Ball joint and A-arm problem

808trailblazer

Original poster
Member
Apr 10, 2012
26
My 2007 Trailblazer needs alignment because the driver side looks like a little uneven wear. So I called a local shop and he said he can do it. He also told me that Trailblazers have a problem with the a-arms and ball joints. So I asking my fellow members if anybody can across this problem before. Please let me know I go to the shop tomorrow. Aloha from Honolulu. HI
 

Wooluf1952

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The only trucks I've heard of with problems are lifted and worked hard.
 

6716

Member
Jul 24, 2012
822
808trailblazer said:
My 2007 Trailblazer needs alignment because the driver side looks like a little uneven wear. So I called a local shop and he said he can do it. He also told me that Trailblazers have a problem with the a-arms and ball joints. So I asking my fellow members if anybody can across this problem before. Please let me know I go to the shop tomorrow. Aloha from Honolulu. HI

I'm interested in what happened with your alignment, and what you might have learned about the ball joint.

When I was last in at my regular shop for oil change/tire rotation, they suggested the left upper ball joint needed to be replaced. I read Roadie's suggestion that you raise the vehicle, put your hands on the front tire at top and bottom (12 o'clock and six o'clock) and see if you can create some front to back movement in the tire.

I bought replacement ball joints (which I haven't actually installed yet) after my shop's recommendation, but before I tried Roadie's technique. There wasn't really any movement at all when I did try to move the tire around. During the process of attempting to replace the ball joints (at which I failed, though I will try again), I noticed that the rod in the old ball joints moved around a lot more freely than the rod in the replacements waiting on the bench, but couldn't see much else "wrong" with them.

These are the original ball joints, now with 190K miles on them. It's never come up before for me. So I'm not sure if that technician was short of work for the day and was hoping to stretch my rotation to a ball-joint replacement, or just what.

I baby the truck pretty much, too. Not lifted, almost never tow. Some dirt roads, almost no offroading.
 

jrSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
3,950
Holy shit!!! 190k? They must have been replaced sometime or other if they r not bad.
 

NJTB

Member
Aug 27, 2012
612
Flemington, NJ
Pre 2002 (whatever year the body style change was) S Blazers had problems with ball joints. With the new body style I haven't really heard anything, but some members here have replaced the ball joints.
 

6716

Member
Jul 24, 2012
822
jrSS said:
Holy shit!!! 190k? They must have been replaced sometime or other if they r not bad.

maybe .... I haven't done anything with them in the 105K I've been driving it. Bought it from a local used car dealer that liked TBs and always bought them at the auction, this one was a lease return after three years and 85k (or so I think I remember I was lead to believe, though now 85K on a lease over three years sounds like a lot, but anyway).

dunno, really.

shocks/struts looked to be original 'til two weeks ago, only one tie rod end replaced otherwise so far on my watch.

I guess they could have been replaced, but based on the rust holding the retaining clip in place (which is part of what slowed me down on the replacement) on the steering knuckle, they might be original. Don't remember seeing much service history when I saw the carfax when I was buying it ...

All of which is why, I guess, I'm interested in what 808trailblazer heard from the guy when he took his in.

I wasn't super surprised when the shop suggested they might need replacing, but I was definitely surprised when it kind of seemed by my own testing like they didn't. But now I have these two ball joints on the bench in the garage, and I suppose I might as well get them installed in 5K miles right before I go in for my next "lifetime" alignment. It certainly would be a waste of shipping both ways to send them back. And maybe they'll go "obviously" bad tomorrow.

So that's where I am: I know that there is a lot that I don't know, and so I ask a lot of questions.

I'm getting awfully close to hijacking this thread, even if it seems to be going in the same direction .....
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Yeah S10 blazers ate ball joints for lunch. Trailblazers, not so much, but they still do wear out. I've replaced all 4 of mine, although only 2 were actually bad at the time it was just easier to do it all at once!

The joint shouldn't flop any. How much looser is it than the new one? I would expect it to be some but it should stay where you put it at. Also wiggling the tire like that will tell you if your joint is really bad, but you can have some where in the joint that doesn't show up with the tire wiggle test. I know some people test the joints by using a prybar and watching for deflection in the joint.

I had 161k miles on my original ball joints on my old car and they were still tight believe it or not, so sometimes you can get some insane mileage out of joints. Alignment, road conditions, and usage can make a big difference in the lifespan of the ball joint. Then there are the occasion freak parts that will never wear out no matter what you do :biggrin:
 

6716

Member
Jul 24, 2012
822
Sparky said:
How much looser is it than the new one?

A bunch, really.

The new ones don't actually seem to want to move at all when I hold it in one hand and try to move it with the other.

The old ones -- held by the knuckle -- move pretty freely. In the reading I did it seemed like a bad ball joint would have some "less than smooth" motion to it, or something.

Maybe they are toast and it never really got brought up. Except they seem the same to me on both sides, and the shop only suggested replacing one.

What do you think?
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
I'd ask the shop to show me first. If they won't or say they can't but "they know" then screw 'em go somewhere else because they aren't likely being too honest with you.

I did mine with the help of a friend. I'm not sure how mechanically inclined you are. They can be a little annoying to do because they are pressed in.
 

6716

Member
Jul 24, 2012
822
Sparky said:
I'd ask the shop to show me first. If they won't or say they can't but "they know" then screw 'em go somewhere else because they aren't likely being too honest with you.

I did mine with the help of a friend. I'm not sure how mechanically inclined you are. They can be a little annoying to do because they are pressed in.

Well, at the time, the shop could have done any number of things and then said "and that's why you need a new ball joint" and I wouldn't have been able to call them out.

As for the work itself, I sometimes find that I'm more mechanically willing than able. The new plan is to remove the steering knuckles and take them down the street and have the local shop remove and then press in the new ball joints, then re-install the knuckles. That strategy worked when I couldn't get the strut yoke off the old strut.
 

808trailblazer

Original poster
Member
Apr 10, 2012
26
AWell went to the shop today. To my surprise the ball joint and a-arm was I good condition! He said the camber and toe was messed up bad! So he got everything back into specs and charged me only $65 bucks! 5000 miles or 5 month warranty too! Now I know why everybody goes to him for alignments! That's one less thing I gotta do. Next on the list trans filter and fluid change! Chee hoo.
 

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