Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Drives: 2006 Kia Sorento 3.5 5sp Auto
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You can give the ball joints a check before you start, jack up each front wheel and get a helper to rock the wheel backwards and fowards and in and out whilst you check for movement. Also get them to turn the steering wheel slightly back and forth whilst you check the rack ends. A little bit of movement is OK when they are unloaded like this, but any "clunks" mean replacement.
At least the ball joints are bolt in jobbies and so very easy to swap out. The upper one is built into the upper arm, a la Ford Explorer or Toyota Prado / Hilux, so you need to replace the whole arm but this way you get new rubbers as well.
My experience with Kia ball joints is that they seem pretty tough, the ones on my Sportage have done 14 years/ 250,000 Km, and the joints are still good, although the rubbers are beginning to go.
By this milage the (greasable) ones on my Pathfinder were completlely shot and they were driven on the same roads every day.
Ah yes speaking of Ford, I used to own a Ford Bronco and I rekon that the old twin traction beam fornt suspension was a near perfect setup for a 4WD, simple, super strong, and easy to work on, don't know why they ever changed it. If Ford had actually bothered to paint BOTH sides of the panels properly, yes, even the bits you can't see, but DO rust, I would probably still have that car.
Good luck with the changeover, let us know how you go.
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