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What is the lifespan of front end parts?

This is a discussion on What is the lifespan of front end parts? within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; What is the lifespan of front end parts? My 99WS6 has 125K miles and over the past couple years I ...

  1. #1
    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    99 ws6

    What is the lifespan of front end parts?

    What is the lifespan of front end parts?

    My 99WS6 has 125K miles and over the past couple years I have noticed the steering wheel getting a little loose like when I’m cruising down the expressway I could move the steering wheel slightly while still going straight.

    I recently observed the outside of front driver side tire wearing much quicker than the middle and inside of tires tread also observed the pas. Side tire wearing quicker on the outside however not as much as the driver side.

    I had my 99WS6 inspected for a front end aignlment man said the outer tie rods where worn and the rack was slitely leaking (I’ve never had to add any power steering fuild to the resoir and don’t see any fuild on the drive way). I was'nt really impressed w/ the Guy that did the inspection he did'nt show me anything and did'nt talk to me he just sribbled down on a piece of paper tie rods and leak go figure.

    I went ahead and did a outer tie rod end swap w/ some Moog ends result was it tightened up the steering wheel.

    Now I don’t want to pay $90. to have the car aligned then find out there are other worn out parts that won’t allow a alignment stuff like
    A arm ball joint, upper ball joint, struts and possiablley the intire rack w/ it’s inner tie rods if car can’t be aligned then I’ll have to pay minium $25. just to find out whats worn.

    So I ask What is the lifespan of front end parts?

    Thanks Guy’s for the surport.
    Last edited by qwik219d9; 06-13-2014 at 08:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member theorangeguy's Avatar
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    I'm slowly working my way through a similar situation and my car just rolled over 100,000 miles. It doesn't get driven in the winter at all...

    The front bearings probably need to be replaced. I would do inner and outer tie rod ends. If you have stock shocks its going to make your car feel loose because of bad handling and dampening...which is part of my problem. I actually have a thread with a list of parts I've bought or am going to buy to remedy my issues.
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    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    silver
    99 ws6

    yes I've just been reading you'r thread.

    1.how are the wheel bearings tested? are the bushings pressed in at a machince shop or can I just hammer them in w/ a rubber mallet?

    2.did you get a complete set of bushings from like GM parts direct?
    3.how are front shocks tested? I know if press down on the rear shocks and the car still continues to bounce the shocks are worn out.

    please post some links, of you'r progress and images would be a great help.

    I'm starting to think I can't just throw on some end rods and call it a day.

    I plan on keeping the car so I don't mind investing in good parts. what type of struts are you going w/?

    looks like you had you car tuned w/ the good folks in Atlanta.

    edit I've been told that to swap the inner tie rods requires a very expensive tool?
    Thanks
    Last edited by qwik219d9; 06-13-2014 at 08:39 AM.
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    Senior Member theorangeguy's Avatar
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    I'll get a list put together of what I got and what I'm working on...

    to answer the Atlanta question, yes they did my car. I used to live North of Atlanta...lived there for around 6-7years and was there when GMMG was still around. I know most of the guys at Vengeance because they ran GMMG so it was a no brainer for me. They are the only people who have ever touched any of my cars. I talked to Mike "owner/tuner for Vengeance PCM" yesterday actually. I was living in Huntsville, AL when I bought my current car and drove to Atlanta to have them tune it. I like them that much lol

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    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    silver
    99 ws6

    OK sounds good on the list. I'll go ahead and subscribe to you'r thread.

    lets add this to the list where all the bushing are located
    I'm thinking the A arm has three in the summit link on you other thread theres a bunch of bushings I don't know where they are located.

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    Front wheel bearings will generally start howling when they wear out. A lot of times it will only howl in turns and then it is generally the outside wheel for whichever direction you are turning that is bad. To test it, simply jack up the front of the car and with the tires hanging in the air. Place your hands first at the 9:00 and 3:00 positions and try to wiggle the tire. Then repeat the test with your hands at the 12:00 and 6:00 positions. If the wheel feels loose on both tests it is usually a bad wheel bearing (but check the lug nuts to be sure they are tight and not the cause of the loose feeling). If it feels loose in only the 3:00 and 6:00 position then your tie rod is suspect. And finally, if it is loose only in the 12:00 and 6:00 position your lower ball joint is probably on the way out. Go to the other side of the car and repeat these tests for comparison sake.

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    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    Jeff excellent info. yes when I observed the mechanic doing the inspection he was slitely moving both front wheels w/ his hands on the 3-9 o=clock position this is why I installed new Moog outer tie rod ends.

    as for the wheel bearings car was on a alignment rack w/ the suspension loaded so I did'nt observe his hands on the 6-12 O-clock position I will check that later and report back.

    I have never heard any howling from wheel area when going into turns, after I installed the front and rear sway bar end links (12 years ago) I do go into turns much faster I kindof like to pass others in the turn anyway I've read that another good test for the wheel bearings is to remove the wheel a spin the hub listening for any noise also observe how well the wheel spins like a warped rotor could effect how free a wheel spins.

    these wheel bearings http://www.partsgeek.com/gbproducts/...FcRi7AodrDEA-Q that the orangeguy links to this is a complete wheel hub w/ the wheel speed sensing electrical connection for ABS brakes and TCS traction control correct I ask this because Geeks doe'st list the WS6 only the Trans am did regular TA's come w/ ABS/ TCS? or will part have to be obtained from GM?

    as far as the A arm bushings obviously the complete A arm will be removed can I grease up and hammer in the bushings like I did w/ the rears LCA's?

    can the A arms ball joints be swaps w/ plain hand tools or must they be pressed in at a machice shop?

    if I go to all the trouble to install new A arm bushings mite as well swap in new front struts as well remember the car has 125K miles.

    ?1.I understand that the top of the shock tower gets rustie is it normal to replace the strut mount when installing new struts?

    ?2. I understand the brake master cylinder needs to moved doe's the linkage behind the MC need to be disconnected or just the two bolts holding the MC then just move it over a tad?

    ?3.I'm not planing on lowering the ride hieght are the old springs removed I guess at the tire store then pressed back on the new struts?

    ?4.when installing new front struts is it mandatory to install new rear shocks?

    as far as the rack and pinion doe's the Trans am WS6 use the Trans Am; w/F41 Firm Ride Handling Suspension rack?

    also how hard is it to rebuild like are there special tools here's a kit http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/more...842&cc=1357095

    Sorry for so many ?s just want to get a complete list of the proper parts and what involved w/ installing them, I plan on doing this in the driveway so I want to be totalley prepared then after expect a perfect front end alignment and a good handling car.
    Jeff maybe I should copy my ?s to the orangguys thread then delete this thread like combine both threads?
    Thanks for advice.
    Last edited by qwik219d9; 06-14-2014 at 04:59 AM.

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    I have replaced several wheel bearings over the years and they have all made noise to indicate they were failing. As the bearings on our cars are sealed units, no need to mess with a swap unless one has in fact failed. I suppose you could change them out as preventative maintenance, but that is not really necessary imo. Even after they fail and start making noise I have driven the car for over 100 miles in some instances - just depends on how bad it is.

    Removing and installing suspension bushings can be tricky as you do not want to collapse the suspension arm in the process. On our older cars, I built a set of oak blocks that I insert into the arms to keep them from compressing. The best method for removal is to burn out the bushing with a torch as the heat will release the vulcanization. Then, after it cools down, carefully cut a slit in the metal shell with a Sawzall, or even a hacksaw, and then collapse the metal bushing to remove it. Clean away any rust from the suspension arm, but be careful not to remove any material as you do not want to affect the press fit. Depending upon the constuction of the arm you can then press or even drive the new bushing in place.

    Not a bad idea to replace the strut mounts when you have the front end apart on a higher mileage car. They do compress over time. While the strut is out, tape off the mounting holes in the engine bay, wire wheel the underside of the mount and then prime and paint it prior to installing the new parts.

    Ball joints can be pressed out, or removed with a special tool that you can obtain through the tool loan program at most chain parts stores. I always press mine out, but that requires removal of the suspension arm from the car. With the special tool, you can swap a ball joint with the arm disconneced from the hub assembly, but still attached to the car.

    The master cylinder is attached to the firewall by two 13mm (or 15mm) nuts. Simply remove the nuts and pull the master cylinder off the studs and push it aside a bit to access the strut mounting bolts and nuts. Here are some pics:






    I swapped out our front struts last year and still run the stock shocks in the rear of the car. Definitely improved the cars ride and feel.

    I haven't messed with the rack other than to clean it up when I swapped in the tubular K-member. Never had to rebuild one yet, but I assume some special tools would be required.

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    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    Jeff more excellent info.

    I’m confussed about the A- arm bushings I’m thinking there are two bushings where A- arm attaches to the K-member and another where it attaches to the hub so I just assumed the A-arm is to be removed to install this bushing are there like the bushings in the rear Lower control arm w/ it’s circled end and a round bushings pushed in? a image of this would probabley explain bettern than text if you have one.

    The oak block you mention can actually be a jack or correct height block of wood I have a small 4x6 I can cut to fit under the A-arm what is the height of you’r oak wood block?

    After the new ball joint is pressed in place (hear the pop) how tight is the nut tightened to? Before installing the coper pin?


    This Guy looks like he knows how to, are 92 cameros have the same A-arms as 4th gens?


    what are the chances of the upper arm’s ball joint being worn or worn out they have the same mileage? And how is this part tested?
    I've read that the uppers are rivoted in is a air chisel required or can I get by w/ a drill or maybe a dremel tool?

    What struts did you choose?

    wow I thought there was linkage behind the master brake cylinder?
    Thanks
    Last edited by qwik219d9; 06-14-2014 at 07:22 AM.

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    The attachment at the hub on the lower control arm is a balljoint... not a bushing. Both the upper and lower arms have two bushings and one balljoint each.

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    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    99 ws6

    OEM A-arm ball joints are sealed is it possible to grease them?

    Is it possible to grease upper and lower ball joints and OEM outer tie rods?

    Thanks

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    Nope -- when the boot splits or the joint gets loose you just replace it. Some aftermarket replacement pieces may come with grease fittings.

  13. #13
    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    Nope -- when the boot splits or the joint gets loose you just replace it. Some aftermarket replacement pieces may come with grease fittings.
    my 99 WS6 has 125K miles on the clock steering wheel has a tiny bit of looseness.

    I've owned this car since 2001 car had 20K miles on the clock. it needed front tires when I bought it this is the only time I've ever have this car aligned after 4 sets of front tires I've finalley got uneven wear on the outside of the driver and slitely outer wear on the pass. side.

    I was planning on swapping Lower A-arm bushings and ball joint, upper A-arm bushings and ball joint.

    new wheel bearings, new Konie struts reuse OEM springs outer tie rods.

    I had the car inspected man said worn outer tie rods so swapped in some Moogs.

    I got to thinking and went to a differnt alingment shop (did'nt like the first Guy's attitude) for another inspection man said bushings, ball jionts, wheel bearing and struts where fine the old Guy talked me out of spending alot of $ how nice of him plus it's to dam hot to be crawling under the car in the driveway.

    this old school shop has been in bussiness for over 100 years no new techonogly laser alingment equipment here just a four foot brown pillar unsure of exactly how it worked.


    Now as far as the title of this thread goe's I not sure if I got taken $50. for alignment which usalley is $90. (at chain store shops)

    and $30 to stick a needle w/ grease fitting into the grease gun and puncture the ball joint seals and fill w/ grease I can understand he filled the boot dust cover w/ grease however how will the grease get around and underneth the ball?

    The man said I could buy this needle at any auto store guess I paid $30. to find out about this trick and I'm sharing it w/ you good folks.
    this old Guy sure did like test driving my car about 4 times I had a 1/2 tank of fuel after the 4 test drives I had 1/4 either he spioned fuel out or was standing on the pedal don't see him racing the car in a downtown area who knows nowadays.

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    Just filling the boot doesn't do a whole lot. The zerk fitting is positioned in greasable joints so that the grease is forced through and around the ball and socket of the joint. That being said, adding grease to the boot can't really hurt anything, although it is supposed to be sealed from water and debris and punching holes in it sort of defeats this purpose.

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    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    so the old fart ripped me off?

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    Depends on how you want to look at it, I guess.

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    Senior Member theorangeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwik219d9 View Post
    so the old fart ripped me off?
    depends on if what he did made any difference lol does it drive any better?

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    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    yes the car is aligned porperly.

    I will crawl under the car this weekend and inspect the rod ends I remember the exact amount of threads that where exposed from my tie rod end install. I actualley asked the old Gease to mark why the tie rods where so I could see how far off the alignment was he said he would'nt then said you'r one round out of the toe. I thought outside tire wear was due to positive camber.

    I take some images of the tires and post up.

    I was observing where he pieced the ball joints will clean this rubber and cover w/ some stronge glue I have same glue I used to seal the torn boot on my rack about ten years ago.
    Thanks

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    Jeff is more of a seasoned mechanic with all the work he doeson his car. Me, an occasional weekend warrior. I changed out everything you are talking about doing. I put polyurethane bushings in, inner and outer tie rod ends, upper and lower ball joints, and shocks. The car was not handling the best, and so I decided to go whole hog. When I took it all apart, I found that the lower ball joints were so loose that you could twirl them with your finger. I was able to do all the work in my garage with wrenches, a torch, a block of wood and a couple of hammers. Well, the MacPherson strut tool as well.I think the shocks made the biggest difference. And, what a difference all that work did. I'll give you the run down as I saw it.

    Lower a arms. You can unbolt them, they will pull out. Mark the position of the bolts clearly so that you can put them bakc in the same postion. Use a scratch awl so that the marks won't dissapear on you. Use your torch and heat up the rubber bushings, put it on a block of wood. Use a big socket that matches the sleeve size, and gently pound it out. Heat helps a lot. I also ended up drilling holes in the rubber to give the rubber room to expand as I pounded them out. Once you have the bushings out, take these arms to a mahcine shop with your new ball joints. They will have to be pressed out. They will then press in the new ones. It actually took me a week to get this done. The reason why is that the new ball joints were too tight to press in without splitting the a arms. I called all over, and everybody's ball joints were the same size. What I ended up doing at a friend's suggestion is to use a micrometer and a Volkswagon cylinder hone. We oiled it up, and ran a few passes through. Then, check with the micrometer. We repeated that until the hole was big enough to accept the new ball joints without splitting.

    Upper a arms. These ball joints are possibly rivettted in, I can't remember. I do know that the new ones simply bolt in.

    Inner and outer tie rod ends. You will want to take a measurement of the existing ones while they are on the car. You can mark them too, but def measure. There may have need a special tool needed, but I can guarantee that I did not have it, so I believe I used a pipe wrench or vise grips to remove the old ones. Set the new ones to the same length.

    Shocks. You will need to loosen the master cylinder and move it to the side to get all the bolts out of the upper shock towers. I would buy new upper perch rubber inserts. Take the shock assembly (alot of people make the mistake, myself included of calling this assembly a strut, it's not) to a shop and have them change it out. SLP bilsteins are the best bang for the buck. If you can't afford all 4 at the same time, just get the front ones for now. The back ones are a piece of cake to change!! The nuts at the top of the shock towers are usually all rusted to hell. That is not a concern of yours, as you can tell the shop that they can simply cut the shock shaft off with a grinder, sawzall, etc. I am not sure if the will be able to do so when the spring is compressed in their machine, but I was able to do it easily in the garage with the MacPherson tool. When you re-install, that bolt that you had to move the master cylinder out of the way for needs to be put in a different hole!! This way, you can access it in the future without having to move the master cylinder again.

    Sway bar. This is the really easy one. Take a photo, or make a drawing of the arrangement of cups and bushings so that you can put it on the same way it came off. Tighten it down so that the bushings are slightly compressed. If it is loose, it won't work correctly.

    Make sure everything is tight, and greased. Take it in for an alignment. Print off the specs from the technical section on this forum under general help stickies and hand that to the alignment guy. Then, enjoy your new car. With everything changed out, you will notice a huge improvement in handling.

    I have an industrial neighborhood close to my house that they laid the streets, but never put up any buildings. It is a rectangle, with rounded off corners, and a slight jog in the road about 2/3 of the way down each long side. I took my car out there before I did all this work, and ran it hard a few times. On the last corner, you come around it almost sideways, and there is a small dip where the "gutter" in the street is. Before, there was a lot of body roll, and the car would bounce on going over the gutter. After, almost zero body roll, and no bounce on the gutter. Gives you alot of confidence in handling. It is still the stamped suspension pieces, but they have a lot better foundation, and the parts are brand new again.

    Prices- I got the whole Energy polyurethane bushings kit for the entire car. ~$150
    Shocks- SLP bilsteins-all 4 ~$500
    Ball joints -~$100 all 4
    Tie rod ends- ~100 all 4
    Machine shp work- $40
    Alignment-$60
    You can rent the MacPherson tool for almost nothing, but I bought mine as a used rental for under $100

    Here is my signature to show you what I have done to mine. Any questions, ask away.
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    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    more good infor thanks for sharing.

    unforchantly the alingment Guy talked me out of replacing all the front end stuff I was planning said it was'nt nessasary he's old school like there's a differnce in working on you'r car and upgrading you'r car. he's so old school that there is'nt a printed values of the settings on the alinment before and after.

    anyway it was to bad on the timing of my next set of front tires being needed replacement in the hot time of year
    all I have is a hot driveway to work on my car.

    looks like I wait another 22K miles untill the tires need replacing then hope it happens when it's cool outside.
    thanks againe for sharing
    Last edited by qwik219d9; 06-21-2014 at 10:42 AM.

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