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CarCare101: Project Miata: V8 Roadsters Rebuildable Upper Ball Joint Installation

Bruce Nunnally

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There is a common missconception of sorts, that the Miata’s upper ball joints are not servicable and you have to drop over $300 a piece for new upper control arms if they have to be replaced. Thanks to the fine folks at V8 Roadsters, we have found a way around this.


Step 1 – Removing the Old Upper Ball Joints:

The first step is to drive out the old ball joints. You might be able to do this with a hammer, but a press will make sort work of it.


Step 2 – New Ball Joints vs. Old Ball Joints:

As you can see our old ball joints were toast. Rather than purchasing new upper control arms, we ordered a set of V8 Roadsters Upper Ball Joints. These things are sweet! The look to be much better made than the OEM Mazda ball joint.


Step 3 – So What Makes Them so Bad *smurf*?

Several things actually.

  • First: they are a much better design than the stock Miata ball joints.
  • Second: they should last the entire life of the car if you keep them properly maintained
  • Third: you can adjust the lash on the ball joint
  • Fourth: they can be greased as needed
  • Fifth: A set of two will cost you less than one new control arm from Mazda
  • Sixth: the new style press in like the OEM Mazda ball joints did.



Step 4 – Press in the Ball Joint Housing:

So the first step it is to press in the housing. We used a hydraulic press, but i’m sure you could rig up something with a c-clamp that would do the job just fine.

Once we pressed in the housing we took a flat head screw driver and beat in the control arm flange on 4 sides to help ensure the ball joint housing stays seated. There is a groove just above the ridges on the ball joint where crontrol arm flange can get a good bite. Some folks put a couple of tack welds here instead.

All we are trying to do here is make sure the housing does not come unseated from the control arm during hard driving like you’d expirence on a track day since the upper ball joints were never ment to be replaced.


Step 5 – Ball Joint Insertion:

That sounded way dirtier than I originally intended… my inner 13 year old is pleased…

Put the rubber dust cup on the bottom and drop the ball stud in from the top.


Step 6 – Screw on the Cap:

Using a 3/4 socket. Don’t over torque this bad boy and be sure to use a bit of anti-seize on the threads. We will torque to spec once the control arm is on the car and we have filled it with Super Grease using the supplied Zerk Fitting.


Step 7 - Lock Washer and Snap Ring:

Once every thing is greased and torqued to spec, drop the lock washer in place and then follow that up with the snap ring.

When you pack it with grease, it will only take or or 2 pumps on the grease gun. There is no place for excess grease to escape so the grease gun will jam on the fitting if you get over zelous… ask me how I know…

Also work the ball stud around before you bolt it to the up right to ensure the bottom of the ball is well lubricated.


Next time we put everything back under the car including our shiny new Flying Miata V-Maxx suspension!

Installing V8 Roadsters Upper Ball Joints - Step 1: Removing the old Upper Ball JointsInstalling V8 Roadsters Upper Ball Joints - Step 2: New Ball Joints vs. Old Ball JointsInstalling V8 Roadsters Upper Ball Joints - Step 3: What Makes Them so Bad Ass?Installing V8 Roadsters Upper Ball Joints - Step 4: Press in the Ball Joint HousingInstalling V8 Roadsters Upper Ball Joints - Step 5: Ball Stud InsertionInstalling V8 Roadsters Upper Ball Joints - Step 6 Screw on the CapInstalling V8 Roadsters Upper Ball Joints - Step 7: Lockwasher and Snap Ring


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