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Ford Man 01-15-2010 07:46 PM

Auto Zone Ball Joints
Just a little information for those of you who do your own automotive repairs. I just changed the ball joints on my '02 Escort SE the other day and replaced the original factory ball joints with Duralast ball joints from Auto Zone and found upon opening the Duralast box that the plastic bag the ball joint was in had a Moog brand name sticker attached to it, so at least part of the Auto Zone Duralast suspension parts are made by Moog. After finding this out I priced Moog ball joints at Rock Auto and the price was $43.79 each plus shipping, I bought the same ball joint with the Duralast name on it for $26.99 each plus tax, that is with lifetime warranty and Auto Zone has never failed to stand behind their lifetime warranty on any part that I have worn out and returned for replacement. Too many people think just because parts have the store brand name on them that they are not good quality parts, but fail to realize that they just buy the parts from a supplier that will give them the best deal on whatever they are buying. I've been using Duralast suspension parts for nearly 20 years and a set of ball joints or tie rod ends usually lasts between 100-150K miles which is better than the factory installed tie rod ends and ball joints lasted on the '02, I just replaced both (tie rod ends/ball joints) on and the car is currently at 96K miles. Hopefully this information can save someone a few dollars.

Clev 01-15-2010 08:44 PM

I bought a Duralast tie rod end, and it had a grease fitting. Nice touch, and something the factory original didn't have.

Ford Man 01-15-2010 09:34 PM

It too may have been made by Moog. The ones I bought also had grease fittings. The originals on the '02 Escort were sealed and no grease fittings too.

luvit 01-15-2010 09:42 PM

sometimes the store brand are refurbished parts.. sometimes not.
i'm always happy with refurbs

i wonder if you got a moog, but it was a refurb.
then i wonder if the refurb company meant to remove the moog label.

Jethro 01-15-2010 11:00 PM

I don't think they refurbish ball joints.

Moog has multiple product lines, just line Dana Corporation (Makes Napa Chassis Parts (NCP) and Master Ride Chassis (MRC). Both carry a big strong name, but only NCP are worth a damn.

We have a '95 Pontiac Bonneville with over 200K on all stock suspension parts. I'm not real impressed with 150k.

Now you start talking balljoints on a lifted truck with oversized tires last 150K I'd listen.

This being said. Congrats for treating your vehicle right and keeping it on the road with simple maintenance instead of trading it in cause it 'drives funny'

wagonman76 01-16-2010 12:41 AM

I have yet to find a balljoint that lasts over a year or two on Michigan roads. before it's totally shot and starts shifting when you steer/accelerate/brake.

Usually when I buy balljoints, they are a mix of parts, even when buying the same brand in the same box from the same store at the same time. So far for the same part I've seen 3 different boot/retainer assemblies, bolts and nuts of various size and grade, straight or right angle grease fittings. Anymore I don't even know who really makes what style. I think everybody just buys them from whoever is cheapest at the time and puts them in their own brand box.

"I can take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed..." :)

Clev 01-16-2010 12:47 AM


Originally Posted by wagonman76 (Post 154602)
"I can take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed..." :)

Definitely the best Chris Farley movie.

Ford Man 01-16-2010 03:43 PM


Originally Posted by Jethro (Post 154590)
I don't think they refurbish ball joints.

I'm not real impressed with 150k.

This being said. Congrats for treating your vehicle right and keeping it on the road with simple maintenance instead of trading it in cause it 'drives funny'

You may not be impressed with 150K miles, but that's 54K more miles than the original factory parts lasted. I've been driving for over 33 years driving vehicles made by all 3 of the major US manufacturers and some foreign manufacturers and the only vehicle I've ever had that I got more than 150K miles out of a set of ball joints or tie rod ends on was a '76 Chrysler Cordoba, but unlike many people I don't drive them until the front end is about to fall out from underneath me, I replace them at the very first sign of being loose and since they are lifetime warranty, if I am already doing something that is going to require removing the tie rods or ball joints and they are 100K+ miles I'll go ahead and replace them instead of having to tear it apart again possibly in a few months or a year down the road. The ball joint and tie rod end on the left side of this car was still tight when I changed them, but to me it didn't make sense to replace them on one side, have the front end lined up then 6 months or a year down the road have to change the other side and pay someone $50-$75 for another alignment. You couldn't tell by the handling or by wear on the tires that the ball joint or tie rod was worn out, but they had a small amount of slack in them and would make a knocking noise when you'd hit a small bump in the road.

jonathan150cc 01-20-2010 08:15 AM

I've got some worn out tie rod ends. How hard is it to change them myself?
Does this look worn out to you? It's slightly torn and leaking brown goo. :)

Ford Man 01-20-2010 11:55 AM

Your picture didn't show up, but if the grease boot is torn and grease is coming out of the tie rod end even if the ball isn't worn out yet it soon will be from water, dirt and grime getting to it. Tie rod ends are usually not much trouble to change just a matter of removing the front wheel, putting the car on jack stands, removing the cotter pin, removing the castle nut, knocking the tie rod out of the steering knuckle, loosening the locking nut that holds it in place on the tie rod and screwing it off. Installation is just the reverse. If you need other assistance I'd suggest buying a Haynes or Chilton's repair manual which will give written instructions and picture illustrations. Of the two I personally prefer Chilton's because they are usually more informative and have more specifications listed. After you get them changed you'll need to have the front end aligned. When you take the old ones off count the number of revolutions that they are turned onto the tie rod and put the new ones on the same amount and the front end may be pretty close, but not always.

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