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The winter season has beaten the crap out of my car, Combine school with no warm place to work and you end up with problems.

This has been happening for a while, when driving down the road my steering wheel wobbles back and forth. The itself isn't shaking, just the steering wheel.

There is a ton of knocking, mostly due to the swaybar links I believe, but I know I need to replace my lower ball joints also.

My left front tire is wearing on the outside fairly badly, and my strut rod bushings are junk.

so aside from the steering wheel wobbling, from time to time I hear a clunk, or the car shifts suddenly when making a sharp turn (turning into a parking spot at a sharp angle).


anybody have any idea what the problems may be, I'm getting scared to drive this thing.

Can new strut rod bushings be had for a fair price?
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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The steering wheel is loose or the steering wheel vibrates at speed (as if the front wheels were out of balance)?

Strut rod bushings from Ford are about $20 for the LCA side and it's roughly $120 for the frame side kit (per side).
 

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Sounds like something's ready to break. Get a clamp on light fixture, the kind with the conical aluminum reflector, and put a heat lamp in it. Point that on you while you're working on the front suspension. If you can't pinpoint and repair any serious problems, take it to a shop and at least get an estimate. Is the car subject to an annual safety inspection where you live?
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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I was having the same issue, turned out to be a tire out of balance. However by the sound of things it seems like your suspension needs attention, so that throws a wildcard in the mix. Make sure your ball joints (esp. lowers) are good, tend to the strut rod bushings, get the alignment checked and have your tires balanced. Sway bar endlinks are a cornering and handling issue so they're not essential if they fail but if they're making noise... obviously add them to the list as well.
 

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If your going to do the strut rod bushings or lower ball joints do them both at the same time. I would visually inspect the uppers for broken boots and if cracked, broken, or leaking replace them also. While your in there pull on the steering rods and feel for play and replace as necessary aw hell if you got some extra funds just replace everything at one time and be done with it. Otherwise you'll be tearing it apart every few months fixing this and that been there done that, sucks.
 

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The steering wheel is loose or the steering wheel vibrates at speed (as if the front wheels were out of balance)?

Strut rod bushings from Ford are about $20 for the LCA side and it's roughly $120 for the frame side kit (per side).
The frame kit is no longer available except when someone has old stock on the shelf.

The BUSHINGS are.

Just bought the frame side, both sides for $42 including tax.

The control arm side end up being about $50 for both sides, plus some for tax.

(Tax is at 9% around here, BTW).

All other parts - Moog or Motorcraft for the win.

(I posted a pick list for RockAuto showing both 89-92 and 93-up sway bar end links, here in the Suspension forum. Or was it on SCCoA? Never mind, if it's not here, I'll post a link here to the PDF I generated last night.)

RwP

Edit: Yep, link was here: http://forums.tccoa.com/showpost.php?p=1364766&postcount=5

Feel free to use it for the Moog part numbers. Also check - I listed both the early and the later sway bar end links (the knuckles are different, so the mount point is different.) IF you have a set available at the local boneyard, I'd swap to the newer spindles and brake calipers especially if you're doing both upper and lower control arms.

Also, so far I've had good luck with the Dorman UCAs - they have a beefy cap over the ball joint. However, I still recommend, unless you want to experiment like I've done (BTW - ACDelco frame side strut rod bushings? Not worth the money. Seriously. I got less than a month, and spent the last two days pulling ferrules out of a boneyard so I can redo them with the Ford rubber) going Moog or Motorcraft.
 
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