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Something loose in front end

Hi all,

Basically the last thing I need to get fixed before a roadworthy is a rattle i have in the front left. The only way i can describe it is when you drive it, it feels like the front left is just going to fall off. lol, wasnt that bad until the last couple of days where its gotten realy bad.

i replaced tie rod ends when I first bought the car because they were absolutely shot. And we did wheel bearings at the end of last year (but being unregistered its probably only done 50ks since then tops so they are basically brand new.

If you jack up the front end there is play in the front left but none in the front right. I'm thinking maybe I stuffed up on the front left wheel bearing or its faulty. What else could it be?

I'm taking it to a mechanic soon anyway to get a wheel alignment because that is way out and for him to go over everything before rego to make sure its SAFE and that it will pass, but I would like to try and fix this before hand if i can.

Any suggestions as to what this could be is much appreciated.

Cheers
James

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Just searching up on the internet for what it could be and found the H page for Ball joints
http://holdenpaedia....
Reading through it i found this about some of the symptoms:
"The first symptom of Ball Joint wear is motoring under brakes.
That is, there will be a pulsating of the brake pedal
and the front end will vibrate when the brakes are applied at speed.
After that, they bang on every bump.
The front tyre associated with the wear will start to wear on one edge. The final step is that the Ball Joint collapses completely.
There are good and bad brands of these things too. Some of them won't see out a year, while others last me a half a decade."

Where it sais "After that, they bang on every bump." this is basically what its doing, i cant feel it on the road much because the roads smooth but the gravel road up to the shed on the property i can realy feel it badly.

Would ball joints cause there to be play in the wheel when I jack it up though? I always thought that meant wheel bearings?

Cheers
James

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Bang on every bump can also be shocks and/or strut tops.

If you think it's wheel bearings then remove the hub/disc and bearings and check them.

Stick one or two fingers in the bearing and rotate the outer and feel for grinding/looseness, if none then replace bearings and tighten the bearing nut until the wheel starts to become hard to turn, then loosen the bearing nut to the next split pin hole until the wheel spins free but not loose.

While you have it jacked up get someone to place a strong piece of timber or similar under the wheel and lever it up and down while you look at the ball joint for movement. Any movement more than a couple of mm is not good so replace ball joint.

A bad shock will create extra wear on a ball joint.

Might be a good time to check movement in the steer rack as well as tie rods.

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Will check wheel bearings tomorow, would love it to just be them.

If it was shocks or strut tops, that wouldnt cause play through the wheel when its off the ground would it? (When I say there is play i put 1 hand at the top of the wheel and 1 at the bottom and when I try shake it from top to bottom there is movement there (same if I put 1 hand on each side aswell and shake side to side)

Is there an easy way to check the steering rack?

Cheers
James

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also check the steering rack on most cars theres a nylon bush in the left side that wears out giving similar symptoms

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Jack the car up, grab the top and bottom of the wheel and push it back and forwards for movement...any movement or clicking feeling means the ball joint is shot.

Sounds to me like a balljoint from what you are describing... it's an easy thing to diagnose though.

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Cheers,

Emu

O.H.T.C. original member

yea thats exactly what i'm doing and there IS movement.

Cheers
James

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Are ball joints hard to replace? Ive been reading up on doing it and some people say u need a press? But others dont.

Is a press NEEDED? Or can I do it without one? I would like to give it a crack tomorow if i can.
Are there any special tools I NEED or that would make life easier but wont exactly break the bank to buy?

Cheers
James

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It does sound a bit like a balljoint but as you say you replaced the tie rods and wheel bearings, and have't driven it much since. I would double check those before any spending or disassembly. Usually a stuffed bearing or maladjusted one is as noisy as all get out when you spin the wheel when it is jacked up. No need for disassembly to tell the difference from a balljoint, as a dodgy balljoint generally won't make much noise when you spin a jacked up wheel.
Before you drive it again i would also knock the grease cap off the hub and make sure the spilt pin is in the castle nut. (Wheel might fall off if the nut unwinds all the way and the sudden worsening you describe SCREAMS do not drive it to me). A wheel with a loose wheel bearing will rattle against the brake pads when you shakeit or whine when it is spun.

Other tips from others above are good for diagnosis of B/J.

To answer your question about changing balljoints, (My advice at the start though, if you are short on time and have not done one before don't do it, it is not too hard once you've done one and have the tools but there is usually at least one bastard of a thing that will go wrong in the process.)

You don't typically need a press, its pretty easy if you have a decent sized bench vice or even a big G clamp and jacks. But you do need some tools (basically pipe the right size and length and some spacers) to go over the joint and to hold the suspension arm without damaging it, while you remove the old and insert the new B/J. It can also be a real pain to seperate the B/J from the steering knuckle without the right tools. I have made my own over the years to work on HQ's etc. Can't remember specifically how the balljoint in a VB is pressed in but it would be a bastard of a thing to do if you haven't got all the tools. Being a strut front end it could be a faulty strut bearing as well and they also need the right tools to do properly (easily).

There is a VK suspension rebuild in Holdenpedia it doesnt show everything but will give you an idea.
http://holdenpaedia....

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Anthony - Lettuce Alone SS

If you look at this video http://www.youtube.c... and skip to 40 seconds into it when he checks the wheel for play, thats eactly what i've done and mine DOES have play so thats why i originally thought id done something wrong when I did wheel bearings the 1st time.

Yea i'm not driving it at the moment at all because i realy dont feel like seeing my front wheel in my review mirror. lol

I will go over the wheel bearings and tie rods again tomorow first thing. If that doesnt fix it i guess i'm gonna have to give the ball joints a go. I'll definately be making sure the car is parked in a spot where i dont have to move it again if i do these so if i stuff up somehow i can just leave it on stands. lol
What do I need apart from the usual socket set, spanners, hammer etc?

Cheers
James

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Further info here ... http://holdenpaedia....

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Thanks T, Anthony posted that link for me in an earlier reply aswell.

Cheers
James

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I noticed that at the end of his Post. For some reason my display is reading microminiature SanSeriff ATM making it hard to read.

As the others are saying check the easy things first, like Sway Bar Bushes and Drop Link Bushes and Radius Rod Bushes before you consider reworking the Ball Joints ... http://holdenpaedia....

Sometimes Ball Joint replacement can be easy, but when it isn't a Ball Joint Press comes very much in handy.

Maybe someone can provide exchange Macpherson Struts which would make the job easier.

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T

My Shed

Holdenpaedia, they're the brakes Mate.

Thanks T I'm getting pretty low on cash so I'll probably just check the easy things like we have been saying and if still no luck I'll just do everything else I have to do for rego accept this rattle and leave it for the mechanic. As I said in the earlier post it's going into a mechanic in the next week or so anyway for a final check over and tune up before rego so I'll just get him to fix it If its not something simple.
Saves me buying part after part chasing the problem and ending up coating more and taking more of my time than just getting the mechanic to do it. And the last thing I want is to have the ball joint out and not be able to get the new one in or something and not being able to get the car on a trailer to take to the mechanic anyway. Lol

Will let you know how I go Tomorow. Will just check tie rods, wheel bearings, bushes and tighten anything that seems loose.

Cheers
James

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It will be the rack bush most common part replaced on VB, VC commodores with manual during warranty period. Not hard to do but weather you can still get the bush and pin still is the question?

Clawd

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Will take a look, I presume a "rack bush" is inside the steering rack?
Is the rack simple to disassemble and reassemble?

Cheers
James

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