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Discussion Starter #1
I've just put my suspension back together which included brand new upper ball joints, brand new lower (Bauer) ball joints, and Zerek drift knuckles. I noticed that when I hand thread the castle nuts on both ball joints, the nuts go way past the cotter pin holes with just my fingers. If I torque them to spec than they are a good half inch or more past those holes which defeats the purpose of them.

Has anyone else run into this? Should I just tighten them enough to get the cotter pin through and let it do its job? I know it won't come off but it does bother me how lose it is, especially with it being a purpose build drift car and the suspension will be getting hit hard.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here is an image of the upper ball joint. That castle nut is finger tight only. Once it is torqued to spec it will be threaded even further on. You can see the at that point the cotter pin will be entirely useless.


I compared my original ball joint studs for both the upper and lower and they appear to be the same length.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I found a small factor to the problem with the upper ball joint. Using my digital caliper I checked how far back the hole is from the head of stud. On my old pair it was 5.35mm back. On the new pair it's only 3mm. The difference is more than 2.35mm however, so that's not the sole problem.

Would it be OK to use a washer or 2 on there? I'm probably wrong but since it has a cotter pin to stop it from unthreading and there is a flexible rubber bushing on the other side, it doesn't seem like it would be a problem. It looks like the knuckle goes over the tapered point and as long as you can keep it tight on that, a few washers to put the castle nut where it needs to be while maintaining the correct torque seems like it would work but I don't know for sure and it's not something I want to do willy nilly without getting the opinions of others.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I found a small factor to the problem with the upper ball joint. Using my digital caliper I checked how far back the hole is from the head of stud. On my old pair it was 5.35mm back. On the new pair it's only 3mm. The difference is more than 2.35mm however, so that's not the sole problem.

Would it be OK to use a washer or 2 on there? I'm probably wrong but since it has a cotter pin to stop it from unthreading and there is a flexible rubber bushing on the other side, it doesn't seem like it would be a problem. It looks like the knuckle goes over the tapered point and as long as you can keep it tight on that, a few washers to put the castle nut where it needs to be while maintaining the correct torque seems like it would work but I don't know for sure and it's not something I want to do willy nilly without getting the opinions of others.
I should have searched before posting. I found the answer to my own question. Washers are completely fine and are often needed when replacing the ball joint. Most replacements come with them as well, though mine did not. It didn't even come with the cotter pin so I'm not surprised. But I will go grab a bunch of washers tomorrow until I can get things torqued correctly and in the correct location.

For anyone wondering, I found the same answer on numerous car forums and then I stumbled upon a post on miata.net that was actually regarding the same exact car as mine (99, no ABS) and the same issue.

Here is that post for anyone who wants to read it: https://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=562163
 

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I really appreciate you actually following up with your findings ... nothing worse than a deadend thread with no resolution to a problem I'm sure others have come across.
 

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I really appreciate you actually following up with your findings ... nothing worse than a deadend thread with no resolution to a problem I'm sure others have come across.
No problem! I have been using forums for over 20 years and see it frequently. Unfortunately, I'm noticing it more than ever with Miata forums since picking mine up. I have found several posts about issues that I have and none of them ever have a resolution. Occasionally the OP will say "I figured it out, thanks" but not say what the resolution was. So I try to make it a point to always provide the resolution in case some stumbles upon it later via Google or something else.
 
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