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drag link/ball joint question

07-20-2007, 12:54 AM
i recently bought a 1990 e-350. the steering was real sloppy, and a lot of the "slop" seemed isolated in the steering box. i replaced that, and while the steering is much tighter now, at high speeds it's back to the old wandering problem.

so in playing around more closely underneath the front end, i found the following, and have a feeling it's something i should have noticed first: if i grab the drag link with one hand and push up while pulling down on the tie rod, i can shift--or twist--the assembly a good inch or more. while the movement seems to stem from the ball joint at the drag link/pitman arm connection, there's also movement at the two lower ball joints.

so i guess my question is, what's my best course of action here? do i need to replace the drag link or can i just replace the ball joint in the drag link? will i also need to replace the two lower ball joints?

and lastly, i've heard there are some vehicles whose balls joints have wear indicators. does the econoline's have those?

thanks so much for any help or advice, i've already gotten a ton of it from this site.

07-28-2007, 01:52 AM
You need to replace the idler arm (drag link) and you'll get rid of most of the play. It is common for that assembly to have a little play, but not as much as you describe. If you really want the front end to be precise replace the outer tie rod ends and have the front end aligned.

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