Tie rod end play

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    I have an 1/8 inch(3mm) of movement when i move my tie rod in a rotating fashion. To correct this problem do i:

    A: simply tighten the castle nut down

    B: replace what looks like a bushing between the castle nut and the tie rod

    C: don’t do anything, this amount of play is normal


    Ryan, remove the cotter pin at the bottom and turn the lower nut 1/2 turn and recheck play, if ok install new cotter pin and go have fun. Karl


    Ryan says the end play is when rotated, which I interpret to mean not in and out end play. Is it not normal to be able to rotate the tie rod slightly when the end play is correctly adjusted? I would think if it were so tight you couldn’t rotate it, it is way too tight and will increase steering effort and gall the ball joint. Maybe I maybe I am misinterpreting here.



    Karl, Greg, Jim,

    I will tighten the bottom nut this weekend and see how it drives when it warms up a little.

    Thanks again,



    Hi James: there is wear caused by the left-right forces on the two half-cup washers that enclose the ball. The cup wears from round to an oval or egg-shape.

    I have at times removed this bottom cup, the one held in place by the threaded nut.. and turned it in the lathe to a round shape again, removing the oval or egg-shape.

    But in general, removing any play is needed or the wheels will get a shimmy or violent ‘death-wobble’ from not being held securely by the tie-rods and ends..

    Yes, there is additional wear caused if they are way over-tightened, but very little noticeable bind or added effort needed to steer the car.

    Greg Long

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