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  #1  
Old 01-10-2013, 11:49 PM
Alaskan Hemisport Alaskan Hemisport is offline
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Default Lower control arms for 2WD 03 Ram?

So long story short, I bought a truck on craigslist, and fast forward 4 months, my soul is crushed lol. So many repairs have had to be done and just when I think I have everything fixed, something else goes out. I took the truck in for an alignment and was told they couldnt do it because my lower ball joints were no good. I want to just replace the control arms since that is a hell of a lot cheaper to replace then the ball joints. But they dont seem to exist! Napa and O'rielys both told me they have them, but only for 4wd. As soon as they switch to 2wd, the lower control arms dissapear and only show upper control arms. I have tried looking online and seem to run into the same problem.

Do these really not exist?!? Some please help!
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2013, 12:04 AM
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Archaea Archaea is offline
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Default Lower control arms

Hello, Alaskan. Yes, they are correct. I had the same thing happen about 6 months ago on my 02 Ram 1500 2WD. You can buy upper ball joints. But the lower ball joints are riveted into the lower control arms. And the Dodge dealer wanted about $400 EACH side.

In other words, the lower ball joints on my 02 Ram are considered an 'unserviceable' part and can only be replaced with the purchase of the entire lower control arm assembly.

Instead of paying this outrageous amount of money, I found two generic boots that fit over the ball joints and torqued the lower control arm nut to secure it. I took a needle and poked a small hole and then filled the boot with grease. This has been working fine for about six months now.

Of course this only works if you have not already damaged the ball joints themselves. In this case you will have to buy the whole assembly.

Whats worse is that this was a design change. So some 02 and 03 have a serviceable lower ball joint and some don't. Yours and mine, unfortunately, do not have the serviceable type.

Hope this helps!
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:08 AM
Alaskan Hemisport Alaskan Hemisport is offline
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thanks for the quick reply! I am trying to buy the whole assembly but cant find it. I think Summit has them, but they dont come with ball joints. looks like 500+plus shipping to get both lower control arms and ball joints. shipping is killer up here...
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:38 PM
Maddevill Maddevill is offline
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Just a thought. Could we just find a compatible ball joint, drill out the exsisting rivets and bolt the new ones in? That's what I had to do to change them on my VW Cabriolet.
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:39 PM
eddysald eddysald is offline
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i actually just bought the ball joint(the bolt and bushing) and replaced it my self. all i had to do is grind off the cap of the old ball joint and press the new sucker in. pretty easy and you dont have to cut the rivets out
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:57 PM
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Archaea Archaea is offline
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Default Replacing the lower ball joint

Hi, Alaskan. Yes, I initially thought about cutting out the old one and bolting in a new one. It's not unheard of. The problem was that I could not find just the ball joint for my truck. Even cutting out the old one wouldn't have helped. And like you said, the auto parts store's computer screens go blank when they search for your specific truck's lower ball joint. I like eddysald's idea if you can find just the ball and stud that will fit.

But then I thought about it- I didn't actually need a new ball joint. If you keep it well greased it should last the life of the truck for normal wear and tear (if you're offroading, etc then that's different). I did not have any scoring or gouging and it wasn't making any noise.

If I'm just trying to get it through state inspection, why fix what ain't broke? And here in Texas, the ball joint itself doesn't fail inspection. The leaking boot is what fails. I even had to replace a steering rack once because it leaked. The inspector told me that any fluids/grease/etc. leaking or exposed is automatic failure.

So, all three ideas here are good. I just think that for my purposes, since the ball joint itself was fine, the new generic boot and grease was fast, cheap, effective, and passed inspection!

Hope this helps. Let me know what you end up doing. I'd like to hear.
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2013, 03:58 AM
Alaskan Hemisport Alaskan Hemisport is offline
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According to a front end shop, my ball joints are busted and need to be replaced. They had said that they could replace the joint like someone else said by cutting the rivets and bolting the new joint in, but they wanted almost $1000 to do that and align it. I bought this truck for 2 grand off of craigslist, but it is sucking me dry in repairs,
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:01 AM
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Tentman Tentman is offline
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I am not sure what the problem is here, but if I have this right you can get lower ball joints for your truck from rockauto.com for between $8 - $30 and then you press out the old ones and press in the new ones. I have done mine recently on my 03 2WD.
But from what I have read, it is not a good idea to remove the rivets!
Hope this helps.

Edit: It is quicker to press out the ball joint than it is to replace the lower arm.

Last edited by Tentman; 01-13-2013 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:29 PM
buzzvoodoo buzzvoodoo is offline
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If I where you. I would ask Napa about their return policy. Buy the control arm for the 4x4 model and get the truck in the air and see if it is the same physically. If it looks the same install it. If not Bring it back and get your money back. I worked for an auto repair garage for a few months and found that their websites are flawed or missing data. I was always having to call napa on the phone to ask them about their website and parts for cases just like you described. Most of the time the parts are all the same but the napa private computer system has not been fed that information yet so it takes the information away when you input 2WD. Most of the time the napa and O'R guys working the counter have a decent amount of knowledge about vehicles but not enough to know that dodge ram control arms are the same on 4x4 and 2wd.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:31 PM
buzzvoodoo buzzvoodoo is offline
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By the way. Your info to the right of your screen name says you have a 2011 but your post says you have a 2003
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