Tie rod rattle

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#1
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MAKE: Ford
MODEL: e350 Super Duty
YEAR: 2006
MILES: 166,000
ENGINE: 5.4 liter V-8
DESCRIBE ISSUE....There is tie rod movement and rattle when front tire is jacked up off ground and then tire is rocked from side to side. But after greasing all front grease fittings (done every oil change) the tie rod movement and noise is about 90% less noticeable, almost gone. Should I be looking at tie rod ends? Boots are all in good condition.
 
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#2
sounds like it tie rod time...
Try this - engine on - have someone rock the steering wheel left and right @2" -observe the tie rods - is the movement smooth part to part OR visible pause and start as direction switches - sometimes even a noticeable up down move as direction change. Ideal is smooth no start of one then a pause before other component starts.
 
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#3
The test method kev mentioned is best when vehicle is at normal ride height, wheels on the ground, steering wheel straight. E-350 ought to have fairly easy access for visual or "human hand caliper" checks.
 

jd

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#4
We're going through this on another forum with a nearly new E450 RV chassis. OP feels the tie rods might be loose. That case pends. I've checked for looseness by raising one wheel to just clear the ground, then grabbing the tire and trying to "Steer" it. It shouldn't, unless the other wheel steers too, and the looseness is easy to spot. Doing the test with the power steering is probably easier, and puts more force into the test.

I used to squeeze tie rod ends with channelock pliers and see if they had "give" in them. But I think at least some are heavily spring loaded so enough pressure to overcome the spring would create a deflection that didn't mean the part was bad.
 
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#5
OK, so I figure I'll pull off the right side, passenger, outer tie rod and take a close look at it. So I turn the castile nut upside down and give it a couple whacks with the mallet, will not move. By the way wheel is jacked up. I have the tie rod separator tool but didn't want to use it because it can mess up the boot. Anyway 20 minutes later after giving in and using the tool the tie rod will not break loose
 

jd

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#6
If you invert the castle nut and get it right flush with the end of the balljoint's stud, you can whack it with a steel hammer. Ours popped loose in one hit.
 
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#7
If you don't have proper tool, and jd's method isn't working (oversize hammer may bend or break spindle arm), another method is to hit spindle arm "on the front".
Best results happen if you imagine that the steering arm is a fence post and you are trying to pound it into the ground. Direct your hammer blows so that the force is best resisted by the mass of the spindle. That will give you the most solid hit. If you hit it "on the side" the arm will have more "give" to it and your hammer blows will be less effective.
 

billr

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#8
Hard to describe, but my method is to hit on both sides of the"female" part simultaneously, using two hammers. If you have the dexterity to land both hammers at the same time, the tapered male will just drop loose from its own weight. The principle is really the same as Dan described, but it gives the most solid hit possible. Regular 16 oz. hammers, no BFH needed.
 
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#9
One thing I did not mention, I was trying to remove the tie rod end with the tire on. Van jacked up at front jacking point (peg). I have always taken the tire off in the past I believe, but I did not have a replacement tie rod end yet and I was trying to do it the quick way. I now with the tire off I will have more room to swing my BFH. (2 BFH's................. only if I get mad)