UrS and 200 ball joint failures

mike claire mike.claire at gmail.com
Mon Aug 11 18:23:54 PDT 2008

Hey guys - I saw a bad accident today, and it gave me a lot to think about.
Some of it is Audi related.

The cops have my statement.  Basically what happened is this:  We were each
going 60 in opposite directions.  If you could freeze the action as we
crossed each other, we were at an overpass expansion joint.  At that
millisecond, I heard heavy metallic pop, or a bang come from her car.  It
sounded unsprung, and it sounded like something she needed.  I glanced at my
side mirror to catch a glimpse as she passed.  Short wheelbase, high center
of gravity, I don't think anybody could have saved it, but she went down

A little more about the conditions, then the Audi content:  Rt 101 on the
Milford/Amherst NH line looks like an Interstate except it's one lane each
way, no median.  It was 11:30 AM, the road was dry, it was bright with high
cloud cover, and there were only 3 or 4 cars within sight.  She was driving
a late model car at a normal speed.  Something happened, and in the count of
2 seconds it was over.  It's as random as it gets.

I have seen too many emails about sudden ball joint failures, and we've been
lucky (as far was we know).  It has happened in the driveway, rolling thru a
parking lot, etc.  Somebody speculated that gyroscopic action holds a failed
components together until the speed's too low.  I suppose it's
possible....but when I hit an expansion joint at 90 I don't want to wonder
if that's what's holding my front-end together.

Here's my question:  Is a clunk-free UrS/200 control arm/ball joint
definately safe?  There's a concensus that TRW's are good, and Meyle is
terrible.  I replaced the arms 2 years and 15K miles ago.  They might have
been Meyle.

Suppose they were Meyle, and suppose it passed a "real" inspection by an
indy who works on UrS's all the time.  Would you track it with those arms?
If the car is heavy enough to snap something without warning during an
agressive maneuver, I'll change out parts next week (assuming TRW will
correct the risk).


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