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TSB 02-06-96

Track Bar Ball Joint Diagnosis

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Date: Nov.29,1996

Models: 1994 - 1997 (BR) Ram Truck

NOTE:  THIS BULLETIN APPLIES TO VEHICLES BUILT WITH THE LINK/COIL FRONT SUSPENSION.

Discussion:

 Refer to the 1997 Ram Truck Service Manual (Publication No. 81 -370-71 08), page 2-3 regarding Suspension And Steering System Diagnosis. If after utilizing the table on page 2-3 to determining the root cause of the problem, you identify that loose or worn steering or suspension components could cause the customer complaint, your next step would be to determine which component could be causing the condition.

Among the many suspension components that needs to be inspected, one suspension components the track bar ball joint, has not previously had an inspection procedure in the - ice Manual. This bulletin provides the proper procedure for inspecting the track bar ball joint. The following steps should be utilized anytime the track bar is suspected for causing front suspension related customer complaints.

Please note this Technical Service Bulletin in the appropriate Service Manuals.

NOTE:  THIS DIAGNOSTIC TEST PROCEDURE MUST BE PERFORMED WITH THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE VEHICLE ON THE TIRES, BRAKES NOT APPLIED, AND THE ENGINE OFF. THIS PROCEDURE CAN BE PERFORMED WITH THE VEHICLE ON THE GROUND OR ON A TIRE SUPPORTING LIFT, BUT SHOULD NOT BE PERFORMED ON AN ALIGNMENT RACK TURNTABLE THAT IS ALLOWED TO MOVE FREELY.

  1. Position the wheels straight ahead then, turn the steering wheel 90 degrees to the left.
  2. Attach a dial indicator to the frame near the track bar ball joint. Position the tip of the dial indicator on the end cap of the ball joint next to the grease fitting (Figure 1) and lightly preload the dial indicator.

    NOTE: THE DIAL INDICATOR TIP SHOULD BE PERPENDICULAR TO THE BALL JOINT END CAP.

    02-06-96_1.jpg (71877 bytes)

  3. Rotate the face of the dial indicator so that the indicator needle is positioned at the zero mark.
  4. Rotate the steering wheel approximately 180 degrees to the right. Read the amount of end play on the dial indicator and record the reading.
  5. Repeat step 4 three times to identify the highest reading.
  6. Replace the track bar if the ball joint end play exceeds 2.03 mm (0.080 in.) in any one of the end play diagnostic checks.

Notes:

When diagnosing track bar end play, be sure that the bottom of the track bar is not convex, curved or rounded like the exterior of a sphere or circle. If this is the case the bottom of the track bar could have excessive play which was caused by the track bar pivot joint pushing on the bottom. Be sure to follow this TSB to properly diagnose. The test procedure must be performed on the ground or tire supported on a lift with the brakes not applied. The dial indicator tip must be perpendicular to the ball joint end cap to get an accurate reading.

Policy:   Information Only


Thanks to Bob Bergevin and Barry Drodge for supplying this TSB information

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This page was edited on: May 3, 2004