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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Tie Rod End Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$5 to $200

Talent:

***

Tools:

19mm wrench, 6mm Allen, 2 adjustable wrenches.

Applicable Models:

VW Golf GTI (1999-00)
VW Golf GTI 1.8T (2002-05)
VW Golf GTI 20th Anniversary (2003)
VW Golf GTI 337 (2002)
VW Golf GTI GLS (2001)
VW Golf GTI GLX (2000-01)
VW Golf GTI VR6 (2002-05)

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 on.

This photo illustrates the three parts of the tie rod; the outer tie rod end (green arrow), inner tie rod end (yellow arrow), and the tie rod boot (red arrow).
Figure 1

This photo illustrates the three parts of the tie rod; the outer tie rod end (green arrow), inner tie rod end (yellow arrow), and the tie rod boot (red arrow).

You will need to remove the tie rod end whether you are just changing the end or the whole tie rod.
Figure 2

You will need to remove the tie rod end whether you are just changing the end or the whole tie rod. The end is held to the wheel bearing hub by a 19mm nylex nut (red arrow).

The inside of the tie rod bolt is slotted for a 6mm Allen wrench (red arrow), you will most likely need to use the Allen wrench to hold the tie rod while unscrewing the 19mm nylex nut (yellow arrow).
Figure 3

The inside of the tie rod bolt is slotted for a 6mm Allen wrench (red arrow), you will most likely need to use the Allen wrench to hold the tie rod while unscrewing the 19mm nylex nut (yellow arrow).

Depending on the age and condition of the tie rod end you may need to use a pickle fork or ball joint remover (red arrow) to separate the ball joint from the bearing housing.
Figure 4

Depending on the age and condition of the tie rod end you may need to use a pickle fork or ball joint remover (red arrow) to separate the ball joint from the bearing housing.

Measure and mark installation position of outer tie rod end (yellow arrows).
Figure 5

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

Use two 19mm wrenches or two large adjustable wrenches to unscrew the tie rod end (yellow and red arrows).
Figure 6

Use two 19mm wrenches or two large adjustable wrenches to unscrew the tie rod end (yellow and red arrows).

You can now install a new tie rod end, and if you did not move the locking nut when removing the old one your alignment should be close.
Figure 7

You can now install a new tie rod end, and if you did not move the locking nut when removing the old one your alignment should be close.

If you are removing the inner tie rod you need to remove the two clamps (red arrow, one shown) and remove the rubber boot.
Figure 8

If you are removing the inner tie rod you need to remove the two clamps (red arrow, one shown) and remove the rubber boot.

The ball joint end of the inner tie rod (red arrow) attaches to the steering rack.
Figure 9

The ball joint end of the inner tie rod (red arrow) attaches to the steering rack. Access to this can be limited but I found by turning each side as far as possible I could get access with out moving the lower control arm.

With the steering rack fully extended you can get a large adjustable wrench on the end of the bolt (red arrow and remove it.
Figure 10

With the steering rack fully extended you can get a large adjustable wrench on the end of the bolt (red arrow and remove it. These ends are not torqued on at a great value (follow torque specs for you tie rods) and do not need a great deal of effort to remove. Installation is the reverse of removal and do not forget to have the alignment checked.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Marathon Comments: What a really good explanation of how to do this pita job. And from a supplier of parts with no pushy sales stuff. Pity it is in the US.
March 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The US is a nice place. No pity needed. ;)

Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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