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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2001 Ody EX with 162K miles. I was inspecting the steering and suspension before I replace the front struts. There's some play in the left front, and I can't quite pin down its source.

When I push back and forth on the sides of the brake rotor, there's some discernable play in each direction. My first thought was the steering tie-rod end / ball joint, but there's no visible play there. There's no visible play in the lower control arm ball joint.

Next I suspected wheel bearing play, but I don't get the same play from top to bottom that I get from side to side. It seems to me that if it were the wheel bearing, the play would be in all directions.

I think it's possibly the "universal" joint at the steering gear end of the tie rod.

Has anyone run into anything like this? Thoughts?
 

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Try having someone slowly wiggle the steering wheel back and forth a tiny bit and watch the movement at both sides of the steering rack. If your idea is correct, then one wheel will move a little and other won't.

In my case, it was the tie rod ball joint (on the wheel end) that was bad. Even though I could not see the movement of the joint, replacing it fixed the side to side wobble.

Sunil
 

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There is an inner and outer tie rod attached to the steering rack. The outer is easily seen by the wheel, the inner is not and is under a bellows type boot and screws into the rack. To see the actual part that would get loose on the inner tie rod you need to remove the steering rack side of the boot and pull it towards the wheel of the car. If you find the inner one is loose then you may as well change both because they connect to each other and are inexpensive.

I added a couple of pictures. The blue arrow points to the inner tie rod with the joint being inside the boot.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Would it make sense to separate the balljoint from the knuckle to see if there is play in the other end at the steering gear? I assume if there were play in that end, you could feel it when manipulating the tie-rod by hand.
 

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Too much work, it's easier to pull the boot back towards the wheel. At that point you can see the inner joint and watch for movement. You'd probably be able to hear it too. On other cars I have had more issues with the inner ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Too much work, it's easier to pull the boot back towards the wheel. At that point you can see the inner joint and watch for movement. You'd probably be able to hear it too. On other cars I have had more issues with the inner ones.
I assume the boot has a clamp at both ends. Do you cut the clamp and replace it. Is this difficult to do?
 

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The clamp is metal and will need to be cut or sometimes you can get them to open up so you can reuse it. If you can't reuse it then put a zip tie around it when you're done, the fit is pretty good on the boots. It will need to come off if the inner tie rod is bad anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The clamp is metal and will need to be cut or sometimes you can get them to open up so you can reuse it. If you can't reuse it then put a zip tie around it when you're done, the fit is pretty good on the boots. It will need to come off if the inner tie rod is bad anyway.
I assume the zip tie would be a temporary solution until I could get a metal clamp back on there. Does the metal clamp take a special tool to install it?
 

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Discussion Starter #10

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In my experience, if you are replacing the front struts on a 2001, I would consider replacing the coil springs at the same time as they have been known to break prematurely. I had one break while driving fortunately it was at city speeds with me only as driver and the break was at the top so the spring just collapsed back into the top mount. Metal clanking and creaking - definitely scary. A 10 inch section of the spring was found hanging off the brake line :nothappy:

I also at the same time replaced the stabilizer links with the updated parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
In my experience, if you are replacing the front struts on a 2001, I would consider replacing the coil springs at the same time as they have been known to break prematurely. I had one break while driving fortunately it was at city speeds with me only as driver and the break was at the top so the spring just collapsed back into the top mount. Metal clanking and creaking - definitely scary. A 10 inch section of the spring was found hanging off the brake line :nothappy:

I also at the same time replaced the stabilizer links with the updated parts.
I've been trying to decide on whether or not to do that. I was planning on doing the stabilizer links. I gave everything a good shot of PB Blaster last weekend. I'll do the same this weekend and probably try to do the work next weekend.
 

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In my experience, if you are replacing the front struts on a 2001, I would consider replacing the coil springs at the same time as they have been known to break prematurely. I had one break while driving fortunately it was at city speeds with me only as driver and the break was at the top so the spring just collapsed back into the top mount. Metal clanking and creaking - definitely scary. A 10 inch section of the spring was found hanging off the brake line :nothappy:

I also at the same time replaced the stabilizer links with the updated parts.
I agree, I did mine as an assembly so no need to compress the springs. Made for a quick replacement. I went OEM right before the price skyrocketed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I isolated the play in the steering to the inner tie rod end by cutting the clamps on the boot and exposing it. You can see just a little bit of slop in the ball/socket. I'm not sure the TN search function is working correctly. I can't find any threads relating to how to fix this. I have an alldatadiy subscription for the Ody, but it doesn't address how to do this without pulling the entire steering gear.

Anyone with any experience that could help me with how to do this without pulling the steering gear? It seems like it would be possible to do so.
 

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Post #3 has the details on how to replace the inner tie rod in the pictures. It's common on older foreign cars. It's a simple enough fix and the parts are cheap so buy both parts like I stated. You should re-read that post.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I replaced the inner tie-rod end along with Quik-struts and stabilizer links this weekend. I had it aligned yesterday. It has a slight pull to the right, but I forgot to have them rotate and balance the tires, which is overdue. I'm getting that done tomorrow. We'll see what it's like after that.
 
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