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Ball joint replacement question

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by HallowedBeThyTaco, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. Mar 24, 2021 at 9:18 PM
    #1
    HallowedBeThyTaco

    HallowedBeThyTaco [OP] New Member

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    Apologies if this question has been asked, couldn't find anything on it.

    So here's the deal... This will be my first ball joint replacement (lower ball joints) and I come to find the toyota dealership website sells what's called "suspension ball joint boot" for $9, but also sells the "suspension ball joint" for $120 which comes already attached to the plate ready for quick installation.

    Naturally when I hear about ball joint replacement I think of buying the expensive ball joint that comes attached to the plate, listed as simply "ball joint" and not just the boot. Is it really just as cheap as buying the 9 buck boot? Any special tools needed? What do you all routinely do when you're ball joints goes out?
     
  2. Mar 24, 2021 at 9:22 PM
    #2
    Xperivent

    Xperivent Well-Known Member

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    The 'boot' is a protective dust cover that came on some models. Nothing mechanical or ball jointy about it. Has 2 or something holes that the 4 LBJ bolts go thru.

    When replacing my LBJs, I use 8 new OEM bolts (4 per side...). I have snapped and torqued off several after they have been reused 1-2 times ( when changing shocks, for instance).

    9011910933


    Retcon that. This is what I was thinking of:
    4334660011 Protective dust cover.

    Just buying the boot to the ball joint does no good...
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
  3. Mar 24, 2021 at 9:28 PM
    #3
    HallowedBeThyTaco

    HallowedBeThyTaco [OP] New Member

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    Ah I see. I've never dissected a ball joint or even considered that it was covered by a boot. I always thought of it as one unit known as the "boot" just embedded in that plate.

    Well shit... expensive route it is then :D
     
  4. Mar 24, 2021 at 9:31 PM
    #4
    Xperivent

    Xperivent Well-Known Member

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    Yes. It is easiest to buy the $110-130 piece per side. Sucks they're expensive.
     
  5. Mar 25, 2021 at 11:34 AM
    #5
    Glamisman

    Glamisman Well-Known Member

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    Are you are replacing them as a preventive maintenance thing, the boot is shot or they truly need replacing due to wear?
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
  6. Mar 25, 2021 at 5:01 PM
    #6
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Made you look

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    I believe the 2001+'s came with those "boots", but the balljoints themselves are entirely interchangeable between all 1st gen years. The ball joint has its own boot, these "boots" you're talking about are just extra protection, and aren't a bad idea.

    You can get the boot or not. Your choice. But if you do, you only need to buy it once (each side that is), no need to replace it each time you do the BJs (unless they're damaged).

    For the tools, aside form the normal wrenches and jacks, you really only need a pitman arm puller (available at harbor freight for like $15) that will pop off the balljoint from the control arm and the tie rod. It's good to have a torque wrench since the 4 bolts that hold it to the spindle have a deceptively low torque rating (59 ft lbs).

    It's pretty simple. The first one you do, it'll probably take an hour or so, but the 2nd one will go much quicker. Last time I did mine it was like 45 minutes from start to finish.
     
  7. Mar 26, 2021 at 12:20 PM
    #7
    HallowedBeThyTaco

    HallowedBeThyTaco [OP] New Member

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    Lots of squeaking and slight wandering in my steering wheel. The ball joint boots them selves are completely shot and have been since I got this truck from my father(2019). Almost undoubtedly the joints are worn.

    I will be replacing my steering rack, lca bushings, end links, inner and outer tie rods in this process. Going OEM on the steering rack and ball joints. In essence this all for preparations to a grand canyon trip I am taking in may.
     
  8. Mar 26, 2021 at 12:25 PM
    #8
    Xperivent

    Xperivent Well-Known Member

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    Do not replace your steering rack unless you are 100% sure it is leaking or malfunctioning.

    Replace the OEM rubber rack bushings with poly bushings. Replace tie rod inner & outers.
    https://www.amazon.com/Energy-Suspe...t=&hvlocphy=1021130&hvtargid=pla-490453103266

    Mine had a ton of loose play & wandering in the steering. Replaced lower control arm bushings (with whiteline bushings), inner & outer tie rods, & lower ball joints. Also upgraded UCA to SPC (because of lift). Power steering fluid flush.
    Steering got TIGHT & no longer felt like a death trap when driving.

    If just new bushings, tie rods, & ball joints doesn't fix your steering issue, then replace the rack... & you'll already know how. :thumbsup:

    There is also a gear/guide in the rack that can be replaced fairly easily. Old style was used in 96-02, improved version in the 02-04. Replacing this will also help tighten up steering rack slop. See this video @1:15
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4Hhl225E8A
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
  9. Mar 26, 2021 at 12:52 PM
    #9
    HallowedBeThyTaco

    HallowedBeThyTaco [OP] New Member

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    I'll keep this in mind. Definitely gonna buy spare boots for future repairs. Between my cv axle change, the boot repairs and all future repairs I'm thinking I should've been a toyota mechanic.

    Definitely going polyurethane from energy suspension as I've heard only good things. Steering rack has had a leak for the longest time but what is odd to me is I've ran that truck without refilling the fluid and it no longer whines when turning. I did this knowing the consequences of breaking a belt and pump only because I suspect it's my reservoir that is cracked as it hardly takes any fluid to fill. More over from this I'm pretty sure my steering racks time is coming as the last change was 150,000 mi ago( I think) so between that and the fact there's an upgraded version to the rack in the first gens I have to have it now haha

    The spc upgrade sounds interesting, I have a 2in lift but I think I'm on stock uca's definitely check that out as well.
     
  10. Mar 26, 2021 at 12:55 PM
    #10
    Xperivent

    Xperivent Well-Known Member

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    There is a rubber o-ring on the power steering reservoir that is known to go bad / leak. Inside the reservoir is a metal/mesh screen.

    Find the thread about cleaning it. Removing the reservoir isn't that difficult, blow it out the top with brake cleaner, let it dry & such. Doing this on mine fixed screeching/whining at full-lock.

    As of the lower control arm bushings, it is MUCH easier to use the Whiteline bushing kit, includes the metal sleeves. Easier to use a bottle jack with light pressure & pop the OEM bushings out with some heat-- than burn out the rubber on 4 bushings. :bananadead:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N9GQMT...04&ie=UTF8&vehicleId=1&vehicleType=automotive
    My rack's got 255k miles on it and I'm fairly sure the first PS fluid change was done by me at around 230k.

    To clarify, the only difference in the rack & pinion between years is the bushing/roller inside, easily replaceable.


    Upgraded UCAs (like SPC) are only needed if your alignment guy can't get it right w/ 3°. I think this happens above 2.5" lift or somwthing.
    3" lift here and ran my stock UCAs for a couple years before upgrading. Tires wore down much faster on the shoulders before the upgrade on the front.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
    Abeyancer likes this.

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