How do you know tie rods are bad?



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Thread: How do you know tie rods are bad?

  1. #1
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    How do you know tie rods are bad?

    How can you tell if you have a bad Tie Rod? Bad ball joint?

    Passenger side has metal noise when going over pot holes, not over speed bumps. I guess because of the contant pressure on what it is on.

    I did the wheel test. moved it right and then left, no movement.


    thanks Scott

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    Just isolate the tie rod or ball joint from the steering knuckle, if it is easy wiggle the ball sockets, then its time to think for a replacement.

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    For the outer tie rod end, any vertical movement or any more than a smidgen horizontal movement, and it's replacement time.

    For the ball joint there's a procedure to use but the joint has to be unweighted to do it. Once unweighted, move the wheel from side to side hoizontally and back and forth vertically to see if there is movement at the ball joint, similar to the procedure described here. http://www.wikihow.com/Check-Ball-Joints
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    Sure sounds more like a sway bar link or bushing issue. The sway bar is not active during speed bump types of bumps, but is when only 1 wheel hits a pot hole. Especially when the 3 and 9 o'clock wiggle seems tight. Open the door on the passenger side and rick the van by hand back and forth, You will probably hear thunking when doing this.
    Candy the van. '98 Sport 3.8L 132,200 miles. Used trans at ~96k. Great piece of my life and a fine van.

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    One way of checking the sway bar link is by jacking the vehicle up, remove the wheel, put a wood block under the control arm and jack it up until the sway bar link is unweighted. Then check for movement in the ends of the link. Movement may be caused by the joint wearing or a nut loosening up. In the case of my last check for noise (Passenger's side), a nut was loose.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 115,600 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 314,240 kms
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    I will get under again,,and look for movement. this is the 3rd time. Andyg and jeepman--it could be the sway bar i will try both of those test.

    also--it was said if the wheel has a smidgen of movment when moving it 3 to 9 o'clock, it's time to replace ball joint. does that mean if it has a smidgen of movement and ball joint is replaced it will stop the noise over pot holes.

    anyway, i will get under by sunday and report back. THANKS FELLAS, appreciate your responses

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    Movement in the 12 and 6 positions is a sign of a ball joint, but it is best to have the jack under the control arm and have the control arm at ride height (with the wheel off the ground) to do that test. Of course with a jackstand under there for safety in case the jack slips.
    Candy the van. '98 Sport 3.8L 132,200 miles. Used trans at ~96k. Great piece of my life and a fine van.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotter5 View Post
    I will get under again,,and look for movement. this is the 3rd time. Andyg and jeepman--it could be the sway bar i will try both of those test.

    also--it was said if the wheel has a smidgen of movment when moving it 3 to 9 o'clock, it's time to replace ball joint. does that mean if it has a smidgen of movement and ball joint is replaced it will stop the noise over pot holes.

    anyway, i will get under by sunday and report back. THANKS FELLAS, appreciate your responses
    When they do a safety inspection they check for any movement. If there is movement, they will likely identify where the movement is and ask that the part be watched or replaced. In other words, a tight front end.
    With the wheel off the ground you can move the wheel back and forth to detect movement in the outer tie rod end. A smidgen of horizontal movement will be tolerated by some Mechanics (I actually had that type of movement in an outer tie rod end for 3 annual inspections before I decided to replace it myself and be done with it). If you grap the tie rod end and can sense vertical play, then replace it (A very easy job with the right tools. Aftermarket price: $16.00).

    I don't think the noise going over pot holes is due to ball joints or tie rod ends unless they are in real bad shape. I suspect a sway bar link, especially if you can tell which side the noise is coming from while driving. Be prepared to replace (or tighten) the Passenger's side link. On my Van that side wears out about twice as fast as the Driver's side.
    Last edited by Jeepman; 05-26-2011 at 04:03 PM.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 115,600 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 314,240 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 246,430 kms

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    Thank you fellas for the assistance. It appears that it was the sway bar. I did jack car up underneath the control arm, therefore taking weight off sway bar link to simulate going over uneven surfaces, therefore making noise as i travel. i could move the bar at the top back and fourth horizontally. Also the bolt going through hole in bracket into sway bar would just spin when turning.

    I will try to tighten it but doubt that will occur. PRobably End up buying an End (get it, funny right, well maybe not). I wonder if this will get rid of noise

    BIG THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL RESPONSES AND CARING.

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    After checking above sway bar link by above procedures,,,i realized there was a bad link--i replaced it and now works like a million dollars

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