Acceptable swivel in tie rod ends

So, I am ordering a bunch of stuff from rockauto. And I want to make sure I get everything I need. Anyway, I am aware that any amount of slop in a tie rod end is a no-no, have replaced several. But how easily should they swivel? On both cars I am ordering parts from, an outer tie rod end can swivel on its ball and socket joint by hand(2000 protege and 2002 caravan, if that matters). On both, no slop or side to side movement is present, but pivots by hand. The caravan is needing an alignment and tires from another tie rod that has been replaced, so I’d like to be sure before handing over cash twice. As an aside, will proactively replacing a couple of control arm bushings on the protege require an alignment? The tires seem fine(other than being old), but seeing as this is the one car I have that NEVER needs work, I’d like to treat it right. Although, my wife is convinced her Mazda is made of magic(partially true, had a valve seal leak since we got it for 500 40,000 ago, and keeps on going.Oh yeah, it was run completely out of oil at that time too!), so if the tie end is ok, sparing money is good. Also RIP Tom, I’e been listening since I was a child. Wow, this became a very loaded question, but any help is appreciated.

If they swivel easily it means they’re starting to wear out.

When you install the new tie rod ends, try swiveling them by hand, and you’ll feel the difference.


A tie rod needs to be able to swivel, but within reason

Side-to-side and up-and-down slop are not okay

I wouldn’t replace those bushing proactively, if they’re still fine. Showing us pictures would help, by the way.

Small surface cracks that don’t go all the way through are fine. But if big chunks of rubber are missing, and you can easily see the bushing’s sleeve, that’s not okay

On my truck the tie rod ends will swivel a little, but not easily. It takes quite a bit of effort to rotate them. I don’t think I ever tried that experiment on my Corolla, but I expect by the looks of them they’d also take a lot of effort to make them swivel. Maybe b/c the arms/shafts they are attached to are shorter on the Corolla than the truck.

Just me but I think as long as there is no looseness its OK. I took one apart once that was pretty loose and actually they are quite substantial and not likely to come apart even with major looseness. I’m a worry wart though so I would replace them based on mileage or time if there was any question. I had one break once (the casting, not the swivel) and its a wild ride. On the other hand, you can’t be sure a new one is going to be better quality than the old one either.

Well they swivel easier than new ones, that’s what has me concerned. The newer one on the caravan requires much more force to swivel. Maybe I should just add it to my order, seeing as an alignment is much more than a moog end. And as far as the bushings, there is more than a little play when I pry on them. Control arm visibly moves with not too much effort. They are cracked, and although the steering is not loose or anything, the overall go kart feel of the protege is diminished(I finally drove her car after many months and it just didn’t feel the same). But its just the rear control arm bushings, not the front two.

They should be snug. When swiveling them they should also swivel smoothly in all directions. Sometimes the ball studs develop flat spots on them.

In other words, the joint may be tight but is still defective. Any flat spots may come across as a bit of a catch when the ball stud is rotated in the socket.