Ball Joints May Separate Due to Premature Wear
Suspension & Steering, April 8, 2004
RepairPal Expert Overview
Our Quick Take:
The rubber boot protecting the lower ball joint may tear, allowing entry of water, dirt, salt, or other contaminants possibly leading to premature wear.
What Should You Do?
Please contact your GM dealer. They will check to see if your specific vehicle is affected and advise you on what to do next. Always have your vehicle identification number (VIN) handy when you call.
An interference fit between the lower ball joint rubber boot and the steering knuckle may cause the rubber boot to be cut. This would allow entry of water, dirt, salt, or other contaminants, possibly leading to premature wear. Failure from premature wear could lead to separation of the steering knuckle and lower control arm, which would cause the vehicle to drop at the affected corner. Vehicle handling and braking could be compromised, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the steering knuckles. The recall began April 8, 2004. The GM recall number is 03044.
Mfr's Report Date:
April 8, 2004
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number:
NHTSA Action Number:
SUSPENSION:FRONT:CONTROL ARM:LOWER BALL JOINT
Potential Number of Units Affected:
CERTAIN MINIVANS HAVE AN INTERFERENCE CONDITION BETWEEN THE LOWER BALL JOINT RUBBER BOOT AND THE STEERING KNUCKLE (BOTH LEFT/RIGHT SIDES), WHICH COULD RESULT IN CUTTING OF THE BOOT THAT IS INTENDED TO SEAL THE BALL JOINT. IF THE LOWER BALL JOINT BOOT WERE CUT, CONTAMINATION FROM THE ROAD (SALT, DIRT, WATER, ETC.) COULD ENTER THE BALL SOCKET AREA OF THE BALL JOINT CAUSING THE JOINT TO WEAR OUT TOO QUICKLY.
THE STEERING KNUCKLE COULD SEPARATE FROM THE LOWER CONTROL ARM, DROPPING DOWN THE AFFECTED CORNER OF THE VEHICLE. THE COIL SPRING WOULD PUSH THE CONTROL ARM DOWN INTO CONTACT WITH THE GROUND, CREATING A DRAG THAT WOULD SLOW THE VEHICLE. THE DRIVER COULD HAVE DIFFICULTY IN MAINTAINING THE DIRECTIONAL CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE. IN ADDITION, THE AFFECTED WHEEL ASSEMBLY COULD SEPARATE FROM THE VEHICLE IF FORCES RESULTING FROM THE WHEEL¿S DRAGGING ACTION WERE SUFFICIENT TO FRACTURE THE TIE ROD END AND UPPER BALL JOINT CONNECTIONS. SEPARATION OF THE WHEEL ASSEMBLY WOULD ALSO SEVER THAT WHEEL¿S HYDRAULIC BRAKE HOSE, RESULTING IN LOST BRAKING PERFORMANCE FROM THE FRONT BRAKE SYSTEM. VEHICLE STOPPING DISTANCE WOULD INCREASE, WHICH COULD RESULT IN A CRASH.
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE STEERING KNUCKLES. OWNER NOTIFICATION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN ON APRIL 8, 2004. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT CHEVROLET AT 1-800-630-2438 OR GMC AT 1-866-996-9463.
GM RECALL NO. 03044.CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION¿S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
Recall data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration