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I just bought a 97 TJ and it looks like the ball joints on both the drag link and tie rod are leaking and in bad shape. I want to upgrade to the heavy duty drag link and tie rod and was wondering if I disconnect both while my tires are on the ground, will I be able to install new ones without having to worry about getting an alignment? The guy I bought it from just put new tires on it and had it aligned. Thanks.
 

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You probably could yes but it's much more of a PITA. I just replaced mine with some heavier duty ones and I ended up taking the tires off to do it because it was pretty hard to get to the drag link and tie rod ends. Realigning them isn't very hard. There's all kinds of write ups on here on how to do it yourself
 

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I just bought a 97 TJ and it looks like the ball joints on both the drag link and tie rod are leaking and in bad shape. I want to upgrade to the heavy duty drag link and tie rod and was wondering if I disconnect both while my tires are on the ground, will I be able to install new ones without having to worry about getting an alignment? The guy I bought it from just put new tires on it and had it aligned. Thanks.
yes you can disconnect and install the new drag-link and tie-rod with the weight on tires. the knuckles will angle toe-in severely immediately upon the left/right sides being decoupled. you can then reconnect the tie-rod and drag link, but the tie-rod will be too short. you will then need an alignment because your toe-in will be drastically inward. as long as you plan accordingly when installing the tie-rod, you'll be fine.

alternatively, you can lift the tires off the ground, just leave the tires scrubbing the ground slightly. Support there with jack stands. Then disconnect the tie-rod and drag-link. Try to get the lengths exactly the same as the previous tie-rod when installing the new tie-rod. Some people will even count the threads. Once everything is installed, you will still need to check alignment.

I've done both ways. The later is a lot easier.

The good news is the alignment can be performed in your driveway with a tape measure, if you want. If you plan on keeping the Jeep and doing a lift and other suspension modifications later, check into the Firestone Lifetime Alignment. I bought it for my Jeep...it pays for itself after about 3 alignments....personally, I stopped counting after 15 alignments on my Jeep....
 
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