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How to tell if inner tie rods are bad?

Posted by XC92, Oct 24, 2020

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  1. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    So I've been making a lot of progress on my '92 Talon TSi manual rebuild, and am finally ready to drop the transmission to replace the clutch, clean things up and fix a transmission issue. I've got all the front end suspension and subframe components out, except for the front crossmember, which after I cleaned it up and painted it a nice flat black I put back on to support the engine from the front so I could drop the subframe, which along with the other suspension components is getting a good cleaning, derusting and painting with new bushings and ball joints. I want this car looking nice when I'm done!

    After I took the steering rack out, I saw that the passenger side bellows was badly torn. The driver side was fine. I have no idea what caused this as there doesn't appear to be a leak, and when I disconnected the return and pressure lines quite a bit of fluid drained out, around 8oz (I assume that some was lost over the years due to normal wear and tear and the rest is in the pump and reservoir).

    I was going to replace the outer tie rods as they're looking kind of sad, with tiny tears in the boots. But now I'm wondering if I need to replace the inners as well. How can I tell, though? They both pass then in-out play test, with absolutely no play when pushed and pulled. Nor does angular movement feel gritty or rough. But they are pretty loose, with both ends drooping when I hold the rack. Does such looseness mean that they should be replaced, or can a bit of new grease fix that?

    The rack itself looks ok and just appears to need some cleaning. The parts I am replacing so far are the outer tie rods, for which I'm going with Moogs, and the bellows, for which I'm getting Delphis that are on sale at RockAuto for around $13 for the pair. I know that the Moogs are high quality, but are the Delphis any good? I figure they'd just boots so how bad could they be:

    https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=2534330&cc=1103094&jsn=2287

    If I do replace the inners, I'm leaning towards these Mevotechs, going for $34 for the pair at RockAuto:

    https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=1282213&cc=1103094&jsn=2283

    Thoughts?
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  2. blkgst97

    blkgst97 Proven Member

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    The loads you will produce with your hand with the rack out is going to be a lot less than using the wheel To shake side to side while the rack is in the car and wheels in the air. Or the force it experiences while on the ground and cornering. You may not feel any popping but with the force applied checking with everything attached you may have noticed popping in the joint at that time if that makes sense. If the tie rod is super loose and falls down easily when you raise it I would replace it. You are already in there with everything apart it would be a waste to put it all back together and test it just to find out it’s got movement and needs replaced.
     

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    1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    fwd · manual · 2G DSM
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  3. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Thanks. I'll replace them, along with the boots and outers.

    Are the Mevotechs I linked to above decent for this model car? I'm getting a pretty good deal at Rock Auto, around $28 for the pair including shipping. (Oddly, adding them to an existing order actually brings down the total shipping costs by $6 and speeds up shipping.)
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  4. blkgst97

    blkgst97 Proven Member

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    You should be fine with Mevotech tie rods. I usually prefer Moog when available but for the inner tie rods the Mevotech is ok.
     

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    1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    fwd · manual · 2G DSM
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  5. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    It's a cost issue. I'm already well overbudget on this rebuild so saving $10-$20 here and there adds up. I'm spending more for Moogs where it most matters, like ball joints, outer tie rods & link connectors, and other critical components like clutch kit, brakes, etc.
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  6. motomattx

    motomattx Proven Member

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    The inners are just as important as the outer joints or the ball joints.
     

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    1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
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  7. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    I realize that, it's just that, wearing out and being replaced far less often than these other parts, I assume that it's less critical that it be of quite as high a quality as them. Even RTM Racing, which mostly sells OEM or otherwise higher-end parts, sells what its part # refers to as an economy inner tie rod.

    I assume that you only really need the very high end part if you're racing or drive very aggressively much of the time on back roads with a lot of turns, or tend to turn the steering wheel all the way a lot.
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  8. Jk's97DSM

    Jk's97DSM Proven Member

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    Raise the vehicle up.
    Put your hands at 9-3.
    Most of the time it’s tierod play but you’ll need another person to visibly check.
    If they can’t see it, put your hand on the tierod itself and one side will feel worse than the other.
     

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    1990 Mitsubishi Mirage EXE (SLO CSM)
    manual · Misc Vehicles

    Street Build 537  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · automatic · 1G DSM
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  9. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Well as I explained above, the rack is out of the car. In fact the entire suspension and most of the subframe members are out. So I can directly check the condition of the tie rods individually. And as I explained, neither pulls in or out at all, at least under the kinds of forces I can apply manually. It pivots smoothly. But it also pivots freely, without much resistance. In any case, I'm replacing both so it's now a moot point.
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  10. steve

    steve DSM Wiseman

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    My rule of thumb is if any of the joints (tie rods, ball joints, ARB links, etc) move easily by hand they are worn out. The inner's while attached to the rack have leverage but if they spin by hand or flap around I think they're done.
     

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  11. Jk's97DSM

    Jk's97DSM Proven Member

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    If you are this far into it then, replace them. There’s no way to properly check them with everything apart.
     

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    1990 Mitsubishi Mirage EXE (SLO CSM)
    manual · Misc Vehicles

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · automatic · 1G DSM
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  12. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Thanks all for the advice. Since there's no good way to check them when the assembly's out of the car but they do clearly offer no resistance to angular (but not axial) movement, I'll replace all 4 tie rods.

    I'm basically replacing or rebuilding most of the front end anyway, so why not.

    Struts & mounts, ball joints, bushings, boots, bearings, seals, link connectors, calipers (rebuilt those already), pads, rotors and tires (plus clutch, all fluids, filters and belts and maybe wheels), and cleaning, derusting and painting everything that I'm keeping, I might as well go the full monty and replace the inners too.

    Anything else I should think about replacing up front before I place the order?
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  13. pauleyman

    pauleyman DSM Wiseman

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    Yeah. 28 year old brake lines.
     

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  14. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Just the lines, or the hoses too? I have NiCopp that I bought for a different car that I never used.

    What about the clutch line? I'm going to try to rebuild the slave.

    Sorry about all the questions. I'm clearly a newb to all this.
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
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  15. 97egl

    97egl Proven Member

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    The rubber lines/hoses. The steel lines should be fine unless they are rusty then you may want to replace them depending on how bad the rust is. If it's just surface rust you'll be ok but once there is pitting/pock marks or flaking metal you want to replace them.

    Clutch line I would not worry about myself. It experiences less pressure than the brakes do. I wouldn't bother rebuilding the slave it if it is not leaking. Most guys will tell you to just buy a new one. I've had a hard time finding a rebuild kit for them. But if yours is leaking and you can find a rebuild kit cheaper than a new slave cylinder I say do it and save yourself some money. Just make sure that there is no scoring/pitting on the slave before ordering a rebuild kit. If there is new seals won't do you any good.
     

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  16. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    The lines on my Talon appear to be galvanized or coated or plated with something that's a dull aluminum color that's protected it from rust, so they appear to be good. I'll think about replacing the hoses but they too appear to be fine, no leaking, no bulging, good pressure.

    As for the slave, I'll have a look, but when I checked it when it was still on the car with the line connected, I had someone pump the clutch pedal and it moved fine against the clutch fork. I might rebuild it, but it looks like it mostly needs to be cleaned and derusted. The rebuild kit is available from several places for around $24 (assuming it's in stock, but the local Mitsubishi dealer told me they had it when I ordered some parts).

    The car is really dirty underneath, which I've been gradually cleaning, and in need of a variety of maintenance work and some fixes, but otherwise it's in pretty decent shape. Nothing yet that I've found that would make me consider junking it, like a bent frame or trashed engine. They built this line well.
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  17. 97egl

    97egl Proven Member

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    Bad break lines do not always show any signs of going bad. Look for cracking in the rubber when you bend the line. They get brittle over time and get small cracks. The cracks are just in the outter layer and won't cause a leak but is a sign they are on their way out. In my experience the only time you see a leak its because your checking them after you lost your breaks and you find the line is split open. Loosing breaks is no fun.

    If you don't have any fluid leaks from the slave cylinder you should really just leave it. Take the 24 dollars you'd be willing to spend on the kit and put it towards break lines. You can find entire slave cylinders cheaper than 24 dollars also so if you feel you have to replace it you may want to just get a new one.

    It's your car so I'm not telling you what to do but just think about where the money is going. If your clutch happens to go out worst case it would cost you a towing bill and more than likely you could refill it and make it home. If your brake lines go out it could cost you much much more than that.
     

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    2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP 40th Anniversary
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  18. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    I'll have a look at all 4 and see if it's time. It's probably a good idea as a precaution, but with all the things I've had to do to get the car back in shape, it's not something I've thought much about, but clearly it's important. Thing is, if one hose goes bad, because it's a split system the one on the other side and diagonal to it will still work, and the odds that both go bad at once are low. Plus there's the e-brake & downshifting.
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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