Fail, fail again…

Here we go again.  “This will be a quick job,” he says.  “It’s only three nuts and a bolt,” he says.  “This only needs a few tools,” he says.

Ball joint Hell.

These 3rd-generation CR-Vs have, allegedly, the easiest ball joints to replace. Rather than have the joint pressed into the steering knuckle, these ball joints fasten to the lower control arm with a bolt and two nuts.  A third nut holds the tapered ball joint neck into the knuckle.

Typically I’d pop the ball joint out of the knuckle with the ball joint removal tool.  And I did that, quite easily.  With an impact, that tool makes quick work of popping these old joints out with a satisfying “pop.”  The other fasteners came off easily.

It was the reinstallation that got me.  Got the new ball joint in place, snugged up a couple of the fasteners, and was tightening the third when one of the pressed-in studs on the ball joint assembly gave loose.  Only, I didn’t notice it until I felt the nut spinning a little too fast in the ratchet.  The stud wasn’t apparently pressed in all that well, as I saw none of the “bites” from the splines of the stud in the hole in which it used to firmly sit.

Could I attempt welding it?  I don’t know if my welder is strong enough to heat up the forged metal and anyway, why should I fix somebody else’s snafu?

Rudy Rant™: I was also a bit pissed to find that this replacement had a grease fitting.  I prefer permanently sealed ball joints. The original equipment lasted 13 years. The grease fitting is also one more thing to snap off if hit by road debris, leaving the bottom open and exposed.  I thought we were past grease fittings in the 21st Century.  Hell, when I worked in distribution, we sold rod end bearings that were self-lubricating, lined with high-temperature teflon, and many of these high-dollar bearings were military spec and went on aircraft costing millions of dollars. Some even had Boeing or Cessna part numbers attached to them.

Anyhoo, I purchased two ball joints, and thankfully had the second one on hand.  So, I got half a job done.

The faulty product is going straight back to Rock Auto for replacement.

And I have to repeat all this in a week or two, except for the “breaking new parts” routine. Hopefully.

But at least the only groaning in the CR-V now is the driver, not the ball joint…

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