I’ve got a 2000 Toy Tacoma 4WD with a bad inner tie rod on one side. The truck has a little of 90k miles on it. I need to replace the bad tie rod, it can’t be aligned. I’m thinking with the age and mileage the rest of the ends are probably not too far behind. The outers seem solid enough. The other inner might have tiny bit of play if any. What do you guys think, should I change the tie rods out completely, both sides, before getting an alignment? Or just do the currently broken part and change them as they go bad?
I’d change only what needs to be. If only one is bad…then just change that. Unless you do a lot of off-roading…tie-rods should last a few hundred thousand miles.
Outer joints can be bad even if they’re not loose. They often develop flats so to speak in the ball socket and while the joint may be tight it’s also a sign that it needs to be replaced.
The only way to determine this is to separate the tie rod end from the steering knuckle and move it around by hand. It should rotate firmly and evenly. An oddly worn one may exhibit a hitch in it.
I would say that if both outers rotate evenly by hand then just change both inners. That tiny bit of play you mention on the other side can be magnified quite a bit by the time you get to the outer circumference of a tire.
In other words, a few thousands of slop in a tie rod or tie rod end may translate to an 1/8" of toe variance and that’s huge. Hope that helps.