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Discussion Starter #1
Anybody ever replaced their ball joints in there firebird? I have some bad ones in my car and I really don't have the money to fix right now so I'm trying not to drive it as much until I can fix them. Should I really take it as easy as I am or is it not as big of a deal as a lot of people say? It does rumble when I'm driving, not a whole lot, steering wheel has minimal to no shaking but it does shake.
 

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The "Senior" Member
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I'm more inclined to think the rumbling is from worn hubs, and the shaking is from an out of balance wheel / tire.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
I'm more inclined to think the rumbling is from worn hubs, and the shaking is from an out of balance wheel / tire.
I've looked into both wheel bearings and ball joints and I've come to the conclusion that it's probably ball joints. Steering wheel tends to shake a bit with bad ball joints.
 

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Jack the car up so that the tires are about an inch off the ground...place a tire iron under the tire and gently lift up...do you feel the tire move before then suspension starts to resist?

Next, grasp the tire and move it side to side...any clicking noises?

Theses tests aren't absolutely definitive but usually will tell if you have a bad ball joint and should be followed up by a visual inspection...

Oh, and the steering usually shakes from bad tie rods or out of round tires...ball joint usually leave the car drifting all over the road and excessive tire wear from bad camber...
 

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The "Senior" Member
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I've looked into both wheel bearings and ball joints and I've come to the conclusion that it's probably ball joints. Steering wheel tends to shake a bit with bad ball joints.
Find a not busy street and drive about 30 mph.
Listen for the rumble and turn the steering wheel side to side.
If the rumble changes with direction changes, it is the hubs.
Mine failed and were noisy as all get out.
When removed they were still just as tight as the new ones.
I changed them myself.
Could not believe how much noise the old ones had been making.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Jack the car up so that the tires are about an inch off the ground...place a tire iron under the tire and gently lift up...do you feel the tire move before then suspension starts to resist?

Next, grasp the tire and move it side to side...any clicking noises?

Theses tests aren't absolutely definitive but usually will tell if you have a bad ball joint and should be followed up by a visual inspection...

Oh, and the steering usually shakes from bad tie rods or out of round tires...ball joint usually leave the car drifting all over the road and excessive tire wear from bad camber...
I'll have to try that, it's storming out here where I live for the next few days so I can't right now but I've read up about it a bit. My sound is more of a rumbling sound that gets faster/louder as I accelerate. Do ball joints make a rumbling sound?
 

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The "Senior" Member
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I'll have to try that, it's storming out here where I live for the next few days so I can't right now but I've read up about it a bit. My sound is more of a rumbling sound that gets faster/louder as I accelerate. Do ball joints make a rumbling sound?
No, wheel bearings AKA wheel hubs make a rumbling sound that changes with speed.
However, so will cupped / feathered tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No, wheel bearings AKA wheel hubs make a rumbling sound that changes with speed.
However, so will cupped / feathered tires.
I am beginning to think you are right NavyVet. I initially thought it was wheel bearings but when I talked to my father about it (retired mechanic) he said ball joints. So I just went with that. Well, ball joints would run me $110 and two new wheel bearings are $26 haha
 

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I am beginning to think you are right NavyVet. I initially thought it was wheel bearings but when I talked to my father about it (retired mechanic) he said ball joints. So I just went with that. Well, ball joints would run me $110 and two new wheel bearings are $26 haha
The ones went on my Caddy...loud rumbly noise, almost like a bad brake pad against a rotor...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Okay guys jacked the car up. I have play at 12 and 6 o'clock but pushing and pulling and 9 and 3 no play at all. Any idea? The play is minimal, not even a half inch but the noise while I'm driving is very loud, very strong. Especially when I turn to the right. And idea?
 

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Okay guys jacked the car up. I have play at 12 and 6 o'clock but pushing and pulling and 9 and 3 no play at all. Any idea? The play is minimal, not even a half inch but the noise while I'm driving is very loud, very strong. Especially when I turn to the right. And idea?
Spin the wheel while it is jacked up...any noise?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Spin the wheel while it is jacked up...any noise?
Scraping noise, like dirt but only in some areas. At first I thought the brake pad might have been slightly touching the rotor but it wasn't. The sound is like you put sand in your hands and rubbed your hands together continuously.
 

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Scraping noise, like dirt but only in some areas. At first I thought the brake pad might have been slightly touching the rotor but it wasn't. The sound is like you put sand in your hands and rubbed your hands together continuously.
Bearings...
 

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I think so to but my dad is dead set on making me change the ball joints so I guess I'll replace both bearings and ball joints. It all has over 100,000 miles on it so.
You won't be replacing just the bearings. It's all 1 piece, hub and bearings. It's all 1 unit.
 

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Yeah, the front wheel bearings are all 1 piece with the ABS sensor and wheel hub assembly. You can't just replace the front bearings alone. If someone says you can buy just front bearings (especially at $25) they are mistaken and are probably looking at a part number for rear axle bearings.
 

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I think so to but my dad is dead set on making me change the ball joints so I guess I'll replace both bearings and ball joints. It all has over 100,000 miles on it so.
Like the other's mentioned, the hubs are not cheap...the other thing is that there are two sets of ball joints on these cars, one upper control arm and a lower control arm...
 
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