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Ball Joint FailuresBall Joint Failures

Assuming the ball joint is properly designed for the intended application and load, a few normal failures that can occur are: 

  1. Material voids or material inclusions – Voids or foreign inclusions in the surface of the ball joint are normally caught by inspection at the manufacturer. These material defects can create stress risers and points for premature wear to begin significantly shortening the life of the component or in some cases cause catastrophic failure.                                                                                                                                 
  2. Improper finishing – Like any machined component, machining processes require routine (disciplined) inspection to ensure the component has the proper geometry, size and surface finish. If these checks are ignored, product that does not meet specification could make its way to the field and fail.
  3. Galling – Ball joints are designed to ride on a film of lubrication.  If there is no proper lubrication, dry-steel-to-steel friction can quickly destroy the ball joint, especially if the surface finish of the ball and mating components are not smooth.
  4. Contamination – Ball joints are kept free from contamination and moisture with specially designed protective caps and seals. When these components fail, the ball joint is vulnerable to dirt and moisture, leading to abrasive wear and corrosion.
  5. Improper Heat treatment – Ball joints are normally made of steel and case hardened. If the case is too deep, the ball joint could be too rigid and fracture under severe service. If the case is too shallow or soft, it could prematurely wear at the surface. Proper case hardness and consistent case depth are critical.


JGS’ PLASNIT Ion Nitriding coupled with our PLASOXâ corrosion protection process ensures the best dual treatment process for the most demanding ball joint applications. Our state-of-the-art controlled pulsed plasma nitriding process ensures absolute repeatability of case hardness and case depth with no distortion!  

The surface of the part will yield reduced coefficient of friction, be protected from corrosion and have an aesthetically pleasing black appearance.


Contact  jgs-logo transp-blacktoday to see how we can economically improve the service life of your ball joints!