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Down Deep

2003 Ford F-250 Super Duty - Ball Joints

Question

Down Deep

I have an 2003 F-250 Super Duty with 50K. I use it to drive to work, haul my 2000# boat and I put an 8 ft camper on it for a couple of weeks each year. It developed a loud squeak when I cranked the wheel to the right. I had a shop check it today and they diagnosed a bad ball joint. They told me that Ford uses a sealed teflon joint and they see it all the time. Is this as common a problem for Fords as the shop tells me?

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anyfishwilldo

I have worked on 4wd trucks for ~20 years and the fords have always been the worst on ball joints. They got somewhat better when they scrapped that stupid twin I beam front suspension, but still gobble them up.

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Jeremy airjer W

Yup! Its either the ball joint or the tie rod ends. The whole Ford line suffers from this issue at some point or another. The cars and minivans seem to be tie rod ends more often. The trucks, SUV's, and full size cars seen to be ball joint related most of the time.

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ScoutII

This might not be the problem, but has anyone even mention the Left Front wheel bearing? Which ball joint did they say was bad? If it is the left ball joint they want to replace, it could be the left wheel bearing has backed off it's retainer nut, allowing rotor to ride on the fixed position brake pad causing the squeak.

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IFallsRon

The factory sealed ball joints on my Silverado didn't last six months.

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Jeremy airjer W

 Originally Posted By: ScoutII
This might not be the problem, but has anyone even mention the Left Front wheel bearing? Which ball joint did they say was bad? If it is the left ball joint they want to replace, it could be the left wheel bearing has backed off it's retainer nut, allowing rotor to ride on the fixed position brake pad causing the squeak.

This noise happens when you turn the steering wheel back and forth when your stopped or moving. The noise is only heard while the steering wheel is in motion.

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Scott K

Yes this is a comon thing, but to be fair, all full sized trucks have the same issues, whether it be Ford, Chevy, or Dodge! I can say replacing ball joints in trucks have paid many of my house payments!

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CAJ

When I worked for Power Co. We ran a lot of Fords, and we had a lot of problems with the steering linkage joints. It was hard to keep them on the roads with the loose joints. Good truck , but bad steering. CAJ

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deadeye

At my parts store we stock 3 sets of ball joints for those big fords. The replacement Moog ones are greasable so they will last 10 times longer if they are greased regularly.

It is a very common problem with those trucks. After the plowing season is over we get quite a rush on the ford ones.

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Shack

I also would agree that ¾ ton on up trucks see their fair share of ball joints. More so with diesel models. Plow time is Ball joint season. It just comes down to a truck is a truck. These items are going to wear out in our MN driving conditions. Some items earlier then others items. I always got a kick when customers would blow off the handle about front end parts, when they have a plow mount or 10,000lb’s of rigging on the truck. I know this is off topic, but another thing that I got a kick out of over the years when I was service advising, was the 1 ton diesel crew cab fully loaded truck guys, that would come in and complain about fuel economy. Unfortunately 9 times out of 10, you could not do anything for them and had to remind them “sir, you purchased a 1 ton diesel crew cab fully loaded” grin.gif

I have heard some people having luck with drilling, tapping a hole (tapping depends on what grease zerk is used) and install a grease zerk on factory ball joints, tie-rod ends and other steering components. I did this on a noisy tie rod end that was nice and tight. The noise went away. If you catch a noisy ball joint right away and it is not loose, this could be an inexpensive correction. Most likely one or a couple ball joints are loose.

Do you have any tire wear issues? Any binding/jerking where the steering wheel is turn?

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311Hemi

 Originally Posted By: shackbash
Do you have any tire wear issues? Any binding/jerking where the steering wheel is turn?

Would binding lean towards ball joint issues?

I am pretty sure I need to replace mine as well in my 2003 Dodge 2500 diesel. I can turn the steering wheel nice and easy for probably 270* (turning right in place, not moving), and then it gets really hard to turn like it is blinding or something. My steering seems fairly sloppy also...and I have some outside wear on the front right tire...although I have not rotated in a long time. I am running 35" AT tires so I know that probably wears the front end more than normal.

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Shack

It could be ball joints or steering gear(and or adjustment).

I would have it checked out A.S.A.P.

Good luck.

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Macgyver55

Could be a u-joint is starting to seize up on one or the other (or both) front axles. They dont have to move much just going down the road, but when you turn sharp they have to move quite a bit. I think Dodge still uses them rather than CV axles don't they? I know I've done plenty of them on some of the older ones. Anyway its worth a look.

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311Hemi

They still use u-joints. Had one (front left) replaced last year....didn't get to the right yet as it didn't look bad by the mechanic. That was a year ago.

Where do I find the steering gear, is that in the steering box?

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Macgyver55

 Quote:
didn't get to the right yet as it didn't look bad by the mechanic.
You cant always tell with just a visual inspection, especially when they are just starting to seize up. Once they wear to the point of loosening up its a lot easier to tell.

 Originally Posted By: 311Hemi
Where do I find the steering gear, is that in the steering box?

They are one in the same. Different guys call them different names!

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Shack

Macgyver55 brings up a good point. It could be the right side binding up. I would jack up and look for rust starting to come out of cap seals and check to see if it is loose. At the same time, you can check for play in the ball joints.

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311Hemi

If I found the wheel to move a little, would that be ball joints or could it be wheel bearing....or both.

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Macgyver55

Unfortunately it could be either. You have to look closely to see exactly where the movement is. Its easier if you have someone else move it while you watch.

If just the wheel moves and not the knuckle, then its the wheel bearing. If the whole knuckle moves then its a ball joint. Then you need to see if it is the upper or the lower or both. There are lots of moving parts in a front end so its a bit tough if you are not familiar with just what to look for.

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Down Deep

 Originally Posted By: 4wanderingeyes
Yes this is a comon thing, but to be fair, all full sized trucks have the same issues, whether it be Ford, Chevy, or Dodge! I can say replacing ball joints in trucks have paid many of my house payments!

Thank you for all the advice. I had the truck checked by a mechanic I know. He came up with the same diagnosis. He is going to replace the ball joints tomorrow. I think his house payment must be due as well.

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Valv

I just wanted to chime in to say to anybody if they never replaced the ball joints on 3/4to and up trucks, don't be scared of cost.

I tip my hat to the guys that do it as profession, I changed my Dodge's last month and was a job I DON NOT want to do again.

If you don't know what a real pain in the... is, try to replace the ball joints yourself, you'll find out quickly \:o

SO, don't go get upset if a job comes up $ 800 or more, they might make some people house payments, but it's earned hard.

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