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Discussion Starter #1
Recently, at highway speed (55-70 or so) I will get this strange side to side shimmy, it's like the car is floating left and right, almost feels like it wants to pull itself in one direction and then the other...could worn out shocks cause this? Everything is tight...alignment was done in june and I really don't drive the car long distances...so, not a lot of miles since the alignment...ball joints on both sides are a year old. Koni shocks are adjusted the same on both sides. Do tie rods fail? If so, do they show any symptoms beforehand?
 

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Recently, at highway speed (55-70 or so) I will get this strange side to side shimmy, it's like the car is floating left and right, almost feels like it wants to pull itself in one direction and then the other...could worn out shocks cause this? Everything is tight...alignment was done in june and I really don't drive the car long distances...so, not a lot of miles since the alignment...ball joints on both sides are a year old. Koni shocks are adjusted the same on both sides. Do tie rods fail? If so, do they show any symptoms beforehand?
Sounds like tie rods to me. My gf's '95 BMW 318i was doing the same thing. The tie rods were on their way out and it was a matter of time till one let loose. It's a good thing I told her to have it fixed after I checked it out at first. Turns out I was right! Yes, tie rods can fail, thus causing a loss of steering ability.
 

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Jack it up and shake down the front end. If you see movement in the tie rod their bad. If theyve never been done I gurantee you they are bad.
 

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The way I checked the tie rods was have someone or something hold one wheel and try to turn the other wheel (side to side). If there is any noticeable play and you see movement in the tie rods, then they'll likely need replacing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
And if a tie rod goes out, the car will pretty much steer itself hard left or hard right, right? Which is more likely to fail? Inner or outer? I know, I know...replace both...
 

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And if a tie rod goes out, the car will pretty much steer itself hard left or hard right, right? Which is more likely to fail? Inner or outer? I know, I know...replace both...
I'd say "and the rack bellows", but both Duralast and Moog have failed on my car.

Which is a right royal pain, since you have to remove the outer tie rod from the inner to swap the bellows.

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'd say "and the rack bellows", but both Duralast and Moog have failed on my car.

Which is a right royal pain, since you have to remove the outer tie rod from the inner to swap the bellows.

RwP
That's a new one for me what are the rack bellows?

Its been a while on these, can I change them in the driveway with hand tools? Any tips for not having dangerous alignment afterwards? I am trying to keep costs at parts and alignment only
 

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That's a new one for me what are the rack bellows?

Its been a while on these, can I change them in the driveway with hand tools? Any tips for not having dangerous alignment afterwards? I am trying to keep costs at parts and alignment only
The rubber bellows on the end of the racks. They cover the inside of the inner tie rods.

Well, !I! did. Didn't even need the fancy schemancy tie rod tool.

Best advice is to take the tie rods off as a single assembly, and put the two new ones together outside, keeping the same spacing from the inside shoulder to the outside post. With the slop, it'll be hard to match exactly, but you can get close enough you can drive (slowly and carefully!) to the alignment shop.

As another note, if you can afford the extra, Firestone DOES offer a lifetime 4 wheel alignment on our cars (locally it lists for $170 (!!!!!) ).

If you're just changing the outers - that's a waste of time, IMO, since you have to break those off to change the inners, but eh. With that, just break the nut free, spin the outer off the inner, verify the new outer is the same length from the shoulder (that the lock nut hits!) to the ball joint shaft is the same as the old one, put it on, and torque the castle nut to the right torque setting.

RwP
 

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You guys have a lot of great ideas, but missed one important one.

It could be a steel belt starting to seperate inside of a tire.

I had it happen to me if you let it go long enough it will pull the tire apart.

Becarful driving high speeds until you figure it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You guys have a lot of great ideas, but missed one important one.

It could be a steel belt starting to seperate inside of a tire.

I had it happen to me if you let it go long enough it will pull the tire apart.

Becarful driving high speeds until you figure it out.
I am having the shop at work look into this and other issues, we will see...
 

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You guys have a lot of great ideas, but missed one important one.

It could be a steel belt starting to seperate inside of a tire.

I had it happen to me if you let it go long enough it will pull the tire apart.

Becarful driving high speeds until you figure it out.
Well, that shouldn't happen if you have decent tires on the car. 9.95/10, it's the tie rods.
 

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You can never know about a tire!
 

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Tie rods are so easy to do. Take the inner off with the outer still attached, measure the length of the assembly and match the new inner and outer to that measurement. It will not be perfect and you will still need an alignment, but its closer that guessing it. I didn't need the tie rod tool either.
 

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My rear upper control arm to knuckle bushings have small amounts of slack in them. You can check it by jacking up the rear and pulling in and out on the top of the tire. If it moves in and out, there are some bad bushings on the upper arm. DLF makes a nice set of these, although I havent gotten any yet :) It is almost like the rear tries to steer a little bit on some uneven surfaces on the road. You should also check the whole front end over. It could be much more than tie rods. If it's an outer tie rod, it takes very little time to change. The inners suck slightly more since you have to remove the outer tie rod, the bellows, and then the inner tie rod.

For the most part, you can count turns on the outer tie rod while holding the inner tie rod shaft. This will get you very close to where it should be, usually. Ralph said that the best thing to do is replace both the inner and outer. This would be good since you can lay them side by side on the ground and adjust them as close as you can.

I had a problem when I installed an outer tie rod on my Bird a few weeks ago using the turn-counting method. The alignment was off enough to get my attention. I used a tape measure to measure the front and rear of the tires and made turns on that tie rod until it was right. The wheel is perfectly straight now with no pull. :D I believe the problem occurs because some tie rods come with a skinnier jam nut than stock. I think I may have used the stock jam nut with a tie rod that came with a skinny nut and thats where the problems occured. Anyway, just some ideas.
 

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My Black Cougar was following every line in the pavement, and I finally traced it down to a small bit of play in an inner tie rod.

My guy called me, because it was well below the limit for replacement; he thought I was nuts.

I had him drive it, and he didn't call back. :)

When I picked it up, he said that because of the suspension mods, I could feel that ~1mm of play in that tie rod end.

I have bracing all around, sport shocks, and konis; seems like you have mods too.

I have replaced all of the bushings on this car, tho.

The bushings at the inner end of the upper control arm on the rear can also cause the 'tail wagging' feeling, as can the irs to body bushings.

Have the shop check the shocks individually; one being bad can cause all kinds of problems with handling, even on the rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Alright folks, well, today they looked at it at work. Here's the verdict so far...right rear wheel bearing is bad...mechanic working on it says this is the worst he has ever seen...I didn't take the car home tonight, potentially unsafe, etc. It was swinging back and fourth pretty heavilly just driving to work this morning. Pretty scary. Also, the inner tie rods are shot. Outers are fine. FYI outer tie rods are obsolete and "unavailable"

So far those are the only discoveries related to this issue. There might be more worn out stuff, hopefully not, but if so, $$$$$$$ it's getting fixed.

In other news, the non functional slow speed variable assist issue that has been present since before I owned the car will be repaired. At the moment the theory is that it's a bad EVO module. More will be known once the car is safe for road testing.

The non-op cruise control will also be repaired.

Jeez I should have my mark viii driveshaft installed while I'm out spending money.

Next up after this will be to get a new lower door hinge, striker, fix the crack in the door jamb

Then Tokico blues all around

Then paint the whole car.
 

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Wow awesome, im glad to hear you decided to keep her. :)

The way I see it, I've put so much money in my car its cheaper for me now to just keep it and make it better. I'm not getting rid of it.
 

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Wow awesome, im glad to hear you decided to keep her. :)

The way I see it, I've put so much money in my car its cheaper for me now to just keep it and make it better. I'm not getting rid of it.
Yeah...it's worth too little to walk away from ;) I'll just save up some money and buy myself a Ranger as a second vehicle.
 
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