Veering off my resentment for spoiled-rich newbies-with-'verts for a mite (vets with 'verts are fine, but not newbies-with-'verts), I do have a suggestion for a sticky topic, something I've been searching for and still cannot find an answer. It's regarding replacement lower ball joints. Now, we vets all know that the originals, which were already of questionable durability, were riveted on and, as such, nowhere in any shop manual is guidance given for replacing them, save for replacing the whole bloody lower control arm. But we know that replacements come with bolts and nuts to fasten them, foregoing the very dangerous removal process of the lower control arm...and from my own experience, not all replacements have the right bolts and nuts. The replacements I got had bolts that were too short to use, so I was forced into reusing the old bolts and nuts, which I'm pretty sure have serious fatigue to them. Another thing the replacements did not come with was guidance on how much torque is required to secure the new joints. A generation-and-a-half ago, Ron Baker did publicize the torque limits for the bolts for replacement joints, but that information is long-since lost.
I've recently been hearing disconcerting thumps and clunks from Frankenstein's front wheels and am going through a slew of diagnostics trying to find and cure that problem. First I thought it was the strut-rod bushings, one of which was very clearly sloppy. But, true to the jinx that has plagued me for two years, that was a problem that needed to be fixed but not the cause of the clunking. Now I'm going back to rechecking jobs I did earlier this year: Lower ball joints and lug studs for the front wheels. I checked the torque on the lower ball joints, which I initially set to 30 foot-pounds; last week I bumped it up to 35, and the clunk seemed to get quieter but not gone away. Just yesterday I went to get the car off its feet and re-torque the bolts, this time to 40 foot-pounds, which I feel is pushing it considering how much these bolts have been through already. Clunking and thumping has gone down even more, but still is there. I dare not take those bolts to 50, which was what they were at when I did the ball-joint surgery back in May; for all I know, they may be stretching and on the verge of failure (I have already done tap-and-die repairs to them twice). But, if that is what they do need to be at, then I need new bolts and nuts.
Well, after that long-winded backstory, my topic suggestion is, what exactly is the torque spec for the bolts and nuts of a replacement lower ball joint? 30 is obviously (to me, anyway) not adequate; 40 is better but still not quite secure enough; so is it 50? The old joints did not make any such noise when they were still on; they only made the trademark squeaking noise to indicate they were at their life limits. Somebody somewhere must have the same guidance Ron Baker had for this.
"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet, just because there is a picture with a quote next to it." (Abraham Lincoln, 1866)
1966 Continental Sedan, affectionately known as "Frankenstein" until body restoration is done (to be renamed "General Sherman" on that event)