View Full Version : Pulls right after ball joint replacment

06-20-2019, 01:12 PM
I had a squeaky drivers ball joint, in my 06 140 converted camper, that I replaced. I removed the 4 strut bolts, the ball joint, and disconnected the control arm. Pressed the ball joint out and a new one in. Then put it all back together tightening everything with the van elevated.

I drove it, and it pulled hard to the right. Previous to the change there was no pull.

I did some research found that the 4 strut bolts should be tightened with the suspension loaded. I had new struts in the mail so when they got put in, with new bushings, I lowered the van before torquing the 4 lower bolts.

The van still pulls hard to the right. Any thoughts or suggestions on what is causing it? Should I just plan on getting an alignment?


06-20-2019, 01:18 PM
By changing the strut you have disturbed the alignment.
In any case the van should have its alignment checked/adjusted since you disturbed it by doing what you did
In any case did you change the top mounts as well?

06-20-2019, 02:24 PM
Don't take it just anywhere. Find a shop using Hunter alignment equipment. Alignment specs and alignment machine software change. Make certain the machine is loaded with latest version.

Ask for a print-out. If done proper, all specs should be green.


06-20-2019, 02:58 PM
Unless the strut was severely out of spec, the alignment will not have been appreciable affected. I would have the alignment checked, but also make sure the wheel spin freely when jacked up. Make sure the tires aren't funky as well, as a bad tread can cause a pull.

06-20-2019, 04:24 PM
Both top mounts were changed with the struts.
The tires have < 500 miles on them. I'll look them over good for issues.
The tires that came off of it were worn flat with no uneven wear or cupping.
Wheel spins freely.

I'll look into an alignment, I just want to make sure that is the problem and it isn't something I put back together wrong.

06-20-2019, 04:33 PM
Does the van sit level?

06-20-2019, 04:47 PM
Unless the strut was severely out of spec, the alignment will not have been appreciable affected. I would have the alignment checked, but also make sure the wheel spin freely when jacked up. Make sure the tires aren't funky as well, as a bad tread can cause a pull.

Don't assume anything!
The job was only half done without an alignment check/adjustment

06-20-2019, 04:52 PM
The only factory adjustment on the T1N is toe. A very badly out of spec strut could in theory cause camber change, and thus toe change. I have done pretty extensive swapping of T1N front end parts, both at normal and lifted ride heights. Even with a badly welded strut body, the change in toe was pretty minimal.

On the NCV3 camber and toe are adjustable, and and alignment check is required after replacing the strut.

06-20-2019, 05:10 PM
You can adjust the camber & hence the toe in, by adding shims to set the wheel alignment.
By using factory and very high quality struts like Bilsteen you avoid the likelyhood of having to use shims.
That is WHY I won't fit aftermarket struts from on line retailers! Simply because I encounter these demensional issues quite frequently!

Do remember some of this stuff is factory built rejects which wholesalers bought in job lots & sold on web sites.

Pulling to the right is a serious stability/safety problem that needs to addressed .
Hence it starts with a wheel alignment check & move forward from there to resolve the problem

06-20-2019, 05:28 PM
The van appears to be level. I'll put it in the garage and measure tonight.
The replacement struts are Koni Reds
The replacement ball joint is a MEVOTECH TXK7455

The problem started after the ball joint was swapped and prior to the strut change, but continues with the new struts.

The struts that came out were stamped with the Mercedes logo. No shims were removed or installed.

06-20-2019, 06:22 PM
Do you have an alignmernt machine/rig?

06-20-2019, 06:30 PM
I would check the rear axle as well.

06-20-2019, 06:32 PM
I do not.

I do agree that an alignment check is in order.

Just trying to make sure I'm not overlooking something, that I may have screwed up during the ball joint swap, that is causing the problem.

The Grand Tour
06-20-2019, 06:48 PM
Swing it on the alignment rack, and post the before and after numbers.

06-20-2019, 06:50 PM
Thrust angle isn't factory adjusted or considered on a T1N?

06-20-2019, 06:56 PM
Shouldn't both ball joints be replaced simultaneously?

06-20-2019, 07:06 PM
Basic practice yes.
Rule of thumb what you do to one side, you do to the other.

The Grand Tour
06-20-2019, 07:15 PM
Thrust angle isn't factory adjusted or considered on a T1N?

It's always a good idea to check and adjust front end alignment referencing the rear wheels.

If you ignore the rear wheels, and there's something wrong back there, you could really end up chasing your tail.

The vehicles I find problems in the back with the most, are vehicles with leaf-spring rear suspensions, that have been modified. You'd think the owner would notice that all of his rock chips are on one side of the vehicle... :rolleyes:

06-20-2019, 07:18 PM
Who and what method determined the ball joint was bad?

06-20-2019, 08:11 PM
Should I toss another ball joint in the other side before I spend the time/money on an alignment?

Ball joint was creaking. Inspection showed a ripped boot and an aftermarket moog ball joint. I decided to replace it.

06-20-2019, 08:14 PM
If the other BJ passes inspection, I would not be concerned. If its showing wear, then replacement would be called for. Thse BJs are loaded in compression, and generally have long service lives.

A camber or toe change will not cause a significant pull. At least not a change that's extremely obvious with a visual inspection. You could however have something else going on, such as badly worn BJ (even new ones sometimes fail shortly), or a tire/brake problem.

06-20-2019, 09:07 PM
Brother, I applaud your frugality but may I inquire, how many miles on the ball joint and how much does one cost?

Unless you're continuously doing side-stands, wouldn't ball
joints be subject to approximately equal stress and wear? Just imagine the catastrophic consequences of high-speed ball joint failure. It shivers me timbers to think my existence relies on a chunk of metal not larger than my thumb.

While making a right hand turn, I experienced ball joint failure in a 1968 VW bug. The entire tire folded under the car. Occasionally, I still ponder what would've occurred if it failed on the freeway?

Now it appears you're able to do this yourself. I strongly recommend that you seriously consider replacing the other ball-joint, not only because it will provide for optimal alignment accuracy and driving comfort but hopefully not revisited later. Always a pain in the tutti. More importantly, it could possibly save lives.

Frankly, all opinions here are of no consequence or importance. Providing the technician performing the alignment is reputable competent, they should not perform an alignment unless all related suspension components are viable, I assume a insurance/liability mandate.

Manny, Mack and Moe refused to align my Pinto because suspension components were not up to snuff.

Good luck and share your results.

06-21-2019, 12:32 PM
A few observations from inspecting this morning.

Both tires are inflated to 50psi.
Jacking it up in the center of the subframe and watching for forward and aft movement of the (old) ball joint and I see nothing. Granted I'm watching with my eyes and not a dial indicator. Driver new ball joint doesn't move either. I did notice as I jacked it up the passenger (old) ball joint unloaded about 1/2", by unloaded I mean the control arm separated front the knuckle. The drivers did not move.
The passenger (old) ball joint has no readable numbers or logos on it. It could be original. The ball joint I replaced on the drivers side was a moog.
Tires both look normal.
Drag from brakes is the same, I get 2 full rotations, after spinning by hand, before the wheel stops.
Distance from the front of the subframe to the alignment pin hole is equal on either side. Using a machinist rule to measure.
No noticeable wheel bearing play (no dial indicator).
Generally looking at the suspension components everything looks the same from one side to the other.

Plan moving forward. Replace passenger ball joint. Get the alignment checked for all 4 wheels and go from there.

06-21-2019, 12:54 PM
There is some history of the rear axle U bolts getting loose, and the alignment pin shearing. So double check the bolts, and you could measure the rear axle placement for/aft with a tape measure.

06-24-2019, 07:01 PM
Passenger ball joint has been replaced. Still pulls to the right.
Measuring for rear axle placement. Both sides look to measure 140" center of wheel to center of wheel. It was hard to tell, the driver could have been 1/8" longer, but I think it was just me.
The u bolts and spring mounts don't show any movement. All 8 nuts were tight enough I couldn't get anything on them with a 2' breaker bar.

I'll get the alignment checked this week.

06-24-2019, 07:27 PM
Don't want come across as critical, but using a breaker-bar is improper.



Toque sequence


06-24-2019, 07:58 PM
Thanks, I had found the PDF but figured I would only loosen/re-torque if the axle showed signs of being loose or having moved. Is this the wrong approach? Would it be recommended to loosen and re torque even if the axle doesn't appear shifted and none of the nuts were physically loose?

06-24-2019, 08:09 PM
I would not loosen the axle. A quick check with a ratchet will do the trick. This is especially true for vehicles that are many years old (T1Ns), where fastener torque down is affected by thread corrosion. Your measurements and a quick bolt check are all that's needed.

Have you tried swapping your tires left to right? I have seen a few rare cases where a single tire causes a pull.

06-25-2019, 11:02 AM
I didn't try switching tires.

I got the chance to use my neighbors alignment rack. Results are below.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48123420338_d29eb2afeb_k.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2gjv7gL)2006 sprinter alignment (https://flic.kr/p/2gjv7gL) by cooper maxwell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/182183742@N05/), on Flickr

06-25-2019, 02:20 PM
Does it track better?

Your camber is a bit positive. Are you running light weight?

You could also put in 1/2 or 1 degree chamber shims. If you are going to add weight, I wouldn't bother, as the ride height drops the camber will as well.

06-25-2019, 03:27 PM
Tracks much better!

Weight as follows:
Front axle 3320
Rear axle 3820
Total 7140

I've added probably another 500-700 lbs of gear after those weights were taken.