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Worn Tie Rod, Bad Rack & Pinion - Safe or Unsafe?

05-24-2005, 02:44 PM
When I bought my car the front end was horribly worn out. The steering wheel would wobble back and forth just driving down the street. Anyway, I took it in for alot of repair's.. got the upper & lower ball joints, swar bar link kits replaced. The steering and suspension run about 50-60% better. But I can deal with loose steering, I know my inner tie rods are worn out and my rack & pinion unit. Just want to know, that If I keep driving it like it is... is it going to give out? is it safe? what will happen eventually? They are already worn, I just want to know what's next. I do drive daily and occasionally take road trips. Any advice or comment would be appreciated.

05-24-2005, 03:53 PM
It could "give out" at anytime. It is NOT safe for you, people that ride with you and other people on the road. Your tires are going to wear out a lot quicker so add those to the cost of not repairing the problem. I think you already knew the answers to your questions but didn't want to admit it! Fix it ASAP. You will enjoy driving it a lot more also.

05-24-2005, 11:18 PM
haha! I really wasn't sure... damn, It could really "give out". What exactly will happen? They said the inner tie rods were estimated at 300$ parts and labor... but it'd be better to do it all together.

But yeah, I knew it was pretty bad. But don't know the extent of how bad it is AND the consequences. At any time? sh*t!

05-25-2005, 06:07 PM
How does the loss of ability to steer sound to you! Install a remanufactured rack yourself and save money. This place has one for $113!
Call your local Ford dealer and check their price for a rebuild rack. You could replace the rack and outer tie rods yourself for much less then $300.

06-02-2005, 10:27 PM

There is also something called the "rag joint" on the steering gear. It is located just above the steering box on the column(towards front of the engine). I have seen comments about it in other Ford Forums. Precisely what it does or why it is there, I am not certain. My guess is that it reduces vibration transmission up the steering column. Literally this joint has fabric and the fabric, of course, wears out with age and use. This will result in loose steering. Of course, if it cuts loose, you might even get the same result as a broken tie rod end--loss of control. On a 10+ year old car--I judge any of this is foreseeable. Why would the rag joint wear out in some vehicles?--well, if you ever observed drivers that are constantly weaving in and out of lanes--and give their tires and steering a work out--I rest my case. I will try and get a picture of the rag joint in another reply here--I have one but would have to grab it from someone else. Not to comfortable with that.

06-03-2005, 04:25 PM
yeah that sounds crazy. What about the inner tie rods?

06-03-2005, 04:27 PM
They are in the rack.

06-03-2005, 04:43 PM
yeah...I might try to do it myself. thanks

06-03-2005, 04:44 PM
Oh, I didn't know that.. So in the whole rack it comes with the inner tie rods? I appreciate all this help. You probably saved me alot of money.

06-03-2005, 04:48 PM
one more question, on a scale 1-10 how hard is it to do this ?

thanks for that site too!
Note: ps 100.00 113.40

damn better than 300$.. :smile:

06-04-2005, 12:29 PM
I don't know how mechanically inclinded you are so I really ccan't give you a number answer. If you have the right tools it isn't hard at all. I think the most challenging thing will be to get the rack disconnected from the steering column because of the space involved. I haven't replaced one a a Bird (just Mustangs) so I can't say for sure without crawling underneath and looking at that connection. Be sure to use ONLY fitting wrenches on the power steering connections otherwise you risk rounding over the fitting nut. Someone in here will probably tell you they do it all the time with a standard wrench but for the price of a good fitting wrench it isn't worth taking a chance, in my opinion. Sears has decent fitting wrenches although I've never had any problems with my Snap-on wrenches either. If you don't use them a lot then go with the Sears (Craftsman) tools. You can borrow a tie rod pickle fork from Autozone to make it easy getting them disconnected. Ford rebuilts used to have a lifetime warranty on some parts so check with them before buying somewhere else.

06-04-2005, 07:24 PM
Why replace the whole rack? Why not just the inner tie rods? The expensive ones at Parts America are only $38 each.

06-05-2005, 06:57 PM
In his first post he stated the the whole front end was worn out including the rack. For about the same cost as one more inner tie rod you get the complete rack with freshened parts including new seals which will be the next thing to let go if he just replaces the inner tie rods. Then he has to do the job over again spending more money. If he was fixing it just to sell, I would probably replace just the inner tie rods. His car is about 14 yrs old and sounds like it has a lot of miles on it. Since he has already spent some decent money for all of the repairs so far, it sounds like he wants to keep it a while so why take a chance on an old rack which seals could start to leak at anytime and is worn out internally anyway. In the long run it's cheaper to replace the whole rack if you're going to keep the car, IMO.

06-06-2005, 06:35 AM
I even re-read his post and missed him saying that. Maybe I should've read it 3 times before posting :)

06-06-2005, 03:19 PM
very true! and what a great summary that was. Thanks for the great advice.

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