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Replace steering ball joints?

Help and Advice on Volvo's extremely popular car line, powered by Volvo's nearly indestructible, versatile inline 5-cylinder engine.
1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

Replace steering ball joints?

Postby thecheat » 07 Nov 2010, 22:15

So I went to Pep Boys to get an alignment and they said the left ball joint was bad. I just had a chance to get under the car and both boots are torn.

If I were to buy new ball joints and install them in approximately the same position I ought to be able to limp out to the mechanic a few miles down the road without too much trouble, right?

I looked at the boots for the lower control arm ball joints and those look OK. They wanted $64 for the one side plus another $64 for labor. I'm looking at buying both sides, Moog brand, for $30 each - sound OK?

Is there any other ball joint that I might be missing? Like I said, both steering rack ball joint boots are split but it looks like the control arm ball joints are OK as far as I can tell. Nothing is really loose or anything.
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Re: Replace steering ball joints?

Postby Red-Arrow » 08 Nov 2010, 00:21

You won't do any damage in a few miles so don't worry about it.
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Re: Replace steering ball joints?

Postby thecheat » 08 Nov 2010, 01:13

That's what I figured.. So it's just back off the lock nut, unbolt the ball joint from the spindle, whack out ball joint, unscrew from rack, then reverse to replace?
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Re: Replace steering ball joints?

Postby thecheat » 08 Nov 2010, 01:35

Now I'm looking at the quote again and it says "lf lower ball joint" so is that the control arm? That looked fine to me and i can't see it costing $65... I was expecting to pay $95 for it.

I need to replace the tie rod ends but i don't want to do that and then get there and have them tell me they won't do it because they meant the control arm... And then i have to pay $135 on top of it all.
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Re: Replace steering ball joints?

Postby pkc303 » 08 Nov 2010, 01:57

I just replaced a control arm on the left side of the 850R, and it cost $113 from Bap Geon. It was a European brand, and it wasn't hard. There is a write up here on how to do it. The end links were $53.00 each from Volvo dealer here. They were easy also. Good luck.
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Re: Replace steering ball joints?

Postby nadz » 08 Nov 2010, 05:51

How much does it cost to get an alignment?
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Re: Replace steering ball joints?

Postby Red-Arrow » 08 Nov 2010, 09:05

something between $85 to 120.
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Re: Replace steering ball joints?

Postby thecheat » 08 Nov 2010, 13:41

I was looking at $79 for a one-time front-wheel alignment to $100 for a 1 year/12,000 mile front-end alignment warranty. There was also a $10 "misc shop fees" line item which I wasn't happy about since that wasn't quoted when I asked about the cost of the job. I presume this is a way to make an extra few bucks for the store.

Didn't ask about a 4 wheel but I would say an extra $50 to $70 on top of that.
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Re: Replace steering ball joints?

Postby erikv11 » 08 Nov 2010, 14:42

"lf lower ball joint" sure does sound like the control arm. Also usually a shop will not refer to the tie rod ends as a "ball joint" but as a tie rod or outer tie rod etc.

Why not just call the shop and ask "is that note about the control arm or the tie rod?"

Control arm is an easy job. You can get the part pretty cheap but beware they usually fail within a year. On control arms I HIGHLY recommend go with (1) genuine Volvo (about $105 at www.tascaparts.com) or (2) Lemforder or (3) TRW. Those are the only brands I know have proven themselves over the long term.

I had trouble with cheapie tie rod ends, the $15 ones the boots lasted only a year. I went with TRW and those have lasted 3 years now. Moog should be good.

I'd replace the tie rods ends with the torn boots anyway, replace the control arm, then bring it back in for alignment.
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Re: Replace steering ball joints?

Postby thecheat » 08 Nov 2010, 15:08

I know everyone is going to hate me but I bought $50 control arms. I just need to stop chewing up tires in the short term and money is pretty tight right now. This is already costing $125 before I even get to the $100 alignment AND I had to buy a torque wrench but that's more of an investment because it's a tool.

I feel like such an ass for not dealing with this earlier... the front tires are WAY down on tread and the inside of the left tire is bad. I swapped them to the back and will likely replace them in a few months. I should have been more proactive because I KNEW the alignment was bad and now I get to buy two new tires in addition to the control arms and alignment. :(

The more I think about it, the more it seems they were referring to the ball joints on the control arms. I couldn't really see anything wrong with either side but I'm sure at 130k they should be replaced. Especially since the line item says "lower" and it would say "left tie rod" if that was the problem.
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Re: Replace steering ball joints?

Postby Jake of Sigourney » 25 Oct 2011, 03:10

You may wish to read my V70 forum entry regarding lower ball joint replacement. Volvo uses the same basic system on most of its models, and the only difference is perhaps the shape of the aluminum knuckle.
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