If you hear a strange clunking sound or vibration in the steering wheel when you are making a turn, chances are you may require a tie rod end replacement. The tie rod end is what connects your factory rack and pinion to the outer wheels and allow you to turn. This will cause an unhealthy effect on your driving experience, gas mileage and tire wear, all from the tie rod end that becomes damaged over time.
Replacing this part on your vehicle is a very straightforward job and can be performed by any shadetree mechanic.
This will effect your steering angle and how your vehicle reponds to steering input, if you are servicing your outer tie rod ends, it is imperative to get as close as possible to your factory specs before you can get to an alignment shop.
Take this time now to measure the length from your steering rack input shaft to your outer tie rod end, for those too lazy to do so a simple blast of spray paint does the trick as well. When reassembling your outer tie rod ends, this will give you a good guide on when to stop threading your rack and pinion input shaft and drive as straight as you did before removing the tie rods.
First loosen your front lug nuts and raise your vehicle on a flat surface and support it with jackstands if you do not have access to an automotive lift.
Here’s a look at our broken left outer tie rod end.
Using a 17mm and a 14mm loosen the jam nut on the front half of the outer tie rod end, that leads into the steering rack.
Remove the front tire to access the ball joint and tie rod end that leads to the steering arm, you will see a cotter pin and a retaining nut that secures the outer tie rod to the steering arm.
Pull the cotter pin out of the assembly and undo the castle nut to expose the threads on the old tie rod end. You may choose to leave this nut on but only with a few threads in order to hammer the unit out. Only do this if you will not be reusing the tie rod end, otherwise a tie rod end removal tool may be required.
A tie rod end clamp is needed to remove this tie rod end normally, but as we are removing worn parts you do not need to be as careful when doing this job.
With the outer tie rod removed, now screw in your new unit to the marks or at least as close to your measurements that we took before this writeup.
Your replacement tie rod end should come with a new nut and cotter pin, tighten the nut back to factory spec and secure using the cotter pin
You have successfully replaced your outer tie rod end! Now drive yourself to the nearest alignment shop and you are done!
- Pro Street Online