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BMW Tie Rod End Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW Tie Rod End Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets, T45 Torx bit.

Applicable Models:

BMW 325i Sedan (2006)
BMW 325xi Sedan/Wagon (2006)
BMW 328i xDrive Coupe (2009-13)
BMW 328i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 328i xDrive Wagon (2009-12)
BMW 328i/xi Coupe (2007-13)
BMW 328i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 328i/xi Wagon (2007-12)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2006)
BMW 335d/i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 335i xDrive Coupe (2009-13)
BMW 335i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 335i/is/xi Coupe (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Front inner and outer tie rod ends, tie rod boot clamp

Hot Tip:

Let soak over night with penetrating oil

Performance Gain:

Replace faulty tie rod end, restore firm steering

Complementary Modification:

Have vehicle professionally aligned

The front tie rod end has three parts, the outer tie rod end, inner tie rod end, tie rod boot. The inner and outer tie rod ends have ball joint sockets on each connecting end. These sockets wear over time creating free-play in the steering, which can lead to tire wear and an undesirable steering feel. You can replace the inner and outer separately, just be sure to have your vehicle aligned once complete. To inspect, jack up the front of your vehicle, wiggle the wheel in both directions of the steering axis. Take note of any free-play. If free-play is felt, repeat the wiggle test while holding outer tie rod, if no free-play is felt in outer tie rod end, squeeze boot and locate socket of inner tie rod and repeat wiggle test.

Raise and support front of vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Remove front wheel from side of vehicle you are replacing tie rod end on.

Remove engine splash shield. See our tech article on engine splash shield removing.

Measure mark installation position of outer tie rod end (green arrows).
Figure 1

Measure mark installation position of outer tie rod end (green arrows). This helps with getting the alignment as close as possible when replacing it.

Working at tie rod, loosen T45 Torx pinch bolt (green arrow).
Figure 2

Working at tie rod, loosen T45 Torx pinch bolt (green arrow). This bolt can freeze from rust. If you are having trouble breaking it free, apply penetrating oil and allow it to sit for a few hours. You could use heat but you run the risk of burning the grease out of the tie rod sockets and melting the boot.

Using a pair of pliers, remove tie rod boot clamp (green arrow).
Figure 3

Using a pair of pliers, remove tie rod boot clamp (green arrow). Slide it toward outer tie rod.

Using a small flatblade screwdriver or a large pick.
Figure 4

Using a small flatblade screwdriver or a large pick. Lever open tie rod boot inner clamp. (green arrow) Be gentle and you might be able to reuse it. I'll show you how to open it back up for reuse later.

Then remove tie rod end boot clamp and slide boot toward wheel.
Figure 5

Then remove tie rod end boot clamp and slide boot toward wheel.

Loosen tie rod lock nut.
Figure 6

Loosen tie rod lock nut. The nut is 38mm, quite large. I don't have a wrench that big. I use a large adjustable wrench to break it free.

Then remove 21mm tie rod end ball joint nut.
Figure 7

Then remove 21mm tie rod end ball joint nut. The ball joint will pop right out of steering knuckle. You will not need a pickle fork or ball joint separator.

Next, unscrew and remove outer tie rod.
Figure 8

Next, unscrew and remove outer tie rod. Once tie rod is out of vehicle. You can separate the inner and outer tie rod end. Swap the boot over to new parts and screw outer tie rod into same installation position as old one.

If you need to reuse the boot clamp, place clamp in vise and pull with a pair of pliers until it opens up.
Figure 9

If you need to reuse the boot clamp, place clamp in vise and pull with a pair of pliers until it opens up. Like shown in photo (green arrow). Install new tie rod onto steering rack and tighten. Then install at steering knuckle and tighten nut. Be sure to replace the self-locking ball joint nut.

Install clamp onto tie rod boot, connect band onto hooks.
Figure 10

Install clamp onto tie rod boot, connect band onto hooks. (green arrows)

Then using a band crimping tool, secure clamp onto boot.
Figure 11

Then using a band crimping tool, secure clamp onto boot. If you don't have this tool, use a pair of diagonal cutters. Just be careful not to cut the band by accident. Install small clamp onto tie rod boot. Install splash shields and double check your work. If you have uneven tire wear, have your vehicle professionally aligned.

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Comments and Suggestions:
grubdunkman Comments: Am I the only one with 24mm tie rod end ball joint nut, not 21mm?
November 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Probably not. Yours or ours may have been changed, so the bolt size can vary. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
e90 m sport Comments: Just a note: The pinch bolt on my 2007 E90 was a T-50, not a T-45 and while the pinch bolts weren't seized, one of the inner tie rods was seized inside the outer tie rod.
May 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Fri 12/2/2016 02:21:56 AM