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Old 01-31-2014, 05:27 PM   #1
1930artdeco
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Default steering ball replacement

I need to replace the steering spindles on my car. I purchased some that have a pressed on ball and then are tack welded and cleaned up. I am no expert but I was a little worried that the small weld would not hold up.

So I ordered some of the ball stud combos and am going to have the old balls cut off (please leave the comments at the door) and new ones welded on.

Can anyone tell me the benefits of either strategy on these? Which one is better?

Mike
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Old 01-31-2014, 05:49 PM   #2
Vic in E-TN
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

15 or 20 years ago I believe that was the normal way that the balls were replaced. I never had any trouble with them. Since then I have had Wylie Higgins in Georgia replace the worn out balls. He cuts off the old balls and drills out a hole. He inserts a new ball with a stud and back welds the stud at the bottom. I have had no trouble with these. He has written about them in the Restorer. I spoke to him a few months ago and he said that he has done over 5000 of them. He is alive and well and I had him do some for me a few weeks ago. His price is good.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

You might call Bert's. They turn down the balls and weld on a drilled out bearing ball. That method does not comprimize the original casting. I have sets on both my cars with no problems.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

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Originally Posted by Pmsqrd View Post
You might call Bert's. They turn down the balls and weld on a drilled out bearing ball. That method does not comprimize the original casting. I have sets on both my cars with no problems.
I'm with Pmsqrd on this one. I think turning down the ball and pressing a new drilled ball on the stud and welding the top is the best way to go with the least chance of failure since the original forging is left intact. I sent mine off to A&L a couple years ago to have this done and have been very happy with the results. I think A&L does the work and suspect other vendors send their arms there also that use the same method.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

Wiley Higgins is a super nice guy. I saw two 5 gallon buckets at his house full of balls that he has cut off and replaced.
He did all my spindle arm balls, steering sector housing, shortened pitman arm and service brake cross shaft. I would recommend him to anyone. He is top notch and very particular about what he does.
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

I have done the cut off, drill, press in and weld up method on a bunch of these. I weld both top and bottom. To date: no failures.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

Cut the old ones of , drill the 1/2" hole , THEN press the new one in , weld on the back with low hydrogen rod . Weld only stops ball stud falling out , done dozens this way no problem, The ball shaft takes the stain , weld holds in . But i have yet to get too 100mph.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:32 PM   #8
glenn in camino
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

I always have the worn area on the balls built up with weld. Then, using a file and some calipers to measure roundness, dress the ball as round as possible. Remember, the steering arms are supposed to be one forged piece.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

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Originally Posted by glenn in camino View Post
I always have the worn area on the balls built up with weld. Then, using a file and some calipers to measure roundness, dress the ball as round as possible. Remember, the steering arms are supposed to be one forged piece.
That's how I repaired my Phaeton steering balls. It took a long time to hand file and I'll probably use A&L the next time.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

I just got mine back from A&L, will install them this weekend .I believe the balls they press on and weld top only are stainless steal. They look great.
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:33 AM   #11
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

Tom, a right angle die grinder with a roloc sanding disk works great for this method...you can rough it out easily then dial in with a file
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:27 AM   #12
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic in E-TN View Post
15 or 20 years ago I believe that was the normal way that the balls were replaced. I never had any trouble with them. Since then I have had Wylie Higgins in Georgia replace the worn out balls. He cuts off the old balls and drills out a hole. He inserts a new ball with a stud and back welds the stud at the bottom. I have had no trouble with these. He has written about them in the Restorer. I spoke to him a few months ago and he said that he has done over 5000 of them. He is alive and well and I had him do some for me a few weeks ago. His price is good.
Vic
I have two sets of steering knuckles repaired in this manner. I cut the flat ball off drilled the hole according to the directions chamfered the end of the stud took the knuckles with new parts installed and had them heliarced by a reputable welder. That was 2000 miles ago and no problems although I check all my undercarriage parts frequently. This has worked very well for me and my "A".
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

With the cut, drill, press and weld method, can you use a mig for the welding? What's your experience?
Many thanks,
Martin.
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:25 PM   #14
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

Has anyone replaced the wishbone ball?
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:05 PM   #15
Growley bear
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

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With the cut, drill, press and weld method, can you use a mig for the welding? What's your experience?
Many thanks,
Martin.
Heliarc (TIG) is recommended. MIG has the possibility of looking like the most beautiful weld bead you ever saw but penetration is almost nonexistent. These should be welded by an expert.
Chet
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

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Originally Posted by montanafordman View Post
I think A&L does the work and suspect other vendors send their arms there also that use the same method.

Old thread but I believe this is correct, I was there yesterday and he said he had about 200 steering arms in to reball. Somehow I doubt all 200 came to A&L direct from customers.
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:09 AM   #17
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

I am pretty sure the ones you saw came from suppliers like Snyder's as cores.
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:03 PM   #18
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

Over here, the only way you can legally weld any steering component is to have it X-rayed after and certified OK so cutting off the old ball and welding on a new one is out (legally), so is cut, press and weld. That causes a real problem. My solution is to build up the worn part of the ball with weld, then reshape it to the required 1" diameter. (1 1/2" for the A frame ball) While the legality of this is questionable, I figure the chances of failure are pretty much zero.
I have made a gauge (like a big washer) in each size to help get the right shape and size.
I'll go this way if ever I need to do it again.
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:48 PM   #19
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: steering ball replacement

Ford did a brinell hardness test on every steering arm ---if you look there is a flat grind spot with the indentation from the test
I spent the time searching for NOS, don't want any welded ones on my car, and usually with some searching I can get nos for less that repro, rebuilt
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