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Inner Tie Rod Removal and Replacement (Pictures)

MountaineerGreen

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The inner tie rods are relatively easy to remove and replace, save money and do it yourself! This method will let you do this and keep your alignment close enough to let you drive your truck to the alignment shop afterwards. I do not recommend doing this unless you plan to get an alignment ASAP.

Begin with the truck on the ground and the parking brake set.

Loosen the lug nuts, jack up the truck, support it on jackstands, then remove the wheel-

Crank the steering wheel all the way to the side you are working on.

Now remove the cotter pin and castle nut from the outer tie rod end. The nut is a 21mm

frontendwork_008_Medium_.jpg


The boot on the tie rod is held on by a metal clamp on both ends. Slide the small clamp off towards the end. The rack end clamp is way up in there- I used a long screwdriver, slipped it under the clamp and then pried upwards to loosen it off. Pull the boot off the rack.

frontendwork_014_Medium_.jpg


You can now see the large nut that threads into the rack. I don't have a wrench that big, so I use a pipe wrench, it works just fine.

frontendwork_015_Medium_.jpg


Remove the tie rod- It should look like this

frontendwork_017_Medium_.jpg


Notice I left all of the tie rod assembly intact.

Now, here is the key part- straighten the inner ball joint and put it against a flat vertical surface on a flat piece of concrete, with the stub shaft facing up. Draw a line around the rounded end of the tie rod. The length is what were after here.

Using two wrenches, break the jamb nut loose from the tie rod end, remove the end and the nut from the old inner. Replace them on the new inner, making sure to put the boot back on. Butt the new inner up against the same wall and adjust it to match the line you drew.

Replace the assembly on the rack and tighten it with the pipe wrench. Make sure its tight to the rack. Turn the steering wheel back to the center position. Slip the boot back over the rack, making sure to line up the tube with the hole on the boot. Use a long zip tie to replace the metal band you removed from the boot, pliers help when tightening the tie. Its much, much easier that way.

Put the end back through the knuckle, put the castle nut and cotter pin back in.

Put the wheel back on and tighten the lug nuts as much as possible by hand, jack up the truck, remove the jack stand and set the truck on the ground. Tighten the lug nuts the rest of the way.

Thats it! Easy wasn't it?
 


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becker69

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Dude you're awesome Evan... I bookmarked this one :D :thumbsup: Thanks for some reminders of stuff I forgot to put in my own notes for the next trail one I get to do (thanks again for the replacement one and the extra spare bud :salute: ); you saved me some serious heart-ache.
 




skoal_mint

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I just did mine last weekend..took me 35 minutes to change both, but took 1 hour at the start just looking at it and saying how the heck am im going to so this, then i relized just turn the wheel and the tierod comes out the enough to wrench on it...i didnt thing of a pipe wrench tho, i had to go out and buy a $60 adjustble wrench.
 




Dan Whitaker

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Perfect timing :thumbsup:

I will be doing all ball joints & all tie rods this weekend.
 




becker69

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I'm still waiting to get my 'lifetime alignment' with Firestone (I have an appt tomorrow... but they're being stingy with wanting to honor a lifetime one).

I remembered that when Goliath (Josh) helped me do mine at Moab with your parts ;) ... he had me remember how many (the # of) full turns it took when removing the outer tie-rod off the inner tie rod to aide in double-checking the overall length when reinstalling it. I was surprised my OEM was 17 1/2 turns onto the outer... and 18 on the new one, got me pretty darn close to aligned. Thanks again for the pics and write-up. :) Can I look forward to another one on replacing ball-joints... and / or cv's? You are the CV master now :D
 




MountaineerGreen

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The number of turns works as well, but if the tie rods are different lengths, as mine were, that wont work. The ones I put on my truck were 1/2" longer overall than the ones I took out.
 




jobunn

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Is it wise/necessary to add a shot of grease before reinstalling the boot that covers the inner tie rod connection to the rack?
 




Dan Whitaker

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Is it wise/necessary to add a shot of grease before reinstalling the boot that covers the inner tie rod connection to the rack?

My new inner tie rods came with a little packet of grease to put around the joint before putting the boot on.
 




becker69

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The number of turns works as well, but if the tie rods are different lengths, as mine were, that wont work. The ones I put on my truck were 1/2" longer overall than the ones I took out.

I hadn't realized that. You'd think they'd be so standard that the length would be the same. Thanks for the head's up. :)
 








becker69

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Well, I'm glad to know I'll have to watch the length of my replacement tie rods.

(Just because I haven't researched it yet) Do you have any insight into how to know if your tie rods are due for replacement (besides trail carnage or noticeable steering slop)? Also, how did you know when to do your ball joints? I realize these are serious rookie questions but nonetheless pertinent to the thread. Thanks. :)
 




skoal_mint

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i used a tape measure and put 1/8 of a inch tow in....just make sure your steering wheel it stright befor doing it
 




MountaineerGreen

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I replaced mine because the had obvious slop- other than that, I don't know any reason they should be replaced, unless they somehow become U shaped :D

Lower ball joints get slack in them as well, a TT puts more of an angle on them, causing more streess. The most common symptom of a bad lower ball joint it the tires look like this / \ from the front of the truck.

Outer tie rod ends, just slop in the wheel, it can be hard to diagnose if the inner tie rods are bad. I'd suggest replace them at higher mileage 80k+, they can make a huge difference in drive quality.
 




Premier

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great writeup, your my hero
 




becker69

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I replaced mine because the had obvious slop- other than that, I don't know any reason they should be replaced, unless they somehow become U shaped :D

Lower ball joints get slack in them as well, a TT puts more of an angle on them, causing more streess. The most common symptom of a bad lower ball joint it the tires look like this / \ from the front of the truck.

Outer tie rod ends, just slop in the wheel, it can be hard to diagnose if the inner tie rods are bad. I'd suggest replace them at higher mileage 80k+, they can make a huge difference in drive quality.

:D Thanks. Today Firestone didn't want to align my truck because there was too much "play" (slop?) in the Passenger side tie rod (which is funny since it was the Drivers side that we changed in Moab :D (inner they said)... they said they could align it but I'd be back soon, that I might want to do the inners and then bring it in for the lifetime align. SO now your write-up is real helpful since I'll be doing the inners on both sides today or this week. Firestone wanted $320 to do both the inners :eek: :eek: SO I'll source some through Autozone for 60.51-both inners. Should I do the outers as well... or just buy both on ebay or somewhere? thanks again. :thumbsup:
 




MountaineerGreen

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I'd do outers, but insist on Moog parts, they have grease fittings. I generally don't like AZ for parts- do you have an ORiley nearby?

$320 is alot of dough for inners- the book says you have to remove the rack to do it though. They are probably pricing it by hours in the book.
 




becker69

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Negative on O'reilly, they don't have a shop in CO... I can order Moog outers from them though, so maybe I'll do that and get the inners at AZ or somewhere local. Thanks for the input... I'll see about getting Moog's and do both the inners and outers at the same time I'm @ ~ 68K miles. Sorry for hijacking your thread :(
 


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Texplorer

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So Im halfway through my inner tie rod change and I notice something. I got the castle nut off, popped the outer tir rod off the spindle, take off the outside boot clamp and when I went to take off the inner boot clamp I noticed I have some sort of hose connected to the boot. What the heck is it? I also noticed that if I pull it off there is no way in hell that I can put it back on because its jammed up in the crossmember. Any help would be appriciated. My truck will be sitting on jack stands until I can figure this out.

P.S. How did you guys go about getting the inner boot clamp off? I cant tell how its under tension. Its not like the outer boot clamp that just comes off by squeezing it.
 




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