Oversized or Regular Ball Joints?
If you know you haven't changed the ball joints out before, you will be just fine with the Regular Size. If you have changed them out before, but don't know which ones to order, here are a few tips.
First off... what is an Oversized Ball Joint?
It's simply a ball joint body with a large outer diameter measurement than factory made for the specific purpose of fitting in a hole that has been enlarged. It is not a heavy duty ball joint and nothing else other than the outer diameter is bigger.
The need for over sized ball joints comes only from :
1) Someone prior to you changed the ball joints and unknowingly installed over sized joints because that's what they were sold. They then struggled to press them into the axle and stretched the holes out.
2) Same as number one but a shop did it
3) Someone "usually an apprentice or DIY guy" decided to clean the hole with a flap wheel or some other abrasive and they hogged the hole out. (This is what oversized ball joints were meant to fix)
4) Someone, either a mechanic or DIY guy, pressed the ball joint in crooked with the press and just cranked it in rather than relieving it occasionally with a hammer (many mechanics seem to not like the hammer on clamp method) and chewed the side of the hole out with the ball joint body.
All reasons are because someone somewhere made a mistake. It's not because you wore the ball joints out really bad or because they've been changed a lot. However, if they have been changed a lot by someone incorrectly, then the holes can enlarge. Nothing is concrete. This is where it becomes hard to tell what you need. It's easy if the trucks never been touched.
Now for some signs of how to tell what you might need:
- The easiest is obviously taking the old ball joints out and measuring them. If they came out easy, measure inside the hole in 4 places, then divide by 4 to get the average size. In the Ball Joint Descriptions on the website, there are sizes listed so you can compare to see which ones you may need. Of course, that will require some down time. If you can afford the downtime, this is the best option... but if you can't there may be a couple ways to see without taking the truck apart.
- Take a look at the lower ball joint and see if there's a part number stamped into it. For example, if it says K7467 (Moog's number for 03-13 lowers) then you should choose the oversized. You may see another company part number stamped into it as well. You can always look up that brand and see if they have measurements that you can compare to ours.
- Not all knurled ball joints are oversized. Some are standard sized and some are oversized. It's not a good way to identify. Knurling is simply a technique used by some manufacturers to make a random outer diameter without having to maintain a precise sizing, meaning they can fib a bit here and there and it will still press into the hole easy. The knurling flattens out when installed on cheap joints. On better quality joints they dig into the knuckle.
- Oversized ball joints are a specialty item and should be marked to easily identify. They unfortunately aren't. We machine a ring around our housing to mark ours. I've noticed Moog has similar lines now. Their older ones did not. It would be nice if other companies would do the same so this wouldn't be such an issue.
Have a hole that is beyond the size of the oversized? We can custom machine one for you... we call these the "Fat Boys". For this you will need 4 measurements inside the hole of the knuckle and then divide by 4 to get the average. WE WILL NOT MAKE A CUSTOM JOINT WITHOUT PROPER MEASUREMENTS. You need to know what they are so you can get a ball joint that will fit properly. Just guessing can result in a housing being too large or too small and a waste of your time and money because they aren't returnable. Give us a call if you need a Fat Boy and we will be happy to help.