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Author Topic: Restoring Original Ball Joints  (Read 1597 times)
jeff68
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« on: November 17, 2012, 06:46:08 PM »

I posted this over on Team Camaro, but figured I'd post here as well to see if anyone has restored their original ball joints:

My 68 Camaro has the original ball joints.  The car was maintained religiously, so the ball joints are all good.  I was checking things over the other day and saw that one of the uppers has a cracked boot.  For those familiar with original ball joints, I have the following questions:
1)  Is it possible to replace just the boots?
I was thinking about buying a set of 'correct' reproduction ball joints made by Classic Suspension, then carefully removing the boots and installing them on my original ball joints.

2)  Can a new boot be installed on the upper or lower ball joints without removing the ball joint?
On the uppers, it looks like the boot is held in place with a sleeve.  Not sure if I can remove this sleeve without taking the BJ out of the A-arm.
On the lowers, it looks like I could just swap the boots.

So, has anyone done (or attempted) this?
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68 L30 / M20 Convertible
Ash Gold
lynnbilodeau
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2012, 10:30:13 PM »

You can buy just a replacement boot, but it just slips over the ball joint housing.  It does not look factory.  That is what I did.  It has been many years, but I think I looked at replacing just the boot, but seems like it was kind of rolled in the housing, kind of like a lid is rolled on to a tin can.  Not sure anyone does that.
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tmodel66
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2012, 11:08:17 PM »

I replaced mine but I have a '69 so I don't know if they are the same setup. I think I got'em from NAPA. They were Moog anyway.
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Daniel  
'69 SS 350/4 speed  Fathom Green--POP
68Zproject
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2012, 11:21:51 PM »

I searched and couldn't find "classic suspension".  Do you mean classic ind.?
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68Z28
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2012, 01:06:55 AM »

boots from 'energy suspension' (in red or black) were the only ones I was able to find 'boots only'....
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Gary W.  /  69Z28-RS, 72 B 720 cowl console rosewood all tint
69 Corvette convertible, silver/black 350 hp,
60 Corvette white/red, 72 Corvette coupe (2), 
90 ZR1 red/red #246, 90 ZR1 white/gray #2466
72 El Camino, '55 Nomad, '57 Nomad, '57 B/A Sedan
jeff68
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2012, 06:59:11 AM »

Here is a post that I found from a while back.  The pictures lead me to believe that the metal sleeve holding the boot on can be removed (although it probably was never intended to be).

Attached is a picture of the different upper ball joints. The left one is a 28K original (mine), the center one is a NOS 3963842 (ebay), the right one is a SS-195 from Classic Suspension (Chevy). The spot welds are very visible on the NOS compared to the original, but the appearance is correct. The SS-195 has a round or bubble top. The rubber boots are held on with the metal band that is shown on the original part.

Does anyone know where you could buy just the rubber boots?

Mike




"Classic Suspension" is tough to find any info on.  I have an older 2010 catalog from Rick's, an they specify the 'correct' components as being from Classic Suspension.  So, I went to the Classic Headquarters catalog and they state that their correct suspension/steering parts are from Classic Suspension.  I'm thinking CS is basically CHQ stuff. See here:   http://secure.classichq.com/64-74-UPPER-BALL-JOINT-CORRECT-EA--P99.aspx
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68 L30 / M20 Convertible
Ash Gold
RPOZ11
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2012, 05:13:08 PM »

I had some tooling made to replicate the rivets installed.
Did it to my PaceCar ball joints...
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VN Pacecar 396 M20 #'s

X44, CE-427, M20, C BE, 712 50 50
jeff68
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2012, 11:38:36 AM »

Update:

I just spoke to Brian Bair at Bair's Corvettes (www.bairs.com).

They have replacement boots for the original upper ball joints, part number 5093 for $6 each.  Brian advised that they normally remove the ball joint to replace the boot.  He said to carefully remove the ring, then replace the boot & put the ring back on.  Unfortunately, they don't have the ring or boots for the lower ball joints.

I also got a set of the threaded upper ball joint rivets from them, part number 5090C.  Brian advised that these are forged, grade 8 strength, and made in the USA.
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68 L30 / M20 Convertible
Ash Gold
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2012, 06:53:02 AM »

Update:

I just spoke to Brian Bair at Bair's Corvettes (www.bairs.com).

They have replacement boots for the original upper ball joints, part number 5093 for $6 each.  Brian advised that they normally remove the ball joint to replace the boot.  He said to carefully remove the ring, then replace the boot & put the ring back on.  Unfortunately, they don't have the ring or boots for the lower ball joints.

I also got a set of the threaded upper ball joint rivets from them, part number 5090C.  Brian advised that these are forged, grade 8 strength, and made in the USA.

Great info on the boots Jeff! For anyone, Bair's also will rivet in your ball joints for a reasonable amount. They do them for the Corvette gang all the time. You can even take them to Carlisle (they attend many events), drop them off, and just pay postage one way back to you. They did a pair for a friend a few months ago and look great!
Note: on the picture of the three ball joints, there were two different designs so the right one (repro-bubble top) would be a correct type design for earlier cars vs. later (mid year or so) 69's that used the step top type as shown by the low mileage and NOS type ball joint. 68's as far as I know all used the bubble top design.
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jeff68
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2012, 08:35:10 AM »

Follow-up:
I received the boots from Bair's.  They appear to be a fairly generic boot with no grease relief like the originals.  That doesn't really bother me, but they are very thick & stiff, with almost no 'give' at all.  Not sure if they are usable.

If I undertake this job, I'll probably buy the repro ball joints before pulling everything apart.  That way I can choose from the Bair's boots or pirate the boots off the repros.
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68 L30 / M20 Convertible
Ash Gold
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2012, 03:53:00 PM »

Those were my pictures of the ball joints. I boosted the boots from the Classic Suspension ball joints and installed them on my originals. Thought I could find some replacements later, doesn't sound like it.

Mike
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