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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-11-2004, 10:41 AM
 
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silly curb

Ok so I wrecked my car. It is a 1969 Nova. Wasn't bad... but wasn't good. I was doing a u-turn and gave it too much gas, swung one way and the other, landed on the curb. The problem is I had the wheels turned all the way to the right, and I was sliding sideways with the driver’s side going headfirst. So when i hit the curb, it completely compressed the front suspension really fast, and at a really bad angle, and ended up making the lower ball joint pop out. So when I backed up and went to drive again, the car wouldn't b/c the front passenger side tire was flopped on its side and wouldn't roll. I got it back home and for some reason when I put it in reverse, the ball joint sucks back up. I can drive forward normally (besides the 2 ruined tires/rims up front now). However after a few feet and only going 2-3 MPH, the ball joint pops out again.

Here is the weird part. I just replaced the ball joints and had a friend help me, or guide me, as he was the experienced one. It was hard as hell to get the old upper ball joints out, which were pressed in. The new ones bolt in, which I like (only up top). The lower ball joints just kind of site there and are held in place. My friend said when I drive around they will pop into place because I was complaining that they weren't all the way in the hole. We replaced them about 300 miles before the accident. However I put about 50-100 miles on the car per month.

The accident was at a slow speed, if I would of had about 5-10 more feet, I would have stopped before the curb. So I was surprised that it broke the car. However with the circumstances, I can see how the ball joint easily popped out.

The reason for this post, is I do not want to take the car to the shop because I have no idea how much they will charge me and so on.

Here are some pictures of right after I wrecked it, and the 'normal' pictures are after the ball joint just pushes itself back into place after driving backwards. (BTW when it goes back into place, both sides look the same as far as how much of the ball joint is hanging out of the bottoms (not pressed in enough??))

http://www.seanstratton.com/nova/index.htm

Can someone give me an educated opinion on my situation? Should I take the car somewhere and have both bottom ball joints pressed in, then try to drive it and see if anything else is broken?

If you have any questions please ask and I will give you all the information I have.

Thanks
Sean S.

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Old 12-12-2004, 07:55 AM
 
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I don't have experience with Novas, but here's my take on the situation. The first thing that caught my eye was your ball joints. Originally, both ball joints were press fit and should not move out of its location, correct? Now you've got a "bolt-in" upper ball joint and a "slosh fit" lower joint that pops in and out of location? What? I've never heard of that. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that doesn't sound like anything GM would do.

I think you should take those arms off and get new ball joints pressed in properly, then get new bushings, and get some aggrasive brake shoes while your at it. This is for your safety, your car's safety, and the well being of everyone else on the road.

I would think that if you hit anyone while your ball joints were like that they could sue the crap out of you.
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Old 12-12-2004, 08:51 AM
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First... It looks like that balljoint is bent, since the stance isn't correct when it is back where it was.
Second... Either the joint was never all of the way in, it was the wrong joint, or the control arm was damaged in the removal/instalation of the new joint. There is no way that you should be able to move that joint that far when it is in position, as in properly connected to the steering knuckle/spindle. It should not be that long.

*** NOTE*** Not to put anyone down, but, this is one example of why some work should not be done by someone that is not knowledgeable in that area. It is called "SAFETY".

If the other side looks the same as that one did after replacement, you better get it checked by someone that knows what they are looking at, and not the person that "helped" you.
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Old 12-12-2004, 09:29 AM
 
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Thank you for your replies. I think I have some clearing-up to do.

The original ball joints were 'pressed' in by GM in 1969. When I replaced the ball joints a few months ago, we had to grind both top and bottom ball joints out. The new top ball joints came with 4 bolts in place of the metal studes that were welded on the originals. The bottom ball joints just pressed back into place.

The person helping me said they would "pop" up into place like his truck did after I drive the car around town a few times.

Obviously he was wrong. And I can't believe it popped out that easily... could have killed me!

Anyways, i think this will be a good time to take the car somewhere and have them replace the upper/lower control arm bushings, both bottom ball joints, have them pressed in, and get an alignment.

My main concern is if I damaged any other parts on the car. I guess I will just have the car towed to the local shop.....

... How much am I looking at paying to have 2 new ball joints, control arm bushings, and an alignment done?? I'm thinking 2-3 hundred sounds fair?

Thanks for the help,
Sean S.
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Old 12-12-2004, 09:49 AM
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I reckon those lower control arms are junk, when the ball joint got
pulled out it must have distorted the hole. Thatīs why they pop in and out, better to find some control arms and have them reconditioned, canīt be that expensive.
I did mine with a tool from Harbor Freight, depends if your comfortable working with a spring compressor.
Tip, donīt get one made in China, the threads strip.
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Old 12-12-2004, 01:04 PM
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Others may disagree, but I wouldn'd stake my life on those control arms anymore. I would get different control arms, and like said, have the joints and bushings replaced, then installed.

It is scarry that anyone would put a front end together, with the ball joints not all the way in, expecting them to seat on their own.

Take my advise and don't mess with anymore "safety" items without proper supervision. You're going to hurt someone.
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Old 12-12-2004, 07:04 PM
 
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I was told by another friend that sometimes the ball joints just sit like that, and you have to spot weld them to the control arms. I really hope I do not have to get new control arms.... Plus I didn't hit the curb that hard at all. I really didn't expect that much damage. When I tried to drive off, I thought the tire was flat. It was a really weird angle so I am hoping I can get new bottom ball joints pressed in... maybe weld those but only if they are all the way in, just for safety?

Thanks,
Sean
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Old 12-13-2004, 12:40 AM
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I have used the Harbor Freight ball joint press ball joint press before. I also used good Moog ball joints (I think only carquest still sells moog stuff).
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=38335

The ball joints will NEVER JUST PRESS THEMSELVES IN. Your "friend" that told you that is a moron and you should never talk to him again about a car issuse!

I had to use my impact wrench (625 ft*lb) on the ball joint press with my left hand while beating the life out of them with a 2# sledge in my right hand to get them in. The moog ball joints are a bit oversized compaired to the factory ones and that will make sure they are a good fit after you press out the old ones. The right way to do it would be to use a hydraulic press but I haven't bought one of those yet (not enough room in the garage)

Edit:
I'm also with everyone else that says you should also just get some new lower control arms while you are at it.

Might just want to try GM. I know with newer stuff they sell the control arms with new bushings and ball joints already pressed in. It is such a PITA to remove ball joints and bushings they often just swap out the whole thing.

Last edited by Triaged; 12-13-2004 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 12-13-2004, 01:37 AM
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Once those holes in the lower control arms have been stetched or distorted, itīs the end of the road for them.
How you hit thecurb is irrelevant a very important part is now
useless.
Belting at them with any heavy devise is not the way either, they must be pressed in.
As for being told "some ball joints just sit like that" Iīd get some different people to talk to.
Welding is not the way either.
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Old 12-13-2004, 07:57 AM
 
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OK Awesome... some sort of positive replies..... I will look into finding some new control arms.... just the lowers right? That would be sweet if GM already had the ball joints pressed in and bushings installed... since I need new bushings too.


Now I just have to find somewhere cheap... GM is crazy expensive. If I can get a good price on them, I will just do it in the garage again and not waste money on taking it to the shop.

Thanks for the help,
Sean S.
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Old 12-13-2004, 09:23 AM
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here you goI use about four of
these a year.



Third item down.
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Old 12-14-2004, 10:25 PM
 
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"We use these 68-74 Nova lower control arms on our GM midsized metric-based modified chassis. This widens the front track width which vastly improves handling."

How will that effect my car? I want to use it for mostly street use, only going to the track a few times a year.

If it will be worth it to get some quality front end parts right now, i wouldn't mind doing it. Part of the reason I didn't car that I crashed it was because I know alot of the front end stuff is trash and needs to be replaced when I want to do the car right. I also have a little money to invest into it right now.

A friend of mine suggested I get tubular control arms to me once... but you know how my friends are.

So any advice on doing this the right/best way since I have to mess with it?

Thanks,
Sean
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Old 12-15-2004, 03:59 AM
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Is it not possible to get some used stock arms and have new bushes and ball joints fitted?
Tubular would be very expensive and if you do that to the lower arm wouldīnt the upper have to be replaced as well?
Itīs the circle of reinforce one part, the next fails.
Sorry two questions for answers.
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:10 PM
 
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Quote:
We use these 68-74 Nova lower control arms on our GM midsized metric-based modified chassis. This widens the front track width which vastly improves handling."

How will that effect my car? I want to use it for mostly street use, only going to the track a few times a year.
It looks to me like those are stock, used, 68-74 Nova arms, same as your factory arms.

The quote about using them to widen the track width pertains only to their modified metric chassis.
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Old 12-17-2004, 08:05 PM
 
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my friend wants me to get tubular a arms instead of stock control arms. He can't give me a reason why so I want to ask you guys. What would be the benefits of having them? Drawbacks?
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