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  1. #1

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    Default Front suspension question.

    RANT WARNING.

    I have an '03 Lexus GS430 with about 55k miles on it. Today I had the front rotors turned by a friend since they were slightly warped. When I picked up the car he informed me that the upper ball joints were bad (He told me he was able to wiggle them by hand about 1/4 to 1/2 inch) and that they were causing the excessive wear on the inside edge of my front tires. I have known about the uneven wear on my tires since about March when I noticed a shimmy at interstate speeds. Right after I noticed the shimmy and wear I took it into my dealer to have the alignment checked. At the time I took it in only the front right and rear left tires were worn. They said that was because the only thing out of whack was the front right tow-in, and the reason for the wear on the left rear was due to it being rotated to the back on the last visit. At this point I was quite angry that they had not informed me of the issue and that it had now cost me unnecessary wear on my rather expensive tires. I complained to the service advisor and they agreed to buy one of my 4 new tires when I was ready for them.

    However, now that I was informed of this I got to looking more closely at my tires and have realized that the front left that was previously fine is now worn bald on the inside edge. After picking up my car from the brake job, I called my dealer and told them what he had told me. They proceeded to tell me that due to the spring loaded design of the joint that some play is normal and if it is bad that they would have to look at it before they could order parts. The problem here is that tomorrow morning they are supposed to be putting 4 brand new ($240ea.) tires on it for my drive to Chicago and back Thursday and Friday (800 miles round trip), which means that if they are bad I will be running new tires on a screwed up suspension for at least that far. I explained this situation to them and they agreed to take a brief look at it this afternoon and order the parts if necessary. However the tech they had look at it said he could not tell if anything was wrong by hand, and that he would have to do a full inspection of them tomorrow when he had more time, which involves checking the amount of torque on the spring.

    I guess my first question is: Have any of you car gurus ever known of an upper ball joint that was designed to have slack in it? (That just seems absurd to me!!!)

    ....and second: Is driving that far with screwed up ball joints going to permanently screw up the new tires?

    Thanks for listening.
    Dave
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  2. #2

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    Default

    The tires don't lie. Something's wrong up front. If not ball joints, then a bent rim or bad strut. A lot of Lexus's had very weak rims that would bend easily if you hit a curb. Either way, an oddly worn tire should of sent a red flag to a service tech. I've got a call in to my favorite ex-Lexus tech(son number one).
    I'm sure if ball joints were a problem in that model, he would know.
    If the problem is really bad, it WILL ruin the tire in 800 miles.

  3. #3

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    [QUOTE=sucks2beme]The tires don't lie. Something's wrong up front. If not ball joints, then a bent rim or bad strut. A lot of Lexus's had very weak rims that would bend easily if you hit a curb. Either way, an oddly worn tire should of sent a red flag to a service tech. I've got a call in to my favorite ex-Lexus tech(son number one).
    I'm sure if ball joints were a problem in that model, he would know.
    If the problem is really bad, it WILL ruin the tire in 800 miles.[/QUOTE

    Thanks for the reply. I'm very curious what he will have to say.

    Dave
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    2 CH
    Parasound Halo P3, Parasound Halo A21, Sutherland Ph.D, VPI Classic 3 w/ 3D arm, Arcam CD72T, B&W 802 S3, Monster HTS2500,

  4. #4

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    It's getting late. He must have his cell phone turned off. Or the girlfriend turned on. Either way, it doesn't look like he'll call back tonight.
    Just make sure you make them think before acting in the morning.
    They will always take the quick and easy troubleshooting path.
    Have them check for service bulletins, too. There may be a history of
    that model with this problem. Just because it's a Lexus doen't mean it's bulletproof. The most reliable Lexus designs were the ones that were based on Toyoto models.

  5. #5

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    Install the 4 tires and have the car aligned. A good alignment man will NOT and CANNOT align a car properly if there are loose components in the front end. The alignment man will check the front end first, if all is ok he will proceed with the alignement and your tires will be fine for the trip.

    Joe
    Amplifiers: 1-SAE Mark IV, 4-SAE 2400, 1-SAE 2500, 2-SAE 2600, 1-Buttkicker BKA 1000N w/2-tactile transducers. Sources: Sony BDP CX7000es, Sony CX300/CX400/CX450/CX455, SAE 8000 tuner, Akai 4000D R2R, Technics 1100A TT, Epson 8500UB with Carada 100". Speakers:Polk SDA SRS, 3.1TL, FXi5, FXi3, 2-SVS 20-29, Yamaha, SVS center sub. Power:2-Monster HTS3500, Furman M-8D & RR16 Plus. 2-SAE 4000 X-overs, SAE 5000a noise reduction, MSB Link DAC III, MSB Powerbase, Behringer 2496, Monarchy DIP 24/96.

  6. #6

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    When did they start putting adjustable tension ball joints in automobiles?

    If the damn thing is loose it's loose regardless of his torque wrench.

    Finding a good alignment man who is honest is the trick.
    polkaudio SRS (rdo194 x 8)
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    polkaudio SDA2(rdo194x4) (front) polkaudio CRS (rdo194x4)(rear) polkaudio 400i (center)
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  7. #7

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    Talked to junior this morning. He says Lexus/Toyota ball joints are very durable and not likely the problem(especially at that milage).
    More likely is that the during the last alignment, the lower eccentric adjusters weren't tightened enough. His words were "if you don't crank them down real hard, they will move". If these move, the front end goes out of alignment.
    If the tech adjusted the front left and didn't get it right, whoops. Front left is now whacked out again. This IS a common problem.

  8. #8

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    So what did the dealer come up with as a cause? Better yet, what excuse?

  9. #9

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    Well.....They claim all is OK. They say that those ball joints are supposed to have play in them (I can't figure why). They said that the previous alignment still seems to be holding, and that the only cause for wear was the fact that they were unevenly worn before the alignment and just proceeded to get worse. I do understand that unevenly worn tires will only get worse once it's started, but I can't believe that it would cause that much wear on the other tire.

    Anyway I guess as of now I'm going to have to take their word. Since the car is factory certified I would assume if something was wrong they would be dying to fix it. I mean that is how they get paid.

    Before leaving the dealer I got them to agree to taking full responsibility for these new tires. If they begin to wear like the last ones they will be the ones paying over a grand for the new ones.

    BTW I did tell them your son's recommendations about the lower eccentric adjusters, and they said all was fine there too.

    God I hope their right. I'm sick of fighting stupid issues like this.

    Thanks for all your help guys!!!! This is one of the many reasons why this forum is so great. I posted the same question on a couple of Lexus forums and did not get a single response, yet here, within just a couple hours started to get valuable non-audio related advice!!! I guess from now on I won't even bother with the other sites.

    Thanks again!:)
    Dave
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  10. #10

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    Default

    Did you buy your car new or used? If used, have you ever ran a Carfax report on it?

  11. #11

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    I'm still lost on how ball joints are supposed to have play.

    Play fore and aft changes caster. Inboard and outward changes CAMBER which inturn wears the tire uneven.
    polkaudio SRS (rdo194 x 8)
    Dodd ELP (separate power supply)
    JC 1 blocks ( strapped )
    Rega Apollo
    MIT (speaker cables) Outlaw (ICs)

    polkaudio SDA2(rdo194x4) (front) polkaudio CRS (rdo194x4)(rear) polkaudio 400i (center)
    B&K 505
    Samsung LCD
    VIP 622
    HSU STF-2

  12. #12

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    They're going to take FULL responsibility for the wear on your new tires???? It may be good for you but extremely dumb on their part. You can throw your alignement off just by hitting a curb or a big pothole. No garage can "guarantee" a wheel alignment, the alignement is good when you leave the garage, but road conditions and bad drivers will put a good alignement out of spec real quick.
    Amplifiers: 1-SAE Mark IV, 4-SAE 2400, 1-SAE 2500, 2-SAE 2600, 1-Buttkicker BKA 1000N w/2-tactile transducers. Sources: Sony BDP CX7000es, Sony CX300/CX400/CX450/CX455, SAE 8000 tuner, Akai 4000D R2R, Technics 1100A TT, Epson 8500UB with Carada 100". Speakers:Polk SDA SRS, 3.1TL, FXi5, FXi3, 2-SVS 20-29, Yamaha, SVS center sub. Power:2-Monster HTS3500, Furman M-8D & RR16 Plus. 2-SAE 4000 X-overs, SAE 5000a noise reduction, MSB Link DAC III, MSB Powerbase, Behringer 2496, Monarchy DIP 24/96.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by PolkThug
    Did you buy your car new or used? If used, have you ever ran a Carfax report on it?
    I purchased it used/certified. The Carfax report is clean, and I also am familiar with the previous owners, so I'm virtually certain the car has had an easy life.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeparaski
    They're going to take FULL responsibility for the wear on your new tires???? It may be good for you but extremely dumb on their part. You can throw your alignement off just by hitting a curb or a big pothole. No garage can "guarantee" a wheel alignment, the alignement is good when you leave the garage, but road conditions and bad drivers will put a good alignement out of spec real quick.
    Basically if the car exhibits the same type of wear they will take responsibility. I would never expect compensation from anyone after extended periods of time on Iowa roads. (Even though I only had to have my BMW 3 series aligned once in 78k miles at the 18K mark.) That car was amazing. Man I wish I still had it.:(

    Dave
    HT
    Mits WD-65737, DirecTV, Oppo DV-970HD, XBOX ONE, Yamaha RX-A1030, Parasound Halo A23, Rotel RB-985, Music Hall MMF-7, Parasound PPH-100, LSi-15, LSi-C, LSi-FX, LSi-7, PSW-1000, Monster HTS2600

    2 CH
    Parasound Halo P3, Parasound Halo A21, Sutherland Ph.D, VPI Classic 3 w/ 3D arm, Arcam CD72T, B&W 802 S3, Monster HTS2500,

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