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Pelican Technical Article:

Tie Rod End Removal

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$400

Talent:

***

Tools:

13mm 19mm wrenches and/or sockets with ratchets

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R129 (1990-02)

Parts Required:

Tie rod end

Hot Tip:

Spray the fasteners with penetrating oil and let soak in

Performance Gain:

Prevent scalloping of tires and tighter handling

Complementary Modification:

Get wheel alignment when job is completed

As you steer your car you are rotating a steering wheel. That steering wheel is connected to a steering shaft which transmits your steering inputs to a power steering gearbox. This gearbox uses the hydraulic pressure from the power steering pump to move the steering gear. The steering gear moves the pitman arm to the left and to the right. The pitman arm is attached to your center link and also moves back and forth with your steering inputs. At each end of the center link there are tie rod ends that connect the center link to the spindles. This design uses two tie rod ends on each side, one inner tie rod one outer tie rod. Having two tie rods allows for maximum flexibility while turning the steering wheel and suspension movement while driving. Over time the tie rod ends can wear out from all the steering and suspension movement. When a tie rod end wears out the spindle is allowed to wobble while the car is in a turn under load. This can cause a vibration in the steering wheel and uneven tire wear. The inner and outer tie rod ends can be replaced separately although we recommend you replace all of them at once. In addition, there is a connecting sleeve that connects both inner and outer tie rods together and also allows the distance between the two to change for your toe adjustment. Due to rust and corrosion on the tie rod threads it is very difficult to break the rust free and thread out the individual tie rods. We recommend you replace the inner tie rod, adjusting sleeve, and outer tie rod as an assembly on each side. In this tech article we will go over all the steps to remove your inner and outer tie rods.

These fasteners are going to be tight and there may not be a lot of room to swing the wrench. You are going to have to be patient and use some force to remove fasteners and components to rebuild your front end. Corrosion may hold a component in even after you have loosened a fastener. Keep in mind the joint may pop out when you use a removal tool so keep your hands clear and wear protective gloves.

Lift and support the front axle of the vehicle. You have to remove the tires to perform this job and it does make access much easier since you may not have access to an automotive lift. See our tech article on jacking and supporting your vehicle properly for removing the front tires.

The procedure to replace the front tie rod ends are the same for both the left and right sides. These pictures are of the left side of the vehicle. It is recommended you replace both sides at the same time to keep your handling neutral.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches

ThisPicture illustrates the back of the left side wheel well.
Figure 1

ThisPicture illustrates the back of the left side wheel well. If you are replacing only the outside tie rod loosen the 22mm collet lock nut. You only have to loosen it. You may also want to spray penetrating oil to prepare for the tie rod end removal.

Using a 19mm wrench remove the tie rod end fastener.
Figure 2

Using a 19mm wrench remove the tie rod end fastener. If the ball socket spins with the fastener, counter-hold the ball socket still with a 5mm Allen head socket and ratchet asPictured here.

Using a tie rod end ball joint removal tool, separate the tie rod end from the mounting point in the spindle.
Figure 3

Using a tie rod end ball joint removal tool, separate the tie rod end from the mounting point in the spindle.

With the tie rod end removed from the spindle spin the tie rod end counter clockwise to remove it from the adjusting sleeve.
Figure 4

With the tie rod end removed from the spindle spin the tie rod end counter clockwise to remove it from the adjusting sleeve. There will probably be rust and corrosion holding the threads of the adjusting sleeve and the tie rod end. This is why we recommend replacing the inner tie rod end, adjusting sleeve and outer tie rod end as an assembly.

ThisPicture illustrates the inner end of the tie rod.
Figure 5

ThisPicture illustrates the inner end of the tie rod. I have tied the tie rod to the suspension shock to hold it out of my way. Remove the 19mm fastener that holds the inner tie rod end to the center link.

Use a splitting fork to separate the tie rod from the center link.
Figure 6

Use a splitting fork to separate the tie rod from the center link.

Pull the tie rod out of the center link mounting hole and remove it from the vehicle.
Figure 7

Pull the tie rod out of the center link mounting hole and remove it from the vehicle.

Using two 13mm wrenches loosen the pinch fasteners for the sleeve of the inner tie rod.
Figure 8

Using two 13mm wrenches loosen the pinch fasteners for the sleeve of the inner tie rod. You should now be able to thread out the inner tie rod from the adjusting sleeve. There may be rust and corrosion built up on the threads which will require some extra effort to get out the inner tie rod end. This is why we recommend replacing the inner tie rod end, adjusting sleeve and outer tie rod end as an assembly. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedures. Thread the new tie rod ends into their side of the adjusting sleeve and tighten the pinch fasteners and collet. Try to make sure the new inner tie rod, adjusting sleeve and outer tie rod are adjusted to approximately the same length as the old assembly to maintain close to the same wheel alignment. Install the assembly in the center link and spindle and tighten down fasteners. Install the wheel, drop the car and take the car for a front end wheel alignment.

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