1996 Aerostar ... replacing control arm & tie-rods AGAIN ... Why?

liketolearnJune 25, 2007

I took my van in to the tire dealer to buy 2 new tires and get an alignment and they are telling me I need to replace the control arm bushings before they can do an alignment. Decided to wait as this sounds familiar ... check my paperwork and it is exactly one year since my regular mechanic (not tire dealer) replaced the control arm bushings on both sides (along with quite a bit of other work at same time). Should these be wearing out this fast? Or why are they breaking? I'm put about 15,000 miles a year on the van.

And they are recommending I replace the tie rods AGAIN. I think the tie rods have been replaced every year. Is this normal to have to replace tie rods so often? What's causing the tie rods to break?

I expect repairs it just seems as though these parts should not need to be replaced yearly. Wondering what is causing it?

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"What's causing the tie rods to break?"

Your tie rod is not broken, else you be in a ditch somewhere with your head against the windshield. The tie rod "ties" the right side steering arm to the the left side steering arm. If this rod breaks, there is complete and immediate loss of steering control. The usual failure is for the ball joints that are on the ends of this rod to become so badly worn that one end of the rod comes off the steering arm. What I suspect is that these joints are worn and the easiest way for the technician to replace these is to put in a complete new rod with new joints already on the rod. Its easier to replace the entire assembly than to mess with trying to loosen corroded screws and clamps to remove the old joints, and he should replace all the clamps and screws when intalling a new joint anyway. Remember that shop costs are
$65 or more per hour. Saving a half hour of labor will pay for some of the new parts.

Yes, the alignment tech is correct. He can not perform a proper alignment if the ball joints are worn, and the tie rod ends are only part of the steering system. There are other joints.

I believe that you question really is, "Why are the ball joints wearing out so quickly?"

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 3:12PM
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Yes, jemdandy I think you are right that I am asking the wrong question!

So care to try the question "Why are the ball joints wearing out so quickly?"? Anyone else?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 4:33PM
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One question everyone has to ask is how much do your ball joints cost you when you replace them ? Just the ball joint. $60.00 or over $100.00 ? The cheap joints are " white box " parts and last one year or less, normal. The $100.00 plus one will last MUCH longer. You get what you pay for. If someone puts in cheap parts and replace them every year they just payed the same price as the good ones but don't have to replace them every year. How often do you have the joints greased ? Makes a BIG difference. Even if the wrong grease is used it will kill front end parts or any moving greaseable part. there are too many other things to list that will take out ball joints

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 8:10PM
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