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Certified Minivan Freak
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Discussion Starter #1
I put new outer TREs on our '07 on Friday. Did them both in 35 minutes, from cracking off the center caps to loosen the lug nuts to snapping them back on again. No alignment required; the new outer TREs (TRW brand) are the same length as the OEM ones, and I kept a vice grip on the inner steering shafts to keep them from rotating as I unthreaded the old outer TREs. With the new ones on, the wheel was set perfectly straight and no pulls to either side.

Our suspension is getting quieter. :ThumbsUp: The dealer had diagnosed a loose left outer TRE on an unrelated visit recently, and I went ahead and replaced both. Both were extremely floppy. Poor, poor quality there. I don't know who the OEM supplier is, but I wasn't impressed in the least. Both still had grease, but not enough. The TRW units are sealed also, so no option for greasing. But that's not really a concern to me; they have a lifetime warranty from Advance, so if they ever go out, I'll get new ones.

I think this winter, I may replace the end links just for fun. Those still seem tight, but who knows. The Moog bushings I installed this spring still look decent. I may just wait and do the end links during my annual sway bar bushing change.
 

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Super Moderator
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Very appropriate info for me. Thanks.

I was talking with an experienced mechanic last evening. We had some friends over for a planked salmon (done using an open fire) supper. I often get tips from him. He is also a Fire Chief for a volunteer fire department about an hour away. If my open fire gets out of hand, I depend on him for advice. :lol:

He said some barely noticeable movement in the outer tie rod ends, when you move the wheel sideways (off the ground) is okay. Just monitor it. If you can detect vertical movement, by pushing upward, then replace. My right side outer tie rod end has had slight horizontal movement in it for the past 3 years. Doesn't get worse but think I will replace with new soon anyway. I can get a greaseable one for $20.00 or a non greaseable one, with a lifetime warranty, for $60.00. That's from a parts supplier. I haven't checked Mopar's value line yet.
Apparently you don't have to bother backing off the lock nut unless the new tie rod end is longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Apparently you don't have to bother backing off the lock nut unless the new tie rod end is longer.
You'll have to back off the lock nut just to take tension off the threads of the TRE itself. Otherwise, you won't be able to unthread it. But all it takes is 1/4 turn of that lock nut and the outer TRE is free. What I did is thread the new outer TRE right up to the lock nut, and 1/4 turn cinches the lock nut down against the TRE, which is what you'll need to do anyway. So I'd back it off 1/4 turn and then unthread.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Only 43k and new outer tie rods ends are needed? Wow. How do the OE and TRWs compare? Same length, but how about construction/quality?
These vans have pretty weak chassis parts in my opinion. Sway bar parts, steering rods/racks, etc. Either the OEM quality is poor or there's a severe design issue in which some weird suspension geometry wears these parts faster than normal. Honestly, quality appeared about the same. I couldn't tell who made the OEM outer TREs, but the TRW castings were not the same, even though they were the same length. Unlike the other steel suspension parts (control arms, sway bar, etc), the OEM outer TREs are painted black. The TRW ones are not painted, though they did appear to be coated with some type of a greasy clear film.
 

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The parts for the 200 2don't seem bad. Most of my problems have been on the right side. My ball joints are original, my left side tie rod end is original. My left side sway bar link was original until a year ago when I replaced it, not because it was faulty, but because I had a greasable one sitting around. I saved the removed link as a spare.
 

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Just did the right side on my 02. I used A TRW too but its greasable. Had to put the torch to it to get the old one free.


Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk
 

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I replaced my outers at 90,000 miles. Both were shot after a cross-country trip from PA taking Route 66 out to LA that included a lot of gravel roads. The TRE's had a lot of slop in them and were making noise. I used the premium Raybestos units with grease fittings from Rock Auto.

I did another cross-country trip last month and in preparation was going to change the inner tie rods, figuring if the outers were bad, the inboard units wouldn't be far behind. When I checked, I couldn't find any looseness in them at all as so I left them alone. I guess the outers are the weak points. I did put new Gabriel front struts on, though, which seemed to help firm up the front a bit. I had already done all the sway bar attachments and the rear shocks.

Bill
 

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Bewildered
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I put new outer TREs on our '07 on Friday. ......................... Those still seem tight, but who knows. The Moog bushings I installed this spring still look decent. I may just wait and do the end links during my annual sway bar bushing change.
I'm shocked as well at the low mileage, 43k seems relatively young for that part to wear that quickly. Does it drive any better than before?

Have you checked your ball joints while you're at it? I had the liberty this past weekend to insert new grease fittings and grease the ball joints which seemed to be lacking lube. 90 degree fittings did not work for me, the grease gun still will not fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Does it drive any better than before?
The only real difference I can tell is it's quieter. The front end still isn't silent, but it's better than before.
 

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Man. Mopar. Minivan.
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When I picked my van up from the dealer after the flex plate was repaired, they called me to let me know that I should really consider getting the inner and outer tie rods ends replaced on my van. They've never been changed period, and apparently they've somehow degraded to the point where getting a front end alignment is getting to be extremely difficult. As obviously broken as apparently they are, the van is still driveable and I don't notice anything wrong. But I had a dealer point out that the tie rods were looking crappy over a year ago, so perhaps I'm just getting used to how the van drives with that.

Oh, and that will be roughly $625 to have the inner and outer tie rods replaced. Something I'm not doing because my power steering rack needs to be replaced. Why bother putting in new tie rods if the rack is shot itself?
 

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And you always get new inners with a replacement rack.

But if the tie rods are loose at all, it is impossible to set the alignment. Everything needs to be tight for it to stay where the tech puts it.
 

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Check the outer tie rod ends for slackness. They might be all you need to improve it by 50% or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You can do the outer TREs yourself. At the most, you'd be out 100 bucks, 50 for the parts and another 50 for the alignment. When you have the outer TREs off, you can check the inner TREs for wear. If they have any lateral play (like, if they can move in/out of the steering rack), they're shot. They may be just fine, and you just need outer TREs.
 

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I am REALLY glad I read the service manual.

I decided to take a gander at what horribleness is involved in repairing the power steering rack and the associated tie rods/tie rod ends. Thank GOODNESS I read the manual before I had it done, or I might have really botched something up bad. Pay specific attention to the section in bold, especially the final sentence.. :blink:

POWER STEERING GEAR
This vehicle is equipped with a rack and pinion power steering gear. It is mounted to the underside of the front suspension cradle/crossmember.

The steering column is attached to the gear through the use of an intermediate shaft and couplers. The outer ends of the power steering gear's outer tie rods connect to the steering knuckles.

NOTE: The power steering gear should NOT be serviced or adjusted. if a malfunction or oil leak occurs, the complete steering gear should be replaced. Only the outer tie rod ends may be replaced.

If anything, I would've brought the van in and told them to replace all four tie rods when that would clearly do more harm then good. This statement in the manual also pretty much verifies my stance that there is really no point in working on my tie rods period if my power steering rack is shot (which it is.)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If your outer TREs are bad, you can still replace them and improve the situation. Inner TREs can be replaced, though it's often just as cleap to replace the whole rack. You can still check their condition, though, when you are changing the outer TREs.
 

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If your outer TREs are bad, you can still replace them and improve the situation. Inner TREs can be replaced, though it's often just as cleap to replace the whole rack. You can still check their condition, though, when you are changing the outer TREs.
My recommendation as well providing there is enough slack in the outer tie rod ends that justifies replacing them. You can always use those new tie rod ends with a new rack. Inner tie rod ends require a special tool, so my Mechanic friend says.
If your rack needs replacing, I would leave the inner tie rod ends alone. Some horizontal movement in the outer tie rod ends is allowed apparently.
Surprising the play that is allowed in tie rod ends and ball joints. Ford trucks use to have a fair mount of play in the front ends and still be within specs. Here's an interesting experience and might be similar to what Chris (Chrysler1924) was experiencing.
 

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NOTE: The power steering gear should NOT be serviced or adjusted. if a malfunction or oil leak occurs, the complete steering gear should be replaced. Only the outer tie rod ends may be replaced.
The first part is true, although there is an adjustment possible but not to be tampered with. The reason behind saying the inners shouldn't be changed is because the rack has tobe out of the van to take the inners off, unless you have a plan. I've changed the inners on my van, and our Durango with basically the same setup.

The inners have NO flat edges or anything on them to put a wrench, so how do I take them off? Small pipe wrench. Fits perfectly up into the subframe and grips the tie rods while providing more than enough torque to get the loose and tight. After you do this, put the rubber boots back in place using hose clamps as the original metal bands have to be cut to get them off and be done with it.

Although since you need a rack, don't bother with the inners until then. If you want to replace the rack yourself, that's also a fun project. Took me 3 hours total, over 1.5 of them was messing with the damn power steering lines that were impossible to remove. :angrya:
 

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I agree with what andyg said about the inner tie rods. I changed one of them on my '96 and the special loaner tool from AZ wasn't any help. I read in the FSM that the inners are "non-serviceble" but had my doubts since you can buy replacements. I believe the only reason they say they aren't replaceable is because there aren't any flats on them to grab onto when removing them. Also, they use non-reusable clamps on the boot that covers the inner rod joint. I used either a pipe wrench or a large vise grips to hold on to the thing. Also PBlaster is your friend - soak the connections in it, let it sit a few hours then go to it.

Also as others have said, if the steering box is shot, don't bother. Only thing to check would be to try to determine if the "steering box" problem is just due to worn out tie rod ends and if so, just replace them and not the entire unit.
 
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