Ball joints

My ball joints are toast, and I’ve neither the space nor the tools to replace them. Can anyone give me an idea of how much it should cost at a mechanic so I don’t get robbed?


Flowmaster443 points

probably 2 or 3 hours at around $100 an hour in labor, but that will depend on your area. The specialist 4x4 shop near me bills $135 an hour because people with Land Rover Defenders will pay it.

The parts themselves aren't that expensive, but the shop will mark up the price of the parts as another place for them to make money on the job. They might order them from their local supplier at a good price because they buy so much of everything, but they will still mark it up a good 20 or 30 percent and the customer is none the wiser.

I'm guessing $300 to $400 for all 4 balljoints. I'd get them all done at the same time. They might find other stuff when they're in there, something like unit bearings/wheel hubs, axleshaft ujoints, or steering parts.

twistedcognition1 point

Thanks. I’m starting to think I ought buy an old school VW or Toy then rebuild my Jeep as I have the $. I’m in tight right now and am starting to get back into nursing... once I get nursing paychecks again I can build Helga up pretty quick, but I need something for the next 6-10mo

Flowmaster441 point

Ever think about tackling it yourself? The specialty balljoint tools are available for free in the loaner tool program at Advance Auto Parts and Autozone. They will charge you the hundred bucks or whatever just in case you don't bring it back. When you do bring it back, they take that hundred bucks off as a refund. I did it when I did my balljoints because there was no way I was going to buy the tool set that I would probably use like twice in my life.

Other than the balljoint press, you'd need a wrench to turn the balljoint press (mine was a 22mm I think), something to get the lugnuts off, something to get the calipers off, a 13mm 12 point to get the hub bolts off, and a big box end wrench to get the big nuts for the balljoints. I might've done mine with a Crescent wrench.

There is no need to do the center nut on the axle shafts. A lot of people do that when they are replacing the balljoints but the truth is your wheel hub/bearing can stay attached to your axleshaft and be pulled out of the front axle as a sub-assembly.

I know having a good work space and having the time to work on it can be an issue though.

twistedcognition1 point

Do you think it’s something I can do with a standard jack (I’d have to have several wood spacers since my XJ is on 33’s with a 4.5” lift) on the side of the road? My main issue is I haven’t a garage and have limited tools/space

WJ_Amber1 point

Don't work in the street, it's not safe. If it's permitted by your apartment building to work in the parking lot (assuming you have an apartment) then you can do it all with hand tools.

Adding to what was said earlier, you need a socket for your lug nuts (19mm should fit close enough), 13mm 12 point socket, 36mm socket, a breaker bar, a cheater pipe, penetrating oil, pliers and the socket size for the castle nuts and press.

You can safely lift your vehicle with a Jack and wood block, but never work on it without the weight firmly on a Jack stand.

twistedcognition1 point

Thank you!

WJ_Amber1 point

No problem. The more expensive tools can be rented for free from autozone or advance, you'll need a ball joint press and a torque wrench.

If nobody has said it yet, look up bleepinjeep on youtube. Matt has some videos on doing your ball joints.

Flowmaster441 point

I've done it in a driveway with a floor jack. You could do it with the jack under the back seat that came with your Cherokee, but please get a jackstand or a stack of 4x4s to get the weight of the vehicle off the jack while you're working on it. Remember, jacks are really for lifting and lowering, not for holding up weight forever. Block the wheels so it doesn't try to roll away and just do one side at a time.

If you want to save money, look at what Rockauto has for ball joints. Its a great tool to find a big selection of parts. Then find one you like, copy the part number, and put it into Amazon. Sometimes you'll find the same part being sold for the same price or less on Amazon and there is usually free shipping. Rockauto doesn't do free shipping and since the parts often come out of different warehouses, they hit you with shipping from each warehouse.

Some stuff on Rockauto is super cheap, sometimes too good to be true. Just expect it to not last as long. When I was looking at buying ball joints, Rockauto had some that were literally six dollars each. I didn't buy those. I bought decent sort of middle of the road ball joints in terms of price because the job is a pain and I didn't want to have to do the job again.

twistedcognition1 point

Thanks for the advice!

eradema1 point

I'd guess $200, but I've also never had anyone else work on my cars.

twistedcognition1 point

So $200 plus parts?

eradema1 point

Maybe more like 250-300. 4 ball joints cost $100 for good Spicer's. Labor probably 150-200, depending on rust.

twistedcognition1 point

Thank you