sounds like you just had a ball joint fail… They fail all the time…sometimes right out of the box, sometimes due to “Driving habits”…sometimes due to “mechanics” poor installations techniques other times metallurgy… that last one was important.

Just replace the joint with an OEM ball jernt… Toyota’s ball joints are high quality and you may have installed one made out of Chineseium either knowingly or unknowingly. Now don’t get me started on the properties of the metal I just mentioned. I and many here can tell you plenty about it as I know it has touched more than just my life.

Of course I know, well I don’t know but I do assume, they wouldn’t damage it on purpose.

I’ve had bad ball joints before. But there’s generally some indication of the problem beforehand. This one went straight from fine to fail. And it sheared off at the stud.

I hear what y’all are saying: it’s a bad part, get over it. And I can see that. Just not so sure yet.

What did they say on ‘page 40’? I’m wondering how they identified a near-new ball joint as failing.

A good ball joint will wear out, not snap in half. If the ball snapped off, there a good chance it had a cold shunt at the neck or a lot of porosity in that area. If the break surface looks like a bunch of crystals, it’s porosity, if it has a smooth surface over part of it, then it was a cold shunt.

If it snapped off due to an extreme sheer force, it will have a jagged surface but not look like crystals.

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