March 8

Ball Joint Replacement 2001 Jaguar S Type

Jaguar, Podcast


Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, the big bopper himself, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie Doing very well today.

Mark: So Jaguar S type, a 2001. So a little bit of an older vehicle with a ball joint replacement.
What was going on with this JAG?

Bernie: So this vehicle came to us, the owner also as an older Jaguar than this we do service on and he brought this one to us to do a maintenance service, full inspection. And we found that the left lower ball joint was severely loose, and I'd love to start that off with a video because as they say, a picture's worth a thousand words, video is probably worth even more.

So let's just get right into that. So this is the area you're going to want to be looking at here. I have the camera, I apologize. I was a little less than steady with the camera, but this is the thing that you're going to want to be watching. This is the left lower ball joint, right in this area here. So our technicians basically got the tire and he's just pushing it up and down on the hoist. Let’s play it again so you can get the full view of it. So there should be no play there whatsoever. Just one more time, because I just love finding stuff like this on a car.

Mark: So that's pretty, incredibly worn. Probably a half an inch or more of travel. How does that happen in a part that should have zero like literally zero travel?

Bernie: Yeah, it's just wear and tear. Just old age wear and tear. Nothing that the driver's done. I mean, you can't, I guess you were driving over really rough roads that probably shortens the life of your ball joints, but just generally, that's just normal wear and tear. I mean, this car is almost 20 years old now. Not very high mileage, but still, nonetheless, it's just age.

Mark: So if I were driving the car, would there be anything I would notice?

Bernie: You would probably notice some clunks when you go over bumps, you should notice some clunks or bangs. There might be a slight feel of the steering isn't quite as tight as it should be, but there's a lot of things that can cause that. And usually that happens gradually. So you don't really notice it, but it's entirely possible you may not notice anything.

Mark: And you mentioned already that this probably wasn't because of neglect, but can this happened because of neglect?

Bernie: I mean, the whole idea is to get your car inspected cause you never know how long it's going to be before you know, something like this happens. So the only, the only real neglect I would say is lack of inspection would cause that sort of thing. Other than that, if you routinely inspect the car, you're going to find things like this.

Mark: And when did this car last get inspected?

Bernie: Well, as far as we could tell, he brought a, this car had been serviced by a Jaguar dealership in Vancouver, and he brought the previous invoice, which I believe was about a year ago. And they'd done quite a bit of work on it, inspected the car thoroughly, they'd actually replace the right lower ball joint, the knuckle assembly, the knuckle assemblies with the ball joint bolts into, they replaced that. They replaced the lower control arm plus a number of other items during their service. So this car was inspected a year ago. So this is the kind of thing that, and obviously, if there was wear in this joint, they would have mentioned it at the time. So, clearly, you know and we often recommend an annual inspection on the vehicle. I think, you know, this just reinforces the idea to me just how important that is because you never know what's going to wear in a year.

Mark: So when you replace that, do you just replace a ball joint or other parts required?

Bernie: We, so there's a few ways you can replace it. You can actually buy the lower ball joint, but what we did was replace the ball joint with the knuckle and the knuckle actually attaches this to the upper ball joint. And it's where the wheel bearing bolts attaches and the lower ball joints, unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it. I thought I had, but the knuckles and assembly and the ball joints pressed into it. So it makes sense to do that because sometimes when you press the ball joints out, they don't press it and quite properly. And the last thing you want of course, is a ball joint to come loose from its housing because that defeats the whole purpose of the repairs. So we changed the knuckle along with it. So that's what was required to fix this one properly.

Mark: So the ball joint basically allows the wheel to go up and down, but also turn because it's got many more movements.

Bernie: Exactly. It allows the wheel to, you know when you turn the road wheels back and forth, it allows for that movement. Plus it allows the suspension to move up and down. So there's a lot of movement that takes place in this joint at various angles. And of course, if you hit a bump on a curve, it's moving at a different rate. So it does a lot of work.

Mark: And we're not even talking about the fact that the tires actually cant back and forth based on which corner you're going on as well.

Bernie: They do. And that's all part of the, you know, the way the steering geometry is designed in some vehicles have just one ball joint. Like a MacPherson strut suspension as a lower ball joint, and then the strut, which is the shock absorber all built in, holds the top of the suspension in place. So it's got less complexity, which is why it's popular and a lot of cars and even even high end cars use MacPherson struts. But then a lot of other vehicles you get, they all actually have four ball joints. They'll have two lower ones and two upper ones. And it's interesting when you look at the way the wheels move with those, you know, when you move the wheel back and forth, there's a lot of engineering that goes into the movement of those wheels, you know.
And then again it's for handling and road feel and that kind of thing.

Mark: So if one is bad, you normally replace all of them?

Bernie: No. The thing with suspension work is it's, well, a lot of car work, it's sort of, you have to evaluate how all the parts work together. So for instance, you know, with a ball joint, if one's worn, there's not really any reason that, and the other one's in perfect shape there's not really any reason to change the ball joint on the other side of the vehicle. It doesn’t, the parts are exactly the same dimension, so it doesn't change the geometry. Whereas if you change, say a shock absorber, it's kind of, there's a certain amount of wear that could be occurring in the other side that that won't allow the same cushioning. So you need to change both at the same time. Same with brakes. If you do one, you do both because it is very important that all components are exactly the same, you know for the braking. But for a ball joint, generally speaking, you know if it makes economic sense to change another one at the same time on the same side, for instance, then it's worth doing. But a lot of times, only one joint will wear. A lot of times if one joint where's the one on the other side won't wear for many years afterwards. So it's better just to change them again, you need, it needs to be evaluated as to the type of vehicle. But in the case of this JAG, we just replaced this lower ball joint. We know the right had been replaced a year ago and was tight. The upper ball joints were fine. There was no movement. So no reason to change those either.

Mark: So here's the question, a bit of a wildcard here. Why would I care? Like if this thing's going clunk, clunk and so what's the bad? Why would I care?

Bernie: That's a really good question. So you, why you would care is this, it's like an extreme safety hazard. I'm just gonna put this video, just go back to this video picture here. Behind this tin plate here is your brake rotor and your tires, kinda here out of the picture. So this joint breaks and this one's very close to breaking because the amount of play. This part here will just basically come apart and the wheel will fling out on an angle, flop out and yeah, you basically lose control of your vehicle. So. I've seen ball joints break fortunately almost every time they've surprisingly, they've actually just snapped in a parking lot maneuver. Which kind of sucks cause you have to, you know, get your car towed in but I have had one client who at a ball joint just break while they're driving, and he said it was a horrific experience. You know, if you're driving fast and you're going down a twisty road or on the edge of a cliff, you'll probably go over, you know, it's really dangerous. So this is one part you definitely don't want the break. So that's why you should care.

Mark: Your steering is important.

Bernie: Your steering is important. Absolutely and this is like a super critical part. You know there's some things like control arm bushings for instance. I mean, they wear and they cause clunks but they'll rarely, I can't imagine they ever get to the point of failing where you'd actually lose control of your steering. Whereas, you know, something like this, like a ball joint, this is a critical piece. It has to be in good shape. If you value your life and that of other people.

Mark: And how are S type Jags for reliability?

Bernie: They're pretty good. Let's just get in a couple of other pictures while we're here.

Ball Joint Replacement 2001 Jaguar S Type
Ball Joint Replacement 2001 Jaguar S Type

There's our S type, good shape for an old car. And a picture under the hood. I kind of jokingly call these Ford wires, kind of combining the word Ford and Jaguar because this is, you know, this is when a Ford owned Jaguar and they, you know, to me, I do say the odd bad thing about a Ford, but you know, Ford really made Jaguar much more reliable car. The money they infused into them kind of made them a little more mainstream and much more reliable. But when you look at a lot of these caps here, like for the power steering fluid, it looks the same as you'd find on a Ford. And then its engine is very, although it's interesting, a lot of parts aren't interchangeable, but this engine is very much a Ford V6 motor. This car is also available with a V8 as well, which is actually a pretty cool, nice high performance setup. But generally it's a pretty reliable car. There's are a few things that go wrong, but what we found with this vehicle is just sort of average wear and tear and maintenance and nothing really in particular that's bad about it. So, you know, I like them. They're not super high end, so they're not like an S type so the parts are a little more reasonable than some of the other, the XK models and that kind of thing.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Jaguar in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead because they're hopping busy. Or check out the website The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair over 360-70, I don't know. I've lost count videos on there of all makes and models of cars and types of repairs, and of course, thank you so much for watching and listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching. Always a pleasure.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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