Tie Rod End Or More?

Friends,
1996, Ram 1500, 5.9L, 4X4.
With your help I replaced the passenger side hub bearing and still have a slight wobble in the 3 to 9 o'clock position. Tom suggested a
tie rod end. I finally took a look at it and have some questions.
1. When I grab the tie rod in the middle and put a bit of torque on it there is a lot of play at both ends of the grease fittings once it starts to move/rotate. Are both the tie rod end and drag link end bad?
2.There is a slight bend in tie rod on the passenger side which I believe is normal from the photos in the Haynes Manual BUT there is also one just about in front of the differential fill plug. It this normal too or is the rod bent?
3. Are the explanations in the Haynes Manual (Page 10-14) good enough for and idiot like me to do the job?
3A. How do I fix it?!?
Now for the stupidest question: 4. Is the tie rod end one piece that screws into the one side of the adjuster tube?
Thanks All, Steve (and Happy 4TH!)
Here are the previous threads if interested.
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.autos.dodge.trucks/browse_thread/thread/7028d85ca7e13c7c/50518e33cbfdad0e?hl=en#50518e33cbfdad0e
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.autos.dodge.trucks/browse_thread/thread/d9b975ae51eba259/7f255c2c77f21c0b?lnk=raot&hl=en#7f255c2c77f21c0b
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If you mean you're putting a pipe wrench or such on it and spinning it, that movement is normal (that's all the ball joints doing their job). Your 3-9 wobble indicates that the ball joint in the tie rod end that connects to the steering knuckle is worn, allowing side-to-side slop, which allows your toe-in to change as you drive.

Pretty simple, but it's the drag link end you're going to replace, not a tie-rod end (the 1/2 tons used a hokey steering setup). It's actually the drag link that connects to the passenger side steering knuckle, and the tie rod from the driver's side connects to the middle of the drag link. So, you've got to ball joints to disconnect - the drag link's joint at the steering knuckle, and the tie rod's joint at the drag link. When you remove the tie rod, don't turn the end (changing it's length) - just set it down (wrap the end with a rag) and don't change it's orientation.
Measure the distance from the zerk fitting on the drag link end to the adjuster sleeve. This way you can get it back to the same length with the new one. Loosen the retainer bar on the drag link adjusting sleeve, then loosen the clamp on the passenger side. Hold the adjuster sleeve steady with a pair of pliers/clannel locks, and use a pipe wrench on the drag link end to back it out of the adjuster sleeve. Grease the threads of the new drag link, and thread it into the adjuster. Get it back to your measurement, but make sure the tapered hole for the tie rod is oriented the correct way (smaller end of the taper faces front). Tighten the adjuster clamp, put the retainer back in place and tighten it, pop both joints back into place, torque the castle nuts, and insall new cotter pins. Then take it to an alignment shop.
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Tom,
I can make it rotate just by grabbing it with my hand and didn't know if that was normal.
Now to further show my stupidity:
I looked online at various part suppliers and can't find any reference to a drag link as a part you can buy. Is it called something else or am I only replacing the ball joints on the drag link? Sorry, I don't mean to be a pain and appriciate all the help you're given me but, as usual, I'm a bit confused.
Steve
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Yeah, that's because they call them all tie-rod ends. To me, a tie rod connects between the steering knuckles - a drag link connects from the pitman arm to either a steering knuckle, or a tie rod. But what's in a name?
Anyhow, you've got a few options. Spicer part# 4101058B (service grade) for about $52, Spicer part# 4101058 (professional grade) for about $100, Moog part# DS1309 for about $103, or AC Delco part# 45A3058 for about $127.
If it were me, I'd go the $52 version, myself.
(All prices/part numbers from http://www.rockauto.com )
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Tom Lawrence wrote:

Use Discount Code "RockVal6" for an additional 5% discount Expires 7/15/2007
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Wow, that was very conciderate of you to provide that for the OP!
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Tom.
I ordered a 'Spicer' part as you suggested but also for another and curious reason that a lot of people won't care about but here goes. When I was a young punk kid I did summer work and building maintenance, for less than half what minimum wage is now (with no benefits to boot) and they teamed me up with a 'older' guy that was well into his eighties whose first name was actually 'Spicer'. He had worked in a foundry most of his working life and had the musculature of a man in his forties who had been intensely working out for the past 25 years. (I wouldn't dare to take him on.) One of the first things he told me, and there were many he did which a lot I can't repeat, is that he said "Stevie, you will find out in life that there are a lot more horses' *sses than there are horses." I have always found that to be true BUT considered it a good omen that one of the foremost Dodge recourses on the planet suggested this part. For what it's worth; thanks Tom. I'm sure I'll have more questions but will wait till the part arrives and I injure myself in a most painful way, as previous, before I bug you again.
By the way you were totally correct about what a drag link v s. tie rod end was. When I asked different parts shops about a drag link they looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears. Yet in the service manuals it is specifically refers to it as a 'drag link'. Thanks again.
Steve
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