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Ball Joint Bearing and Bushing Tests
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Ball Joint Bearing and Bushing Tests

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$0

Talent:

*

Tools:

Jack and stands

Applicable Models:

Porsche 955 Cayenne GTS (2008-10)
Porsche 955 Cayenne S (2008-10)
Porsche 955 Cayenne Turbo (2008-10)
Porsche 955 Cayenne Turbo S (2009-10)

Hot Tip:

Wear gloves

Performance Gain:

Knowledge of suspension problems

Complementary Modification:

Check your brakes

While Pelican has a complete series of how to repair or replace components on your Porsche Cayenne, we have been getting requests on how to check the components to determine the shape of your suspension. This article will cover the procedures you need to perform to check your own suspension. You are going to be using the wheels to apply pressure to the suspension so make sure that you have the wheels on tight and there is no slop or play.

You will need to safely raise and support the vehicle. Please see our article on safely jacking up and supporting your Porsche Cayenne

Beginning on the front of the vehicle you will want to check play in the wheel bearing.
Figure 1

Beginning on the front of the vehicle you will want to check play in the wheel bearing. Cayenne's are not light vehicles, so you are looking for the smallest of movements in the components. If you feel any movements by your applying pressure to the center of the hub, you can imagine what can happen when the full weight of the vehicle is applied. Grab the outside of the wheel and push and pull it in both the 12 and 6 o'clock positions and the 3 and 9 o'clock positions. If you feel any movement in the hub area of the wheel then your bearing is probably already going bad.

The upper control arms have two bushings (yellow arrows) and a ball joint (red arrow).
Figure 2

The upper control arms have two bushings (yellow arrows) and a ball joint (red arrow).

To check the upper control arm ball joint, reach in and insert a finger against the rubber boot so you can feel the area where the ball joint meets the socket (green arrow).
Figure 3

To check the upper control arm ball joint, reach in and insert a finger against the rubber boot so you can feel the area where the ball joint meets the socket (green arrow). Push and pull the top of the tire and feel for any movement. If you can feel any, the ball joint is bad and needs replacement. You also need to inspect the condition of all the boots for cracks, rips or leaking grease on all ball joint covers.

It is very difficult to perform a visual inspection on the upper bushings so you want to place your finger between the arm and mount and push and pull the top of the tire.
Figure 4

It is very difficult to perform a visual inspection on the upper bushings so you want to place your finger between the arm and mount and push and pull the top of the tire. If you feel any movement, the bushings (red arrows) are bad and need replacement.

On the tie rods you want to squeeze the boot to feel where the inner tie rod ball and socket join.
Figure 5

On the tie rods you want to squeeze the boot to feel where the inner tie rod ball and socket join. Push and pull the tire. Again if any movement is felt the joint is bad.

Perform the same inspection for the lower ball joint (green arrow) as you do on the upper.
Figure 6

Perform the same inspection for the lower ball joint (green arrow) as you do on the upper.

Perform the same procedure for the outer tie rod ball joint (green arrow).
Figure 7

Perform the same procedure for the outer tie rod ball joint (green arrow).

While you are under the front of the vehicle, inspect the CV boot for rips, tears, cracks or leaking grease (red arrow).
Figure 8

While you are under the front of the vehicle, inspect the CV boot for rips, tears, cracks or leaking grease (red arrow). Both bands on the boot should be tight and secure.

On the front sway bar you can visually inspect the bushings (red and yellow arrows) as well as look for any movement.
Figure 9

On the front sway bar you can visually inspect the bushings (red and yellow arrows) as well as look for any movement. With the vehicle safely supported you can really pull and push on the sway bar.

The mounts on the sway bar (red arrow) are very beefy, as they take a lot of torque, so any movement or degradation needs to be addressed right away.
Figure 10

The mounts on the sway bar (red arrow) are very beefy, as they take a lot of torque, so any movement or degradation needs to be addressed right away.

The lower control arm attaches to the sub-frame in two areas; the rear area has a small plastic cover (red arrow) and the front bushing is unprotected (yellow arrow).
Figure 11

The lower control arm attaches to the sub-frame in two areas; the rear area has a small plastic cover (red arrow) and the front bushing is unprotected (yellow arrow). Remove the two plastic push pins on the cover and visually inspect the bushings.

The rear bushing on our project vehicle was going bad.
Figure 12

The rear bushing on our project vehicle was going bad. You can see the rips and tears in the photo (red arrow). To replace these please see our article on replacing front suspension components.

Moving to the rear inspect the rear wheel bearing in the same manner as the front.
Figure 13

Moving to the rear inspect the rear wheel bearing in the same manner as the front. Ours had a tiny movement by hand which would translate to a much larger movement when the full weight of the vehicle is applied. Remember, once a bearing starts to fail it will only get worse much quicker. Do not put off addressing these issues or you may end up with a larger and more expensive repair down the road.

There are no ball joints in the rear suspension so you will have to perform a visual inspection of all the bushings (red arrows).
Figure 14

There are no ball joints in the rear suspension so you will have to perform a visual inspection of all the bushings (red arrows). The Cayenne is known for not being difficult on the rear suspension bushings, and they very rarely fail. If they do please see our article on replacing your rear suspension components.

The rear sway bar upper bushings can be a weak spot, so inspect them at least once a year (red arrow).
Figure 15

The rear sway bar upper bushings can be a weak spot, so inspect them at least once a year (red arrow).

Make sure to include the end links or drop links on the sway bar (red arrows).
Figure 16

Make sure to include the end links or drop links on the sway bar (red arrows).

While you have the vehicle in the air it is a really good time to inspect the condition of the wheels.
Figure 17

While you have the vehicle in the air it is a really good time to inspect the condition of the wheels. With the new much lower profile tires and condition of our roads it is not uncommon to find damaged wheels. Two of our rims had cracks in the inside areas and needed to be sent out and repaired.



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