I need to replace a tierod, should I use OEM or is it one of those parts that it doesn't matter? I generally use aftermarket parts unless I've read people strongly suggesting OEM. This is for an '03 Bean.
I replaced most of the suspension parts that I needed during my major 123,000 mile going-over everything suspension, brake and everything fluid and used mostly Moog parts. Where original parts didn't have grease zerks, the Moog ones do, for instance, the front stabilizer links have two grease fittings on each link!
Check for grease. friends new tie rod didn't have any when I checked it after a garage had installed a new one earlier in the year but the Moog end link I installed a couple days ago was full.
I would heavily favor Subaru for that one. Tie rods are very dangerous, absolutely no control possible at all if it breaks.
Subaru tie rods are robust and failure is almost unheard of and replacement except for high mileage/heavy use is rare. That's a good part for Subaru to be so robust about.
I've seen Moog failures....though not tie rods just benign stuff like end links, so I'm not saying I wouldn't use them. I've seen reviews that say the rubber boots don't last as long as OEM.
For a tie rod I'd try to find the OEM supplier or go with/check Beck Arnley (off the cuff some of their stuff I've bought seems OEM though I've never checked) and even after saying all this I would use Moog in some cases.
I installed a moog end link last week and the boot wasn't fixed on the end - it simply "overlapped" the metal part like a Christmas tree skirt....no wonder it needed a grease fitting! I installed it but I won't get another end link like that. Not a big fan of the grease fitting sticking out of the tie rod and the way they are self installed and a little ambiguous as to how tight to make them...and then they strip the threads out when tightened.
None of that is a big deal and again I'm not writing them off but it all adds up to favoring Subaru on this one.
Also - if you count threads you maintain alignment when using another identical Subaru tie rod, so no need for an alignment. Not saying that's not possible with aftermarket but they differ visually so I'm not sure how consistent they are in that regard.
For the inners it doesnt matter. For the outer there is a huge difference between aftermarket and OE. If the OE part lasted for over 100K miles, it doesnt pay to get a non replacement. It may be cheaper, but it wont last nearly as long. I went the non OE route with Blu. It was fine, but it had fused itself to the knuckle due to inferior materials after 18 months.