how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints?? - S-10 Forum
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how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints??

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Old 05-30-2007, 05:35 PM   #1
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how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints??

My truck has some play in the steering wheel, and the truck seems to like to drift around when driving? Are these signs of a bad ball joint or TRE?? I do a lot of trail riding, and going this weekend and would hate to break one. What should I check, and if they are going bad, how much more can they take before the break?
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:01 PM   #2
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Re: how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints??

They can take a lot before they break... but it'll ride so much better with new ones if the old ones are worn out.
To check for tie rod ends jack up the wheel and grab it at 9 and 3 oclock and give it a good left and right jiggle. If it moves with your jerking... its a tie rod end.
To check ball joints grab the tire at 12 and 6 and do a similar shake down. If it moves with your jerks in that direction, its a ball joint or two.
Old 06-04-2007, 05:25 PM   #3
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Re: how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints??

[quote=
To check for tie rod ends jack up the wheel and grab it at 9 and 3 oclock and give it a good left and right jiggle. If it moves with your jerking... its a tie rod end.
[/quote]

doesn't a bad idler arm give the same results? Or is the jiggle more pronounced?
Old 06-05-2007, 03:50 PM   #4
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Re: how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints??

I believe its more pronounced. Also while its up in the air, you'll probably be able to get a visual of any sound or movement on which one it is... especially on the driver's side since the idler is all the way on the pass side frame rail.
Old 06-05-2007, 06:16 PM   #5
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Re: how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints??

i always found the easiest way to tell if is was anything in the steering linkage is to get a friend to jiggle the steering wheel back and forth, while you watch the links. if its a ball joint you should be able to jiggle the tire top to bottom while its jacked up.
Old 06-06-2007, 10:28 AM   #6
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Re: how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints??

Check your rear suspension also. I thought I had bad balljoints and tierod ends because my truck would have some REALLY erratically dangerous steering. Come to find out (when I took the bed off), the bracket that goes between the axle and leaf spring on the right side was completely missing, and the u-bolts were traveling on the axle. caused one of leafs in the left pack to snap off too.
Old 06-06-2007, 05:32 PM   #7
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Re: how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints??

Quote: Originally Posted by ChrisInVT
Check your rear suspension also. I thought I had bad balljoints and tierod ends because my truck would have some REALLY erratically dangerous steering. Come to find out (when I took the bed off), the bracket that goes between the axle and leaf spring on the right side was completely missing, and the u-bolts were traveling on the axle. caused one of leafs in the left pack to snap off too.
That sounds like one crazy fluke scenario. But hey... wouldn't hurt to check out the rear either.
Old 06-06-2007, 05:57 PM   #8
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Re: how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints??

Yeah, It definitely made my day!
Old 06-06-2007, 06:26 PM   #9
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Re: how to check for bad tie rod ends and ball joints??

When I check balljoints I jack up under the control arms and feel for play, if you have the suspension under load the balljoint play will be more noticable.
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