Oh, boy. Spicer and MOOG. However you put it, when it comes to both aftermarket joints, these two are true market leaders.
So how do they perform against each other? Spicer vs MOOG – which one manufactures the best U joints and ball joints?
Frankly, there’s a very simple answer:
If you drive a Jeep, I recommend you to go for Spicer joints. This specific U joint is the absolute best replacement part you can get for virtually all Jeep models.
For most other vehicles – and especially light trucks or commuter cars, MOOG are an affordable and optimal solution. Their U joints are praised by reviewers, and their high-rated ball joints still outmatch similar-priced competitors.
So, why Spicer and Jeep?
Again, simple: the brand’s a direct OEM replacement across all Jeep generations. It’s been so for several decades, and Spicer U joints have an optimal fit and performance with Jeep beasts.
Let’s look closer at these two for a quick review, shall we?
Spicer vs MOOG – best U Joints:
A bit of background info
So, first, let’s clarify a few things.
First, MOOG manufacture several lines of U joints under their Precision, Premium and Super Strength lines.
Now, this depends on your vehicle and intended use – but I recommend going for their Super Strength products. These are designed with high torque applications in mind, and the nitrile seals are slightly better than the standard.
Here’s the anatomy of your typical Super Strength U Joint:
If you don’t plan on doing crazy torque stuff, you can stick to the Premium line.
What about Spicer?
Well, they do have quite the tricks up their sleeve. Spicer’s 1310 Life series (part #5-760x) is very popular among Jeep owners for a reason.
Here it is:
I know that every company comes up with similar statistics, but I’ve never seen a Jeep owner who doesn’t vouch for this. This is quite possibly the best U joint out there, especially paired with the fact it’s a direct OE replacement for Jeep vehicles.
What gives? Where does this sturdiness come from? Two very big reasons:
These beasts are extra heat-treated for more strength, and are precision-ground.
The thrust washers here legendary: they help lower operating temperatures and prevent the metal surfaces from rubbing to each other.
All in all, there’s a reason why Jeep put Spicer parts in anything from a Wrangler JK to older models like the Cherokee (XJ) or TJ models.
Should you get a greasable or a non-greasable U joint?
That’s been the debate for quite a few years after non-greasable joints – ball or universal ones, started gaining in popularity.
Ultimately it’s up to you, but non-greasables actually can outlast the greasable type. It depends on the climate where you’ll drive (especially offroad), of course.
But, in general cases, a non-greasable U joint takes care of itself. This saves you time and reduces the risk of dirt sneaking into the zerk – which does happen sometimes if you need to grease the joints.
Here’s a good video that showcases exactly why the non-greasable U joints are superior. The demonstration involves Spicer parts:
Semi-related, I’ve seen a lot of people getting confused about U joint size charts. Here’s the one MOOG have prepared for you – it should help you in picking the right universal part.
Spicer or Moog for ball joints?
Are they any good?
You bet. As I mentioned earlier, what applies to universal joints, applies to ball joints too.
Spicer are a very cost-effective replacement to the original ball joints you got with your Jeep. Are they the best out there? Not really – in my post about JK/TJ ball joints I talk about Dynatrac and Teraflex, the kings.
But in the mid-price range, you won’t find MOOG joints performing anywhere close to what Spicer does for Jeep.
For passenger cars or light trucks, MOOG manufacture a wide range of ball joints (check them out) that will do the trick. I urge you to go for their Problem Solver line.
Similar to other brands, MOOG divides their production into several product types. The Problem Solver series is their premium line, while the R-series are discounted mediocrity. (Yes, I did roast these series in my comparison with ACDelco.)
What makes MOOG ball joints that good for Chevy models or, say, an F-150?
A few things:
The precision engineered steel composition, outperforming other brands like Mevotech in endurance tests. The powdered coating makes a change.
Fully greaseable, and in a very easy and simple way. Maintenance is a breeze.
Variety: Few other makers cover as many vehicles as MOOG does.
Pair all of this with a very attractive price, and you have a winner.
But who is your winner, if you have already used some U joint brands?
What are your impressions on either Spicer and Moog or other manufacturers? Any complaints or praises?
If it’s about ball joints, I also have a substantial roundup of brands comparable to Moog. However, I believe Spicer is a cut above.
And as I said, I’m curious about other U joint possibilities for your average car owner.
Hit the comments below and let me know!