Looking for opinions. I know how to replace the tie rod end, but I wonder...how important is getting a front end alignment afterward, if you mark the tie rod and count the turns when screwing it back on? I need to save money wherever I can...but if it'll end up costing me more in the end, I'll do it. The car doesn't have any alignment problems now (that I can see or feel, at least), aside from the tie rod end...and even that is still minor enough that it hasn't affected the tire wear. I just want to fix it before it gets worse. So anyway, should I plan on paying for the tie rod end + an alignment? Thanks!
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2002 Silver Frost MTX - R.I.P.
Get an alignment.
One time I took a bunch of measurements with my calipers. Everything seemed to be perfect like I matched it up, I was technically only .1" off of the old tie rods distance.
Drove the car, way misaligned. Theres really nothing you can do. Save your tires and get an alignment.
I didn't get an alignment and it was fine. My tires still wore evenly.
Last edited by Buster; 07-14-2008 at 08:11 AM.
You should get an aligment.I would also suggest changing the other tie rod at the same time to avoid having to change it later on and have to pay for another aligment.
I will be doing this TODAY, I replaced my wheel bearings and mushroomed the tie rod ends a little bit, sooo... thats another lesson, don't hit the end even if you think you are being gentle.
From seeing the tierod ends at the store the other day it looks like the new ones will be slightly shorter then the old ones. SO I do plan on making measurements and what not.
If it is done right you shouldn't need an alignment. As long as they measure out then it should be fine.
Regardless you should be able to get the alignment checked for around $25, and then of the need to adjust it should be around another $25, for a total around $50, this is what I paid on my other car, Keep in mind that is the price for a basic alignment, where the don't mess with Camber, just Toe IN/OUT.
I guess I can take pics and do a write up on it.
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Setting the toe in/out is only one part of an alignment.
But it is easy to do . Count the threads for an initial setting. While your at it, double check the other side and replace it at the same time - usually not a bad idea, and they are pretty cheap.
Measure with a tape measure carefully at the tire sipes or rim front and back [at the same height]. Strive for zero. If your wheel is off when driving straight, turn one side out, and the other side in by the same amount. Mark it with a crayon or white marker.
This will take several tries, driving and checking, driving and checking. Pull the car in straight, and check the toe at that time.
But anyone can do a great toe in setting. It's up to you and how much thought and care you can give. All you are doing is pointing the tires straight [or a little toe in maybe].
i didnt get one. mine was a little wack, i fixed it by tweaking the rod end and fixed it. Drivestraight, wore evenly. I am up for a four wheel alignment now tho. New suspension.
98' MTX - Bolt on.
First couple times I did tie rod ends professionally I had to do an alignment, but after 5 years of doing them professionally not only was I able to match the old tierod (just losen the nut, spin off the tie-rod, spin new tie-rod on, tighten original nut), but also develop the skill of nailing alignments into specs without the help of the machine (visually then driving). Except Caster, you cannot see that without a machine.
Last edited by ChillinZX; 07-14-2008 at 03:22 PM.
2000 ZX2 w/ '95 Mazda Millenia KL V6 swap, MegaSquirtPNP, Probe GT MTX, custom DSS 500hp axles, AWR solid trans mounts, KLG4 IM, MX3 GS brake booster/master combo, ebay headers, ebay CAI system, Ford Racing ZX2 inverted coilovers, Cusco camber plates all around, custom made traction bars mounted to frame rails, body kit, 2 tone paint, etc...
Haven't read this but, don't bother with an alignment if you can do it right.
Take the tie rod end off without moving the nut it tightens up to. Then just make sure the new one and old one are exactly the same, and screw it back on. Done. Thats how I did mine, no problems.
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The problem with counting threads etc. is that not all ends are the same length. My NAPA replacements were longer than the oem's. You could measure the overall length of the tie rod before removing the old one.
As Mech described, setting toe is not that difficult.
Chillin, I too have many years of doing alignments and eyeballing can be very deceiving.
Thats why you eyeball and then drive to confirm.
Eyeballing alignment can be close, but no way I'd trust it except to get home.
String wrapped around the tires, and careful tape measurements are home ways to get good toe in settings.
Cheap tie rod ends? They can be fine or not. It usually pays to get a good one. In a few years [or sooner!], you'll be glad you did. Skip a few lunches/beers to make up for it.
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