If you have never changed your lower steering column bearing that's located in the smuggler's box, there's a good chance that the bearing inside the rubber housing is non-existent. This bearing helps to prevent slop in the steering linkage assembly, but over time, the needle bearing inside gets corroded and ultimately disintegrates. This is often mis-diagnosed as a bad tie rod end because effect on the steering response is very similar.
Rennline has created a billet aluminum housing the includes a pressed in needle bearing and unlike the factory unit, this one includes two weather seals to protect the bearing. Replace it once and don't worry about it again.