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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 12th, 2012, 9:21 pm Thread Starter
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Front ball joints

Has anyone had experience replacing the front ball joints (upper and/or lower)? Clymers says a special fixture is needed, etc, etc. Is there a simpler way to do this (ideally on the bike)? More than likely, it's wishful thinking on my part.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2012, 7:24 am
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What makes you think they are worn? It is a bit of a pain of a job. I swapped my front shock and that was the first time I had got close to seeing the ball joints. Mine are '97 with 47K and I could feel no play

You do not want to go there unless you definitely have a problem. With my shock removed after much pain,I could not see obstacles to changing the ball joints although BMW have a habit of making close interference fits, sometimes with Loctite and needing heat for removal.



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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2012, 11:52 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
What makes you think they are worn? It is a bit of a pain of a job. I swapped my front shock and that was the first time I had got close to seeing the ball joints. Mine are '97 with 47K and I could feel no play

You do not want to go there unless you definitely have a problem. With my shock removed after much pain,I could not see obstacles to changing the ball joints although BMW have a habit of making close interference fits, sometimes with Loctite and needing heat for removal.
Bike has 98K mi, front end has becoming increasingly loose feeling in spite of new Wilbers (front and rear) and new Hyperpro steering damper. Had the problem before the tire wore out. Comments on other forums indicate that worn ball joints can cause the symptoms I'm having. I can't think of anything else it could be.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2012, 10:29 pm
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Have you put the bike on the centerstand then checked the front end for fore-aft play? Are you getting clicks or clunks when hitting small to medium bumps? I'd think you's want to confirm a diagnosis before ripping into the ball joints. The torque values used are big, and getting things properly aligned can be a pain.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 14th, 2012, 2:09 pm
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Just as GT Rider says.

Who put the new shocks on because they were half way to the ball joints and with the front shock out and no spring load on the ball joints, it should have been easy to tell their condition.



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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 14th, 2012, 3:04 pm
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Top one is easy(ier) to check, did that when I replaced the fork seals. Procedure is to remove or lower the sliders so that means the top plate/ball joint is offloaded.

Bottom one....not so easy with all the weight/shock load on it. I'll see how far I get this winter, I'd like to check all the pivot points including the bearings in the back of the telelever arm.

So I had already read the procedure in the BMW manual a few months back and checked out the "Special tools". Quickly read the one in Clymer today. High torque that's for sure, don't really see a problem with that as long as the holding fixtures are good and no corrosion in them threads. Holding fixtures well....Clymer has ways around buying the BMW special tools. Always good for that the Clymer.

46mm socket, that should be available at any good tool supplier. Then a 21 mm "torque adapter", that's just a socket with a window cut into it.

I may have missed some from the quick read but so far don't see anything that can't be either improvised or bought over the counter. A press??? in case the top bearing has to be replaced?? But to me that's just shop tools that are there already, waiting for some use.

All in all....a seemingly straightforward well explained procedure in the Clymer.


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 17th, 2012, 9:07 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
Just as GT Rider says.

Who put the new shocks on because they were half way to the ball joints and with the front shock out and no spring load on the ball joints, it should have been easy to tell their condition.
Thanks to all for the responses. I put on the shocks but didn't check the ball joints since they were not mentioned anywhere on the forum. I figured if they were a known issue at reasonable mileage it would have popped up somewhere. There is no doubt the shocks needed replacing. Guess I'm just dumb.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 18th, 2012, 12:08 am
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No...not dumb, just making the best decision based on the information available at the time.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 18th, 2012, 10:53 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lljanssen
Thanks to all for the responses. I put on the shocks but didn't check the ball joints since they were not mentioned anywhere on the forum. I figured if they were a known issue at reasonable mileage it would have popped up somewhere. There is no doubt the shocks needed replacing. Guess I'm just dumb.
No worries....I never did the ball joint check when I did the shocks. May have been in a hurry to get them on there and hit the road for most of that summer. I was.....!

My bike had a different problem, quite the opposite of yours and scarier. But only once was enough...! The swivel/balljoint mount at the front of the dampener was seizing up. Found that the hard way when my bike drifted across the line and did not want to come back. Had to force it back and close enough to see the surprised expression on the face of the oncoming driver.

So I check & lube that every year now, been fine for 3-4 years but I think I'll just replace it anyway.It does seem to have stiffened up again a little when I check it, so maybe the small seals are compromised. Hard to see in place.

I'll be checking the lower balljoint next week.Have to just in case I need to add to the parts list and order it. It may be possible to do an acceptable job without offloading/removing the shock altough I'll take it off anyway....getting dirty up there and hard to clean with shock in place. And maybe cleaning them welding pits on the telelever arm and powdercoating that. Bad job on that BMW.......! But I'll try before and after so I'll know for sure.

With shock in place, kind of hard to remove all the movement of the bike as you shake parts. So that makes play at the balljoint hard to see or feel if it is only a little play. I'll strap the bike down with a ratchet strap over the rear end. Easier for me maybe, my shop has a wooden floor so I can anchor the strap.

You are right, not mentioned much anywhere but ball joint problems seem to be cropping up on the later bikes and even at low milleage. May be from the suspension design on them or different balljoint.If I judge from the cutout of a balljoint on the later bikes, not much in there but a ball and a pretty thin nylon (UHMW ??) socket. Don't know....!

For our bikes well......Sailor are you there???? He has the "why"....!

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