How to replace car tie end rod
The following is a fully-illustrated guide to replacing a car tie end rod. I am assuming that you will be performing a frontal alignment after this procedure. Find a local shop which does a "lifetime" frontal alignment. It costs a little extra ($170 compared to a one-time $80 for my local shop), but for home mechanics and older cars, it is worth the investment. It is likely that you will have to replace other suspension components in the future.
This article assumes mechanical aptitude of the reader, and adherence to safety principles.
1) Cut the steering wheel all the way to one side. Inspect the tire for uneven wear pattern. The back of a Haynes manual will explain the different wear patterns. Take a picture of the tie rod end and bring it to an auto parts store along with the car make, model, engine size, and trim option.
2) Properly support the car with a stand. Use a hydraulic jack, not a scissor jack which comes with the car. Place a thick metal plate square between the jack and the stand and the car body to avoid damage to the car. A block of wood or other soft but strong material can be used as well. Apply emergency brake and slide four bricks under the rear wheels to ensure the car does not move.
3) Often, the rim does not come off the brake rotor easily, because it gets rusted-stuck. I have highlighted where this happens. Apply penetrating oil, then wait. If the car is securely supported, give the wheel a stomp (not a kick!) with the sole of your foot. For hard cases, install two lug nuts loosely (finger-tight), and drive the car a few feet back and forth.Applying the brakes sharply may be needed to pop the rim off.
4) Always slide a wheel you take off under the car in case of emergency. Damaging the rim is better than damaging your chest cavity if the car falls on you. It is also a good idea to place a large block on top of the wheel to minimize fall distance (not shown).
5) Visual inspection of tie rod end shows lubricant leakage.
6)A visual inspection of the brake system shows a hot spot, an acceptable amount of grooving, and 30 percent pad life left. Now is a good time to replace any brake components which need to be replaced.
7) Inspect all rubber boots for cracks. Here, one end of the stabilizing system is shown. Inspect both.
Inspect all rubber boots for cracks. Here, one end of the CV joint is shown. Inspect both by placing the car into Neutral (after it has been secured), and rotating the rotor slowly. Place the car back into Park. I have a well-written article on replacing CV joints.
8) Apply penetrating oil to all threads. Something critical to safety is missing from the image below. What is it?
9) How you do this part depends on whether you want to save the tie end rod or not. The tie rod end nut on the "rod" side is usually very tight. If you need to save the tie rod end, you will need to use two wrenches to loosen this. If you do not need to save the part, I usually loosen the end rod nut by torquing against the joint, by using just one wrench on the nut.
10) This part also depends on whether you need to save the old part. When you need to save bolts, you loosen nut until it is flush with bolt, then use a medium-duty Persuader to dislodge the bolt. If you don't need to save the thread, just bang it out of there.
11) If the castellated nut is stuck, and you don't need to save the part, then use locking pliers.
12) Remove the tie rod end nut. Do not loosen the nut too much. The tie rod end is threaded on the rod. Use two wrenches to loosen and remove the tie rod end. Count and remember the number of turns you make when you unscrew the tie rod end.
13) Clean oil and rust off the thread, then apply medium-strength threadlocker. A threadlocker is a good idea on all car bolts and nuts, because vibration gets just about any nut loose someday. DO NOT use high-strength threadlocker on even the large bolts. Some threadlockers are like glue -- you won't be able to unscrew that bolt ever again without having to cut it.
14) An optional grease fitting is usually sold with after-market parts. This doesn't mean that the OEM original part did not require on. They just wanted to save on the cost of the part. Use can extend the life of the part by greasing it periodically with the grease gun.
15) Install the cotter split pin into castellated nut. This was missing from the car before I started my work.
16) Thread on the tie end rod to the same number of turns, then tighten the tie rod end nut. If you are not going to perform alignment, then you must tighten this to the right torque. If you are going to do alignment elsewhere, tell then that the nuts are not tight.
17) After cleaning the rust off with a small metal brush, apply anti-seize compound to the rotor - rim interface to prevent having to kick the wheel in the future to take it off.
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Page last modified 20-Aug-12 22:11:53 EDT