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steering knuckle


bearly's Avatar
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NY

05-15-03, 10:31 AM   #1  
steering knuckle

1898 Ford Escort.
I just took the car in to be inspected. Failed as I need ball joints and tires. Had the ball joints replaced. Took it for tires and a wheel alignment, and was told couldn't be done as there was too much play in the ball joint. Took it back to the guy who did the joints, and he tightened it. Went back for the tires and alignment and was told that the joint was loose again. Wet back again to the place that did the joints, and without looking at it, he got real snippy and said nothing is wrong with the joint, that it is the steering knuckle. Don't know if he was just trying to blow me off or what. My question is, that I am going to take it somewhere else, to be checked, but if it is the steering knuckle, is that a big expensive job? Just paid $300 to get them joints fixed (not right apparently), and kinda want to know what price to expect. Thanks!
Tammy

 
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05-15-03, 11:32 AM   #2  
Joe_F
1988, 1989 or 1998? I've yet to see an 1989 Escort. The first Escort was 1981 in the U.S. .

It probably either needs a lower control arm where the ball joint mounts or the knuckle has wear in it and needs to be replaced.

It should have been caught when the balljoints were done. Get it right from someone else and bill the first guy for the second guy's repairs.

 
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05-15-03, 12:21 PM   #3  
Sorry! 1989, not 1898. Probably would have been better off it it was a 1898. I am definitly going after him for the cash. I paid by credit card, I contacted them, and going to disbute the service. Either way then, not a real expensive job??? I need to get it done by the end of the month for the inspection. If that Ball Joint has this play in it, is it dangerous to drive for the next few days?
Thanks for all your help!!!!

 
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05-15-03, 01:32 PM   #4  
Joe_F
It depends on what is wrong. If it needs control arms, not too bad, depending on the cost of parts. A new steering knuckle might be pricey. Might have to get a used one.

Yes it's dangerous. Must be fixed without delay.

 
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05-15-03, 02:47 PM   #5  
Not trying to fan the fire but if the guy told you it needed balljoints and you still have play perhaps he misdiagnosed it in the first place.Meaning you may like to point that out to him as he has inspection laws to follow and he may not want a fine and suspension of his liscense or station.In Pa the state is tough on this.

 
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05-15-03, 03:49 PM   #6  
Oh believe me you are not fanning the fire, its burning real strong. I didn't tell the whole story. When he told me it was the knuckle not the ball joint (without even looking at it). I asked him why he is just being mentioning this now. He had no answer, just said "you want me to tighten it? I can, just keep tightening, and tightening, but it won't help". I said "tighten it then". He got all ticked off and said "I'll tighten it and you and your family can stay away and never come back here". I told him don't bother, and that I'd see him in court. I paid for this service with a credit card and I have already called them in regards to this service, in getting a refund. It's gonna be alot of hastle, but he pushed me too far. I am planning on going further, but I want to see what really is the problem. I have an appointment to take it somewhere else tomorrow. Thanks for the info. I'll let you know what happens. Yes, the inspection laws are pretty tight here in New York too.

 
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05-15-03, 04:26 PM   #7  
darrell McCoy
Joe: I gotta know. I have never seen a worn knuckle. Is this caused by neglect? Does the Ball joint spindle come loose from the taper and "woller" out hole? or tie rod mounting hole? Even many years ago when we did spindle bolts, we replaced bushings and spindle bolts. Never ever saw one worn out. Have replaced them however due to a wheel bearing freezing and spinning on the shaft.

 
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05-15-03, 09:00 PM   #8  
If I remember correctly, the ball joint is an integral part of the lower control arm, and is replaced as an assembly. I have had to replace a few spindles because of the pinch bolt being loose and wallowing out the knuckle hole, rendering it untightenable.
There is no taper-it is "supposed" to be a straight cylindrical hole. Driven with the pinch bolt loose makes it tapered(and unsafe). Overtightening will also cause a pinch bolt to come loose by stretching the metal. Might have been done when suspension was loosened for other work under there(cv boots, trans work,wheel bearing, etc.)

I guess I find it difficult to believe two different places looked at this twice before it was found to be the spindle causing movement and not the ball joint. I would get one more place to look at it to see if it is the spindle that is causing the problem.

As a side note, you probably did need ball joints replaced. They were probably so bad they were masking the spindle problem. Shame on the tech for not checking his work. This era escort kinda ate through ball joint almost as fast as it did the tie rod ends.

If it is the spindle, get it replaced fast, because two things may happen- 1) it will damage the ball joint requiring replaced again or 2) it will snap the ball joint hole on the spindle causing ball joint and spindle seperation and possibly an accident.

We always put in used spindles as the new ones ended up costing a lot of money, may have to go through a few to get a decent one. Advice: put in a new bearing while it is out as they often rust up while sitting and go bad in a few thousand miles.

 
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05-16-03, 06:02 AM   #9  
Joe_F
FP said it well. Exactly right, 1000% on the mark. Well said!

 
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05-16-03, 09:51 AM   #10  
I wanna thank everyone for their input in my problem!!! Sorry about the novel that is to follow!!!

well I took it in for the work to be done, and when they took it apart to see what was wrong this is what they found. It is being fixed at this moment. He got the knuckle from the salvage yard for $65. Didn't want a new one as I am thinking of getting rid of this car anyway.

The knuckle has to be replaced, as it was cracked. Something was mentioned about the spindle, so I don't know if this knuckle thing cracked where it attaches to the spindle or what. He showed it to me, but to me all parts look alike! This guy told me that it was cracked right past where the bolt holds it. He told me that the first mechanic ( the one that kept telling me it was loose, and then the last time without even checking it, told me it was the knuckle), just left it laying in there, and that he most likely seen or did it when he changed the ball joints in the first place. Wasn't something that just happened in a week and said that I was lucky that the whole tire didn't fall off while I was driving it. Apparently this is why the first mechanic was refusing to fix this as he kept telling me nothing was wrong.

The ball joints may have had to been replaced, but why didn't he just say that this part was bad too, so I could have had it fixed. He just kept stringing me along saying it needed to be tightened. Then when I flew off the handle and told him that maybe the joint was defective, and needed to be redone, he deceided to slip and say it was the knuckle. Was that because he knew I had someone else checking it out? MOST LIKELY HE KNEW HE WAS CAUGHT!!

In the previous post it was mentioned that it was surprising that two mechanic over looked it. It was really just the first one who did the work in the first place that was blowing it off. The second guy only was going to do an alignment, when he seen it had play, and had noticed that some work was just done on the joints. He wouldn't know what it was unless he took the time to take the whole thing apart to check it out. I told him not to go into it, as I felt the first one didn't do it right, so he should be the one to correct it. That is why I went back to the first guy a second and third time.

Thankfully this second mechanic found and is repairing the problem correctly.

I am looking forward to getting my inpection done somewhere else, other that the first guy. It upsets me that he told me all I needed were these ball joints and the tires, and if I would have gotten the tires and went back he would have given me the inspection sticker. And then what! The car would have still been unsafe! He acted like he knew it was the knuckle all along, but never once mentioned it to me, and still was gonna pass it. If I find out I need something else for the inspection, his head is gonna be on a silver platter!!

Thanks Again for all your help! or should I say support!!!

 
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05-16-03, 04:22 PM   #11  
Joe_F
Sounds like the only thing loose here is the bolts on the first mechanic's head. LOL.

While everyone makes mistakes, being defiant is no way to keep a customer. LOL. Ball joints don't "loosen" up especially if they were brand new. And if they do, there are other issues going on!

I think you mentioned you were in NYS, you might want to report the first shop to the complaint departmen of the Dept. Of Motor Vehicles who will investigate the problem. You might also contact your local Better Business Bureau about the problem.

Once you have a little more intelligence, I would call the first guy back and state to him what was found by the second guy. If he needs proof, let the two mechanics chat and understand what happened.

Then get back on the phone and ask the first guy what he's going to do for you. After all, he had a chance to correct the problem and was defiant in the process. If he says, "You're beat", then tell him you might have the last laugh in court.

If that fails, your local news station is just waiting to do a "Shame on You" story on a guy like that. LOL.

 
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