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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; That is too bad. There is a shocking amount of wear on your factory rubber. Not to mention ball joints ...

  1. #21
    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    That is too bad. There is a shocking amount of wear on your factory rubber. Not to mention ball joints and tie rod ends. I have been replacing all wear items on my car and have been shocked at the condition of many of the items. Replacing the idler pulley on the engine was a huge eye opener. Belts, hoses, suspension bushings, etc. What a difference a couple hundred bucks and an afternoon makes. Like the rear LCA's. There is a bolt that holds the front of these LCAs to the car body. The hole in the body is SMALLER than the hole in the LCA itself. That means everytime the LCAs move, they clack. The solution was easy. Put a stepped drill bit on a flex shaft in a cordless screw gun. Remove the bolts, then drill out the hole bigger. Put in bigger bolts. Cost me $10 and about three hours including research and going to buy the bolts. No more clacking. I really noticed it over speed bumps. Adding a helper spring to the rear hatch release. Like $6 and 10 minutes. Now, the hatch pops up the first time every time. So many easy things to "finish" these cars that GM didn't bother spending a few extra cents to do.....

  2. #22
    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
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    I'm a little irratated about this mechanic ruining all my ball jionts w/ his needle piecing the rubber boots.

    it's been allmost two months since the grease job.

    now when ever I go up or down a driveway any type of incline or decline evenn road bumps my car squeaks and makes creeking noise's.

  3. #23
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by az gt eater View Post
    . Like the rear LCA's. There is a bolt that holds the front of these LCAs to the car body. The hole in the body is SMALLER than the hole in the LCA itself. That means everytime the LCAs move, they clack. The solution was easy. Put a stepped drill bit on a flex shaft in a cordless screw gun. Remove the bolts, then drill out the hole bigger. Put in bigger bolts.
    There's an easier solution that I do. I simply installed a sleeve to take up the slack. This trick along with boxing in (welding plates onto) the lower portion of the control arms cures any wheel hop issues with these things.

  4. #24
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    I didn't read through the whole thread but it sounds like you got a handle on your front suspesion rebuild.

    Yes the fact that these factory parts aren't servicable makes their lifespan a crapshoot. Sometimes they'll go 100k plus miles and sometimes not.

    Some examples I have here. My wifes 2000 SS camaro needed outer tie rods at only 70,000 miles. They were shot. Bushings are tight and the rack and inner tie rods are nice and tight. Still excellent tire wear (I keep them rotated every 6,000). I replaced the outer tie rods with greasable units. Still running it's original hubs/wheel bearings as of right now at 112,000 miles and still fine. I check them every oil change since I don't trust them, can't grease or pack the damn things. Sealed hubs were a stupid idea in my opinion.

    My 05 duramax only had 80K on it and the front suspension was completely SHOT!!! One wheel hub was so bad when it went in for a front end alignment I was afraid to drive it home. Had no idea the wheel was moving in and out over an INCH!! It went from fine to horrible in a weeks time. No noise or anything, and still drove fine, I couldn't believe it.
    I had to replace outer tie rods, one inner tie rod, both wheel hubs, and then found one upper ball joint bad that needed replaced. The real ball buster is that the control arms are too flimsy and not considered servicable so to replace a ball joint the fix it to replace the entire upper control arm that comes assembled with ball joint and bushings, and just bolt the whole thing on. I wasn't doing just one side with new bushings, I felt that was counter productive, so I ended up doing both sides. In the end it was $2,000 worth of work. Yeah I'm not fan of these front suspensions that you can't service. My truck now has all servicable parts with grease fittings everywhere.

    Another example of how long things can last, a little 89 5.0 mustang I bought now has 221,000 miles on it. Bushings in the front are in amazingly good shape. Everything is tight and still original. I went in for a front end alignment and found the original rack was seeping a bit when he went to make the toe adjustments at the inner tie rod. The boot was holding in the fluid so it never dripped on the floor. All tie rods were still nice and tight, I couldn't believe it, and they are the non servicable OEM originals. Since the new rack comes with new inner tie rods, I decided to replace the outer tie rods too while I'm in there, and replaced them with greasable units. No sense in putting 221,000 mile outer tie rods back on in my opinion. So things have lasted a long time on this example, while others I have did not.
    Thankfully Ford still used good ole' fassion packable wheel bearings on these cars back then, so it's just as simple as pulling the rotors, clean and repack bearings and it's good to go until the next brake job.

  5. #25
    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    Sounds like you need to find a new alignment guy. Print out the specs and hand them to your new guy. The alignment specs are specific to this car. What happens is that at rest, there is no outside physical effects on the car(like downforce at speed). Then, when you get up to highway speed, the grip is not optimal, and the car can get a little squirrely, and you get more tire wear. He sets everything up perfectly square and true sitting in the garage, and at 80, the car is sitting on the insides of the tires. Less grip, more wear and tear. Anybody, step in and correct me if I am wrong??

  6. #26
    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    Wheel hubs are on my list to replace. Any tips on changing them, or which ones to get Firebird?

  7. #27
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by az gt eater View Post
    Sounds like you need to find a new alignment guy. Print out the specs and hand them to your new guy. The alignment specs are specific to this car. What happens is that at rest, there is no outside physical effects on the car(like downforce at speed). Then, when you get up to highway speed, the grip is not optimal, and the car can get a little squirrely, and you get more tire wear. He sets everything up perfectly square and true sitting in the garage, and at 80, the car is sitting on the insides of the tires. Less grip, more wear and tear. Anybody, step in and correct me if I am wrong??
    I do know the alignment specs on the 4th gen with the 17x9 wheels is "zero" toe in. Because of the wheel/tire being so wide, and having all the offset to the inside, this causes bump steer. No toe in helps this situation.

    I also (if need be) bring along 150 lbs. worth of dumbells to place on the driver side floor, some in front and some behind the seat. This simulates a driver in the seat while the alignment is being performed. I've since found a good alignment guy here, and he lets me just sit in the driver seat while he does the alignment. It's amazing how much it changes when you add 200 lbs. behind the steering wheel. I'm pretty picky about this shit and so is he. I've been searching for front end racks to adapt to my 4 post lift so I can do these myself. I get so many classics in here to paint where I"m doing complete frame offs, and rebuilding everything. It will be nice eventually when I can return them with the front end already aligned and ready to go rather than spend a day to load the darn thing in the trailer and run into town to take it over to the front end rack. Blows my whole day.

  8. #28
    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    THanks for the correction FB.

  9. #29
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Wasn't sure what you were asking, I didn't mean to sound as though I was correcting anything. I was just sharing my experiences with front end parts and alignments with these newer cars. When you guys go lowering these cars and changing to things like aftermarket control arms that can change the geometry of the suspension, then you probably need a very knowledgable front end guy that isn't afraid to steer away from factory specs, and set up something more custom. You may run into more tire wear until you find what works best.

    On wheel hubs, the front end shop I've been using seems to like the Napa parts, and those are the hubs I most recently put on my duramax. I was at the shop already so I just went with it.
    However it's a job you can easily do yourself and I have many times. In which case I have no issues ordering hubs or anything else from places like Rock Auto. Usually 3-4 brands to choose from with varying prices.

  10. #30
    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    FB. It is always good to correct me. I am only wrong about 37 times a day. Seriously, though, don't want to spread lies and half truths around...

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