Replacing front suspension boots, how difficult?

Rodeo Joe

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 13, 2023
Messages
440
Location
Franklin, MA
Vehicle Details
1997 Thunderbird LX 3.8L/4.2 Wannabe
Country flag
I rebuilt the front end about 12 years ago and only put about 15K miles on the car since then. Of course from sitting more than driving some of the boots have dry rotted. The lower control arms and the sway bar links are the worse, can't remember how bad the outer tie rod and upper control arms are. Instead of rebuilding again, how hard is it just to change the boots? I probably could change the lower ball joints with new ones. Are all the boots even available? :2confused:

Spring project coming!

Joe
 
Jeez, I think the problem will actually be getting replacement boots to do the job. Have you sourced anything yet? Because as you asked, I don't think there is much available. Maybe poly boots from energy suspension. I bought a pair for outer tie rod ends. Haven't gotten around to installing them yet.
 
The energy suspension poly boots work pretty well for the uppers depending on what uppers you have, I’ve run those for several years in place of the rubber boots they came with. The boots are cup shaped so the seal isn’t a bag like seal like normal boots but it fits snugly around the base of the ball joint and I the arm moves in it under articulation, but it is water tight

Lowers might be trickier since the space is so much tighter
 
Not yet, I was trying to see if the experts here knew if they actually exist. :smile:

Joe
Joe you have stumbled upon an age old automotive parts problem. The aftermarket nor the manufacturers generally produce replacement boots for tie rods and ball joints. It's pretty stupid. Your best bet probably is finding something close from energy suspension.
 
The energy suspension poly boots work pretty well for the uppers depending on what uppers you have.

Lowers might be trickier since the space is so much tighter
Thanks Matt.

Joe
 
Any digital caliper recommendations? Looking at Amazon, the prices are all over the road. I don't need to break the bank for something that I probably won't use that much. Trying to be frugal in my old age! :spineyes:

Joe
 
Any digital caliper recommendations? Looking at Amazon, the prices are all over the road. I don't need to break the bank for something that I probably won't use that much. Trying to be frugal in my old age! :spineyes:

Joe

The plastic Harbor freight one is fine if you don’t need ten thousandths precision, I use it all the time for various tasks and it was under $10

 
Perfect Matt, thank you again! :thumbsup:

Joe
 
Below is what I did for the lower ball joint:

I ordered boots from suspension.com. Product ID: 191820; link: Prothane 191820 Ball Joint Dust Boots | Suspension.com

2 of the included boots have the correct diameter opening bolt and bottom, although it is way too tall. I trimmed a significant portion off with a razor knife and while I didn't get a smooth as a cut as I'd like the boot did set pretty well.

Before & after trimming
img_3360-jpg.54619



Installed:
img_3361-jpg.54620
 
Thanks for the pictures. (y)

Is there anything securing the bottom of it to the ball joint, or did you just slide it on greased up?

Joe
 
No but the sandwich of the spindle/arm puts the poly in enough tension to form a watertight seal as it moves.
 

Similar threads

Back
Top