Diagnosing Loose Front End Steering

Inspect the tie rod ends first for wear

Worn tie rod ends can affect the steering of your car as well as safety. In most models there are six of them located on the ends of the linkage rods that connect your wheel hubs to the steering box. They do not wear out overnight! Most extreme wear is caused by lack of lubrication. On all models after the early 1960's the grease is sealed in the tie rod ball joint by a rubber boot. If this boot cracks the grease will leak out and moisture will leak in.

Problem & Solution

Common among these chassis:

W108 W109
W110 W111 W112 Sedan
W111 W112 Coupe
Classic Sedans

Inspect your tie rod ends on a yearly basis. Sometimes the cracks are very hard to see. To check for play, hold one hand on top of the tie rod and use your other hand to move the wheel back and forth. You will be able to feel any movement inside the ball joint. If you see any cracks or feel any movement, replace the tie rod end or ends immediately. You can replace just one end, but I have found it is better to replace the entire tie rod if it is over 20 years old. If one side is worn out the other side could be not too far behind! Replacements with instructions and the special tool needed are listed below.