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Thread: F-35 TV Ball link replacement

  1. #1

    F-35 TV Ball link replacement

    I just got my new F-35 a week ago. Everything is working just fine except for the ball joint for the TV. The one with the issue is the one on the bottom of the plane for verticle access tv control. The ball is malformed and isn't really a ball at all, it is more of an egg. This malformation is causing the linkage to pop off super easy. The good thing is that my kit came with 2 or 3 extra plastic ball pieces. I want to know how to replace this part the right way. It looks like it is glued in plastic on plastic. The socket it goes into is plastic and not foam. Can you please explain to me the proper method of fixing this issue.

    Also, what is the policy around damaged and/or defective parts? I'd like to know if I can have another ball link part sent to me and maybe a right wing since mine came in with a deep ugly little dent on the top of it. Not sure how much damage or what kind of damage warrents a part replacement. I was too anxious to fly the plane so I've already glued the damaged one in. A spare would be nice.

  2. #2

    Re: F-35 TV Ball link replacement

    Contact support during the week let them know your invoice number and order number. They will help you with replacement parts. You may have to ask about how to install the TV ball joint as well. There used to be a video I think on line but I don't seem to find it....

    Hope this helps,


  3. #3

    Re: F-35 TV Ball link replacement

    I'll make the call. I understand for the customer service questions I had, but what about the technical question as to how to loosen up the glue on the ball link post for the TV nozzle? I think others could benefit from the answer too.

    The main reason I posted these questions was because it is nearly impossible for me to make this call while at work. Since the support hours coincide with my work schedule I having a rough time getting a chance to make the call.


  4. #4

    Re: F-35 TV Ball link replacement

    Hi there,
    You can use some lighter fluid to run down into the glue joint. Let is sit for a few seconds and it will soften the glue. Pull on the ball link while using your hands or a pair of plyers to push against the mounting area. It may take some work, but it does come out. Worst case is cut off the link at the base and drill out the remains.


  5. #5

    Re: F-35 TV Ball link replacement

    Sorry to sound stupid, but will butane lighter fluid work, or do I nedd to go buy zippo lighter fluid?

  6. #6

    Re: F-35 TV Ball link replacement

    Not a stupid question, however I believe the Zippo liquid is what you want.


  7. #7

    Re: F-35 TV Ball link replacement

    The Zippo branded stuff was impossible to find, but I did find some generic ligher fluid at Walgreens that was for Zippos. For others out there, I ended up using ShopSavvy on my Android phone to perform a search for "lighter fluid", it found one store in my area. I would have spent all day calling around if it weren't for this app. Another suggestion would be to just buy some online when you buy your plane. You'll need it at some point. I wish I had some on day one, then I could have used it to pull my wing servo to adjust the control horn instead of cutting a slot/wedge out of my wing so that I could get a screw driver in there to get the horn screw out.

    Anyways back on topic. I have successfully replaced my ball link on my TV nozzle. Here's a tip. Surround the area in paper towels, or even use blue painters masking tape to mask off the area around the joint. This will help to capture excess fluid that will squirt out of the lighter fluid bottle. I ended up applying the fluid about a half dozen times over a half hour. After the second application I noticed that the foam on the end of the TV nozzle felt loose. I pulled gently on it and the whole piece came off. After it was off and I knew that the fluid was indeed working, I was able to be more liberal with the fluid. After the half hour passed and there was no sign of the piece budging, I resorted to drilling the piece out. I started by using a bit smaller than the inside diameter of the "socket" where the ball link is glued into. I drilled into the aft area of the socket, I got as close as I could get without scoring or drilling into the sockets plastic. I only wanted to damage the link part, not the TV nozzle socket part. Well, I stopped 3/4 way through since i thought I was off angle and was going to damage the socket. I pulled out the drill and felt the ball link move. I pulled on it and it came out easily. I guess I relieved some pressure, or removed some stubborn glue because it worked. Funny thing was that there was no real sign of glue on the removed part. The only glue appeared to be on the inside of the TV nozzle and not on the outside part. I did use lighter fluid on the inside part too. I flipped the model over on its back several times to apply fluid. I basically alternated sides every 5 minutes or so.

    It would be nice if the model came with a spare block of foam that could be used for patching damaged planes or for testing stuff on, like glues, lighter fluid, paint, etc. I had previously tried goo off and it ate away the foam nearly instantly. Oops. Now I need to buy some wood patch to fix the area affected and some paint to cover up the repair.

    Oh ya, that reminds me, paint would be an excellent accessory to buy with the model. I wish HL sold it as a recommended item with the plane.

    Thanks to Jason for letting me know how to repair my plane.

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