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Rob McDonald

'57 Buick ball joint question - probably not what you expect.

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DAN, excellent presentation, superb result! You have replicated what Buick intended. The rubber boot seals to the stud and keeps pressure on the washer. The metal-to-metal seal between the washer and the joint housing appears to be very dependable.

True to Buick's exasperating habit, your original metal washers are different from mine! Mine are not concave, matching the outside radius of the joint housing. Instead, they're square-shouldered, with the lowers having a slightly deeper skirt than the uppers. Their grease seal to the joint body is just the thin edge of the skirt, much less positive than yours, which has a broad mating surface to keep the grease in.

I think I'll stick with my decision to reverse the placement of my squared-off washers and the new boots. For those of you with concave washers, like Dan's, I recommend installing them the way he shows. That's how the Good Book (1957 Buick Chassis Service Manual) said it should be.

Indeed, what has happened to Professor Franken-Gearhead's unholy experiment, anyway?

PHOTOS: 1. original rubber seals and one square-shouldered washer (others are similar); 2. boot/washer arrangement (later decided to use boot with ribs, left [Kuhn's ABC 369], at all four ball joints); 3. lower ball joint, upside-down; 4. upper ball joint, upside-down; 5. the scene of the crime.

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