I've been driving with torn boots on both outer rods and ball joints for 13 years. Still passes the sniff test 18 years later. Moral of the story - just because the boot is torn, doesn't necessarily mean the component is ready for imminent failure. It all depends on where you drive, how hard you drive, etc. Nissan did not go cheap on those OEM suspension components and even just a little bit of cruddy grease gets the job done. They are rock solid.
Regarding the control arm, my take is leave the OEM one on unless it's shot. The OEM one is a very high grade steel. The aftermarket ones almost surely a lesser grade... Just swap the ball joint.. good to go.
Honestly if you are going through the effort of replacing a control arm you might as well replace the other suspension/steering components because from what i remember in order to properly complete the job you are going to need to disconnect alot of them anyways. And whenever you replace such components, you need to replace identical components on the other side of the car you never just replace one control arm or one tie-rod end. Replacing both at the same time will allow equal wear rate, make for an equally balanced ride/steering quality and be better for alignment purposes.
But before you decide to commit to this job yourself make sure you absolutely have all the tools necessary. Tie rod end separator isn't a must but from my experienced proved very helpfull and it can can also serve the same purpose for prying the control arm off the steering knuckle. If you decide to replace inner tie rod ends, you'll need a special tool for that. Here is a thread that although written as a walk through to replacing the cv joint gives some instructions as well as excellent pictures as how to go about removing sway bar end links and the ball joint from the steering knuckle. http://www.nissanclub.com/forums/f-q...00-m5-how.html
Last edited by badreligion9265; 02-18-2011 at 02:49 AM.
>> 2 Lower Control Arm Nissan ALTIMA 98-99-00-01 L&R BALL - eBay (item 390184796192 end time Mar-14-11 19:06:01 PDT).
That's the ones I have, but haven't put them on yet. They are cheap OE brand (NOT OEM... made in China and sold at Advanced Auto Parts). I actually ordered a complete kit from that guy for $100 (2 arms, 2 ball joint, 2 inner tie rods, 2 outer, 2 front sway liks). The steel is most certainly not an OEM grade steel, but I do not know how favorably it compares to other aftermarket arms. The bushings seem solid enough.
Just by looking at the all the OE brand parts I have, everything looks FTW, except the ball joints, which are complete garbage. Non-greaseable, with no grease inside, and a very cheezy boot... People rag on the OE brand ball joint to no end on the forums - universally. Possible safety issues aside, if you don't mind 1-3 years of service, then I guess they are ok. Ball joints are not something to go cheap on IMHO.
For me, I plan on pressing out the OE brand ball joint and putting in a deeza instead.
Oh god, please do not buy anything off of Ebay. For the love of all that is holy in the world, do not.
I'm guessing you meant your car only has 80k miles on it, so in essence your car hasn't even seen half of the miles that it should. My '99 just rolled past 185k, and all I've replaced under the hood is the passenger side motor mount, valve cover gasket, and an alternator(at 177k, nothing was even wrong with the original alternator I just replaced it for the hell of it).
My point being, your car should last you a substantial amount of time. So don't listen to any of this Ebay nonsense and invest in quality parts from reputable dealers, whom you know you will have no problems with if the time comes for them to honor a warranty on a part you've purchased. All of the big chain stores offer lifetime warranties on a lot of suspension parts, and could care less if they wind up giving you two free control arms 4 years from now just because you bring them back in for the hell of it.
Ebay noise aside, badreligion makes an excellent point in that you should replace both to ensure even wear.
Edit: Don't forget that aside from saving you the work of pressing the ball joints, new arms will include new bushings.
I tried to go cheap (Mevotech) and ran into problems. This is where a reputable dealer (Rockauto.com) steps in, takes them back (they even paid for return shipping) and overnights me a set of MOOG (which is what I should have got in the first place) for the same cost as standard shipping.
eBay is great for some stuff, but, IMHO, not for major pieces that could compromise the safety / quality of your car.
re: ebay suspension parts. There seems to be a lot of controversy there. If your application is limited - like mine (don't drive hard, only need it for 8 years), my feeling is that these parts will be fine (everything other than the ball joints that is). I've done extensive research, and most of the people report good results with the arms, tie rods, but really bad results with the ball joints.
I would not use those OE brand ball joints, but the control arms, inner and outer tie rods and sway links look FTW. The outer tie rods are even greasable (albeit a little bit shorter than the OEM ones). I plan on replacing the boot with a better quality one before installing it though.
That said, he has since raised his prices and if I had to do it all over again at the current levels, I would probably go to rockauto. To go MOOG on all those components would have been 3x the cost, with questionable value (aren't moog made in China now too?)
If I can get 8 years out of the arms/bushings and other suspension parts - that's all I need.
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