Introduction: Broken Garmin Ball Socket

Picture of Broken Garmin Ball Socket

Two of the plastic tabs inside the ball socket mount for our Garmin Nuvi 205 GPS broke off, and the GPS falls off of the suction cup windshield mount. I can order a replacement, but we are going on a road trip quite soon, and shipment from the Far East may not arrive in time.

Tools

  • Hot glue gun
  • Drill
  • Sandpaper

Materials

  • Vaseline
  • Hot glue stick

Step 1: Drill a Couple of Holes

Picture of Drill a Couple of Holes

I will use some hot glue to fill the void left by the broken pieces, but I do not want the hot glue to slip out of the socket. I will drill a couple of holes from the side in the area of the broken pieces to anchor the hot glue. There is a metal collar. My drill kicked against the metal collar, but the hole did go through to the socket.

Step 2: Sand Casting Marks From the Ball

Picture of Sand Casting Marks From the Ball

There is a casting line on the ball that makes a little ridge. I decided to sand this line away with some fine sandpaper. I did not want the ball and the hot glue to adhere too tightly.

Step 3: Release Agent

Picture of Release Agent

I decided to use Vaseline as a release agent. Smear the ball with it.

Step 4: Hot Glue

Picture of Hot Glue

Let the glue gun get hot enough for easy flow of the glue. Pump hot glue into the voids left by the broken pieces. Let some glue cover the exposed ball. Push some hot glue into the holes you drilled.

In the second photo you can see a little extra glue that has gone to holes in the bottom of the socket. This helps anchor the inserted glue.

Hold the ball steady until the glue has cooled.

Step 5: Break Free

Picture of Break Free

Gently begin to twist the ball in its socket until the ball moves smoothly in its full range of motion.

You should be able to remove the ball from its socket without breaking the hot glue from the socket. Wipe the socket and the ball with a tissue to remove any residual Vaseline.

Step 6: Range of Motion

Picture of Range of Motion

The problem I discovered is that the ball has less tension on it and the weight of the GPS will cause it to droop so that the screen does not face the driver and stay in position.

One solution is to build up the hot glue over the ball so the hot glue provides a barrier to limit the movement of the GPS. Another is to drill a small hole and tap it for #6 screw threads. Insert a screw to press against the ball and add a little tension. Still another solution would be to use a balance weight on the back of the GPS by taping washers to the lower part of the GPS, but this could make it easier for the suction cup to fall off of the windshield.

It appears this will work pretty well. I expect to find aspects of it I will want to tweak, yet.

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Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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