Vintage Mustang Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part JUNE's Ride of the Month Challenge!
  • May's Ride of the Month contest ended with a tie! Go to this thread to vote on the winner! VOTE HERE
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,011 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been searching post, both here and Mustang Steve for "how to tell if your Tie rods are bad". (Not necessarily with those words). Only 1 post (count em 1) comes up on both sites that gives even a hint of what to look for.
In a nutshell, it said they should not be loose.
For me, that description just doesn't define well enough, what to look for.
I've looked thru my records (I just keep them to remind me when I've done something). It turns out my memory hasn't failed me YET.
I replaced the front suspension parts when I brought the car home in 1999. That was apprx. 175,000 miles ago! Lately I've replaced the upper and lower arms with tubular arms, rebuilt the roller spring perches, replaced the shocks, sway bar bushings, applied synthetic grease to all the poly bushings. Replaced the spring isolator, removed a hvy Gauge steel ring with 3 fingers that had been previously installed on top of the spring isolator (Nobody that I've shown it to, knows why it was there).
And I still have a clunking noise that only vocalizes upon certain road conditions that move the suspension.
I can grab the tie rods with one hand and without much effort move it (twist) up and down.
Are the tie rods due to be replaced?
Based on milage or "looseness" or both?
BTW the handling is awesome, the alignment is good.
 
G

·
Sometimes when they are packed with grease they can be hard to rotate or twist by hand and get a good idea if they are worn out. Tie rods are cheap and easy to do, if you think they might be bad go ahead and replace. Just my .03
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,011 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the response Napaguy. I ordered a full set today, and will install by Friday.
I'm sure that all in I'll pay 100.00 + or -
So, yea their cheap and I'm certain I got my money worth out of the old set.
I posted to see if anybody knew what the test is to check them. Not only for myself, but I'm sure a few of the newbies want to know as well.
 
G

·
Usually I do as you described...I take the tie rod and try and twist it. Most of the time there will be a little play. It's kind of a toss up as to how much play is acceptable. I try and go by mileage...anything over 100,000 is usually time to replace
 

·
Just some guy
67 coupe, 69 Sportsroof, 86 hatchback
Joined
·
21,720 Posts
Twisting is OK, to an extent, they ARE supposed to swivel and rotate.
There's probably a set procedure written somewhere, but I've always checked by prying and compressing. I use a prybar like I was trying to pry the tierod end apart. Then I use a pair of BIG channel lock pliers to squeeze the tierod "back together". What I'm actually looking for is more than an eighth of an inch of movement either way. Depending on arrangements I can sometimes use a prybar for both checks.
The idea is that a tierod end is basically a ball in a socket. Rotating and twisting is good, the ball being able to jump up and down in the socket is a sign of wear. A very slight amount of play is normally acceptable, many ball and socket fitments are less than perfect. Since ball joints are basically of the same design, this mannner of testing works with them too. Due to suspension designs, spring and weight loadings, some ball joint setups are difficult to test effectively though.
I once pried a tierod end completely apart when checking with a pry bar. I saw it as a good thing. I like to think I may have saved someone's life by doing so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,011 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well I got the new tie rods installed today. I tried to do it myself and got stuck on the left inner , it just wouldn't come out. even after repeated applications of a BFH to the pickle fork. So I called my buddy at his shop and asked if he would do it , the pickle fork was his and he has the air hammer that slices thru warm butter. It did make a difference! Then off to the alignment shop. Where they only had time to set the toe. I got there just about 5, ( they close at 6) They had one of those computerized Hunter machines. Quite the machine with all the lasers and targets.

I'll check to see if he got it right tomorrow. They will set the caster and camber Saturday morning.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,011 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Your correct. They were close enough for a few days. But an incorrect toe setting will eat a pair of tires up in a few days with the number of miles I drive per day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,607 Posts
I noticed that you didn't say anything about replacing the strut rod bushings. Those will definitely cause a clunk....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,392 Posts
The "shade tree mechanic" tie rod test I've used is to jack up one of the front tires making sure the other side is still firmly on the ground, hold the tire at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions then try to move the wheel back and forth as if you were trying to spin the steering wheel from the tire. If you can feel any movement or play in the linkage while doing this have someone look at the tie rod while you move the wheel to make sure none of the other steering components are at fault, but chances are good it would be the tie rods. FWIW, you can use the same procedure with your hands at 6 and 12 o'clock to test ball joints.

... Replaced the spring isolator, removed a hvy Gauge steel ring with 3 fingers that had been previously installed on top of the spring isolator (Nobody that I've shown it to, knows why it was there).
And I still have a clunking noise that only vocalizes upon certain road conditions that move the suspension.
There was a post on something like this not long ago. The OP included a pic of the part he was asking about and it looked like the part you described. The answer was it's a locator ring that is spot welded to the under side of the shock tower at the factory. Over time the spot welds will rust or break leaving the ring to float loosely between the spring and shock tower and is very likely the cause of the clunk you occasionally hear. With out those 3 fingers to positively locate the top of the spring it can move under the right conditions.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top