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    • #57810

      So a few weeks before Christmas, the weather was nice, so I took my SV out for a little drive. Turning off a side street onto a major secondary, my left front fell out from under me. Luckily, I was able to use my momentum to get me, mostly, into a parking lot enterance. Back end was still sticking out a little into the road. I thought I lost a wheel, but it turned out to be the lower ball joint. Called for a tow, but it was a busy Saturday and had to wait hrs for a non flat-bed truck, since it couldn’t roll. Cops came by about a half hr later, put out flairs, several times. A local member, came by to see if he could help. Thanks for stopping by Ronnie.:) Anyway I finally got her home and ascessed the damage. (I was amazed at how the tow driver was able to back her into the garage) Not too bad, lower ball joint, a scrapped off torsion bar bracket nut, and the wheel had bent out a small part of the upper fender well, paint damage.

      Ball joints were on my list of things to do and had even bought upper and lowers from VB, but had been intimidated, to do it on my own. Well, procrastination got me a lame Alpine, so I tackled it. And it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I had some encouragement and advice from a local mechanic friend. I got a breaker kit from Harbor Freight… don’t bother, the U-jaws don’t work on our cars. Their pickle forks are crap, also, but I was able to return them, even though I’d obviously tried to use them. The pickle fork was bent. I borrowed a good pickle fork from my mechanic friend, and it worked like a charm. I had the old upper BJ pressed out, but the new VB UBJ was 20thousandth too big and he was afraid of cracking the A-arm. Bought 2 new UBJ’s from SS and they worked fine. I’d also bought tie rod ends from VB, and they, as well as the lower BJ’s, worked. I got to drive her a little, before the body guy picked her up. Drove pretty good but I’ll get a pro to do the alignment. So, she’s in the body shop, now. I got a great deal on the body and paint repair. He’s even fixing some of the scratches I’ve put on since, he originally painted it. When she gets back, I’ll finish reinstalling some other work/upgrades, I’d started while she was on stands. She’ll be ready for the Spring.
      Well, th-th-that’s all, folks
      Ron

    • #64385

      Glad to hear you’re back up Ron. When I stopped I thought that you may be in for a long winter under the Alpine. See you in the spring.

      Ronnie

    • #64387

      Hi, glad to hear things ended up as well as they did, considering.

      Just wanted to comment about the upper ball joints from VB being too big. Same thing happened to me a couple of years ago. Sounds like they are still a problem. At the time I just blamed myself for buying from them in the first place and put the joints on a shelf thinking it was just money lost. The ones from SS that I subsequently got pressed in very, very nicely.

      I have recently heard that VB is pretty good about refunds for parts that do not work. I would strongly suggest you let them know about the size problem and see if they will accept a return and do a refund. Also, if they still have bad inventory, maybe letting them know will save some of our fellow enthusiasts some grief. Hopefully VB will take the batch they have off their shelf. Something I should have spoken up about when I had the same problem a couple of years ago. Let us know if they do anything about this?

      Regards, Gene

    • #64389
      quote crisistoy65:

      Glad to hear you’re back up Ron. When I stopped I thought that you may be in for a long winter under the Alpine. See you in the spring.
      Ronnie

      So did I, Ronnie. I was imagining all sorts of nasties waiting for me under there. I still won’t be convinced of my repairs, until I have a few miles on her. Thanks again for stopping by and lending some moral support. Before you stopped by a guy in a nice Triumph, survivor, also stopped to offer assistance.

      I did call VB, Gene, and after getting through to support, I found out that they are aware of the size problem. Eventhough I’d bought them last spring, and didn’t have the reciept, they were still willing to have ’em returned. My mechanic friend said they might work, as an oversized, if the A-arm mounting ring is roached. Did you write something, awhile back, about your experience? I thought I remember reading of someone w/the same problem. I mentioned that I’d heard there was a problem, but they said there hadn’t been any other complaints. Seems they wouldn’t be aware of the problem, if there hadn’t been any other complaints :?. Worth giving them a call.
      I miss my baby in the garage, kind of an empty feeling, but it’s giving me some room to work on my bike. Paint guy is waiting for some warmer weather to lay down the paint.
      Stay well, all.
      Ron

    • #64391

      Hi Ron, I followed up today with a call to VB about my similar experience to yours of the ball joints being too big. I did not press for a refund since my experience was way out of their 180 day return policy. However, I did make sure they added my experience feedback to the one they have from you. Hopefully it will do some good.

      Just curious, do you recall what was the diameter of the bad ones that caused them to be 20 thousands too big?

      Gene

    • #64392

      Hey Gene,
      That’s great, that you contacted them. I have a feeling there have been more complaints than they let on. Hopefully others will see this thread and not make the mistakes we did.
      I didn’t get any #’s from my friend but I did measure both the old/original UBJ and the VB. The VB measured 1.758(7?), the old/original measured 1.731, 6-7 thou. more than 0.020. My caliper is from Harbor Freight, so don’t know how accurate it is.
      Ron
      Oh yeah, I also had the A-arm mounting/friction ring reinforced, as I’d heard it was only tacked in, and there had been some problems.
      Just thought of something else, the VB UBJ did not come w/a zirk fitting, the SS did.

    • #64393

      Ron, Well at least they now have two feedbacks. They did mention to me that they have sold about 38 sets in the past year.

      Thanks for the measurements. My Mitutoyo micrometer tells me the knurled diameter of mine is 1.7566 inches, which if you factor in likely operator error on my part (or production tolerance differences), is essentially the same as your 1.758 (7) results. Way too big based on the used one you measured, even accounting for some compression due to the prior install and removal. As I recall, for a proper press fit the pressed in object should be about 0.004 inches or so larger than the hole it goes into. If anyone can confirm that or give a more correct range, I for one would appreciate the update.

      And as you said, there was no zerk fitting on the VB ones. "Lubricated for life", just like the OEM ones I guess. Which I always felt was a self fulfilling representation, for the obvious reasons. But wait a minute, does not that make the VB ones more concours correct? If they would just fit!

      Anyway I would say if anyone in the club has bought any of these from VB in the past year and have them sitting on the shelf, measure them first before getting everything apart. If they are the same as Ron’s and mine but still work, great, but be prepared for that not to be the case.

      Gene

      PS: If anyone has not had the ring for the hole for the upper joint reinforced, remember to have that welding done before you remove the old joint. The old joint will keep the hole from being distorted by the welding.

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