Carli upper ball joint won't seat fully - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Carli upper ball joint won't seat fully

Replacing worn out factory ball joints, about 58k miles on the truck (2015 3500). Went with Carli for the warranty & quality of parts - dealer wanted $2k to replace with Mopar joints, so $800 to do my own Carli's was a no brainer! Very happy and very easy install... on three of them.

The driver's side upper ball joint won't sit flush with the surface of the C-arm, no matter what I do. The inboard side sits about 2 sheets of paper (I don't have any measuring feeler guage things) higher than the outboard side. Didn't notice it at first - got everything installed & steering was noticeably weird. On reinspection, found the steering knuckle didn't turn freely on driver's side vs passenger side, and that's when I found that the upper joint wasn't seated fully.

So I removed the ball joint and it feels like the lower portion of the inboard side of the bore is worn - I suspect due to the original joints failing and moving around. Tried reinstalling 4 times to get it to seat properly - the last time I thought I had it, everything was flush, until I loosened the installation tool. Once the clamping force was off, it sort of migrated back up to its current pictured position over the course of 1-2 minutes.

So the question is - how do I get the new ball joint to seat flush? It seems like if I just took a thin shim and used it on the outboard side, I could get it to be straight - but that wouldn't do anything to fix the hollowed out / worn bore, and I'm afraid it would just slop around and start binding my steering again. I could go get a cheap oversized ball joint, I suppose, but I don't want to use only 3/4 of my brand new $800 joints. But I also don't want to drive on this one this way and ruin my Carli warranty.

Thanks for reading - any thoughts would be very helpful!

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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 05:12 PM
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..... it feels like the lower portion of the inboard side of the bore is worn - I suspect due to the original joints failing and moving around.
If your "C" forging is wallowed out, nothing short of a new housing will fix that.

I would remove the joint, weld up the bore in the egged out spot, re-work the shape with a half-round bastard and then re-install the joint. But thats just me.

good luck.

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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If your "C" forging is wallowed out, nothing short of a new housing will fix that.

I would remove the joint, weld up the bore in the egged out spot, re-work the shape with a half-round bastard and then re-install the joint. But thats just me.

good luck.

.
Nothing short of a new housing? Which housing? Ball joint housing? Or do you mean the C bore itself?
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 05:47 PM
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The bore itself, if that is indeed the problem. Getting a pair of calipers and taking some measurements would tell you if it’s out of round and how much

Maybe you could source a new knuckle from a junk yard or online somewhere?
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 06:12 PM
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Maybe you could source a new knuckle from a junk yard or online somewhere?
A new knuckle won't help if the balljoint bore in the "c" forging is egged out.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 06:34 PM
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I see what’s goin on now. I’d start by taking some measurements. Could maybe get a machine shop to weld the bore and machine it out but you’ll probably be buying a new housing.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 07:48 PM
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The upper joint has no load on it. Only acts to locate the steering knuckle. All load is in the lower joint. I have had uppers that slip fits and cause no issues. If it will not go down all the way then something is in the bore or the joint is out of spec. Inwould call Carli and ask them. Take a wire wheel to the inside of the bore or even a brake hone and clean it up real good. Install it with some loctite once it will seat.

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 07:55 PM
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Is the ball joint firm in the bore? Looks as if the outboard side is tight to the housing. Is it possible to file/grind the outboard side of the housing so that the whole unit can drop the required amount? I'll admit I don't know a whole lot about doing ball joints, although I will fairly soon I'm sure.


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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Is the ball joint firm in the bore? Looks as if the outboard side is tight to the housing. Is it possible to file/grind the outboard side of the housing so that the whole unit can drop the required amount? I'll admit I don't know a whole lot about doing ball joints, although I will fairly soon I'm sure.


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The upper ball joint needs to be perfectly aligned with its intended axis so that it will allow the knuckle to turn properly. Especially on Carli and i'm sure others there is so little tolerance in the unit that if it's not 100% on axis, it will bind as it rotates even though it's not carrying any load.

I did try a wire wheel (cone, technically) to it already, prior to the attempts to reinstall it. That did help I think, got it to seat properly at first, but then once the press was removed it came back up again.

I think the idea of welding a bit of a bead in there along the hollowed out portion and then filing/honing it to the needed diameter is going to be the way to go; planning to give that a try tomorrow if no other ideas pop up here.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pfb View Post
The upper ball joint needs to be perfectly aligned with its intended axis so that it will allow the knuckle to turn properly. Especially on Carli and i'm sure others there is so little tolerance in the unit that if it's not 100% on axis, it will bind as it rotates even though it's not carrying any load.



I did try a wire wheel (cone, technically) to it already, prior to the attempts to reinstall it. That did help I think, got it to seat properly at first, but then once the press was removed it came back up again.



I think the idea of welding a bit of a bead in there along the hollowed out portion and then filing/honing it to the needed diameter is going to be the way to go; planning to give that a try tomorrow if no other ideas pop up here.


I was not condoning changing the bore to allow ball joint to rotate into place. Based on your picture, it looks like the ball joint needs to go straight down but can't because the top of the frame on the outboard side is higher than inboard. Or, put another way, the top mating surface is not perpendicular to the bore.


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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 08:39 PM
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Welding cast is not trivial if you have never done it I would not recommend doing it. Needs to be preheated to about 700 degrees prior to welding and then cooled very slowly after welding. Also needs peened after welding to prevent cracks.

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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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I was not condoning changing the bore to allow ball joint to rotate into place. Based on your picture, it looks like the ball joint needs to go straight down but can't because the top of the frame on the outboard side is higher than inboard. Or, put another way, the top mating surface is not perpendicular to the bore.


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Oooooh sorry. You've got a good point, I will double check tomorrow that it's 90 degrees from top surface to bore wall. That will also help verify whether it's really egged out, and where.
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