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I measured the joints that I pressed out of my control arms (last ones I measured were chinesium ones). They were about 1.963" - 1.965". The Mevotech joints were about 1.973" to start. Since my lathe is 500 miles away, I just had to make do with some sandpaper. Got the new joints down to about 1.969".




They were a good bit tighter going in than the old ones were coming out, but they went in. I got the snap ring to go on the passengers side, but couldn't on the drivers side. Looks like that taper on the shoulder of the joint hits first. Either way it's so tight it's not going anywhere.






Everything other than the balljoints was pretty easy. The original brake lines work and everything (mine aren't very old).






The only thing I found a little bit different is that the ear for the tie rod is about 3/4" lower on the 03 knuckle than the 99 knuckle. I suspect due to lower mounting of the steering rack. I had to eyeball my alignment until I can take it up the street to get aligned during the week, took about 6 turns out to get the wheels looking straight. The geometry doesn't look drastically different than before, so hopefully it doesn't introduce excessive bump steer or anything like that.





I drove around the street here a couple times, and so far they seem like they're working well. After I get it aligned I'll have to go out and bed them in. I'm sure they'll feel much better after that.
 

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I got the other side done today. These parts really are not compatible. As far as I can tell, the 00-03 LBJs have a tapered shoulder on them where the 98-99 have a square one. I was able to get it in far enough to get most of the snap ring on. I think it would be relatively simple to chamfer the LCA where the taper is if there was a stone of the correct diameter and taper. I'm not going to take it apart again to try this.

Also, it is best to have the grease fitting face forward, aligned with the one on the control arm.
 

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The taper on the shoulder of the newer ball joints doesn't seem to serve much purpose other than to be a place to press it in with. I'd think it would be easier to cut down the taper on the joint rather than chamfer the control arm. That said you'd only have to do it once with the control arm. I think I'm gonna get another set of joints and the next time I can, turn down the body to be closer to that of the 99 joints and knock that taper down some. All things considered I think things went together pretty well.
 

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If I have any problems and have to do this again, I'd rather mod the control arms since that way the later model LBJs would install properly. I'd say I have like 90% snap ring engagement, plus they are pressed in really tight.
 

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If the balljoint comes loose in the control arm, I think there are worse problems than the snap ring can solve.

That said I still think the tie rod angle is a bigger concern. I've been scouring around catalogs to see if I can find a tie rod end with enough offset to get the tie rod more level. I have a lifetime alignment with firestone, so I'm thinking I still might let them align it and see how it drives with all as is, but I'm kind of thinking bump steer might be noticeable.
 

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Well to give an update I had the front end aligned yesterday. Didn't hear any issues with them, looks like it all lined up. Drove it to work today (about 25 miles round trip) and it drove fine. Aimed for a couple big dips (I've seen it bottom out cars) on the interstate and didn't get anything I could perceive as bump steer. I'm going to keep looking for different ends to straighten out the tie rods, but for now it drives fine.
 
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