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Suspension & Steering - 2001 - 2010 Discuss OEM & aftermarket suspension, lifts, street suspension, air ride suspension, steering components, etc. First through fourth generation.


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Old 01-16-2018, 11:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
awkgawk
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Ball joints shearing off on GM trucks

Can anyone shed some light on the following:


Last month, I have encountered 5 separate instances of ball joint studs shearing off completely from their bases. All vehicles are completely stock, no lift kits or mods, and the ball joints in question were either OEM or UAP brand ball joints. Total number of vehicles involved are 4. (one had left, then right ball joint snap off on separate incidents only weeks apart). This has happened where I work - 2 private vehicles, two fleet vehicles. I have never seen ball joints do this and seeing so many failures like this in the span of a month leads me to conclude that there may be something seriously wrong with the quality of ball joints being produced. (China???)


Am also starting to think that all ball joints may be being produced by the same company and just put in different boxes. I am quite concerned about this as I have a camper in the box of my truck and definitely do not want to have this happen on the road.


So, has anyone in this forum have any information on this?

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Old 01-16-2018, 01:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
dozerboy
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It's not a common point of failure. 2 on one vehical sounds like poor maintenance.

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Old 01-16-2018, 02:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
1967KaiserM715
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Unless recently replaced(less than 6 months) I would account to poor maintence.

I am unfamiliar with uap brand. I would only trust moog or ac-delco.

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Old 01-16-2018, 04:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
davester
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Soon after I bought my truck, I found that the driver's side upper ball joint had worn through the cap, and only was still in the socket because of gravity, but that was also likely due to poor maintenance...

And it's certainly possible for the ball joints to have been produced by the same factory and just rebranded. But the ball joints for the trucks were likely made over a wide period of time (some might be original to the truck, some replaced since then).

You might consider reporting it to the NHTSA for investigation, but before blaming the part, I would investigate vehicle maintenance and usage.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
awkgawk
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Ok, it is fair to consider maintenance, which I should have clarified earlier. The two fleet vehicles are no older than 2015 and are maintained regularly by the fleet manager at work. (ie - the local GM dealership looks after them)

One of the private vehicles is owned by a friend of mine who had ALL of his front end components replaced 1 1/2 years ago. All brand new UAP parts and he had the drivers side ball joint break off. His truck may have seen 20,000 - 30,000 miles. Certainly not enough to cause something like this. The other truck had all components replaced with UAP as well but I am not certain of the maintenance schedule by that other individual.

All I am saying is that this simply cannot be a coincidence with all of these breakages. I still believe that there is something else going on here. Hope someone else chimes in on this.

Does anyone know for certain about where the different brands of ball joints are made?
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
davester
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There's also incorrect installation (for example, the nut is over-torqued) or extreme usage (wheel hit something a little too solid?). Fleet vehicles have a tendency to be treated with less care by drivers...

If it were just straightup weaker balljoints off an assembly line, I would think it would be a more widespread problem and likely would have shown up on this forum as well (as it would affect most recent vehicles)...
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Old 01-17-2018, 12:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Let's go with, something is fishy here...
I have, at any one time, at least 15 IFS equipped 4wd 2500/ 3500 trucks here. Several are over 350k miles, with most being in the 200k mile range. Construction trucks...One driver for the first 150kmiles, then 30 different drivers every day til I can no longer justify keeping them on the road.

Never, ever had a ball joint snapped, EVER on my IFS trucks.

I've replaced several worn joints on my trucks. But, never twice on the same truck.
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Old 02-27-2018, 08:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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GM recommends greasing the ball joints every 3,000 miles. I doubt that fleet operators are doing this but instead waiting until the next oil change for the truck to do it. With my truck for every 2 oil changes I am greasing the ball joints 5 times.
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Old 02-27-2018, 09:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
hoosier83
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I can't say I grease mine to that GM recommendation, and I know for a fact the fleet of GM trucks where I work are LUCKY to get greased once a year, or get an oil change in that time frame. I've never seen one shear off or otherwise break in that manner. A quick google search shows NAPA to be a subsidiary of UAP. All they buy at work are NAPA replacement parts through the contractor.
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
davester
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When I bought my truck, shortly thereafter the upper driver's side ball joint completed wearing a hole in it's cap. Replaced the whole UCA.

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