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Old 09-16-2009, 06:36 AM   #1
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Loose ball joints - can it be fixed fast?

Our truck (06 dodge ram 2500 4x4) has loose ball joints (a mechanic told us that when we were having a tire fixed). We are taking it in to the dealership tomorrow for repairs - can it be fixed quickly? Still under warranty.

I have no idea what ball joints are except what i read on wikipedia - ball joints join the steering column and the wheels or something? sounds quite serious. the reason i ask is that we were planning to go camping on friday.... hope it can be fixed fast!! Can anyone reassure me?
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:39 AM   #2
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If it's a 4X4, it doesn't have the typical ball joints in the front suspension.

Those ball joints are between the "A" arms and the spindle, which your truck doesn't have.
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:42 AM   #3
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so what do the ball joints do? we hear a "clunk" when we are slowing down, is that related?
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:55 AM   #4
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so what do the ball joints do? we hear a "clunk" when we are slowing down, is that related?

Ball joints are typically located at the ends on the A-Arms and are used to join the A-Arm to the spindle assembly. The ball joint is usually press fit into the A-Arm, and some are riveted in-place. There is one on each A-Arm (upper and lower).

The Ball Joint is like a human shoulder socket, in that it allows the spindle assembly to move (in plane) as suspension loads dictate.

I don't know Dodge nomneclature, but if you did/do have loose ball joints in a 2006 model would be a bit surprising to me. Not saying that it couldn't be, but it seems premature unless you have used the vehicle hard, extensively off-road, or have lots of miles.

As for the clunk. Sounds like a driveline issue. Best to have a quailifed mechanic look things over.

Best of Luck,

Kevin
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Old 09-16-2009, 07:20 AM   #5
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thanks - going to dealer tomorrow. helps to know a little about it. haven't done any off-roading but possibly the first owner did - truck came with off road tires on it. not many miles on it and we've only towed a moderate amount - three trips a year, 5 hours or less in one direction.
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:32 AM   #6
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The ball joints on a 4 x4 are connecting the axle housing to the spindle. The axle has to be removed to replace the balljoints. And yes the clunk could come from the ball joint. the spindle could be shifting as you apply the bakes. The law of inertia.The spindle would be stopped by the brakes and the axle housing would continue to move til it is stopped by the spindle.
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:53 PM   #7
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back from the dealership with everything fixed.

they said it wasn't the ball joints. they replaced the tierod assembly, pitman arm and damper. Also reset toe.

Don't know what that means, but does it sound normal for an 06? It was all under warranty.
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:05 PM   #8
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back from the dealership with everything fixed.

they said it wasn't the ball joints. they replaced the tierod assembly, pitman arm and damper. Also reset toe.

Don't know what that means, but does it sound normal for an 06? It was all under warranty.
Pittman arm is what makes everything else move when you turn the wheel. Tie rods are connected via a drag link to the Pittman arm. All these keep the front wheels straight, or allow them to turn when you turn the steering wheel. Toe is the angle the front wheels have to keep them straight with one another. Toe in means the front of the front wheels are closer than the back of the tires, toe out means the front of the front tires are further away.
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:06 PM   #9
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Those steering parts wear with mileage, not age. Also, the types of roads you drive on has some effect. Off road driving on roads that have a lot of "washboard" effect really take their toll. How many miles does the truck have on it?
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:15 PM   #10
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thanks terry for the translation!

truck has only 36,000 miles. (58000 kms) We drive mostly paved roads.

could this be caused by towing with off road tires? we heard those aren't so good for the trailer and are going to change out.
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:21 PM   #11
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Larger tires and especially wider wheels are hard on steering components, but I'm suprised you are having these troubles with only 36,000 miles.
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:54 PM   #12
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Dodge had a big problem with ball joint failure in the Dakota size trucks several years ago. Lot of folks had spindles come off, accidents and law suits. It was obviously a quality issue of those particular suspension parts. May be they used the same supplier for the parts on your truck. I know it was not your ball joints, but poor quality in any suspension component is not a good thing.
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:58 PM   #13
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hmm starting to be glad we bought the extended warranty...
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:10 PM   #14
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back from the dealership with everything fixed.

they said it wasn't the ball joints. they replaced the tierod assembly, pitman arm and damper. Also reset toe.

Don't know what that means, but does it sound normal for an 06? It was all under warranty.
No it is not normal but even Dodge, Ford, GM, Toyota and Honda have recalls. Dodge had some problem with the steering linkage on the 2003-2009 Dodge Trucks and issued Safety Recall H46- Mopar Steering Linkage. It involves the drag link inner joint and the steering damper bracket attachment to the tie rod tube. We had our 2005 Dodge 2500 4X4 inspected two weeks ago when we had the truck in for service at almost 63,000 miles. As far as I know they did the required recall inspection and did not find any problems to repair or parts to replace; I could not see any evidence of new parts when I looked at the steering linkage.
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