August 1

2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Ball Joint Replacement

Auto Repair, Jeep


Mark: Morning, it’s Mark at Top Local Lead Generation; we’re with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 16 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Jeep Wrangler and some ball joint repairs; what was going on, what did you do on this vehicle?

Bernie: Well this vehicle was brought in for an inspection and a brake vibration and during the inspection we also found that the ball joints all four upper and lower as well as all the tire rod end were all worn excessively and loose so we proceeded to replace them. That’s basically what we did for this service.

Mark: So are front end repairs pretty common on these vehicles?

Bernie: They are actually and they yeah, it seems like every Jeep, this was a 2008 so it’s now a 8 year old vehicle, we’ve seen quite a few of these vehicles recently and they all seem to typically have ball joint issues. Vehicles around this vintage they also seem to have ball joints that are worn out, some of them I think a little on the premature side, we’ve had some that are under a 100,000 kilometers and the ball joints have excessive play as do all the tire rod ends as well so sometimes we don’t need to necessarily always do them all at the same time you know, it could be a pretty big bill so it can be prioritized but it’s always best to, if you’re going to do ball joints do all the ball joints at one time and then you know, do the tie rods at a separate time but if anything’s really, really loose of course it needs to be done, it’s a safety issue.

Mark: So is there, are there lots of other problems that are common to Jeeps?

Bernie: No, overall they seem to be pretty good vehicles, front end issues are common and it seems like it’s, it’s a Chrysler, it’s a Dodge truck type of phenomenon although Jeep is kind of a separate brand it is a Dodge truck made by Dodge and it seems like a any Dodge
F150, F250, sorry I got the wrong brand there; Ram 150, 250’s and 350’s, the tie rod ends and ball joints all tend to wear on those in a pretty high rate to typically, you know under a 100,000 kilometers, like close to a hundred thousand K’s you probably have worn out ball joints and tire ends if you have a Dodge truck as well so it’s, it’s pretty common, I mean other issues on Jeeps they seem to be pretty reliable overall, the engines are good, you don’t find a huge amount of you know, a lot of fluid leak problems so they’re pretty good, they don’t need tune ups very often like any modern car, they seem to run pretty well so front ends are kind of like the biggest thing.

Mark: So I know I’m throwing you a curve here, we’ve talked about the diesel Mercedes 3Litre diesel and I know that Jeep uses that motor and some of the older vehicles, any problem with those?

Bernie: Well I always talk about these 3Litres quite a lot and it’s funny, I kind of for some reason when you were talking Jeeps I guess I‘m thinking more Wrangler style of Jeep and forgetting about the Liberty and which has its own diesel and issues as well as the Grand Cherokee with its diesel and, and I mean like, as far as a Grand Cherokee I mean, it’s like the same as any other Mercedes we have posts on that, I won’t get into that right now but there’s definitely issues with those as well as the Liberties, well there’s a whole book that could be written about those too but I mean other than I’m talking more about the gasoline powered, the more traditional type of Jeep. This one, I’ve got a couple photos to share actually which I almost forgot about here, let’s get a little photo show, so we get the screen share up and going, there we go. So there’s our, these are, this is a sample of the ball joint, the top item is the ball joint that we removed from this vehicle, that’s one of four, there’s upper and lower ball joints and then on the bottom of the pictures is one of the tie rod ends, again there’s four tie rod ends that tend to wear as well. That rubber sort of piece that’s got a crack in it that’s a rubber dust boot and that was actually broken in the removal process but you know, if those are ever broken on the car while it’s in the vehicle those will shorten the life of the joint because water and dirt can get in and wreck the joint but in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean the joint’s bad but these are, this is a sort of view of what the pieces that we replaced. Uh, there’s our Jeep Wrangler, so this is sort of while I wasn’t talking about the diesels and the motors because I had more on my mind to be Wranglers, we’ve had a few of these recently and, and done services so my brains been a little more on the gasoline powered models.

Mark: So those pieces are basically part of the structure that holds the wheel onto the car basically.

Bernie: Yeah, the ball joint basically attaches the steering knuckle which is the piece that moves when you, when you turn the wheel in your car the ball joint allows the actual wheel on the road to pivot back and forth so there’s basically there’s uppers and lowers on this type of suspension so I mean if they break then you’re wheel will basically flop sideways or back and forward. It’s a very serious condition that you know we get the odd car, it’s very odd, very rare and I thank God because it’s, it’s a harsh thing if it ever breaks while you’re driving. The tie rod end that, that’s a longer piece on the bottom of the picture, those link steering together so on this vehicle when you turn your steering wheel it goes down the steering box which is basically a gearbox that attaches to the steering linkage and those tie rod ends all attach to the linkage so if any of those break or if they’re excessively loose like they were in this Jeep you get a lot of wander so you turn the steering wheel and it doesn’t respond as well as it should so that’s why, that’s what’s critical about replacing these parts, now when they get too loose and worn and you know then they can actually break and pop apart and your wheel will point, one of your wheels will be in control and the other one won’t but there’s actually one joint that can break, I shown this Jeep two of them that could break, completely lose control of your steering so you never want that to happen, you don’t want to ever get even close to that kind of place but every once in a while I’ve seen a car on the road where you see a broken tie rod end and the one wheels pointing to the left the other pointing to the right; can’t be a nice scenario when you’re driving that car.

Mark: No. So and a lot of play it’s not, it’s not a feature like it was in the 50’s.

Bernie: No. It’s funny, we have a 58 Impala in our shop, we’re doing some work on and it’s interesting to drive a car that old because and this one is actually in quite nice shape but I mean one of the first thing I noticed was the steering, it’s just all over the road and this vehicles actually in pretty good shape too so it’s just, just kind of the way it was back then, but yeah on a modern car it’s not a feature.

Mark: So Jeeps are pretty popular and a lot of people like them, what do you think about them?

Bernie: I think they’re pretty good but they are, I mean they are certainly have their quirks and when I think about it I think there’s a lot of people who like Jeeps because of the functionality, you know this Wrangler Unlimited it’s kind of a neat vehicle because it gives you that, it’s a four door vehicle with nice comfortable, a lot more comfortable seats but it gives you that sort of ride of a traditional old Jeep and the look so I think it was a smart idea that they’re quite popular and we work on a lot of them. I think more stuff tends to go wrong with Jeeps than your average vehicle, they’re kind of like the I want to call them the British sports car of American cars, they’re not that bad but you know there’s a lot that goes on with them but people seem to like them and so they’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep the car going but, but overall I like the details if that’s the kind of vehicle you like, I mean they’re awesome. People don’t use them off road as much as they could because they’re pretty decent off road.

Mark: Yeah, so if you’re looking for service for your Jeep to make sure that it’s steering properly or if you’ve got any looseness, looseness or play in there that you need checked, you’re in Vancouver give Bernie Pawlik at Pawlik Automotive a call 604-327-7112, they’re busy, you got to book ahead or check out their website, they’ve got years and years of, of these broadcasts on their, tons of information, check it out. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: You’re welcome, thanks Mark.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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