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 Ball Joint Information


While looking to change out ball joints this past weekend I made an interesting discovery regarding Autozone replacements. My local store had only one on the shelf; Duralast part # FA2098. A nearby town had another single unit on the shelf so I picked it up. This second unit had the same part number but was slightly different. My first one had a smooth barrel with a grease fitting on top. The second had a serrated barrel with no fitting. The serrated unit was about .002" bigger in diameter. Back to the local Autozone. Call to a more distant store located another smooth barrel unit that could be delivered in a couple days. I pressed out an original ball joint and saw that it had a smooth barrel. The smooth barrel units looked identical in a cursory side by side comparison. When I installed the new smooth barrel item I noticed that the snap ring groove was not flush with the underside of the hub like the original. It extends beyond the hub slightly less than the thickness of the snap ring. Tonight I stopped by Autozone and made a closer side by side comparison between the original, new smooth barrel, and new serrated barrel ball joints. After an independent, non-prompted inspection, the salesperson (who has been a wrench turner for some time) agreed with my new assessment. The smooth barrel unit is visibly longer from top flange to snap ring groove than the original's comparable dimension while the serrated one matches exactly. Another serrated one was located and is on its way. Looks like I'll be pulling the new smooth barrel unit now.


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