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So I recently replaced worn tie rod ends (spherical or hiem style) on my 04 Xterra. The old ones were super worn, literally had the bearing rattling in the housing!

Now everything is nice and tight, but I noticed I'm getting a 'click' sound when changing direction. What I mean is, I would be driving straight, turn left, and hear a click. If I turn left again, nothing. But if I now start turning right I will hear a click again. It seems the click is only coming from the driver's side. It's almost as if the driver side tie rod end gets 'loaded' or turned into a certain range, and clicks going into it, and then clicks when going out of that range again.

How normal is this?

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The obvious answer here to me is, if you are hearing a noise which you've never heard before, it's not normal. Heim joints themselves should have a full 360° turning capability without binding. So, one of three things I can think of are going on here.

  1. There is an interference issue unrelated to the joint
  2. Something else is worn out which you've not taken into account
  3. The joint is defective or installed incorrectly

The only way you are going to figure out what is going on is through observation. My suggestion is to get the vehicle's front wheels off the ground and supported by jack stands. Support the suspension with the jack stands so it remains compressed (like it is when normally on the ground). Have someone in the vehicle slowly turn the steering wheel from lock to lock, back and forth while you observe the suspension from under the vehicle. Since the vehicle is in the air, you should be able to do this without the engine running, that way you can better hear what is going on. Keep cycling the steering until you can figure out what is going on. If the noise is loud enough you can hear it going on while driving the vehicle, it should be readily apparent with the engine off and you right next to the suspension.

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