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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 88 escort gt has about a 1/4 inch of play from side to side (no wheel play from top to bottom though) in both front wheels. Some front end work I’ve done recently is I’ve replaced the struts; outer tie rod ends and had a front end alignment, The bushings around my rack are also good and tight so I’m thinking the play is coming from the wheel bearings or the inner tie rods. Can anyone tell me the best approach to changing these out? I’m also open to any other suggestions or ideas. Thanks a bunch.
 

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I would be suspecting worn ball joints. Wheel bearings worn enough to allow any sideways motion would be making a growlng him kind of noise - I would think. Hub nuts that werent fully tightened might also be a cause. It kind be hard to get the hub tightened up, due to crud in the grooves of the splines; on the hub and on the end of the CV axle; but that hub might shift enough after a bit of driving, to allow the hub nut to no longer be tight.
My escorts are all 2nd gen ones, but I suspect the front suspension is pretty similar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. I’ve done outer tie rod ends before I’ve never done inner tie rod ends. How do you do these on the 1st gen escorts? Thanks.
 

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The inner tie rods are easily replaced, remove the rack's boots then replace the inner tie rods.

When you jack up the passenger side of the car grab the inner tie rod as close to the rack as you can and try moving it up & down and side to side. If the inner tie rod moves within the rack you need to remove the rack's boot and inspect the inside of the rack. The manual steering racks of these have a tendency to wear out the INTERNAL bushings (NOT the EXTERNAL that mount the rack to the car) and when the INTERNAL bushings die the passenger side of the rack will cause heavy toe in/out when you accelerate and decelerate. No INTERNAL bushings are available so if yours is worn out or missing like my 82's was then you can rig one up from PVC and remember to pack as much grease in there as you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is good information. I'm appreciating everyone's feedback. I'll update this thread once i've had a chance to work on it some more. Thanks.
 

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1991 and 1992 1.9l spd 4 dr. one of each
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The steering rack on a 1gen mounts to the firewall no subframe on car. Play from the inner tie rod ends can easily be overlooked if the wheels are hanging down when pulling or pushing on the wheels.. A more accurate way is push and pull on the wheel at 3 and 9 oclock with the wheels on the ground, ie sitting on turntables, like an aligment rack. If you are replacing the inner tie rod ends without at tie rod tube, the transmission mount on the rear will need to be removed for access. The manual says to keep the rack core, the part the inner tie rods thread on to, from rotating when removing or installing inner tie rod ends. Most often not done by most people using a tie rod tube.. If the rack is turned full right or left when removing the inner tie rod ends the force applied to the rack and pinion when removing or installing will be on a portion of the rack teeth with less wear on then and unlikely to cause a problem. If a wheel bearings is the source of the play it will be the same top to bottom and side to side. 1st gen Escorts have a forged lower control arm/ lower ball joint with a single mounting point to the chassis. 2 gen has a stamped lower control arm with a bolted or riveted on ball
 
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