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Discussion Starter #1
Alright just took the mustang in for safety and it failed for a whole mess of little things. I corrected everything except the wheel movement. The safety sheet says ball joints, tie rod ends, and alignment. With the alignment part I can drive down the road without touching the wheel and it'll stay completely straight. Ball joints and tie rod ends all look fine. But when there is no weight on the front end the tires will wiggle very slightly from side to side but not up and down. It doesn't do this with the wheel off or when the car is sitting on the ground. Any ideas?

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Find out where the movement is coming from. Other then outer tie rod end at the wheel, there is also an inner end attached to the steering rack that goes bad and the steering rack itself that can have some slop. Get under there and move stuff around to narrow it down for what is moving and what is not when you wiggle. You can buy a loaded reman steering rack for under $100 that comes with new inner ends, new rods, rack bushings, and new bellows all already attached and ready to bolt on. If you are going to go that route, I'd replace the outer ends too. My wild ass guess is the inner tie rod ends if you really think the outer ends are good. I replaced my inners and rods with Moog parts for about $35 a side. I did that when I still had some play after replacing the outer ends. I did not fail an inspection, I just did not like the movement the 20 year old stock stuff had.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thing is I can't see exactly where it's coming from because there isn't any movement unless the tire is on. I don't have any jack stands, just a jack, so I'm not getting up underneath there. I only inspected it up on ramps. While I would love to get a new rack, I can't really afford it right now. While 100 isn't much, the shipping would probably add on another 60. I'm thinking of just taking it to another place to get inspected. There's one I know of that doesn't jack the car up and wiggle things around.
 

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Oh, I do not know how to reliably check it on ramps. You could seperate the tie rod from the spindle and grab the rod and see if it moves in and out from play in the inner. While the end is popped out, move the outer tie rod end around (don't try to spin it though as your alignment will be off but the lock nut should prevent that), if it is lose enough that it freely flops around with just gravity and has play and the rubber boot is torn or ripped, it is suspect..
Even if you get it inspected, I'd get that checked when you can. Failure of one of those will not be nice. This is all in theory, I don't know if its possible to pop out the tie rod end with the wheel still on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't understand how a tie rod could go bad. Do the threads wear out or something?
 

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It is a ball that fits tight inside of a 3/4 sphere making a ball and socket connection. Over time, grit gets in there and wears them down and the socket elongates from the stress and the ball end can pop out separating the two pieces. A tie rod end is similar to a trailer hitch setup. Imagine that the ball on your hitch starts wearing down and the hole on the trailer coupler does the same. Over time they will not be tight any more and allow a lot of movement. As they start to wear, the amount they move around gets worse and the wear accelerates. Eventually, one wrong move or pothole and the ball and the coupler can separate because they are no longer a tight fitting piece. A tie rod end does the same exact thing. You end up with a front wheel separated from the steering rack and doing what it wants and you off the road because you can't steer.
You can not tell an outer tie rod end is bad by looking at it. The "parts" that wear are never visible unless it completely fails and separates. You never want to get to that point. You inspect it and replace it when it gets sloppy before that happens.

EDIT: Clarification. A tie rod itself is just a rod with threads and has the inner tie rod end permanently attached to it. The other piece is the outer tie rod end. The tie rod ENDS (inner and outer) go bad all the time as I explained above.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Alright I'll order both sides. I know they're easy to change I. I did it about 4 years ago when I wrecked my first mustang. Thank you for the help.

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^U kidding? You're just gonna guess and throw parts at it without even knowing how to properly check the front end? I feel safe, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
^U kidding? You're just gonna guess and throw parts at it without even knowing how to properly check the front end? I feel safe, lol.
Good thing you're in Canada and I'm in Hawaii.
 

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Seriously dude, if you can't even diagnose the issue you really think you can fix it? Didn't the shop give you a description of the problem? Sounds like they had no idea either and said you need everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That's typically what they do here. "You need both side ball joint and tie rod cause there's play" word for word. I don't have the appropriate tools to properly diagnose and fix the problem so I'm gonna start with the simplest stuff first. I'm not letting them touch it for repairs because my friend took his Mustang in there for a fuel pump issue and they ended up tearing and exhaust hangar off of the frame saying it rusted off.

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You should go somewhere else then, if you change tie rods you need an alignment cuz you won't be able to set it back by eye, that's prolly why it was quoted. Step one if you want to try stuff yourself is to get the basics, a good jack and stands, from there I can tell you how to check everything.
 
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