Dragon· Sockless Superstar
I'm going to post this on the maintenance tech section as well.
TIE ROD ISSUE
I suspect that for many who are running near-stock rigs this won't be an issue but those of us who are exceeding Toyota's design parameters need to at least pay attention.
I ran the Kokopelli Trail with TCAO, JESHUA, FROGEYE, etc. last week. At one point I hit a dip a bit "hard". Thereafter I had some "squirly" steering, as if I'd removed the front sway bar. I stopped and looked at the front end, checked for obvious problems and didn't see any. DRAGON and SHADOW-WARRIOR walked up and I ran it past them. We had dipped into some gooey mud a half mile previously and we counseled that it might have something to do with mud in the wheel.
The steering was still "wrong" and all the way home, there was wandering, erratic steering on the highway. It still felt loose. Not linkage loose, just loose. Somehow wrong.
I'll make a longer story short. The tie rods weren't bent but the inner ends of the tie rods were shot. Therefore the erratic wandering track on the highway.
The explanation is straight forward. I have wazoo Icon suspension, Light Racing jounce shocks, and run the truck with heavier wheels and tires. The tie rods are the weak link in the system. They're stock. Modifying this part and that part without completely redesigning the vehicle cause these sorts of maintenance issues.
I suggest you check the tie rods every so often. Mine survived 32K miles and then gave up the ghost.
It's nice to find out what it was. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the info.