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Pelican Technical Article:

Tie Rod End Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$20

Talent:

****

Tools:

19mm/21mm wrench, T30 Torx driver, ball joint separator, penetrant oil, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, lug wrench, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

VW Jetta GL (1999-05)
VW Jetta GLS (1999-05)
VW Jetta Wolfsburg (1999)

Parts Required:

Tie rod end

Hot Tip:

Spray the adjusting threads with penetrant oil beforehand

Performance Gain:

Better handling

Complementary Modification:

Replace struts

It is very important to keep the front suspension of your car tight and firm. The system's moving parts have a tendency to wear out and become loose as the mileage on the car increases. If the steering wheel on your VW can be turned a few degrees in each direction without impacting the wheels' direction, this can indicate that one or more suspension components have worn beyond their useful life.

The most common wear item in the steering system is the tie rod end. This is a spherical joint that is located on the end of each tie rod. The tie rod end controls the position of each front wheel when the car is steered. Over time, the clearances inside these joints increase due to wear, eventually making precise steering control impossible. Additionally, the car may have a slight wobble under speed and braking that cause vibrations. Many times, a new set of tie rod ends can make a car's handling feel like new.

Replacing the tie rod ends requires jacking up the front of your Jetta and securing it on jack stands. Be sure to wear safety glasses while working under your car. You'll also need to remove the front wheels. See our article on Jacking up Your Jetta for more information.

It is also important to have the car's suspension geometry checked by a good alignment shop. It is possible to get it close by measuring the overall length of the old rod and adjusting the new tie rod end to match, but an alignment shop is invaluable in getting it perfect.

Mark the amount of exposed threads coming out of the tie rod end with a Sharpie or some White-Out (green arrow).
Figure 1

Mark the amount of exposed threads coming out of the tie rod end with a Sharpie or some White-Out (green arrow). This gives you an overall measurement to use when screwing the new tie rod end on. It should be close enough to get you to the alignment shop. Use a 19mm wrench (blue arrow) to hold the tie rod end while you loosen the 21mm (purple arrow) lock nut.

Loosen the 19mm nut (green arrow) while counter holding the tie rod shaft with a T30 Torx driver (blue arrow).
Figure 2

Loosen the 19mm nut (green arrow) while counter holding the tie rod shaft with a T30 Torx driver (blue arrow). Loosen the nut until it is flush with the surface of the ball joint shaft. You'll want to use this to separate the shaft from the wheel hub.

Use a ball joint separator to pop the ball joint shaft out of the hub.
Figure 3

Use a ball joint separator to pop the ball joint shaft out of the hub. There are a few different varieties of tools for this job. Follow the manufacturer's directions exactly.

Once the ball joint is free of the hub, rotate the tie rod end until it comes off the tie rod.
Figure 4

Once the ball joint is free of the hub, rotate the tie rod end until it comes off the tie rod. The new tie rod end simply screws on in place of the old one. Make sure you line the new tie rod end up with the paint mark you made earlier. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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