Originally posted by pentoman
Duh, forgot to attach it..
How do you know you need to replace the tie rods?
Well, 1st -- I had a creaky sound. Then, I noticed the front tires were feathing on the outside edge. The MB tech told me it was shocks. So, I was trying to figure out what it was.
With the front end up on jacks, I had my dad moving the wheel back and forth (jerky) while I observed under the car. I noticed that the left inner tie rod end was loose (had play in it about .25 inch) That is 1/2 total -- each way, which I have to assume means that the left tire can "wander" 1/2 each way -- and as I subconsciously correct it the right one does the same. Also, we measured the toe and it is about 1/16th toed out. Spec is 3/32 toe in -- so I am about 5/32 out.
This made me wonder if the shocks were bad. Now, granted, the car has 154k on it and I would not be surprised at all if they were bad. I have NO leakage noticeable. The bounce test was great --I'm talking no bounce. It sets perfectly. I suppose they could still be bad but they are definitely not loose or bouncy.
Ball joints did not appear to be all that bad. I'm going to change the tie rods and sway bar bushings, get an alignment, and see where I am.
If I need balljoints, it will be evident then.
So -- to answer you question: I could tell one joint was loose by watching it being jerked back and forth.