Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

How to make your Fox handle like a slot car or hook like a tractor.

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Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

Postby 93redfox » January 24th, 2012, 12:05 am

Hey guys, I figured I'd put this question in front of actual fox body guys. I recently put B springs and KYB shocks on my car and I took my car in for an alignment. The tech there said that he couldn't do the alignment until I had gotten new lower ball joints and new inner tie rods on both sides of the front and possibly caster camber plates. My question to yall: Are those really important to change at this time? My car seems to drive and handle fine. I don't have the money to throw down for a shop to fix these things right now.
On the flip side, I know that if I don't get an alignment, I run the risk of messing up my tires and/or my new parts I just installed. What should I do? :/
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Re: Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

Postby Special Fred » January 24th, 2012, 12:17 am

If the mechanic inspects your car and notices a problem with wear on a critical steering/suspension component, it is his duty to let you know about it...because not only is it a safety issue but he is also correct when he says that the job cannot be done without it. If your tie rods are worn then their looseness is going to cause your alignment to change as you are driving down the street. Ditto for the ball joints...and a ball joint failure can not only injure you & and your passengers but could also endanger others on the road.

Foxbodies were not built with enough adjustment from the factory, so the answer is yes...when you lower a Fox with springs then you are most likely going to need caster/camber plates.

My advice is to replace the parts that your mechanic finds suspect, then proceed with the alignment.
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Re: Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

Postby 93redfox » January 24th, 2012, 12:34 am

Gotcha, I appreciate the words of wisdom. Is balljoint replacement something that is best done by a shop or is it something I can manage? I'm not a huge mechanic, more like a guy just wanting to learn about these cars and how to do things. And i figure that I might as well just replace the rack since one side has a leak and they come with inner tie rods usually. Latemodel Resto has all these parts I think...
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Re: Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

Postby Special Fred » January 24th, 2012, 12:49 am

Ball joints have to be pressed in or out. You can buy or rent your own small press, but know that if you don't do it right you risk ruining your brand new ball joint. This job is best done by a mechanic with a shop press and the correct adapter(s).

Buying a new, complete rack would be a great idea and a good way to save money & hassle on buying & installing new tie rods, boots, etc.
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Re: Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

Postby SVTSkip » January 24th, 2012, 9:53 am

S/F has you well covered !!!
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Re: Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

Postby Shifter » January 25th, 2012, 5:05 am

SVTSkip wrote:S/F has you well covered !!!


He does!

As for the caster camber plates, I'm a huge maximum motorsports fan...the fit and finish is sweet. However I just put a set of team z's plates on my car and they may not be quite as pretty but they are serious pieces and at a great price!
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Re: Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

Postby 93redfox » January 25th, 2012, 6:11 am

I appreciate the advice fellas. It won't fall on deaf ears. I'll park it for a while and take my time fixing some of these things. As much as i hate not being able to drive it, I would be devastated if something bad were to happen
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Re: Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

Postby SVTSkip » January 25th, 2012, 7:52 am

Always better to be safe than sorry !


Shifter wrote:
SVTSkip wrote:S/F has you well covered !!!


He does!

As for the caster camber plates, I'm a huge maximum motorsports fan...the fit and finish is sweet. However I just put a set of team z's plates on my car and they may not be quite as pretty but they are serious pieces and at a great price!


Good to know Brother Lou ! The new Vert will need a set and I'm thinking I might go with the Z's instead of MM for them...
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Re: Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

Postby 93redfox » February 6th, 2012, 1:05 am

Okay guys, my income tax refund should come in soon so before i buy parts i want to make sure i get the right/good stuff. For the power steering side of things: I heard that 93 cobra racks will work and be potentially better than a GT rack...should i look into that or the kit from latemodel restoration? I was also thinking about getting a new pump since mine whines. For the ball joints, i'm thinking moog but i may get those taken care of by a shop. Recommendations?
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Re: Do I really need new ball joints and new tie rods?

Postby FatFoxx » February 6th, 2012, 9:52 pm

93redfox wrote:I appreciate the advice fellas. It won't fall on deaf ears. I'll park it for a while and take my time fixing some of these things. As much as i hate not being able to drive it, I would be devastated if something bad were to happen

Please do. I would hate to hear about you wrecking your car. I replaced both the inner and outer tie rod assemblies and replaced my ball joints on my A-arm not too long ago. If you really want the experience and have a good garage invest in a Haynes manual or something equivelent and do it yourself. The trick to the ball joints is to have a big enough vise or press and a female die or do what I did. I used a socket for my 4 wheel drive hub and placed it on the control arm and then placed a 2'' pipe cut off about 4" and just pressed it out. When you install it place the A-arm in the oven at 150deg for about 5 minutes and place the ball joint in the freezer for the same amount of time. Wear your gloves and press them in. Inner tie rods are easy to do. I recommend getting the tool so you can torque the fitting, but some people just use an adjustable wrench. Screw the outer tie rod joint onto the inner and try to square up the wheels the best you can. Just make sure that you torque everything you can back to specs. Good luck Bro!
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