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We were real lucky recently...

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  • We were real lucky recently...

    Earlier this week while visiting local wineries with my wife driving her '59 TBird convertible, I noticed some new noises from the front end. I could not find anything obvious so my friend and I were going to take it for a drive today to try to figure it out. While backing out of the shop, the car's right front suspension crashed to the concrete. Upon inspection we found that the ball joint castle nut had come off the ball joint shaft allowing the lower 'A' arm to disconnect and slam into the concrete. (Fortunately, it didn't happen when my wife and I were on the freeway.) After looking at the parts more closely it appears that the bore diameter of the castle nut was too wide so the threads in it were "flat-topped" and did not have a "sharp" edge like threads should have. The consequence was that the nut eventually lost it's grip on the ball joint shaft, sheared the cotter pin off, and fell off allowing the lower 'A' arm to disconnect from the suspension. Crash! Information from my log, indicates the part (C1AZ-3050) was purchased from eBay for about $50. Both after-market lower ball joints were purchased at the same time so we removed the castle nut from the lower ball joint on the left front of the car. That castle nut also had the same "flat top" threads that the other nut had. Threads of the shaft appeared OK, but the after market castle nuts are of poor quality. I am attaching a picture of the failed nut (on right), the other nut from the left side (middle), and an OEM castle nut from an original ball joint (left). One can clearly see the stripped threads in the failed nut, the 'flat-top' treads in the nut from the left side (both ball joints purchased from a single vendor at the same time), and the OEM castle nut with sharp, full threads. The lesson here is that one should carefully inspect the threads of castle nuts that come with after-market ball joints. And I am not telling my wife about this one!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Wow - - going to take a look at mine before my next trip.

    Mine probably would have failed by now and no strange noises lately but worth a look.

    Thanks for passing along the info and as you mentioned - glad it happened in the driveway rather than the freeway and all are OK!

    Eric

    Comment


    • #3
      It's scary to think how many of us are forced to drive our classic cars with sub-standard parts because that's all that is available. It's a good lesson for all of us to check our suspension parts every so often before it's too late.

      John
      John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

      Thunderbird Registry #36223
      jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

      http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

      Comment


      • #4
        This makes a good case for buying 'name brand' products. I notice, your OEM nut has more threads as well which is why it is taller.

        Always give your parts a good visual inspection before assembly. If you find something you don't like, stop. - Dave
        My latest project:
        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
        --Lee Iacocca

        Comment


        • #5
          Unfortunately there are no "name brand" lower ball joints available for our Squarebirds unless they are new old stock which are rare. We have no idea where the new parts are made or what their quality standards are.

          John
          John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

          Thunderbird Registry #36223
          jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

          http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

          Comment


          • #6
            I totally understand the quality of inferior parts, but I question why the threads would strip out unless there is a lot of pressure or tension put on threads. If any of you changed a lower a lower ball joint, it is pretty difficult to get the ball joint to release from the taper in the fit. It would make me question if the ball joint was properly torqued in the taper fit. Just saying, should we condemn the part or the installation?
            Nyles

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tbird1044 View Post
              I totally understand the quality of inferior parts, but I question why the threads would strip out unless there is a lot of pressure or tension put on threads. If any of you changed a lower a lower ball joint, it is pretty difficult to get the ball joint to release from the taper in the fit. It would make me question if the ball joint was properly torqued in the taper fit. Just saying, should we condemn the part or the installation?
              Nyles
              Sorta sums up my line of thought too.
              In my experience those tapered fittings are a bear to get out of the hole.
              A Thunderbirder from the Land of the Long White Cloud.

              Comment


              • #8
                Good point, Nyles. We don't know if his replacement joint had a stud with the correct taper or how it was torqued. All we see is a nut with less than 75% thread depth.

                Come to think of it, I've never seen a ball joint cut loose on its own. I'm sure there's more to this story. - Dave
                My latest project:
                CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                --Lee Iacocca

                Comment


                • #9
                  Supposedly lisc'd by Ford @ least.............

                  https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/1958-195...-/152318337850
                  59-430-HT

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by OX1 View Post
                    Supposedly lisc'd by Ford @ least...
                    I'm not so sure about that. Ford never made their ball joints. They bought them from MOOG, TRW, Federal Mogul, etc. What brand is this? I don't see the box. A licensed part should have a Ford oval stamped into the sheet metal. I don't see one.

                    I notice this ball joint's 'clam shells' are tack welded together. That's also a new one on me.

                    I realize these parts are hard to find in any brand because all of our factories moved to the Orient but this offering is still caveat emptor so be cautious. I am mildly optimistic that manufacturing will come back home but it will take a while. - Dave
                    My latest project:
                    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                    --Lee Iacocca

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dave:
                      In the one picture that somewhat shows the heads on the bolts, it sure doesn't look like a grade 8 bolt, unless there are different international markings. I'm pretty sure grade 8 is recommended in this application.
                      Nyles

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tbird1044 View Post
                        Dave:
                        In the one picture that somewhat shows the heads on the bolts, it sure doesn't look like a grade 8 bolt, unless there are different international markings. I'm pretty sure grade 8 is recommended in this application.
                        Nyles
                        You're so right, Nyles. The closer I look at this product the more I dislike it.

                        Check out the next three pictures. Metric bolts must have a hardness number on the head (like 8.8 or 10). SAE bolts must have hash marks. I see something that looks like hashmarks but I cannot count 6, which would designate a grade-8 bolt. These are NOT grade-8. When I first looked at these bolts I didn't pay much attention for three reasons: They appear too long to me. Look at the recess where the bolt goes through the ball joint (in the bottom picture next to the dome). Either a bolt head or a nut nestles in there with no room for a tool. I keep a supply of socket-head cap screws which ARE grade-8. That's the only screw I would use on my ball joints. Most of the replacement ball joints came with socket head screws. Another problem is, that undercut just before the threads start. That is the weakest part of these bolts. Rolled threads don't have that. In fact, when the dies roll threads, the bolt's shank (or shoulder) ends up being smaller in diameter because rolling threads raises the major diameter of the threads much like knurling.

                        The second picture shows the thread depth of the ball joint's stud. To me, those threads are mighty scant. Add that to scant threads on a nut and we have the cause and affect of this thread.

                        The last picture shows two tack welds to hold the shells together. There may be three welds (one hidden at the bottom) but I've never seen welded ball joints. - Dave
                        Attached Files
                        My latest project:
                        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                        --Lee Iacocca

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We were real lucky recently...

                          I need to reply to this discussion. The ball joint discussed by Dave D. and Nyles is not the one I used. While I did identify the part number and approximate cost of the ball joint purchased off eBay, I intentionally did not speculate about the vendor as I have been unable to find the purchase document. I have attached a picture of the ball joint I used. It is not welded and does use grade 8 bolts. I am confident that the ball joint installation was correct and torque specs were followed. The ball joint remained securely bolted in place, it was the castle nut that failed. In my opinion, the bore of the castle nut was over-size which resulted in poor and inadequate threads. Until this incident, I never fully appreciated the critical job that single castle nut does to maintain the integrity of the front suspension. I am sure that driving and road impacts to the front suspension and the downward force of that large spring on the A arm are enough to strip a poorly manufactured castle nut from the ball joint stud. This incident got my attention. For sure I will pay a lot more attention to the lower ball joints in the future.
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This company talks a good game and appears to be neither of the one's shown previously in this thread.

                            Google this (PN does not directly come up on their site).

                            rareparts.com RP10112

                            Still has what looks like a shorter nut. IIRC, I noticed this and
                            ended up using the stock castle nut. But I'm going to check to see next time she's up on ther lift.

                            https://www.vintageautogarage.com/Fo...-p/rp10112.htm



                            As for bolts. I rarely use the supplied bolts on parts that are "really important" no matter
                            what they are rated. I buy quality bolts through McMaster or Fastenal. Funny that
                            the bolts with this joint have no markings either.
                            59-430-HT

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Unfortunately, this is another instance where due to product being produced overseas by individuals with no concern for the quality or repercussions due to a marketing strategy of: "make-it-cheap, stupid-Americans-only-buy-cheap", the product proves substandard; and we actually have only ourselves to blame, because obviously as evidence of their success, it is apparently true!

                              Note that when fasteners our produced in bulk for a contract order, they may not necessarily exhibit the anticipated "hash" marks or other typical nomenclature for a number of reasons. This is why if one had confidence in the product, it would be advised to always use the provided fasteners as proper engineering concerns would (should) have been addressed. But if one witnesses standard hardware store grade fasteners as provided for attachment, perhaps one may want to review the installation requirements.

                              As far as the "knee-jerk" reaction to just use the grade-8 fastener (particularly hardware/box store, plated examples) or some other thought to be super-high-grade unit in all instances, as a "safe bet", this may be ill advised, for too many reasons to cover in this thread, but with some research on the specific application on ones' own may prove it's worth.

                              Scott.

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