1. "Lower tie rod?" There's an inner and an outer but I don't know of a lower tie rod. If the inner tie rod is bad you'll notice it in the steering. It won't be as responsive. Kinda scary. If the outer tie rod is bad you can tell by grabbing it with your hand and moving it. It shouldn't move.
2. Good luck. Get a volt/ohm meter and start testing. You could just swap out the multi-function switch (turn signal device on the column) and see if that fixes it. They don't cost much.
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