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Discussion Starter #1
My brand new sa ab ball joints just about killed me today... I was coming home from work and make a corner onto a 4 lane highway and I hear a pop and I turn off my radio and listen and then the car goes hard left and pulls me across the shoulder lane and into on-coming traffic lanes!:eek: I hit the breaks at 55mph and pull it back into the shoulder... I gather myself and thank god no cars were any closer in the on coming lanes and manage to get it across the street and off the main road. I thought I broke an axle or tie-rod end or something.

I jack up the car and find the drivers side ball joint has spun around and is hanging by one of the 3 bolts... The second bolt is gone and the third one has the head only in the top half of the ball joint... It literally broke two of the 3 ball joint bolts, snapped them right in half and the inside of the bolt looks like garbage cheap crap, chinese metal!!! That sux! What if I was at the track and going 125mph+ or something? I can't believe it...

I will get grade 8 bolts tomorrow and re-fit all 6 of them on both sides. That was scary!

Picture:

John
 

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you should get those bolts that Ford claims can hold up their entire F-350 pickup truck, anyone see that commercial?

Anyways, glad your ok
 

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That sucks! Glad to hear you are ok and there's no additional damage. So were these the bolts that came with your ball joints? If so, do you remember which brand joint they are? I got some new joints which I haven't gotten around to putting on yet, and they came with new hardware...
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Yes, I rebuilt the whole front end with oe rubber bushings and polyflex wishbone and installed the sas front and rear sway bars. The tie-rod ends and the ball joints were replaced maybe 2-3 weeks ago.

I heard it snap once when I pulled out of work in a slow tight turn all the way to a light lock to the right and uphill at the same time. I was hoping it was the coils binding up or something in the tight turn, but it must of been the first bolt breaking.

I heard a second snap or poping sound when I made a right turn onto a 4 lane highway about 2 miles away and accelerated past one car and settled down into a cruise and then it happened, the car went immediately hard left.

The inside metal of the bolt looks horrible. It appears to be coated or something. I should have that metal looked at just to appease my own curiousity.

I want to let the company know about this, they may not be aware or something. I will probably call someone there and see what they have to say about it.

John
 

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Wow, that's scary! Good thing you are OK.
I was just about to buy a new ball joint. Definitly will get good bolts for it.
It makes me wonder though, what metal the ball joint itself is made out of...

Klim
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I did the ball joints, I guess its possible I over-tightended the bolts, but the metal inside sure does look like garbage. I am going to get some grade 8 bolts and replace them all...

John
 

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Scary one, nothing worse than mechanical failure, knocks the hell out of your confidence - lucky man
When you replace the bolts go see what torque it takes to shear one of the remianing bolts, compared to the high tensile ones you will replace with
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just got back from the metal expert who examined the bolt. He stated that the grade of metal was not high enough or it was not tempered right. He stated that for the application the right grade bolts would never shear like that. Even if you over-tighten the proper grade bolt, it will strip the threads and will still not break or shear the bolt.

He stated the metal grade was not sufficient to withstand the stresses place on them by the lower ball joints. I proper grade bolt would not break or shear no matter how tight you make it.

I will replace all 6 bolts with proper grade 8 US bolts!

John
 

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It could be just one small "bad" batch of bolts, maybe some problem in tempering.
On the one hand, no one is immune from this, even the bolts you will get...
On the other hand, there got to be some way better control for this...

klim
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yup, its one of two places one starts with a E and one starts with a S, not sure for sure, but I will be soon... I have been working on cars for over 25 years and replaced the ball joints on all 5 of my saabs through the years and this has never happened to me. I have to say its the quality of the bolts in my opinion.

John
 

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John ever since your post i,ve kept a keen eye on these bolts ( i,ve also recently replaced the ball joints)
Well today, there,s one bolt missing !!
Now I don,t mess about with these things
New bolts as supplied - thread lock nuts - no lubricant - and a good coating of loctite green high strength thread lock, this b****r did not come loose and fall out.
Rest assured a new set of high strength bolts going in tommorrow
 

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thought i,d check the remaining two bolts & guess what, one of them sheared off, now I was using a 6" spanner, maybe 25ft/lbs tops ?????

these things are crap
 

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since fitting new ball joints a few weeks ago the handling of my 9000 has been crap , same ball joints as you norman , the car has wandered all over the road

if i disconnect my drop link , the whole hub assembly will fall to one side ! now with a new ball joint surly there should be some resistance? ,

now i dont want to use the car!

tbh the bolts looked like cheap china things , with the cheap looking yellow coatings one them , the company should be taken to task over this !
 

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So advice on these at least is to go 100% Saab parts for the ball joints and the bolts / nuts? Dont think there is a huge amount difference in the price overall??
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That is what I am thinking. I think these were scantech, which is never quite as good as the orginal parts. I think the oe ball joints were close to 45.00 bucks each and scantech are 20.00 bucks each. I guess the extra 50 bucks is worth it in the piece of mind you get. I guess if you replace the bolts with good strong US metal, its probably ok.

My bolts looked like cheap china metal, a goldish color coating and it had a marking on the bolt chs 12.9, not sure what that means, but it does not seem to be strong enough.

Norman, glad you caught it in time, I guess one point of my thread was for people to be aware and maybe take a look at you're lower ball joints. I can tell you that if two of the three bolts break or fall out, the entire swival effect can be very dangerous! I am just glad it happened at 45mph, I can't imagine what would have happened at 75mph+ on some curve or something:eek:

John
 
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