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How to check and change inner tie rod ends or sockets

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  • Dodge Master
  • 7,772 Answers

Hi, the important thing on inner tie rod ends is to distinguish between rack motion and ball joint play. There will always be some play in the rack. What you have to do is to unclamp and then peel the boot back off of the joint. Then, with the wheel off the ground, pull the joint from the tie rod in every direction. The most critical direction is along the rack. Any play along the direction of the rack will add to the normal play in the steering wheel. I new tie rod has no play at all. Some play certainly develops early in the life of the joint, but if the boot has torn open, chances are the joint is now wearing rapidly. They can also wear out even with a perfectly good boot. If you can feel play in the joint when there is no motion in the rack, the joint is worn; however, play up to about 1/16 inch is probably not worth the effort to repair until it gets worse or unless you plan to keep the vehicle on the road an additional 5 years or more.

To replace the inner tie rod, the procedure varies with model. I will provide a general procedure, and if you reply with your model and year I can update with any specifics you might need to know. Usually the inner rod will unscrew from the rack using a large open end or adjustable wrench. There may be a pin or a sleeve that is pushed into an indent that locks the joint from turning. The pin or sleeve indent will have to be taken out or pulled up with a small screwdriver before unscrewing the joint. In some cases, a pipe wrench may be needed to loosen the joint. When putting that much torque into the joint, it is advisable to also put a wrench on the rack to avoid twisting it.
Screw the joint all the way off the rack and then loosen the outer tie rod lock nut. Do not unscrew the lock not--just loosen it slightly. What you want to do is to get the adjustment of the new tie rod end to match the old one. In this way, you may be able to avoid getting an alignment afte the repair. If you plan to get an alignment anyway then this is not critical. However, if you have to drive the car to an alignment shop, it is best to have it adjusted close to right.
Now, before unscrewing the inner tie rod from the outer tie rod, hold the new inner tie rod end up to theold one to make sure they are the same length. If not, you will need to adjust the lock nut so that the length fron the locknut to the rack is the same. Either way, measure the distance from the locknut to the end of the inner tie rod with the joint aligned along the direction of the rod. Then, unscrew it from the outer tie rod. Screw the new inner tie rod onto the outer tie rod until it is that same length. Then tighten the lock nut. Now you need to screw the inner tie rod onto the rack. This can be difficult as the new joint will be stiff. If you have trouble getting it started on the threads consider removing the outer joint from the steering knuckle to get a better angle with the rack. This is done by loosening the nut on the joint to the end of the bolt and tapping the nut with a hammer to break the taper loose. Then remove the nut and pull the wheel back to give yourself some room. Once you have the inner rod screwed on, use whatever the design allows for locking it in place. If there is no locking mechanism, that's probably OK, as I have never seen one come unscrewed. Once you have it on tight, put the outer joint back together and put a new cotter pin on the outer joint nut. If you have questions or would like some pictures for your particular car, I will try to get them--just send the model and year.

Thanks for using FixYa!

Posted on Jan 03, 2011

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Jan 03, 2011

    Sorry, but I forgot to mention replacing the boot. Of course, if the old boot is torn, get a new one. Otherwise you can reuse the old one. You may even be able to save the clamps if you're careful. They come loose by sticking a small screwdriver in the crimp and turning until they loosen a tad. You can tighten them back with bull nose pliers/cutters. On the inner end of the boot, there is usually an air port and there is a tube that runs across the rack to the other boot. This tube is to allow air to move across as the boots expand on one side and contract on the other. Make sure you get the tube back into the port on the boot before tightneing the boot clamps.

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Play in the steering wheel is likely from worn tie rod ends. Have your inner and outer tie rods checked. The outer tie rods are connected to the rod ends coming out of the rack on each side, and are connected to the wheels. The inner tie rods are not visible-but are on the rods under the protective boots on each end of the rack and pinion assembly.
You may need a new rack assembly, but first check if you just need new tie rods.

Nov 25, 2013 | 1997 Honda Accord

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Have anyone out there ever change inner tie rods on a1995 honda odyssey?,if so simply explain,THANKS


Procedure on replacing the inner tie rod ends:


1) Raise and safely support the vehicle.

2) Remove the front wheel/tire assembly.

3) Clean the steering rod between the steering boot and outer tie rod end lock nut with a suitable penetrating lubricant and a clean cloth or shop towel.

4) Loosen the outer tie rod end locking nut 1/8 turn.

5) Loosen the steering boot clamp(s), and slide the small clamp off the boot.

6) Carefully loosen the boot and slide outward off the steering rack and onto the shaft to expose the inner steering rod mounting fastener.

7) If necessary, position the inner steering rack shaft in or out to allow for additional access.

8) Relieve the steering rod nut locking tab from the inner steering rack shaft, then loosen the steering rod ball socket nut 1 turn.

9) Matchmark the tie rod end to the threaded shaft.

10) Remove the cotter key and castle nut from the outer tie rod end threaded spindle, and using a tie rod end removal tool, remove the tie rod from the steering knuckle.

11) Hold the tie rod with a wrench, and remove the outer tie rod end from the threaded rod, counting the number of complete turns it takes to remove the tie rod end from the shaft. Write the number of turns on a piece of note paper.

12) Remove the tie rod end lock nut from the threaded steering shaft.

13) Slide the steering rack boot off the shaft.

14) Remove the inner steering rod ball socket nut from the inner steering rack shaft.

To install:

1) Inspect the tie rod end for looseness, and the steering rack boot and tie rod end boot for cracks deterioration or damage and replace as necessary.

2) Clean steering rack shaft and apply a light coating of Genuine Honda Power steering fluid as necessary.

3) Apply a medium strength locking agent to the threads where the inner steering rod ball socket mounts. Use a new locking washer and a new stop washer, and install the inner tie rod onto the steering rack shaft.

4) Tighten the inner tie rod end fastener by 58 ft. lbs. (78 Nm)

5) Peen the lock washer over the nut or onto the flat surface of the steering rack shaft.

6) Apply silicone grease to the outer circumference of the inner tie rod end ball socket, and onto the groove just outside of the socket.

7) Apply silicone grease to the inside of the small end of the steering rack boot, and slide the boot over the steering shaft and onto the rack and install the boot clamps. If the boot has air hose fittings make sure they are installed as removed.

8) Apply a light film of an anti-seize compound onto the threaded tie rod end, and install the tie rod end lock nut.

9) Install the tie rod end onto the tie rod, turning it in exactly the number of turns it took to remove it.

10) Install the tie rod end following the tie rod end installation procedure.

11) The balance of installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.

12) Check the front end alignment and adjust as necessary.

Sep 10, 2012 | 1995 Honda Odyssey

1 Answer

How to change inner tie rod driver side 1994 accord


You need an inner tie rod tool!!!!!
Run down to auto-zone and rent one. It's like jumbo deep socket.

When you take off the outer tie-rod make sure you count exactly how many revolutions to take it off, then when you put it back juts recount the revolutions and get it exactly the same. You shouldn't need to get another alignment. The tool you can rent at autozone, it's like a long wrench that has just a plain square box at the end you put in this rod thing that the tool comes with and it reaches the inner tie-rod. You will need to take off part number 25's jam nut first as it holds the inner tie-rod against the outer tie-rod. There is a boot that covers up the inner tie-rod end too you will need to grease up that boot really good before putting it back over the inner tie-rod. There is a ring around both ends of the boot, you will need either a ring separator or just pry it off and when putting the boot back just put a zip tie around each end tight, that's what I did cause i didn't have a ring separator. Also, there is a chance if you have an old oem one that the tool can't get to it so you can turn the wheel to move it out so you have more room. Mine was stripped so I had to use some vice grips to get it off. There's also a ring on the inside of the boot at a hose fitting, the other side of the hose goes to the other inner tie-rod on the other side so that when you turn the wheel air moves freely between both tie-rods.

Sep 17, 2011 | 1994 Honda Accord

1 Answer

Inner tie rod removal


The first step in replacing the inner tie rod is to remove the tie rod end. It's basically a three step process, where you start by loosening the jam nut that's used to set the alignment (toe-in or toe-out). That jam nut determines how far up the inner tie rod the tie rod end is fixed. The tie rod end is hollow and threaded, so it can be screwed on or off the inner tie rod. Any procedure for removing a tie rod will start by telling you to count the turns you unscrew the tie rod end, something that I didn't do, and I'll save the explanation for the end:-) After you loosen the jam nut, you remove the cotter pin from the post on the outer tie rod ball joint, and unscrew the nut that holds the ball joint into the tapered fitting on the steering knuckle (video to right). After you pop the outer tie end free of the steering knuckle, you can unscrew the tie rod end. from the inner tie rod, but you need to grip it with something. Inner tie rods normally have some flat surfaces or a splined surface for grabbing with pliers. In this case, I needed two pairs of visegrips and a clamp to hold the visegrips on the inner tie rod from moving in order to get the outer tie rod end broken free and turning easy. That video is below. I happen to own the shop manuals for my Dodge Omni, so I was able to study the procedure for replacing the inner tie rod in detail. I didn't follow it for a couple reason. First, they show my type of power steering rack (Saginaw vs TRW) needs to be removed from the car to change the inner tie rod. That's a lot of extra work, not to mention the fact I buried one of the crossmember bolts in my unibody and flooring repair! So I went with an inner tie rod removal kit from Harbor Freight, manufactured by U.S. General (in Taiwan). The tool is very simple, basically a large steel tub with a snap in opening for a large crows foot insert on one end and a 1/2" socket drive on the other end. The kit is shown in the photo to the lower left (which I need to replace), and a video of the procedure is shown below. The kit wasn't quite right for my car, I had to use an oversized crows foot and the ball joint housing on the inner tie rod was too long, so the flats on the housing were barely held with the crows foot positioned by hand at the very end of the tool. But I got it out.

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1 Answer

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to check the tie rods you jack up the front of the car. Place your hands at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions on the tire. Push/pull on the tire. If you feel movement than look carefully at the out tie rod while you push or pull and see if it moves. If it does it is bad if it doesn't than the inner toe rod is bad. PYou will not be able to do the inner tie rod without some specialty tools.

The outer tie rods can be replaced by removing the tire, loosen the jam nut that holds the inner tie rod tight to the outer tie rod, removing the cotter pin (if it has one) from the tie rod end, remove the nut that secures the tie rod end to the knuckle, Hit the knuckle with a hammer where the tie rod goes through the knuckle until the tie rod comes loose from the knuckle (do not strike the tie rod end), remove the tie rod end from the knuckle and unscrew from inner tie rod counting the number of turns it takes to remove, install the new one using the same amount of turns.

After putting it back together you'll need to grease the new tie rod ends if equipped with grease zerks and have the car aligned.

The O2 sensor unthreads from the exhaust manifold as you thought. It will require an O2 socket which is a 7/8" socket with an opening down the side for the wiring harness to go through. you should be able to purchase the socket from the parts store that you purchase the O2 sensor at. DO NOT GET A UNIVERSAL FIT OR CHEAP AFTERMARKET BRAND, this will cause more problems and more money than just getting a good quality sensor from a reputable supplier or straight from the dealer.

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1 Answer

How are the tie rod ends connected to the rack unit at the opposite end of the tie rod from the wheel ? The Tie rod is free to turn. Is this normal ??


The inner tie rod is threaded onto the rack. There is a tool called an inner tie rod end tool, than will help make it a lot easier to remove. The tool can be found at any good parts store or tool store. The shaft of the inner tie rod will spin. It has a ball that is pressed into a socket. The socket is the part that has the threads onto the rack.

The way you tell if they are back is by grabbing the tire at the 3 and 6 position and pushing/pulling. If you feel any movement than look carefully at the inner tie rod and the outer tie rod to see which one is letting the wheel move.

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Please remember to rate this fix.

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