How much should I be able to turn my wheels with my hands? - DodgeIntrepid.Net Forums - Dodge Intrepid, Concorde, 300m and Eagle Vision chat
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2003, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question How much should I be able to turn my wheels with my hands?

I think my tie rods (or some portion of them) might be going bad, so I jacked up a front corner today to see how much I could wiggle the wheel around with my hands. This leads me to the following question:


How much should I be able to turn (as in "steer") my tire with my hands? I'd say I was able to turn the tire in and out about a quarter of an inch at the edge of the tire. It didn't feel loose or clunky, it just moved back and forth smoothly. Should there not be any play at all? Is this indicative of bad tie rods?


Back in April, I started feeling a little wobble, which eventually got worse, so in late June, I went in to get my tires balanced. To make a long story short, I don't think the guy balanced them properly that day, because he said that they were way off, even though I had them balanced a year earlier and the ride had been silky smooth until shortly before then. So, it didn't really help the wobble, and in the following months it got a LOT worse. But I didn't have a chance to go to another place to have the balance checked...

So a couple of weeks ago, the shaking/wobbling/whatever has pretty much disappeared, and now I notice a slightly loose feeling in the steering. If someone else were to drive the car, they probably wouldn't notice it, but I can definitely tell there's a small "dead band" in the steering that didn't used to be there. It's particularly noticeable (and annoying) at highway speeds, as the car tends to wander left and right a little bit. That gets old fast....

I'm taking it in to have the tires rebalanced and the tie rods looked at tomorrow. Any opinions? I'd like to know what I'm probably dealing with so I don't get ripped-off when I go in there tomorrow.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2003, 06:39 PM
 
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White97Sport, you might want to consider that the inner tie rod bushings have gone bad:
click me
If you scroll half the way down you will see a picture of the rotted bushings. This condition would certainly explain the free play in the wheels. Of course, there likely are other causes, but the bad bushings were what caused my problems.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2003, 07:16 PM
 
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is your steering wheel locked when you do this?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2003, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by evil_motors
is your steering wheel locked when you do this?
No.

But now that you mention it, that probably makes a difference, huh?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2003, 07:52 PM
 
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yep sure does...
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2003, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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So if I try it with the wheel locked, I should see less motion...... right?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2003, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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OK, so I tried it again with the wheel locked. It moved less this time, but I'm not sure if it was really moving or if it was just deflecting a bit from the force I was putting on it. I could move it, but it sprung right back as I let the pressure off.

Edit: It was also difficult to tell where the motion was resulting from. I could see both the tie rod end and the inner bushings, and the whole thing *looked* pretty solid when I was messing around with the tire. Although, I was trying to hold a Maglight between my head and shoulder while looking in to see the inner bushings while doing this, so maybe my head wasn't stationary enough to notice any relatvive movement of the tie rod components.

Last edited by White97Sport; 11-18-2003 at 08:32 PM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2003, 10:31 PM
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If the wheel is locked, like held solid locked, not key off locked then there should be zero play anywhere.
If there is have someone else shake the tire left and right while you look for the slop. Most likely it's the tie rod ends, both inners and outers are known for going on these cars.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-19-2003, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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So I just got back from the shop. According to the guy there, my tie rods and any other steering/suspension components are rock solid. Apparently, the guys that balanced my wheels last time did a spectacularly bad job and also managed to mess up my alignment while at it (the car did start to pull a little to one side after they did that).

Feels OK driving around town... I guess the real test will be driving the interstate later.

Thanks for the input, guys.
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