Effective, Real world, Race & Street Proven Parts & Accessories

These are some forensic photos of an OEM style ball joint removed from a car. While they were only removed to install the new R/T Super Joints, prior to this the owner did not foresee any reason why to remove them otherwise. However, once they were removed judging from their stiffness, the owner could not imagine how they could even function as they were. The ball joint and it was essentially "frozen" stiff. You could not move it by hand. You could barely nudge it a fraction of an inch with a hammer in a vice. And you could not twist it.

One thought was it may have rusted from sitting all winter. Another theory was that something ground up inside, perhaps a piece broke and wedged inside, or something catastrophic must have occurred to explain the reason why it was no longer satisfactorily operable. What we discovered, was something no one could have ever envisioned in a million years.

We c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y sawed the hardened joint body in half to section it and see what was going on inside. This was evidence was  preserved with a meticulous process. What was found inside, was shocking. There was
NOTHING wrong with the joint. It was not rusted. It was not ground up. It was not wedged with a broken component. Nothing! It was fully greased and not even WORN much. While some might have wondered why it didn't work... after this forensic study, one can not figure out how it ever could have worked in the first place. Keep in mind, this is a typical ball joint that most daily drivers have in them on the road today. The ball joints below were not polished, wire brushed or chemically cleaned. Just the grease was wiped off, that's it.

The problem was, the common design of the OEM ball joints are just not CAPABLE of the smooth movement you EXPECT, and what these lightweight cars NEED.

The OEM style ball joint's design uses an imprecise half-ball with many grooves milled in it which dramatically reduces the load bearing wear surface area.

This half-ball DOES NOT ride on a hardened bearing surface, but rather just against the housing wall itself. The surfaces are not polished, they are not machined and they are not smooth other than from the normal metal to metal wear.

As the ball joint's stud articulates to either side, the paritally spherical outer surface of the half-ball that contacts with housing's inner surface is reduced as it moves further and further, thus increasing resistance.

At the full limit of angle, the one side of the half-ball has less than 10% of the contact surface remaining and "digs in" to it.

The stud and the half-ball are not one piece. The half-ball is slipped over the stud. When you turn the steering wheel, either the ball will move with the stud, or the stud will rotate inside the ball even though the ball may not even move. Also, the ball does not fit tightly over the stud shaft. All this results in jerky or stiff steering.

The bottom of the stud is not a smooth, or even machined surface. It mates to a press-formed cup in which it just slides across as the stud moves. This creates more resistance & is increased even more by the extreme spring pressure underneath.

The angle of taper in the top of the housing that the half-ball rides on is not very significant, so the half-ball essentially "wedges" itself into the housing's wear surface as it is pulled upwards.

There is a stiff coil spring at the bottom that forces the entire half-ball assembly up into the housing. This pressure only exacerbates the already undesirable situation.

The coil spring is intended to remove any perceptional play as the half-ball or housing wears so that there is minimal "rattle". This false sense of security makes the ball joint "appear" to be still "ok" while the a two soft metal surfaces are wearing on each other & by design, you won't even know it until it's too late.

The relatively thin housing can eventually wear away, or split open at the top letting the ball escape, potentially loosing the entire wheel assembly.