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Stiffer steering after ball joints replacement


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Hello,

I just got my ball joints replaced, the new ones are TRW. The shop also did alignment and everything looks OK on the printout. The car drives straight and feels tight.

However, I am worried that the steering is now noticably stiffer, the wheel just feels heavier than before. A little annoying, since the steering used to be very light and pleasant!

I called the shop and according to them it should loosen up after about 300 miles.

Anyone had the same experience? Should I bring it back to the shop and demand they take a look at it or redo the alignment?

Thanks!

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TRW is a Swiss company and their products are comporable to the original in all aspects. If the steering geometry is now correct, I doubt if the stiffness of the new ball joints would make any difference the effort to steer the car.

Check the tyre pressures, change the power steering fluid and check the tension on the belt, if you have hydraulic power steering.

Chris.

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Thanks! I have checked all the above.

But the issue appeared right after the ball joints were replaced and I noticed it immediately. Could they be over-tightened or something?

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2 minutes ago, note said:

Thanks! I have checked all the above.

But the issue appeared right after the ball joints were replaced and I noticed it immediately. Could they be over-tightened or something?

How bad were the old ball joints?  I replaced mine last year and the steering felt slightly stiffer but in a good way.  I don't think doing them up too tight can affect the way they move as they're on a taper which doesn't go down to the ball.  I would be a tad concerned at being told they will ease up in 300 miles!

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According to the shop they were pretty loose, although I never heard clunking from the front, only a light squeak when going faster over speed bumps. Too bad nobody I know has the same car to compare the steering effort!

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3 hours ago, note said:

According to the shop they were pretty loose, although I never heard clunking from the front, only a light squeak when going faster over speed bumps. Too bad nobody I know has the same car to compare the steering effort!

I would give it a while and see how you feel about it in a couple of weeks.  You may have just got used to driving with worn ball joints. To be honest you really should expect to feel a difference with replacements, especially if the old ones were worn.

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I replaced mine many years ago with OEM Lexus parts, you could move the old swivels around with light finger pressure but the new ones required gripping them between the thumb and finger to get them to move in the socket.

As others have suggested let them “bed in” for a while before investigating further. 

If you still have doubts after here are the OEM ones.

9EDF0E13-C509-4991-BCC5-C74AC3C5B5E9.png

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Posted (edited)

Thanks! If it does not improve, I will try alignment again and eventually OEM parts. By the way, I called a reputable alignment shop and they also told me the new joints needed time to soften.

Edited by note
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I've had this problem before, turned out that the ball joints were faulty/rubbish, get them changed for a different make, this will cure the problem.

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Ps, don't get them from Euro crap parts, cheap rubbish ball joints.

 

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If necessary, I can get a hold of OEM ones. But I'll give these the benefit of the doubt for 500 km or so...The brand is TRW, recommended, delivered and installed by the repair shop. The shop is pretty reputable, too.

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I notice that the garage who fitted the ball joints also done the alignment 🤔

When garage fitted mine and I collected the car, the steering was at 1 o clock which it wasn't before, and when I drove it the steering was really heavy. I then took it to WIM to have the tracking re alignment done, car still felt heavy. So i looked at the facts and decided to take the car to a different local garage who fitted Lucas ball joints instead, the car then felt lighter as it did before 🆒 but the steering was now at 11 0 clock!! So I had to take car back to WIM and get them to do it again! On closer inspection of the ball joints, it appeared that the holes where the bolts go through, were totally out!! This put the steering out and made it feel heavy to drive. So you wouldn't know if you steering was out of line, and by how much, as you never saw/drove the car after they fitted ball joints. Seriously, for what it costs,take the car to a different garage and have them changed for a different make, I bet the steering wheel will be out of line, but the car will drive as it should again. Being fobbed off that it will lighten up is complete dogs 💩

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