Determining whether a tie rod end is bad or not?



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Thread: Determining whether a tie rod end is bad or not?

  1. #1
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    Determining whether a tie rod end is bad or not?

    I have a service order from a shop in the previous owners records indicating that the outer tie rods on my vehicle are bad.

    How can I check as to whether or not they are still bad or may have even been replaced?

    I have read that all I need to do is jack the vehicle up on that side and rock the wheel back and forth.

    If the wheel moves at all, there are bad tie rod ends.

    The reason I want to check this stuff out is because I am getting ready to do the front struts/rear shocks and want to make sure that everything else is ok.

    Thank you.
    98 White T&C lxi FWD 3.8 106k, Jasper Tranny, Aftermarket Tranny Cooler, 99+ seats, 99+ rims, 99-00 emblems and lettering, Nivomats, Class 1 Trailer Hitch, TYC headlamps, aftermarket driver mirror

    Waiting to go in:

    KYB GR2 front struts, NAPA Front Poly Swaybar Endlinks

    Other Vehicles owned:

    94 Infiniti G20, 93 Ford Escort GT

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  3. #2
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    Jack the wheel up so it clears the pavement. Grasp the wheel at the 3 & 9 o'clock positions and try to wiggle it. If you get any movement it's probably the tie rod ends that need replacing. If you get movement, grasp the wheel at the 12 and 6 o'clock position and wiggle. If you still get movement then it's probably a hub problem, not the tie rods. Do the test again on the other side. I always replace tie rods in pairs, even if I get movement only on one side. You will need to get an alignment if you replace the rods, so doing them at the same time you do the struts is a money saving idea.

    As always, good luck with your project!

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    Quote Originally Posted by webbee View Post
    Jack the wheel up so it clears the pavement. Grasp the wheel at the 3 & 9 o'clock positions and try to wiggle it. If you get any movement it's probably the tie rod ends that need replacing. If you get movement, grasp the wheel at the 12 and 6 o'clock position and wiggle. If you still get movement then it's probably a hub problem, not the tie rods. Do the test again on the other side. I always replace tie rods in pairs, even if I get movement only on one side. You will need to get an alignment if you replace the rods, so doing them at the same time you do the struts is a money saving idea.

    As always, good luck with your project!
    What type of movement? Am I supposed to do this only with the steering column locked?

    Movement of the entire strut with the wheel?

    I am able to rock the wheel/strut left to right by doing what you said above but it isn't a WHOLE lot.

    I tried one of my other cars and it has just as much travel but it has no problem with steering.
    98 White T&C lxi FWD 3.8 106k, Jasper Tranny, Aftermarket Tranny Cooler, 99+ seats, 99+ rims, 99-00 emblems and lettering, Nivomats, Class 1 Trailer Hitch, TYC headlamps, aftermarket driver mirror

    Waiting to go in:

    KYB GR2 front struts, NAPA Front Poly Swaybar Endlinks

    Other Vehicles owned:

    94 Infiniti G20, 93 Ford Escort GT

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    Jack up the wheel and physically grab the tie rod end. Try as hard as you can to push it up and down, then back and forth. Any movement inticates a worn out (and dangerous) tie rod. The origional tie rods on my vans have only lasted about 25,000 miles, the replacements have grease fittings and have lasted as long as I have had the vans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DASander View Post
    Jack up the wheel and physically grab the tie rod end. Try as hard as you can to push it up and down, then back and forth. Any movement inticates a worn out (and dangerous) tie rod. The origional tie rods on my vans have only lasted about 25,000 miles, the replacements have grease fittings and have lasted as long as I have had the vans.
    Do I need to remove the tie rod end to do this? Sorry but I am still learning this stuff.

    Thanks
    98 White T&C lxi FWD 3.8 106k, Jasper Tranny, Aftermarket Tranny Cooler, 99+ seats, 99+ rims, 99-00 emblems and lettering, Nivomats, Class 1 Trailer Hitch, TYC headlamps, aftermarket driver mirror

    Waiting to go in:

    KYB GR2 front struts, NAPA Front Poly Swaybar Endlinks

    Other Vehicles owned:

    94 Infiniti G20, 93 Ford Escort GT

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jj200282 View Post
    Do I need to remove the tie rod end to do this? Sorry but I am still learning this stuff.

    Thanks
    Well I pulled as hard as I could to the left and right with the tie rod in place(provided it was the tie rod I was pulling on).

    The left tie rod didn't budge at all. I'll have to check the right one.
    98 White T&C lxi FWD 3.8 106k, Jasper Tranny, Aftermarket Tranny Cooler, 99+ seats, 99+ rims, 99-00 emblems and lettering, Nivomats, Class 1 Trailer Hitch, TYC headlamps, aftermarket driver mirror

    Waiting to go in:

    KYB GR2 front struts, NAPA Front Poly Swaybar Endlinks

    Other Vehicles owned:

    94 Infiniti G20, 93 Ford Escort GT

  8. #7
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    The wiggle movement would be in the direction of a turn, left to right at the 3&9 o'clock position. Locking the column would hold the steering mechanism in place and would help in this test. You should have zero movement. Leaving one wheel on the ground accomplishes about the same thing. Tie rods mount into the steering knuckle, inboard the wheel. That's why you must do both wiggle spots to determine if it's the tie rods or the hub. No movement is a good thing. Here is AutoZone's repair guide for your van, explaining the locations of the parts, tests, etc. Feed in your year, etc, and go to the front suspension section. It will probably be clearer than I can write it.

    If I were replacing the struts, I would probably replace the tie rods too. Don't forget the sway bar ends and bushings. Especially if the van has 100K or more on the odometer and nothing much has been replaced. I always try to replace most of the suspension components at 100K because I don't like messing with serial problems. Most front end replacement work requires an alignment be done, which gets expensive fast, if you do one thing and then another, with an alignment after each one. I do most of the labor myself so I only have parts expenses. If you are paying someone to do the work, then that's a whole different way to think about repairs and my way/advice might not work for you.

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    Engine Swap

    Can I fit a 2007 chrysler town and country into a 2001-2002 dodge caravan? thank you...

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    Yes and no. This engine probably uses a different engine computer - so you'd need that too. The mounts may be slightly different.

  11. #10
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    Sometimes the tie rod will not show wear when the tire is off the ground, due to a different angle at the tie rod ball joints. My previous car had an inner tie rod go bad, it wouldn't give any play when the vehicle was jacked up, but with the wheel on the ground I could distinctly feel the play when jiggling on the tire at the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions.

    - G
    1998 Grand Voyager @266,000mi, 3.3L FFV V6

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