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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Upper/Lower Ball Joint Replacement

Hi all,

I'm new to this board and also somewhat new to car repair. I've been decent with plumbing, electrical, dry wall, etc for quite some time, but I never knew how to repair cars. I figured it's time I learned.

The other day my wife took her 2006 Commander in for an oil change and the shop told her she needed a four wheel brake job ($950) and that she needed the upper/lower ball joints replaced on both sides and her passenger outer tie rod replaced ($1200).

Well I did the brake job myself ($150) and now I'm moving on to the other repairs. I found some videos from a YouTube guy named ChrisFix that showed how to replace an outer tie rod (looks pretty easy). He also had videos on the ball joints, but they looked a bit more complicated. His videos were good, but they weren't Jeep Commander specific. I was hoping that someone might have links to a Commander specific video that shows the repair (or maybe a site that has step by step instructions with pics.

Any help you guys could give would be greatly appreciated. I can't stomach spending $1200 for a repair that entails $150 - $200 worth of parts.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 05:15 PM
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If you can rent a decent ball joint press then do the job yourself. I would just replace the entire UCA (upper control arm) myself which is super easy. You just loosen the bottom nut all the way then tighten back up to cover the bottom threads and hit it with a mallet and it should release. Then unbolt the UCA and replace it but remember to put the upper bolt in backwards you'll know what I'm talking about when you do it.

For the lower ball joint see this thread here https://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...ad.php?t=16216


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAL-XK View Post
If you can rent a decent ball joint press then do the job yourself. I would just replace the entire UCA (upper control arm) myself which is super easy. You just loosen the bottom nut all the way then tighten back up to cover the bottom threads and hit it with a mallet and it should release. Then unbolt the UCA and replace it but remember to put the upper bolt in backwards you'll know what I'm talking about when you do it.

For the lower ball joint see this thread here https://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...ad.php?t=16216
I was under the impression that the factory UCA's do NOT have replaceable ball joints and simply replacing the whole UCA was the only option. I would go this route as UCA's aren't terribly expensive. MOOG problem solvers run like $80 and include a replaceable ball joint and greasable socket.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-14-2015, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help! I'll get under there and see what everything looks like. From what you guys are saying, it seems like it might be easier to replace the whole control arm than try to press the ball joint out. As I'm sort-of new to auto-repair, I want to make this as painless as possible.

My fear is that I take the car apart and then can't get it back together. Lol. Any other pics/vids that would be helpful to me would be greatly appreciated.

BTW, were my suspicions correct that $1200 for that repair was quite a high estimate?

EDIT:

I also wanted to get some opinions on brand. I'm aware that some brands are probably better than others, but the price difference seems to be wide and I'm not sure if it's necessarily worth it. The truck is basically a grocery-getter. It gets a decent amount of miles, but they're fairly easy miles. We live in the mid-atlantic, so it's not like it's going through great extremes in weather, and it's kept in a garage.

For the upper control arm I saw prices ranging from $41 - $88. I'm wondering if I'd be okay going with one of the lower priced ones. The brands I saw (in order of price) were

Dorman (two "grades" listed; $41 and $63)
MevTec ($47)
Duralast ($80)
Moog (two "grades" listed; $50 and $88)

I don't know much about this stuff, but I was thinking I should go for the lower-priced Moog. I think the main difference is that the higher priced one has the grease fitting and a castle nut with cotter pin. I think the lower priced one isn't greasable and has a normal nut (which I'd just use lock-tite on).

Last edited by KrouseA; 03-14-2015 at 10:42 AM.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2015, 12:03 AM
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I usually go with the MOOG parts never had an issue with them.


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2015, 08:49 AM
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The bolts for the upper control arm for the passenger can be reached trough the top you just have to move the radiator reservoir out of the way, with me the ball joint would not pop up I had to bang the actual bolt to get it to pop up, also when you are removing the bolts that hold the UCA the spring might be on the way so you need like a pry bar to open them a bit to let the bolt come all the way out, for the driver side I think you are going to need to remove the tire fender and for this you need to drill out the rivets and get new ones to put it back on.

06 Jeep Commander 4.7 QT II wih RC lift, Superchips 3872 and 245/75R17 Thunderer MT Tires

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrouseA View Post
Thanks for the help! I'll get under there and see what everything looks like. From what you guys are saying, it seems like it might be easier to replace the whole control arm than try to press the ball joint out. As I'm sort-of new to auto-repair, I want to make this as painless as possible.

My fear is that I take the car apart and then can't get it back together. Lol. Any other pics/vids that would be helpful to me would be greatly appreciated.

BTW, were my suspicions correct that $1200 for that repair was quite a high estimate?

EDIT:

I also wanted to get some opinions on brand. I'm aware that some brands are probably better than others, but the price difference seems to be wide and I'm not sure if it's necessarily worth it. The truck is basically a grocery-getter. It gets a decent amount of miles, but they're fairly easy miles. We live in the mid-atlantic, so it's not like it's going through great extremes in weather, and it's kept in a garage.

For the upper control arm I saw prices ranging from $41 - $88. I'm wondering if I'd be okay going with one of the lower priced ones. The brands I saw (in order of price) were

Dorman (two "grades" listed; $41 and $63)
MevTec ($47)
Duralast ($80)
Moog (two "grades" listed; $50 and $88)

I don't know much about this stuff, but I was thinking I should go for the lower-priced Moog. I think the main difference is that the higher priced one has the grease fitting and a castle nut with cotter pin. I think the lower priced one isn't greasable and has a normal nut (which I'd just use lock-tite on).
$76 shipped for the Moog "Problem Solver" (greasable)
http://www.amazon.com/Moog-CK620188-Control-Ball-Joint/dp/B00FJW5G80
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2015, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fco27 View Post
The bolts for the upper control arm for the passenger can be reached trough the top you just have to move the radiator reservoir out of the way, with me the ball joint would not pop up I had to bang the actual bolt to get it to pop up, also when you are removing the bolts that hold the UCA the spring might be on the way so you need like a pry bar to open them a bit to let the bolt come all the way out, for the driver side I think you are going to need to remove the tire fender and for this you need to drill out the rivets and get new ones to put it back on.
fco27: By "remove the tire fender and drill out the rivets" are you just talking about the big plastic "shield" behind the tire and those plastic things that attach it to the metal If so I can handle that. I was fearing having to drill out metal and then weld things back in.

Also, does anyone know for sure if the factory upper ball joints are non-replaceable? Since I have to rent a press for the lower ball joints anyway, I'd just as soon do just the ball joints if the UCA is hard to remove.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 06:44 PM
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Pretty sure the upper ball joint on the control arm is not replaceable. And it is not that hard to get the upper control arm out. The lower control arm, well that might be a different story I have not removed that yet.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-01-2015, 11:23 AM
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Yes it is just the plastic rivets if you don't mind drilling them out then you should have no problem just replacing the uca with new ones.

06 Jeep Commander 4.7 QT II wih RC lift, Superchips 3872 and 245/75R17 Thunderer MT Tires

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