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I have an appointment to get my car aligned next week. The car will be resting until the alignment. I replaced all the front control arms because the ball joint boots were all torn up and the lower right ball joint started making a lot of noise. Thank you to everybody who has posted info about the parts swap – everything went pretty smoothly. After I took out all the old parts, I noticed all the old ball joints appeared to be in fairly decent shape and there is no play in them but they are a lot easier to move around than the new tight ones. I got Moog parts from Rock Auto.

Right now, I am trying to make sure I don’t need to replace anything else before I go in to get the car aligned and I just noticed a potential problem. The car only has 76k miles and this particular car has been driven fairly conservatively most of its life and we don’t have lots of pot holes in this area. I am wondering about a noise I hear when I wobble the steering wheel with the engine off. I was wondering if somebody could go check their car out and see if it does the same thing.

With the steering wheel unlocked and the engine off, if I wobble the steering wheel just a little to the left and right in a rapid motion, I can hear a clicking sound from the steering rack area. I cannot hear the noise at all with the engine running so I was thinking maybe it is normal to hear the sound since there is no high pressure steering fluid pumping through the rack.

I have recently checked the inner and outer tie rods for play when inspecting stuff under the car and doing the control arms. Everything feels real tight with all the tie rod ends. I got under the car some more today to get a closer look and inspect the click sound. I had a helper in the car and when they turn the wheel back and forth, I can see the rods and wheels all move in unison and I can hear the noise.

When I hold my mechanic stethoscope up to the left inner rod (closest to the steering rack), I can hear the sound the loudest when the helper is wobbling the wheel. If I use my hand and hold the rod real tight and hold it steady by holding onto the strut rod real tight at the same time, it gets real quiet.

Should I replace the inner tie rod ends or is this the way it is supposed to be? I’d really appreciate it if some of you could go out and wobble your steering wheel with the engine off and see if you hear a little sound up front. It isn’t super loud but it is noticeable.

Thank you very much

Right now I think I will go test one more time with the stethoscope and this time I will have the engine running and see if I get any change with that.
 

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My original inners are the same way, if I pull the steering wheel till it's tight (engine off) and release it I'll get a banging sound from them when the wheel rebounds. Mine also give no play by hand but it's pretty clear they're the culprit once you load it up. 76k is fairly low miles but things in the front end tend to noticeably wear out after 50k or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here's an update:

I went and tested some more with my helper at the wheel. The clicking sound was definitely quieter with the engine running. With the stethoscope rod held right up against the left inner rod with the engine off, it is very distinct but it quiets down quite a bit with the engine running but it is still there and is probably just muffled out from the engine noise. Then I did some more tugging and pushing and pulling on that inner tie rod and now I think I do feel a very slight amount of movement in there.

Maybe it is the tie rod end or something else in the rack, but I decided to take the plunge and get 2 new inner rods ordered. I want to make sure I get everything handled before the alignment so I can hopefully go several years before needing to mess with anything else up front that would require another alignment. If the noise is still there after the inner tie rod ends, I’ll just live with it because I don’t want to do the rack if it turns out that there is something in there that is messed up and causing the sloppy sound.

I read a bunch of threads about replacing the inner ends before I ordered them and I don’t think there will be any problems but if I get stuck, I might post a question or two in this thread about that. I did the inners about 6 years ago on a Windstar van and I still have the long tool with the crows feet inserts and I don’t remember running into any problems then but I might be rusty now.

Thank you to all previous posters who have contributed to the R&R procedures for the inner tie rod ends. I’ll post again later in the week after the parts go in to update the info on weather or not the new parts cleaned up the noise.

I do have one quick question about the inner installation right now though. I read about removing the rivets or roll pins by just twisting real hard and sheering the piece off. I assume the pin holds the inners from unscrewing from their mount inside the rack when making adjustments for the toe setting.

Do the new Moog parts come with a hole and a new pin (or whatever it is) to hold the screw-in piece in place so it doesn’t back out, or do you just torque the ends in enough to where they wouldn’t loosen up from twisting the rod to make the toe adjustment?

Thank You
 

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Do the new Moog parts come with a hole and a new pin (or whatever it is) to hold the screw-in piece in place so it doesn’t back out, or do you just torque the ends in enough to where they wouldn’t loosen up from twisting the rod to make the toe adjustment?

Thank You
Mine came with Loktite(tm) to lock them in place, no pins.

RwP
 

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My Motorcraft inners came with a pin, the originals had no pin.

Joe
 
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