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I thought that you could replace without re-aligning by "counting" the threads when removing and replacing. I'm just unsure whether ALL replacement tie rod ends are exactly the same length. Of course, if they're not, counting threads won't work.
Brings me to the next question----What brand tie rod end was used as original equiptment? If I gotta buy the tie rod end anyway, if I know what brand is there now, I might as well buy the same brand. I probably have the best chance of that being the same length.
Ya I replaced the tie rods on my 05 GT and as long as it's the same/stock/oem part the length should be the same. I just verified that they were the same length visually and they were. A trick I used instead of counting threads is to back off the jam nut on the tie rod just far enough to sandwich a credit card (or similar card) between the nut and the tie rod, so that when u put the new one on you just sandwich the card again (nut should have stayed in same position) and then remove the card and just tighten down the jam nut. Worked for me, but only when using oem replacement parts... I later installed steeda tie rod ends (bumpsteer kit) and since they're adjustable I got the length wrong and the card trick didn't work as well.
I use home made toe plates to measure all my cars. Your car may be out of alignment & by trying to count threads etc, you are just putting it back to the wrong spec. Look at this pic & make something out of aluminum or wood & measure the front & rear to get your toe. Real easy & accurate.
I'd just mark/tape measure across the front/outside edges of the tires, get it back as close to that as you can, thats plenty close enough to drive it to the alignment shop...if the tie rod was worn at all, odds are the bushings have settled/compressed a bit too, etc...
I kick myself for not buying the alignment stuff at the auction where I got my lift - I just wanted the lift, but a couple trips to the alignment shop woulda paid for the alignment hardware I didnt bid on...DOH!
CONFIDENCE: that feeling you get just before you realize the mess you got yourself into...