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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Tie Rod End Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

13mm, 18mm, 21mm, 22mm wrenches and sockets with ratchets, separating fork, pick, pliers

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W211 (2003-09)

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 turn your steering wheel you spin a shaft inside the steering column. This shaft is attached to a steering rack on the W211 chassis. The steering rack gets power assist from the power steering pump. The steering rack takes the twisting motion from the steering shaft and turns it into a back and forth motion in the rack itself. At each end of the rack is a ball joint referred to as a tie rod end. This ball-joint allows the steering rack to pull the spindle to the left or the right together, depending on which direction the driver wants to turn. Since the spindle floats up and down with suspension movement the tie rod end allows it to flex up and down and still provide the left and right steering input. As tie rod ends wear out they allow the wheel to wobble back and forth. This will cause a vibration in the steering wheel and also contribute to uneven tire wear. In this tech article we will go over the steps to replace your tie rod ends.

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 and removing the front tires.

The procedure to replace the front tie rod end is the same for both the left and right side. 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

Outer Tie Rod Turn the ignition ON, then turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction of the tie rod end you are going to replace.
Figure 1

Outer Tie Rod: Turn the ignition ON, then turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction of the tie rod end you are going to replace. Turn the ignition OFF. The steering wheel lock will now prevent the spindle from moving while you are loosening fasteners. We recommend you replace both tie rod ends at the same time to maintain neutral steering.

Outer Tie Rod ThisPicture illustrates the back of the left side front wheel well.
Figure 2

Outer Tie Rod: This picture illustrates the back of the left side front wheel well. Start by loosening the 21mm lock nut on the inner end of the tie rod. Just loosen it one turn. This will guide you how far to thread on the new tie rod end.

Outer Tie Rod Count the number of threads (between the red arrows) of the steering rack that are exposed.
Figure 3

Outer Tie Rod: Count the number of threads (between the red arrows) of the steering rack that are exposed. Use this as a guide on how far to thread the new tie-rod onto the steering rack.

Outer Tie Rod Remove the 22mm fastener that holds the tie rod end to the spindle.
Figure 4

Outer Tie Rod: Remove the 22mm fastener that holds the tie rod end to the spindle. If the ball joint in the tie rod end spins, use a T40 Torx socket to counter-hold the tie rod end ball joint still while you loosen the fastener.

Outer Tie Rod Use a separating fork to separate the tie rod end from its hole in the spindle.
Figure 5

Outer Tie Rod: Use a separating fork to separate the tie rod end from its hole in the spindle.

Outer Tie Rod Twist the tie rod end all the way off of the steering shaft.
Figure 6

Outer Tie Rod: Twist the tie rod end all the way off of the steering shaft. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedures. Thread on the new tie rod end to approximately where you left the lock nut or by counting the number of threads exposed by the shaft. Fit the outer end of the tie rod in the spindle and hold firmly in place. Tighten the fastener. Tighten the lock nut on the tie rod connection to the steering rack. Lower the vehicle and have a front end wheel alignment done.

Inner Tie Rod I use a pick to spread apart the crimp clamp to remove it.
Figure 7

Inner Tie Rod: I use a pick to spread apart the crimp clamp to remove it. Remove the clamp from the inner part of the inner tie rod boot.

Inner Tie Rod Pull the boot off of the steering rack.
Figure 8

Inner Tie Rod: Pull the boot off of the steering rack.

Inner Tie Rod Thread the lock nut all the way off of the inner tie rod.
Figure 9

Inner Tie Rod: Thread the lock nut all the way off of the inner tie rod.

Inner Tie Rod Remove the inner tie rod outer boot clamp by squeezing it with pliers and pulling it off the steering shaft.
Figure 10

Inner Tie Rod: Remove the inner tie rod outer boot clamp by squeezing it with pliers and pulling it off the steering shaft.

Inner Tie Rod Pull the inner tie rod boot off of the inner tie rod.
Figure 11

Inner Tie Rod: Pull the inner tie rod boot off of the inner tie rod.

Inner Tie Rod Using slip joint pliers grab the flat surfaces at the inner part of the inner tie rod end and twist in the counter clockwise direction to loosen the inner tie rod from the steering shaft.
Figure 12

Inner Tie Rod: Using slip joint pliers grab the flat surfaces at the inner part of the inner tie rod end and twist in the counter clockwise direction to loosen the inner tie rod from the steering shaft.

Inner Tie Rod Thread the inner tie rod off of the steering shaft.
Figure 13

Inner Tie Rod: Thread the inner tie rod off of the steering shaft. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure. Thread the new tie rod on the steering shaft and fit the boot over the inner tie rod. Attach and clamp the two boot clamps. Thread the lock nut on the shaft to approximately where it was before on the shaft. Install the outer tie rod on the inner tie rod as close as you can to its old position and tighten the lock nut. Install wheel, drop the car and bring it in for a front wheel alignment.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Paragon Comments: What is it with these articles? They state they are for w211 2003-2009 but I own a 2008 model and these articles do not match the design. I think they are for an earlier model such as a w210, no?
April 1, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: They are W211 4-Matic. That may be the difference. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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