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Bad Tie-rod ends?...

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Old 09-13-2001, 08:37 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 20
Question Bad Tie-rod ends?...

Hello Everyone,
I need advice! I have a 97 F-150 2WD with almost 90k miles. It has developed a shimmy/shaking from ,what appears to be, the front of the vehicle. I placed the front of the truck on jack stands and tried to move the tires up and down. No-Go. It appeared to be solid as a rock...but when I attempted to rock the tires from side to side, they would rock what appeared to be at least 2 inches maybe more. A machanic friend said ball joints were ok but tie-rod ends were shot. You guys would know better than he...Is that the case?


Footnote: I first noticed this after a wheel alignment. I have since had it re-aligned twice at different places as well as wheels rotated and balanced six times. Replaced shocks. Nothing helps.

Last edited by ubaney; 09-13-2001 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 09-13-2001, 12:28 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Lakeville, Minnesota, USA
Vehicle: 1999 Ford F150
Posts: 749
I had a tie rod end fail back in March at about 120,000 miles. I did not have the shimmy sympptoms that you are describing, but it is a likely sign that the ends are failing.

If you've had two alignments and nobody has pointed out the tie rod ends were bad (if they are indeed bad) I would be pissed. That should be something that gets checked along the way. It sounds like it is the case.

If they have gone bad, consider getting an aftermarket tie rod end from Moog. They have Zerk fittings on the joint so you can grease them up. Lifetime lubed, what a joke.

Good luck!
'99 F150 Supercab Flareside 4x4, 4.6l V8, Auto, 87,000 miles and running strong...

Sold! '97 F150 Supercab Flareside, 2WD, 4.6l V8, Sold at 162,255 miles on the odometer.
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Old 09-14-2001, 12:28 AM
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Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 4,761

When you jack the truck up and rock the tires side to side, you need to be watching the tie rod ends for excessive play. 2 people can come in handy for this. You can also see play in other areas.
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Old 09-14-2001, 07:35 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 20
Thanks Guys...
I really appreciate this! Max Mitchell or anyone that would like to help, I been told and have read that there should be no play. If there should, what would be considered excessive? When I jacked it up, my buddy rocked the tires back and forth and there was lots of movement. What's "good movement" and what's "bad movement" if I can term it as such?
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Old 09-14-2001, 07:48 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 4,761
Cool ubaney-

You're welcome !! A good tie rod would only have a few thousandths of an inch of play. You said that "my buddy rocked the tires backand forth and there was lots of movement"; to clarify I'm speaking of movement in the actual tie rod, not overall tire rocking movement. When rocking and looking at the tie rod joint specifically, you should visually see no or very very little play in a good tie rod. If it's shifty/wobbly, it's trash.
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Old 09-21-2001, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Southern California
Vehicle: 1999 Ford F250LD
Posts: 25

Do both wheels shake alot? Take a look at the idler arm while you're shaking the passenger wheel, and the pitman arm while you're shaking the driver wheel. The idler arm for our trucks is notorious for going bad. I'm still looking for an aftermarket one to replace mine.
'99 F-250LD 4x4 XLT
Silver, 5.4L, 4R100
5" RCD suspension lift
National Springs custom rear springs
3" PA body lift
16x8 American Eagle Series 121HD rims
315x75R16 Geolander M/T's (current)
37x12.50R16 SSR's
4.56 gears
Doestch Tech steering stabilizer
EGR fender flares
Bullet exhaust
ford bug deflector
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Old 09-21-2001, 03:57 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 20
Both the idler arm and the Pitman arm have been replaced. Both wheels do shake a lot but, not all the time. For instance, if I'm travelling at highway speed and go around a bend or sharply change lanes, the shaking might stop. Or it may not start until I go around a bend.
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