Mazdaspeed3 Ball joint How-To sorta kinda

Discussion in 'Mazdaspeed 3 How-To' started by macdiesel, Apr 9, 2020.

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  1. macdiesel

    macdiesel Greenie Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Trophy Points:
    Kenosha, Wi
    +334 / -0
    Little write on my experience with Moog control arms and swapping ball joints. I really had to dig through a lot of posts on the other dead forum when I needed to replace mine. Replacing the lower control arm as a unit is faster, but I had some aftermarket control arms that didn’t have a lot of mileage on them when a ball joint failed so I decided to change out the ball joint. Also, my car never handled right with Moog arms and I wanted to rule out the Moog arms. I eventually went back to oem with new ball joints. Much better driving experience. I’ll share some trials and tribulations for others to learn from my mistakes.

    Be responsible and be safe.

    2010 mazdaspeed3

    10mm socket
    14mm socket
    15mm socket
    17mm socket
    19mm socket
    The above in wrenches as well
    Various other sockets
    22mm socket for ball joint press
    1/2 ratchet
    1/2 breaker bar
    Breaks bar extension
    Pickle fork
    Big ole hammer
    Grease gun
    Wheel chock
    Jack stands
    PB Blaster
    Torque wrench
    Snap ring pliers
    Safety glasses
    Bungee cords
    Ball joint service kit. I grabbed one from Harbor Freight.


    Torque Specs:
    Wheel: 80-90ft/lbs
    Brake caliper bracket: 58-75ft/lbs
    Ball joint: 33-42ft/lbs
    LCA front and rear bolts:
    Front Bolt 96-110 ft/lbs
    Rear Bushing (x2) 89-120 ft/lbs

    Moog K500209 listed for genjuan if searching on Rockauto. BJ not listed for genpu
    Energy suspension dust boot set 9.13125G

    Control arm:
    Left RK621460
    Right RK621461
    *swapping arms only

    Before even starting make sure Moog sent you the right parts. I didn’t open them up right away. Luckily I ordered an extra one. Wrong bolt.

    1. Pull car up on ramps, chock rear wheels, raise and place on jack stands. Make sure stands are not in the way of the lower control arms.

    2. Remove wheel and place under vehicle. I use a pry bar or large screwdriver to push brake pads into caliper. Wedged into rotor and pry off the caliper. It’ll be easier to remove/install. Pop off caliper bracket. Support caliper assembly with bungee cords, wire, rope, metal hanger. I like bungee cords. Get it outta the way. Remove brake rotor.

    3. Remove undertray

    4. Remove ball joint nut. Tap out shoulder bolt. Both nut and bolt are 14mm. Sometimes I’ll use the pry bar and hammer to widen the knuckle. May have to manipulate the steering to get the position needed to hammer on a pry bar. Hammering on anything is always a good idea for safety glasses.

    5. Remove ball joint from knuckle. If your ball joint is shot, has play, ripped boot etc... use a pickle fork and a big hammer to separate from the knuckle. Space is limited to hammer down on the control arm. Maybe your ballpoint is good and another’s bushing is bad. Use a ball joint separator.

    6. There are three bolts onboard holding the control arm to the sub frame. These can be a mother to get off if they’ve never been off. Leverage is your friend. This is where an impact will help. No impact? Get a pipe on the breaker bar.

    7. Once all bolts are removed pull the lower control arm out. Pry bar, wood and hammer come in handy. Now if you’re replacing the whole arm you can reinstall. Good time to compare arms.

    *I’m not a huge fan of the Moog arms. Like most of Moog replacement bits I’m not entirely sure they are mazdaspeed3 specific. My car never really handled that well with them at autocross. I’d get wheel spin on corner exit that I never experienced before. I suspected the bushings were softer on the Moog replacements. When one of the ball joint boots failed on the Moogs I made my mind to go back to oem arms with Moog ball joints. I have never had aftermarket suspension parts last as long as oem. Really surprised how much movement was in the Moog arms. I wish I would have tested them new. I do recall how easy they installed due to the soft rear bushing. If I were to do it all again I would have just replaced the ball joints on oem control arms and saved a bunch of money.

    Moog control arm ~15-20k miles

    OEM ~60k miles

    8. Set up the ball joint tool to press out. I didn’t have an adapter to fit at the base of the ball joint so placed an adapter on top of the ball joint. Wide adapter on bottom for ball joint to have space to lower. Hand tightened and ready for position. Once I started pressing it out everything held together and popped the ball joint out. Can use either hand tools or impact.

    9. Once out, clean up the area.
    *this is a good time to size up the Moog ball joint with the oem one. Also with the control the arm. I verified that the Moog ball joint will fit with an OEM control arm. It will not fit with a Moog control arm for a 2010-13 speed3. Check the flange length. The flange is too thin on the Moog arms. The Moog balljoint is for the first gen speed3. So, odds are the ball joint will fit the Moog arms for the first gen. The gens have different part numbers. I already had the control arm for a 2010 so I tried to make them work. Not entirely sure if a first gen arm fits the second gen.

    Side by side the oem, left and Moog, right. Look similar.

    Oem arm left and Moog right. I didn’t measure the flange difference. It was noticeable.

    Moog ball joint on Moog control arm. 2010 ms3. Snap ring gap not good. Should be flush with arm.

    At the time I was in a rush to reassemble. Heard a loud pop on test drive. Moog now resting on snap ring. Drove on it for a bit till I could take apart again. Mucho noisy over bumps.

    OEM control arm with Moog Ball joint

    10. The Moog ball joints come with instructions to install. They are grease-able and the boots need to be oriented a certain way to allow grease to weep out away from brake rotor. I marked the ball joint so I could see how it was oriented. Once the tool in on you can’t seethe boot.

    11. Lightly tap the ball joint into the Control arm. Make sure it’s straight. Setup the tool so the larger adapter is on tool so the ball joint can be pressed in. Make sure the adapter the ball joint will be going into isn’t too small. It can catch a boot and tear it. No need to go Incredible Hulk on it. Press it in till it’s flush.

    *the dust boot covers are cheap insurance. If you damage a boot you can remove it and install the ES dust boot. They are some heavy duty boot covers. Kinda tough to get on and don’t compress as easily when reinstalling control arm. But good to have on hand. The plus side is I’ve used a pickle fork on the ES boots with little to no damage.

    Energy suspension dust boot, left vs Moog boot, right. The two lines on the Moog is what you want pointing inboard when’s installing for excessive grease to weep from.

    12. Slowly install ball joint ensuring it goes in straight. Once the ball joint bottoms out on the flange you’re good to go. Don’t want to over tighten especially if using an impact.

    13. Install snap ring and make sure it’s flush. I like to wait on installing the zerk fitting so I can use a jack to manipulate the ball joint into the knuckle.

    14 install of arm is pretty much the reverse. Get the inner part of the control arm installed first. Tighten bolts but not all the way. Be carful not to damage ball joint boot. Position the bail joint and use a jack to push up into knuckle. Make sure it’s up all the way. You can peek thru the bolt hole to see thru.

    15. Moog comes with a new bolt which is a bigger wrench size. Diameter looks the same.
    16. Install zerk fitting pointing inwards. Install additional grease.
    17. Torque ball joint bolt.
    18. Install rotor, brake caliper, and wheel.
    19. Lower vehicle on ramps. Torque the three control arm bolts.
    20. Reinstall under tray and enjoy.

    This isn’t an end all be all install. More of a fluid install with some pointers.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
    macdiesel, via an iPad, Apr 9, 2020
    • Like Like x 6
  2. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic. #BlackLivesMatter Motorhead Platinum Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Trophy Points:
    Palm Beach Gardens, FL
    +1,498 / -2
    Great write up and info, thank you!
    Mauro_Penguin, via a mobile device, Apr 10, 2020
    • Like Like x 1
  3. sonallie

    sonallie Greenie N00B Member

    Jan 9, 2021
    Trophy Points:
    Saint. Vincent
    +1 / -0
    Im thankful for this info. Im going to try this soon on my 07 speed 3
    sonallie, via a mobile device, Jan 9, 2021
    • Like Like x 1
  4. macdiesel

    macdiesel Greenie Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Trophy Points:
    Kenosha, Wi
    +334 / -0
    Thanks dude. Good luck.
    macdiesel, via an iPhone, Jan 11, 2021

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