Wheel bearings and u-joints while doing ball joints - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Question Wheel bearings and u-joints while doing ball joints

My truck doesn't get driven a lot. The last few times I've used it, I've heard a clunking sound coming from the right front area. I'm thinking's it's ball joint time. I'm finally getting around to doing the 3rd gen upgrade on my brakes. I just picked up some 17" wheels. Doing a bit of research has got me thinking. A bit of OCD is kickin in too. I'm wondering if I should do the wheel bearings, u-joints and ball joints while I'm in there. This upgrade is spiraling out of control. Axles and wheel bearings don't seem that hard to pull if I need to do them later. Does it make sense just to do the ball joints and replace the other stuff only when needed?

I know money being no object, replacing now makes the most sense. Budgeting for upgrades is something we all have to do.

When doing ball joints, what have other people done? Do it all, or just whats needed?


Dennis
Original owner 01 Quad Cab Long Bed 4x4 Cummins/Auto

Last edited by 1361; 09-17-2019 at 02:29 PM. Reason: typos
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 12:58 AM
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Makes perfect sense to hold off if they are currently fine, especially since you "don't drive it that much". Budget is always an issue for me and that stuff cones under the heading of "If it ain't broke , don't fix it.". Can you do the conversion without using different hub and bearing assemblies? PS Check the track bar ends for that clunk. Wheel bearing s can be checked by jacking it up and rotating them and rocking them in and out top and bottom for play, wheels still on.

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I ordered my rotors, caliper mounting brackets and a Moog "Problem Solver" track bar last night. I'll try and get a better inspection this weekend. I just figured it was ball joint time with 150k miles. I've never done anything to the front end other than brakes and diff oil change. Which brings me to few more questions. Just after I bought this truck (new), I remember taking it back in for the pulling issue these trucks were plagued with. I could have sworn they put offset ball joints in to try and fix the issue. I see they still sell offset ball joints varying in the degree of offset. If I need them, how do I know what to order? Looking at the hub/wheel bearings kits offered, it asks if I have 2 or 4 wheel anti-lock brakes. Are the anti-lock brakes only on the disc brakes? I have drums in the rear. I'm guessing I need the 2 wheel version. Is this a good assumption? How do I tell?

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 03:26 AM
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The drums are the 2 wheel antilock to start out. 4 wheel antilock was an option on everything but not common. It is defined by the wires and speed sensors in the front hubs. NO wires to them means no 4 wheel antilock. It most likely wasn't 4 wheel antilock. Everybody says buy the expensive name brand bearing and hubs but I have done fine with cheaper ones from Pepboys or Auto extra from Summit.. Summit is good for brake parts. Some come with new studs, some do not. They have price match for all exact match NAME brand and PN parts.
Replacing the rotors on the hubs is the hardest part. Studs must be pressed or pounded out. If pounded out wit h anything other than lead hammer or brass/copper drift pin they are often massed or mushroomed and will strip when nuts are put back on.

Best way to reinstall the studs is to get a 9/16-18 hard high-nut and suck them on with some greased washers and an impact gun. You can pound them in but it is hard to get them all the way in and have the right tools. A press will work too.

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 06:15 PM
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I did everything at one time partly cuz I didn't want to mess with any of it again for a long time and also because I went with a Yukon freespin kit at the same time which required me to change to serviceable wheel bearings and bigger outer axles when installing the kit.

It was a bit of a pain disassembling the old stuff but it was all going in the garbage can so I didn't care about being careful with any of it. I didn't have to worry about removing the old studs. If you are reusing your current bearings you will have to do that like mentioned and be careful not to mushroom the lugs. I just got brand new lugs and pressed them into my new hub with my press...very easy. With the freespin kit the rotor only sees the threaded part of the lug bolt and will come off easily when the lug nuts are removed...like it should be.

The ball joints are a decent pain to replace. Mainly because most ball joints removal tools are strong enough for lesser duty vehicles and ours are pretty massive. The axle u-joints were fairly easy to replace with a hammer, big punch and a block...I wouldn't use a press for this cuz you could bend the yokes. The axles just pop right out...not retained in the differential. Installed new axle seals at the same time. The big axle nut can be a rusty pain to get off. The socket/power steering trick works great for separating the hub and the knuckle. I would use a liberal amount of never-sieze at that connection when reassembling. Nothing too difficult about the track bar.

You can tell if you have 4 wheel anti-lock brakes if you have an wire that goes into the hub. It is clipped along the rubber part of the brake line so it will be easy to see. If you don't have them then no other wire will be clipped to the brake line or make its way down to the hub. I do have the 4 wheel anti-locks.

02 2500 4X4, reg cab shorty, 3.55, Smarty/TST, 75 over 62, 150 inj, 5" exh, 12" lift on 20" 34's, Goerend billet triple disc auto, Yukon hub/bearing kit
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 09:51 PM
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I took the easy way out and pulled the axles then had a shop burn the u-joints out, install the knuckles and punch the ball joints out. There was too much rust for anything I had access to in my shop to work.

Everything went together pretty easily but removal was a bear. Axle seals had been leaking for 60,000 mi or so and those were done at the same time. Buy the proper seal tool that fits the seal if you get into axle seals. You "can" make generic seal installers work but will be doing the job over as part of the learning process.

2000 LWB, Quad Cab, 4x4, NV4500, AirDog, Gauges, Thuren Track Bar, Lost crappy AGR and A1-Cardone steering boxes. RedHead is the best so far but truck has stopped returning to center. Hopefully, I'll get to it soon.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2019, 04:01 PM
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Truck is my DD.
Just hit 400K.
I've done ball joints on both fronts.
Original U-joints and bearings are still fine.
NOTE: I do haul, I don't overload.

2000 4x4 5-speed Quad SLT, FASS 150, ISSPRO FP gauge, else stock
401004 mi, OO, HAM
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