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Reputable shop?

professor229

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Vehicle Year
2004
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Ford Ranger
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My $500 2004 Ranger project is a classic case of "two steps forward; three steps back" thinking.... For every little task I complete I find two or three more problems.... But I am now in the third week so I am nearing the end of the "to do" list on it...... While changing the oil for the first time, I decided to make sure the grease zerks worked.... All of them were decent EXCEPT the outer tie rod on the driver's side. It didn't have a grease zerk... it DID have one but it was broke off and the rubber cup was tattered beyond saving. The tie rod end didn't look all that great either so I just decided to add this problem to the list. I found a decent deal on tie rod ends at Rock Auto after researching MAS tie rod ends and found that they were made by Dorman.... so I ordered two and they arrived today. After I greased everything I jacked up the Ranger, removed the front wheel, and I have replaced tie rods before... in the 60's..... so I reviewed a couple You Tube videos to get some ideas and found one that was spot on as far as procedure/technique.... Since this is a project I thought "why not try this" and I successfully removed the poor tie rod end, counting the number of turns (27.5 turns) so when I put the new one back in place, I should be close/acceptable to the current alignment... and when I then put the old tie rod back in place to wait for the new parts I made sure I used anti seize etc. so I should have zero problems replacing this tie rod....and I am debating whether or not I should also replace the other tie rod end.... but now to the question.....

Should I have it aligned? Should I drive it down the road at 50 mph first or should I just assume alignment is a good idea? Since we are relatively new to the twin cities, I also need to find a reputable alignment shop..... Is there a "chain" that is more reputable than others that I can depend on? I looked at the Walmart website where my friend buys all his tires, and I think I saw alignment on the price list when we were there a month ago, but the website says that most Walmart shops do not do alignment.... I have a local mechanic who has done some work for me and I will ask him for a reputable place but would like to get everyone's two cents on their preference for alignment shops....

PS When I talked to the gal who owned it, she drove it about 50 miles to work a couple times a week and said it liked to cruise down the highway at 60 mph..... but it vibrated a bit at 65..... After restoring the wheels, I found two that must have lost their wheel weights because the balance was way off.... I found the bad tie rod end.... and the two rear tires were severely over inflated (basically bald in the middle). I will need to replace all the tires before this Ranger goes back into service next spring.....

Advice/suggestion appreciated.... and as always, thanks......
 

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rusty ol ranger

Im a Jeep guy now.
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Take it for a drive and see how it goes. If the new tie rod is more less in the same spot as the old one its pry fine. But alingments arnt super expensive but i will gurantee they'll probably make you replace ball joints, tie rods, and god knows what else before they'll align it. Rather it needs those parts or not.

Walmart to my knowledge quit doing alignments 20 years ago.

As far as reputable shops....im not from that area so i cant help there. Ive had good luck with midas.
 

ericbphoto

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Wouldn't be a bad idea to get an alignment. It can give you peace of mind and save on tire wear. Tolerances on parts can give you slight variations. So counting the threads/turns will get you close. But may not be in spec.
 

Blmpkn

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Any time you mess with steering/suspension components, get a real alignment. Front end alignments are generally 100$ in my area... cheaper than buying/mounting/balancing 2 new tires.

I saw someone talk about it the other day... @RonD perhaps?.. but basically combining max allowable toe in with max allowable neg camber.. even while both are "in spec".. will wipe out the inside of the tire quickly.

As for what shop to use.... just go to the local ford peddler.
 

rumblecloud

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I'm with Blimpkn.
Front end work + alignment.
Had my f-150 done a month ago at a local chain (Belle Tire) for $90, so not that too expensive. But take care of all the other hangy-down stuff including tires before you go.
 

pjtoledo

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for just a tie rod at least check the toe. real easy to do with a board/bar and a couple of pointers.

I have a 6' bar with improvised legs and some hanger pointers. scrobe the center lines, then move the bar from front to back.
that will get you closer than using a tape measure.

the hardest part is finding a good level location to park and roll back n' forth.
 

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