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The 96 has 135,000, the ball joints need replaced, and I am checking if the tie rods need replaced. A friend told me if I got under the truck and could move the tie rods with a pry bar then they need to be replaced. So, I got under the truck today and tried to pry the tie rods up and down right near the outer part of the outer tie rods - no movement. Yet, where the inner tie rods meet I could take my hands and move both inner tie rods and I could see the outer tie rods moving in sync with the inner tie rods as I was moving the rods. Is the play in the tie rods like this acceptable? Do they need replaced or is there a better test?

Thanks.
 

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A better test would be to have someone turn the wheel a bit side to side, and watch what the tie rods do. if one side moves and the other side of the joint doesn't, replace 'em
 

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If it was me and I was going through the trouble of replacing the ball joints, I would just do the tie rods too.

That way, everything will be good and tight and you won't have to wonder about them.
 

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Replacing both tie rods with the ball joints will save you on alignment costs. Tie rods are relatively cheap to replace (if you're doing it yourself).
 

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I wouldnt do the tie rods if they were still tight and the grease boots in place. I dont ususally have it professionally aligned after tie rods, you can just measure it out to set the toe.
Tie rod test I ususally perform is to have someone looking from the front, wheel jacked up, grab it at 3 and 9 and shake it.
 

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For the relatively inexpensive cost of a new tie-rod end, I'd say it was worth it.
 
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