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Tie Rods: remove and replace; Inner and outer
Topic Started: Dec 29 2010, 10:42 PM (6,653 Views)
Spock
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Live Long and Prosper.

My steering was pretty sloppy, so I decided to replace the inner and outer tie rods. It's pretty easy, but I decided to make a 'how to' anyway. If anyone needs more pictures, just ask, I took a ton while I was in there.

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Step one is, of course, raise and support the vehicle with jack stands and remove the wheel. SAFETY FIRST!
This is the outer tie rod before removal

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The first thing you have to do is remove the cotter-pin from the castle nut on the bottom of the outer tie rod.

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Then remove the castle nut with a 17mm wrench

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Then loosen the jamb nut with a 19mm wrench

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Now, the tie rod won't just come out all nice and easy, you have to 'persuade' it t come out. You can use a pickle fork, but I prefer this tool. I picked it up at Auto Zone for 15 bucks and it is well worth the money. You can also give the area on knuckle around the tie rod a good whack with a hammer to pop the tie rod out but I didn't like that method too much for 2 reasons: 1) I don't like just beating on things with a hammer, it just seems like a bad idea. 2) There isn't enough room in there to get in a good swing. I also used a 'special tool' in between the puller and the castle nut to prevent damage to the castle nut or the tie rod. It worked perfectly.

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Once you pop the tie rod out all you do is spin it off the end of the threaded rod and this is what you end up with. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that you count the revolutions as you unscrew the tie rod so that you can get your alignment back close enough to drive to the alignment shop.

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Here is the old tie rod and hardware. GARBAGE.

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Now it's time to shimmy under the car and start to tackle the inner tie rod boot. This metal band secures the inside of the boot and it can be 'challenging' to remove.

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A screwdriver, hammer and some cussin' and she'll come right off

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Once you get the band off, use the screwdriver to help pry the boot away from its seat on the rack. There is a small spring type band clip that secures the outside of the boot and it is very easy to remove. My picture of that clip died, but trust me, a child of three could remove that one.

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This boot isn't coming off without a fight, either. To help it slide down the shaft, a little silicone spray goes a long way. Once you lube your shaft :D the boot should slide off with relative ease.

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And this is what you have left to deal with once you get the boot off. Basically, this is the inner tie rod staring you in the face. A good rule of thumb is: If you can lift the shaft up and let it go it should stay in place. If it flops around, it's toast. I took a short video of that floppage that I'll post after this.

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The next step is to use this 50 dollar special tool that I picked up from Harbor Freight to remove the inner tie rod. I plan to sell this tool now that I am done, since tie rods only wear out every 150,000 miles or so. I highly recommend finding a friend with one, or renting one if you can. they take up a lot of room in your tool box and are useless for anything else. The only other way to remove these things is to remove the whole rack and put it on a bench vice and spin it off with a wrench, which ain't impossible, but a little more of a pain in the ass than I wanted to deal with.

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This is the second part of the special tool. It's a bad picture, but basically this tube slides over the whole assembly and grabs the crows foot from the previous picture. You then put a 1/2 inch wrench on this tool and spin off the inner tie rod. It's simply screwed onto the rack.

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And this is everything removed

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Reassembly time! You need to apply some sort of Loctite to the threads of the rack where the inner tie rod screws onto. Red Loctite is probably a little overkill, but I don't care. Steering systems are too critical in my opinion to do anything less than the max. The blue Loctite is probably sufficient, but I still don't care. I used the red and that's that!

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Screw the new inner tie rod on the the Loctite covered threads and tighten it with the special tool to 1 billion foot pounds. Seriously, I don't know what the torque spec is, I just tightened the hell out of it. It wasn't all that tight when I removed it, so I just tightened it that much plus 10 percent. You would probably do well to find a spec and go by that on your vehicle. I can't really see anyone getting an accurate torque reading, however, with the special tool.

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Next, reinstall the boot over the inner tie rod. This is the outer clip I was talking about earlier. As for the inner boot clamp, I couldn't find a metal band anywhere. I think the band and tool to crimp said band is called an Otiker clamp, but don't quote me on that. The guy at the parts counter told me to use a zip tie on the inner side of the boot, 'cause that's what he's always done'. Sounded good to me, so that's what I did, but I didn't get a picture of the zip tie installation. I think you guys can figure that one out on your own. Besides, I strongly encourage anyone doing this repair to seek out the method that makes the most sense to them and that which seems the safest. Steering systems aren't something you should mess around with and guess about. I did, but this is MY car.

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Almost Done! Next, spin on the outer tie rod end. Remember how many revolutions it took to remove? Spin the new one on the same number of revolutions. Then, tighten the castle nut and install a new cotter pin.

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Then tighten the jamb nut

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LAST STEP: In my opinion, every time you take the front wheel off of a Metro, you need to be spraying the frame with oil. I like this stuff because it is designed to go all over the place and prevent rust. I just stick the straw in every hole I can find in the frame and go to town.

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And that's about it folks. Reinstall the wheel and repeat on the other side. A FRONT END ALIGNMENT IS 100% MANDATORY AFTER YOU MAKE THIS REPAIR!! DON'T DRIVE THE CAR FOR EVEN A LITTLE WHILE. PLAN TO DO THIS REPAIR DURING A TIME WHEN YOU CAN TAKE THE CAR TO THE ALIGNMENT SHOP RIGHT AFTERWARDS.

If anyone needs more pictures or clarification, PM me and I'll help in any way I can. By the way, all the parts for this project cost about 75 dollars. The outer tie rods were only 12 dollars a piece!! This is a totally simple and easy repair that anyone can do. This is a steering system, however, and if you don't feel TOTALLY comfortable making this repair, take your car to a professional.


Here's a link to that video of the floppy inner tie rod end:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nchj_DgWt5Q

Hope this helps

Rob
Edited by Spock, Dec 29 2010, 11:40 PM.
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Big Rhino
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Good deal. Did it drive better for you after your alignment? Slap on four new tires and man it will drive like a deuce and a quarter!
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JellyBeanDriver
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I know you used loctite, but there's a washer in there that gets bent over to keep the inner tie rod end from coming undone. May not have been obvious with the rack still in the car.
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Spock
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Live Long and Prosper.

JellyBeanDriver
Dec 29 2010, 11:27 PM
I know you used loctite, but there's a washer in there that gets bent over to keep the inner tie rod end from coming undone. May not have been obvious with the rack still in the car.
You sure about that? I'm not so sure there was one, but I'll take your word for it and pull that boot back and double check tomorrow.
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JellyBeanDriver
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Maybe not for the 2000 model, but certainly for my 1992.
Edit: just looked up your year with the manual steering and sure enough I don't see a washer in there in the exploded diagram.

It's #26 in this diagram for my 92'
http://www.genmotorinfo.com/Picture.aspx?ccId=455849523&ppId=468387766&ppInfo=1989-1994+M,Steering+ASM/Rack+%26+Pinion+-+SU06012


vs yours
http://www.genmotorinfo.com/Picture.aspx?ccId=455849523&ppId=131903117&ppInfo=1998-2001+M,Steering+ASM/Rack+%26+Pinion,(Steering+UNit)+(Exc/Ps)+-+SU06036
Edited by JellyBeanDriver, Dec 29 2010, 11:46 PM.
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Spock
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Live Long and Prosper.

JellyBeanDriver
Dec 29 2010, 11:43 PM
Maybe not for the 2000 model, but certainly for my 1992.
Edit: just looked up your year with the manual steering and sure enough I don't see a washer in there in the exploded diagram.

It's #26 in this diagram for my 92'
http://www.genmotorinfo.com/Picture.aspx?ccId=455849523&ppId=468387766&ppInfo=1989-1994+M,Steering+ASM/Rack+%26+Pinion+-+SU06012


vs yours
http://www.genmotorinfo.com/Picture.aspx?ccId=455849523&ppId=131903117&ppInfo=1998-2001+M,Steering+ASM/Rack+%26+Pinion,(Steering+UNit)+(Exc/Ps)+-+SU06036
Damn Dude, thanks for going to all that trouble to look that up :cheers

I suppose it could have been a disaster otherwise. Steering systems are so critical to get perfect. I appreciate your concern. Probably helps others who are doing this repair too.
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Spock
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Live Long and Prosper.

enginedoctorgeo
Dec 29 2010, 10:52 PM
Good deal. Did it drive better for you after your alignment? Slap on four new tires and man it will drive like a deuce and a quarter!
I am going to the alignment shop tomorrow. I took it around the block and the difference was like night and day!! Steering was WAAAAY tighter. It still pulls a little, but I hope an alignment will correct that. If this thing drives like a deuce and a half after an alignment, I am going to roll this car into the river :banghead :banghead :banghead
Edited by Spock, Dec 29 2010, 11:54 PM.
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LeoGeo
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AKA GeoTrio
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Fantastic write up! What kind of tool did you use? I looked on the harbor freight website and couldn't find anything like whats pictured in the photos. Would something like this work? http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/OEM-Saginaw-Tie-Rod-Adapter/_/N-265x?counter=0&filterByKeyWord=27042&fromString=search&itemIdentifier=2072_0_0_

-----

And a slight change in keywords resulted in this: http://www.harborfreight.com/inner-tie-rod-removal-set-96558.html
Edited by LeoGeo, Dec 31 2010, 02:28 AM.
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JoeBob
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Why you Mutt!

Good job, MetroRob. I was thinking of just going to a junkyard and getting a replacement rack and pinion...but this gives me a lot more inspiration to tackle the inner tie rod end!
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Woodie
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JoeBob
Dec 31 2010, 02:47 AM
I was thinking of just going to a junkyard and getting a replacement rack and pinion...but this gives me a lot more inspiration to tackle the inner tie rod end!
If you're going to go to the trouble to take the rack out, replacing the inner tie rods is cake once it is out. Anything you get from a junkyard is just as likely to need new ends as what you have now.
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Bad Bent
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Facetious Educated Donkey

I got a junk yard R&P and it felt great at the yard but had a major click when you rotated the wheel. :rasp

I sent that one to ebay.com/GARO-STEERING in Florida to be rebuilt. It was $150 two years ago bit I think closer to $200 now.
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Spock
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Live Long and Prosper.

LeoGeo
Dec 31 2010, 02:17 AM
Fantastic write up! What kind of tool did you use? I looked on the harbor freight website and couldn't find anything like whats pictured in the photos. Would something like this work? http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/OEM-Saginaw-Tie-Rod-Adapter/_/N-265x?counter=0&filterByKeyWord=27042&fromString=search&itemIdentifier=2072_0_0_

-----

And a slight change in keywords resulted in this: http://www.harborfreight.com/inner-tie-rod-removal-set-96558.html
That Harbor Freight tool you linked is EXACTLY what I used. I paid 50 for mine, but its the same tool I promise you.

Woodie is 100% correct. If you remove the rack, doing the inner tie rods is so easy a caveman could do it :D

Incidentally, I just got back from the alignment shop and did a tire rotation in the driveway and now the car tracks straight as an arrow! There is absolutely no pulling or vibrating at all. It's totally cured.

SO the grand total for all this is:

75 Dollars in parts
50 dollars for the tool
70 bucks for a 4 wheel alignment
a little bit of sweat for the rotation.

So for 200 bucks, or 150 if I sell the tool for what I paid for it, my steering is perfect. It's a little steep if you consider that some Metros are bought and sold for 200 bucks, but loose steering is dangerous not to mention annoying.
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MR Bill
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Glad i got my tie rod wrenches before I retired from Saginaw. Out plant built R&P

Bill
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kevireno
kevireno
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Nice. I am going to do mine, as i have a lot of play at the tire 3 & 9 O'clock position on both front tires. Appears to be play coming from the inner end. I will check and see if auto parts store can rent this inner rod tool.
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mcmancuso
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I did my inners with an adjustable wrench(since I didn't have a normal wrench that big) wasn't that hard.
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