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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Front end for dummies

I've been reading, and most of your upgrades are wonderful, but I am fine with just getting stock. Pushing 400,000 miles and I do not think, or know, if anything has been done on the front end, surely ball joints, but I cannot find receipts in POs folder of history.

1998.5 2500 24v 4x4, no lift.

I had friend wiggle steering wheel and all I saw loose was where the track bar bolts to the frame. There was maybe a little play where the drag link attaches to the tie rod, but minimal and I would assume is not needing replacing just yet. The tie rod ends seem tight. I havent checked the ball joints lately.

Also, what is T and what is Y? My truck has tie rod that attaches to both wheels and the drag link attaches to the tie rod. This is T as I understand it. Is Y better?
I think it is easier to stick with the setup I have.

I assume the Track Bar cannot just be tightened? It has a castle nut, so is not loose.

My only symptom is a little feathering of the front tires, and this is more noticeable when the truck camper is on. The steering and suspension are smooth and no noises or vibratons that I can tell. Though the exhaust is loud to drown out most noises.

should I just replace the track bar and wait for the rest to go bad? Most have grease fittings and I am good about keeping it greased,

I dont want to spend a grand, I see parts for 100-200 range, and complete kits for 200 -300 range. Moog comes up a lot. Which going to get me another 400000?

I'm the guy that drove 10 miles down a washboard dirt road at 8 mph to save wear n tear… I would like more durable parts so I could push harder, but …


98.5 2500 Extended cab, long bed, 4x4, manual 5-speed.
Edge CS2 31400. FASS 150. 4 inch pipe. Bigger input shaft and output nut, heavy duty clutch, new tranny.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 01:00 AM
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Welcome. 686k here. Done a few tack bars. and ball joints once or twice. etc. If the track bar is lose on top it is the tie rod end rather than the bolt. It is tapered just like a tie rod end.

Main rule to follow is replace ANY part that has noticeable play at all.
Replace the track bar with Moog. It has a bigger ball than other brands or OEM.
It is good to keep everything greased, Any fittings not accepting grease?
Probably figure on ball joints if they have any play.
If the tire rod ends or drag link have nay do them too. If steering box is tight , great.
If you have no clunks when backing uopp and stopping, the cortol arms are probably good.

When done Jack it up adn put it on stands 1" of the ground. Spin it and put a chalk or pen line in the middle of the tire tread. Set toe from 0 to not more than 1/8" toe in measuring between lines both front and rear. That is all you need to do for alignment.

If you replace ball joints make sure not to rotate the concentric rings they mount in on top. That woudl change the camber from stock.

Figure out what parts you want including brand/price range and check Rock Auto. Most things are 30 to 60% cheaper than stores.

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 01:12 AM
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PS what tire pressure do your run where?

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks.
Tire pressure is about 70-75 as truck is loaded down often. 255/80/17

I did check the ball joints and they have no play at all. They must have been changed right before I bought the truck about 100k ago.

Almost every joint in the front end has the grease fitting. seems like one did not, but I keep them flush with grease and there is plenty of oil blowing under to keep the rest coated if that helps, lol.

Yes, the track bar is only loose at the high end, near the steer pump.

Possibly minor play in the drag link. How do I know what a little bit of play is opposed to just the normal rotational movement? When the steering wheel is turned everything, including tires, move a bit, but I do not feel any chunks or knocks.

**ordered a Moog from rockauto. Looks easy to replace just the track bar.

98.5 2500 Extended cab, long bed, 4x4, manual 5-speed.
Edge CS2 31400. FASS 150. 4 inch pipe. Bigger input shaft and output nut, heavy duty clutch, new tranny.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 03:35 AM
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Simple answer is: If it has any play in it, it is more than it should. Replace that part/end.
Otherwise it comes under the theory," If it ain't broke, don't fix it", especially well lubricated parts. Just replace the track bar and drag link end. Make sure the play in the drag link is where you think it is, End, Pitman or steering box.
As far as tire feathering, do alignment or have it done. If it is outside only and you drive just a little bit fast on crocked road, it could be that, but probably too much toe in. If somebody replaced ball joints they could have rotated the camber spacers when they could not have(part of alignment)

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. New track bar should be here tomorrow, but I cant get to it until next week.
This is a T so can the drag link end be replaced?
The original owner had the deal do everything, There was a 2nd owner for 2 months, but he seemed to know his way around trucks, so guessing parts were installed correctly - ball joints.
Alignment has been done twice in the past year (I took off the leveling kit earlier then took in for alignment, but they said it was fine).
I dont take corners fast. most of the driving is with a truck camper and a trailer so nothing happens fast, just heavy

98.5 2500 Extended cab, long bed, 4x4, manual 5-speed.
Edge CS2 31400. FASS 150. 4 inch pipe. Bigger input shaft and output nut, heavy duty clutch, new tranny.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-22-2019, 12:33 AM
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Check the tow in yourself, shops often put too much in. Specs show too much. Caster could have been off with leveling kit. It is adjustable at condtrol arms end.
Yes drag link lower end can be replaced. Just pop it off tie rod and unclamp and screw off. Adjust steering wheel.
To remove bolt on lower end of track bar you may have to pop out the tie rod end near it. Try not to damage the threads or rubber.
When putting back together. make sue both tie rod ends are straight up and down with the bolt end. Make sure the drag link end is at 90 degrees to the tie rod ends, no twist on an of the balls.

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.

Last edited by bigfish95971; 10-22-2019 at 03:38 AM.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-22-2019, 07:13 AM
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Which Tie rod do you have?
The original style is a POS

98.5 1 ton Dually -Engine balanced, 275 HP Inj. Ceramic topped pistons with Molly skirts
Mercedes 6 speed, air bags on rear.
Gauges, steel piston squirters
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-22-2019, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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What torque do I tighten the track bar nut to?

I have the T-style tie rod (both wheels are connected with the tie rod). Maybe this is the stock one. The bolts from tie rod to drag link might be bent a little, is this normal?

I have the new track bar, but have important short trip in a couple of days, so dont want to risk the repair not getting done in time; always surprises with old trucks. next week I will install.

98.5 2500 Extended cab, long bed, 4x4, manual 5-speed.
Edge CS2 31400. FASS 150. 4 inch pipe. Bigger input shaft and output nut, heavy duty clutch, new tranny.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-22-2019, 10:01 PM
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IDK......I do not know of any bolts made with a curve....

98.5 1 ton Dually -Engine balanced, 275 HP Inj. Ceramic topped pistons with Molly skirts
Mercedes 6 speed, air bags on rear.
Gauges, steel piston squirters
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-22-2019, 10:30 PM
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There is no "bolt" from the drag link to the tie rod. It is another tie rod end with a tapered threaded end.
You will need a 3 lb hammer, a pickle fork Large size, pliers/dykes for cotter pins and end wrenches or impact gun. Takes about 2 hours including aligning toe in if you use hammer on tie rod end mounts. Smack it hard and maybe you will not need to use pickle fork and damage rubber. Any ends you re replacing have new rubber so it don't matter. If track bar bolt is bad you can use a 9/16 by 2 3/4 to 3 in or 14mm by 275 i think. If you have a nut(on track bar bolt) with a handle tab on it, save it, they are impossible to find new ones. If you have.
on the track bar bolt make it as tight as you can by hand or about 150 lb. If you have trouble aligning the track bar bolt just have somebody turn the wheel and it will slide back and forth.

Remember what I said above about having the tie rod ends the same and at 90 degrees to the drag link end.

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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OK, so where the drag link goes into the tie rod is tapered, is this why it is able to be at an angle?

For toe in, I have the paperwork that shows what it was and what it is now. I think it was 0.03 or .3 Should it be less (more straight)? Will I need realignment after track bar is replaced? If so then I could have them do a toe to different specs.

Truck is in shop 120 miles away with clutch, or trans issues now. Trip was not a success.

98.5 2500 Extended cab, long bed, 4x4, manual 5-speed.
Edge CS2 31400. FASS 150. 4 inch pipe. Bigger input shaft and output nut, heavy duty clutch, new tranny.
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