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Discussion Starter #1
Picked up a 1997 226K mile 7.3L Powerstroke F350 4x4 crew/long bed from a buddy who was retiring and clearing the decks around his place. He had treated the truck well but wasn't really mechanically minded so I am seeing things that need to be repaired that he never saw.

He was running LT305/70R16 Hankooks and I had a look at the stock drag link and it was clearly in need of replacement (accounting for that steering wheel being off-center at speed but remaining nicely centered while moseying around town at 30 mph). A standard drag link is probably ok for now even with those larger tires but I'm wondering if, later, maybe I should be looking for a drag link and link end with a 'reputation' for being bulletproof.

I'm replacing the drag link and the drag link end with some off the shelf stuff from O'Reilly for the time being, while I shake down the rest of the truck. In other words, I'm not spending money on premium products there until the rest of the truck proves itself as being reliable.

If you have a steering related product you want to endorse (based only upon your personal experience, please) I'd like to hear about it.

Cheers,
m3a1
 

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OEM is my preference. I used to love MOOG but in the last 5 years they have seem to gone downhill considerably. stuff from 2011 was great but, recently meh... I have many oem stuff that yes is a little more expensive than o'riley or autozone but last 5x longer too. Just my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your input.

I agree that OEM is probably a good baseline for running stock kit but these tires (while not huge by today's standards) have a far bigger footprint than stock tires.

I'm hoping for some suggestions that exceed OEM. In any case, what I'm putting on this truck (for the time being) is going to be far better and safer than the old worn out stuff and not too hard on the wallet.

Cheers,
m3a1
 

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Generally speaking they don't make Ball-joint or drag link/tie rod upgrades for lifted vehicles. I ran oem ball joints and tie rod ends in 2004 with 37-40in tires because they didn't make a heavy duty kit that looked/felt any different. Even when I compared NAPA, and other brands to oem and even the "heavy duty labeled" ones were the same size/specs and nothing out of the ordinary. The tires you have will not wear out oem stuff any faster unless there are factors i.e. worn out suspension items etc.

Personally I would get an idea of what you need and do it all at once. Other worn out parts will just accelerate the wear on other items esp with the front suspension. That way you're not potentially doing the same job twice parts wise etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Well, the vehicle is bone stock with the exception of the wheels and tires so I'm not running any additional lift which is to say, it's just as the factory produced it.

I have been out of the civilian 4x4 market for many years, like BEFORE the internet ( You know... those days when we dinosaurs "surfed" for aftermarket parts based on advertisers in magazines? :rofl:) This is what happens when a person owns large green military vehicles that pretty much always eclipse the performance most stock civvy 4x4s can provide. Then, a person kinda forgets about the brightly colored, highly polished civvy stuff.

I'm aware that new bits here and there can lead to accelerated wear elsewhere but again, I'm only doing repairs to the life-threatening defects first while seeing if anything real important and expensive is going to break driveline-wise. I doubt it, but you never know. It was parked for four years! As you know, if the drag link lets go, the ride gets real interesting real quick so this is a 'must-do' job.

Anyway, all I'm looking for from this truck is a good, reliable vehicle to do the work I ask of it. Not a show piece. Not a sky high monster truck.
 
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