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How long do ball joints last?

On my 924s I'm considering replacing the bushings on the control arms and front sway bar. The ball joints are the kind that are riveted to the control arms and new ones bolts on. I can see the ones I have are riveted, so can I assume they are original to the car?

Now I don't get a lot (if any) movement of the ball joints when I use a crowbar as a lever to wiggle them. I suppose this means they're still good...but then my question, if they are original...how long do they last? Should I just change them anyway as part of the suspension refresh?

Thanks.

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Old 01-08-2019, 08:03 AM
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How do you know they are original? How do you know the arms weren’t changed before? Regardless if they are good there is no need to replace them. How long they last depends on so many things that you couldn’t put a figure on that.
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Mike A
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9FF View Post
How do you know they are original? How do you know the arms werent changed before? Regardless if they are good there is no need to replace them.
I guess that's my point, I don't know if they're original. So if there was some consensus that they should be changed every 20 yrs, for instance, then I would likely change them. But I agree that if they work, no need to change them. Hopefully the other bushings on the control arms have the same lasting quality!

Thanks for the reply.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:32 PM
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I have replaced bushings but I have the original ball joints.
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcommin View Post
I have replaced bushings but I have the original ball joints.
Good to know, thanks!
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:50 PM
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I replaced my '84's lower ball joints last year at ~140,000 miles. I could see/feel movement in the joint when I pried on it with a large screwdriver. I was also replacing the struts and tie rod ends at the time and it was no problem to drill out the rivets and install bolt-in ball joints along with the other work.

I am the original owner of the car, so I know that the LBJ's were never changed before this.

Last edited by Spring44; 01-08-2019 at 05:59 PM..
Old 01-08-2019, 05:48 PM
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Thanks Spring44, now I know who to call when it comes time to replace mine!

Cheers.
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:46 AM
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Not 100% sure but can recall doing the ball joints at about 170 or 180K.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:29 AM
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Is there a wear specification or test for free play or otherwise that would indicate time to replace the ball joint?
Old 01-09-2019, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djnolan View Post
Is there a wear specification or test for free play or otherwise that would indicate time to replace the ball joint?
I always thought that any free play between the ball joint and spindle is a sign that the ball joint is worn. Use a crow bar to try to physical move the ball joint toward or away from the spindle. One component should not move without the other moving to the same degree.
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:39 PM
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mine were changed out after about 25 yrs. Not because they needed to be replaced, but because of accessibility. I was doing oil pan gasket and the entire front suspension was on the ground.

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Old 01-12-2019, 04:45 AM
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