I was running Black Bear in Colorado last week when I hit a rock especially hard with my driver's wheel. After I backed up and finished the trail I noted my steering wheel was canted left although when I release it on a level road the jeep tracks straight.
I stopped this week to have the front end alignment checked and have an appointment tomorrow to do this. At the time, the tech said it appeared that one of the tie rods was slightly warped.
1. Would I still be able to have the front end aligned without replacing the tie rod
2. How much tire damage would I possibly incur if I waited2500 miles to get home and repair it?
3. I'd take a picture but it's so slight I can barely see it although running my hand over it there seems to be a slight bend.jj
You have just one tie rod and once bent, it will bend again more easily the next time you hit something which could even just be a big bump or dip in the road. The factory tie rod is just a skinny piece of tubular steel so it doesn't pay to try to straighten it either. I'd replace it and if you have the $$$, now would be a good time to upgrade it to something stronger.
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Just did the ZJ upgrade on mine. Napa #'s 269-2788, 269-1134, 269-6085. That'll give you a 1 inch diameter tie rod setup and solid. The 1134 I believe is the adjusting sleeve. the 6085 is the long tie rod to the passenger wheel, and the 2788 is the short tie rod to the driver wheel if memory serves me. Can't post pics yet, but if you look in my profile I have a pic of my steering after install.