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Ball Joints vs Wheel Bearings

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  • Ball Joints vs Wheel Bearings

    How does one tell if they have worn ball joints vs worn wheel bearings? I've got maybe 1/4" of play when grasping the top and bottom of my front wheels. Hard to tell how much when grasping the sides as it seems to just move the steering tie rod.

    The thing that lead me to jack it up and check the play was one of the tires has started rubbing the front of the fender right behind the bumper. It seems to do it loudest when I'm coasting in gear.

    Last edited by 4BritishEyesOnly; 11-13-2010, 01:18 PM.
    British eyes... only

  • #2
    If you have help, have the help step on the brakes when you do the wiggle test. If the wiggle goes away, it's the wheel bearing. If not, then ball joints.
    If you don't have help, you should be able to watch ball joints when you are doing the test. You'll be able to tell if you have play in them. No play, then wheel bearing. If play, could be just ball joints or it could be ball joints AND wheel bearings. With practice, one can feel wheel bearings gone bad.

    The other issue is a separate problem very unlikely related to a wheel bearing or ball joint issue. Wheels too darn big! Bent tie rod. Car sitting too low. Way too much positive caster dialed in. Etc.
    The more I know about Minis, the more I know I don't know about Minis.