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mroman59

Mechanics trick for fixing ball joint ends

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mroman59
As you may know I have been asking questions about ball joint ends because my joints are getting sloppy and my ball joints and tie rod are all one piece, courtesy of Craftsman. I was about to make my purchase of the style/size I wanted and then I stopped by the local Simplicity lawn mower repair shop and was asking some questions. The mechanic came out and gave me his repair method and said it will last for 30 years! He usually does this when the ball falls out of the socket, but I decided to try it even though mine have not fallen off yet. He takes a lock nut washer, 3/8 for 3/8 inch stud end and pops it over the ball. Then he greases the socket and puts the ball back in and welds, braising he called it, the washer to the housing of the ball joint end. I took my 3/8 inch lock nut and opened it up on a vice enough to slide it over the narrow point of the ball. I stuffed the joint with anti-seize, slid on the washer, put the tie rod in a bench vice and used vice-grips to close the washer back up. I am going to take the tie rod to local welding shop and I think they will weld it for $10. After that, I have some ideas for creating a protective boot to cover the ball joint. I thought about using an resin material, with the consistency of plastic when it hardens to put in the ball joint hole instead of anti-seize to see if I could get the feel of a nylon insert. Maybe I will try that on the drag link. Thoughts on whether you think this will work.

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mroman59
No one thinks the washer is a good idea? Hmmmm, next time I see that Simplicity mechanic I will tell him that my Simplicity club members were not impressed with his quick and almost permanent solution. He will get a kick out that. Mike

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rokon2813
It will probably keep it from falling apart, but is a rigged fix at best. It sounds like it does nothing for the wear in the actual socket joint, rather it puts the stress on the stud at the washer. Until the washer wears, the only range of motion you will have is whatever the stud will tilt inside the washer. I've never had the problem, since all my tractors are old enough to have adjustable ball joints :D and if one gets broken, I just swap in another used one. :O

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PGL
I'd say try it and see if it works. I haven't had a need to try it (yet). If it even lasts five years, it would be worth it if it doesn't take too much time or affect the steering negatively.

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HubbardRA
That is a good fix for the cheap boxstore type mowers with the small joints. I took one that popped apart and drilled through the ball where the machined in stud was. I then drilled through the top of the seat where the joint fit. That way I could put a bolt all the way through the joint and it could not pop apart because of the head on the bolt. After I lubed it and put it back together, it worked great. On these cheaply built units, any fix that works and makes the tractor safer is worth doing.

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