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Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 09:07:07 +0000
From: Grunff <grunffnopsam.com>
Subject: Re: ball joint help


stgrimesnopsamlid.domain wrote: > Hi Folks, > > I have a '87 900S and the steering is getting pretty squirelly. Over > bumps, around corners, and during quick changes of speed is when it feels > loose in the steering. I am assuming this is a problem with the ball > joints. The car has been in this condition since I bought it in August. > Surprisingly, the shop I took it from was supposed to fix this, but the > steering actually felt looser after they did the repair (is that > possible?). On my first Saab (an '86 900) I had essentially the same > problem. Is this something an amateur DIY'er can work on? If so, can > anyone point me to a resource? > > I bought this car for $1000. I recently discovered that all four calipers > are rusted, and quickly the repairs are adding up. The main things that can cause the symptoms you describe are: Play in the steering Play in the front suspension Play in wheel bearing(s) Wheels out of alignment The last one is easy to check - take it to a shop and ask them to check it - usually free. Play in the steering and in wheel bearings - follow Dexter's instructions. In order to check the ball joints for play, they *must* be unloaded. I'm always amazed at the number of places that don't know/do this. Here's how to do it. Jack up the front of the car. Use a second jack under the lower A frame to raise it, thereby compressing the spring. When you've raised it enough, insert two spacers between the bottom of the upper A frame and the top of the inner wheel arch, so that when you remove jack no. 2 the A frame remains raised. I usually use a pair of 22mm deep impact sockets, but you can improvise - just make sure that whatever it is is really strong. Once you've done this, grab the hub carrier (the bit with the ball joints connected to it) and try to move it. Feel for play. No play is acceptable. My advice is if these are the original ball joints, replace them all, and the track rod ends. It'll take you maybe half a day, and cost 100 ($150) in part, but will make a *huge* difference to the car. -- Grunff

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