If there's only 6 digits, it could be 144,000 miles. Be aware these are "killer" cars. Separating outer tie rod ends are extremely common unless they're replaced with quality aftermarket parts that have grease fittings. You should find the price is pretty attractive because not many people want to own a Tempo.
At the mass merchandiser auto shop I used to work for, we got parts shipments in every Wednesday. The typical order included 40 Ford outer tie rod ends, and four or five to cover all other car brands for the week. By Saturday we were ordering more Ford tie rod ends locally because we ran out. Lots of those cars came in on tow trucks, ... At least the ones that didn't run into trees or semi trucks when the steering went out.
Look at the front tires too and notice how extremely far out they're tipped on top. That was a sneaky trick Ford pulled to out-sell the competition. They rode real smoothly compared to similar cars from other brands because they rode on just the outer edges of the tires. There is no way to fix that and straighten them up because that alignment angle, one of the most critical for good tire wear, is not adjustable on most Fords. That's "camber". A typical specification is 0.00 degrees plus or minus 0.50 degrees. (0.00 degrees means the tire is perfectly straight up and down). Also, both sides must be very close to equal to prevent a pull to one side. One degree of camber is pretty severe and is going to cause unacceptable tire wear. The Tempo calls for 2 7/16" on the left and 1 7/8 degree on the right. I remember that from installing so many sets of tires on them and trying to align them afterward. You can expect to need new tires about every 15,000 to 20,000 miles. The salesmen never mentioned that. Lots of owners were angry after owning those cars for 20,000 miles and then finding out the horrendous alignment couldn't be adjusted for better tire wear.
You can find a better car. Almost anything, except perhaps a Volkswagen, is better.
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Sunday, February 26th, 2012 AT 5:18 AM