front suspension woes

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by 91gtcoupe, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. i have realized for some time now that there is a problem something in my front suspension. every time i go in and get an alignment and get my tires balanced and rotated it only takes a little while until my steering wheel starts wobbling again. the faster i go the worse it gets. also, there seems to be quite a bit of play in my steering wheel but maybe that's normal. i can hear a popping noise at low speeds when turning hard from the front end which i hear is the balljoint going bad. i opened up my haynes manual and it said that i couldn't replace the balljoint without getting a whole new control arm. is this true? also, could my tie rod ends be suspect here? and should i replace both the innner and outer tire rod ends? i replaced the steering rack a while back and i noticed that the steering rack bushings could be in better shape. i'm just about to start college so i'm extremly limited in what i can spend so what could i do for relatively cheap that could solve most of my problems?
  2. Grab the wheel, and try and wiggle it really hard back and forth at the 3 o clock and 9 oclock position. There should be almost zero play. If it moves, have a buddy hold the tie rod and see if the movement is the same at this point. If it is, could be the rack (inner tie rod ends). If the play is in the wheel, but not in the rack, it is outer tie rod ends.

    Do the same wiggling it back an forth at the top of the wheel. HARD. Any play here is the ball joints.

    TO be honest, I have always heard they are not servicable, yet I see Steeda sells X2 balljoints.... dunno for sure, never had one go bad.

    A wobble in the steering can be brakes to though, and if only between certain speeds, it can be tire balancing.....
  3. im surprised the shop hasnt caught the culprit when working on your car. steering wheel wobble can be wheel outta balance, tie rods worn, play in the rack and pinion. jack up a front wheel and grab the tire at 3 and 9 o'clock. try to turn the wheel and feel if there is any slop (like if the wheel youre holding moves and the other is not (mine did this- the rack had tons of slop-toast). could also be worn tie rods. do for both front wheels.
    if you grab the wheel at 6 and 12 o'clock (use jack stands and all that-dont want to have a hand get crushed). do the same thing (push and pull on the wheel/tire). if there is slop, its likely a balljoint.
    for the ball joint, you can press it out. autozone loans the tool-works great. you can even do it with the control arm on the car. it'll take you no time. air gun for using the tool is really helpful. i liked the tool so much i bought one (not there-its 100 something bucks- got mine for 30 on sale). they press in and out pretty easy. most people i think , recommend going woth Moog ball joints or i would think energy suspensions or PST stuff is probably decent (though i have no experience with their joints, only urethane bushings). you should be able to get Moog in town, vs prob mail order for others.
    good luck. post or pm if you have any questions or R/R.
    if doing the checks i recommend doesnt find anything obvious, get other replies. im certainly no expert, just know what i have done and what has happened to me. BTW, if your thinking tie rods are at fault, youre money ahead to just geta reman'd rack from parts store for 100 bucks rather than putting new tie rods on the rack, only to have the rack crap out a short time later. the rack should come with new inner and outer tie rods. BTW, my rack came with the wrong bushings. i read others have had this happen too. just so you know...good luck
  4. thanks for the help, both of you. well when i got my new rack it did come with the new inner tie rods, but not the outers so i reused my old ones. i'll get out there and try what you suggested. but you don't think faulty steering rack bushing could be contributing to this? because like you said my new rack came with the wrong bushings so i just used my old ones and they were pretty worn out. anyways thanks again for the help.
  5. Sounds like a good plan :nice:

  6. sorry man. i had a brain fart. new racks dont have the outers. duh. as for the mounts/bushings. if i knew i would not get the right ones, i would have gotten some from energy suspension or PST. IIRC, they are cheap. if youre in there doing stuff and have a lifetime warranty rack, maybe swap it out (if youre doing some bushings anyways????)
    im sorry, i dont have enough experience to know if the bushings can cause this. i reefed my bolts pretty good to help conpensate for the worn bushings. double check the bolts for tightness.
    try a few of the things in mentioned and get back to us. sometimes i just grab the outer tie rods and try to move the bottom around. when they are real bad, they wiggle around. should be tight as heck. im sure someone knows if bushings can be a cause of your probs.
    if nothing else, i got you a bump :)
  7. Lol, brain fart :rlaugh:
  8. thanks again

    well i'm going out tommorow morning to try out what you guys said and i'll get back to ya. thanks again.
  9. slightly :OT: , but does anyone know why the Haynes manual says the ball joints are not serviceable? What a bunch of crap...
  10. i think that means that because the balljoint is sealed with grease from the factory, there is no way to grease them like you can to the tie rod ends. i don't have that problem since my balljoint dust cover is broken anyhow, i just squeeze some grease through the hole.. :eek: :crazy: :eek:
  11. actually, i think he means that the book says the joints cannot be removed from the control arm and to buy whole new arm/joint assembly. i dont get it either. i was thinking that it is a liability thing or something. every car i ve ever owned has said that. my g/f's car said that, but then even the dealer sells just the ball joint. dont make sense.
    ive had cars with the joints riveted in saying the same thing, but got new ones and they went right in.
    i do know yours come out (at least mine did). pretty easy. or you can remove the arms and have a machine shop do the R/R.
  12. the answer to all your probs. this is courtesy of 88POSLX. it is in his sig

    it sounds hard, but it isnt. also, if your old joint wont come out, you can use the press to remove it also. and you can rent the press from autozone.