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Discussion Starter #1
The boots on all 4 of the truck's ball joints are split and have been for awhile. Already decided on the uppers but on the lower BJ it is pressed and staked into the arm from the factory. Looking on rockauto the Raybestos offerings are installed the same way and they also appear to have the same (crappy) dust/grease boot as the oem part, very thin and prone to cracking. The moog offering has a knurled OD and a snap ring to retain the BJ after being pressed in and comes with a nice heavy duty dust/grease boot.

In the past I would use moog products without question but for awhile now their product line has been very spotty for quality and country of origin... The Raybestos (Affinia) professional line has been top notch and will remain my choice for now and in the future but this one part/application I am not sure on which way to go. Moog for the better DIY installation and dust boot or the Raybestos for maintaining a tighter fitting ball stud over the long haul ? The RP tie rods and ball joints I used on the Shadow 2 years ago are still nice and tight. The moog parts that were on there before in the same amount of time were totally trashed when they came off. A real let down for sure given how easy of a life this car lives and really set my opinion away from using more of their product line in the future.

I guess a secondary concern is how well using just hand tools I can get a new balljoint staked into the control arm and have it be nice and tight like original.
 

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Rent or loan out a ball joint press tool (looks like a big C-clamp with various press cups). Don't hammer.
What is the warranty differences between Raybestos and Moog?
I used greasable Moogs in the Caliber and have been satisfied. They have a 'limited lifetime' warranty, so they must be fairly confident of the part quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Moog it is. Upon closer looking I found the raybestos part does not have a grease fitting... Given the extremely poor condition the oem ball joints were in upon removal yesterday I decided to not reuse the same part again.
 

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What the Moog part is doing it's turning your light-duty style ball-joint into a HD style with the snap ring holder rather than the flange style. Also, with a drill and a tap set you can add a grease fitting to any joint that was originally nongreaseable.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Got one side done. lower balljoint was dangerously shot, I have never seen one so loose before. Started on the opposite side and the wheel hub sounded like a can of rocks when it was spun by hand, super loose and rocking around.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Got everything all wrapped up. Some notes if anyone is going to be undertaking this project on their own truck.

I would use the moog lower BJ for the better installation and that its got a nice heavy duty dust/grease boot. I would pass on using the moog upper control arm/ball joint though because its not OEM, its about 3-4x heavier due to its steel vs OE forged aluminum. I used the raybestos professional tie rod ends which are alot like the OEM (probably made ultimately by the same factory) and there were no issues with them splitting boots and drying out, they were just worn out. Lower control arm bushings I bought the moog kits on amazon awhile back for $19/each. Exactly like the OE parts right down to the numbers molded onto them, again no issues other than the originals were just worn out. The original wheel hubs were Timkens (said it right on the back) and I found after shipping amazon had the best deal at around $125/each for Timken replacements. The local stores wanted well over $200 each, it was worth waiting 2 extra days to save $175+. I also did the U-joints because both of the originals were showing signs of looseness. Precision/Moog super strength greaseable units were installed, excellent quality and fitment as I have come to expect from that brand.

A few points of warning and contention. I will fully slam and call out on the engineering/design side of things for doing something really stupid. A raw aluminum steering knuckle with a bare steel hub/bearing assembly fitted into it. Add in some salt exposure and the two parts quickly become into one... Coat of paint or even a brushed coating of grease would have greatly reduced how badly both sides were frozen together. Be prepared if you dont have a BIG press with a very wide throat opening to have to pound with a big sledge hammer to break the hubs out from the knuckle. Thats the only real stupidity I found with this job.

The knuckles were sand blasted, zinc-chromate painted and given a few rattle can coats of whatever colors I could find. LCA's were wire wheeled and given a few coats of whatever color I could find as I was cleaning out the paint locker. P-side is chrysler V8 blue, D-side is satin/gloss black. Backs of the hubs were coated with honda moly 60 paste to prevent seizing, along with all bolts. I find things tend to torque more smoothly and in the event I ever have to come back and take something apart its nice to not have seized fasteners. Yes I know it throws off factory torque values but tough #h!t, I have yet to see a failure from doing this practice.



 
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