Quote Originally Posted by TheFoeYouKnow View Post
You should lift the wheel by placing a jack under the spring cup so that the suspension remains loaded, get an inch or so of air between the tire and the ground. Grasp the front of the wheel and try to wobble it in and out. Any play you find here will be attributed to the inner or outer tie rod ends. Using a long prybar, place one end under the wheel on the ground, and using the grounded end as a fulcrum, push up on the bar. You're watching for the wheel to move up and down, specifically the lower balljoint, so you may want an assistant to work the prybar while you watch the joint. Technically, there is an allowable amount of play here, but it's small and a dial indicator is required to measure it. Personally, I consider ANY play to be indicative of failure.
Yeah just a couple weeks ago my wife's '98 Grand Marquis got booted for a loose left lower ball joint at state inspection... So I hopefully won't have to get under it again anytime soon, I replaced all four(uppers are stupid easy), the sway bar links and idler arm... That car is yet to turn 80K miles(belonged to the proverbial little old lady) but BJ boots were all busted from age... For alignment I set caster eccentrics back to where they were orig, used a digital angle finder to set camber and a 1940s Weaver toe in board to check toe(that didn't need adjusted once camber was correct)... It drives fine...