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Front End Rehab
By Mike Bumbeck/autoMedia.com
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Moderate
Estimated Time240 minutes
240 minutes
If the tie-rod end is toast then the pickle fork is your friend. Pickle forks tend to destroy the rubber boots, and most everything else.
Pickle Forks Are Useful if the Tie-Rod End Can't Be Salvaged
The best trick in the book: A well-placed smack with a sledgehammer on the meaty steel part of the union and the joint will separate.
Use a Sledgehammer on the Meaty Steel Part of the Union
Behold, the two components apart. Keep going until the offending components are removed.
Components Have Separated
In this case, the inner tie rod end was done. To retain a modicum of wheel alignment, measure the total distance of the old assembly. Match this measurement with the new assembly.
Compare the Old to the New Assembly
The inner tie rod end had failed due to a cracked boot. The grease had escaped leaving the inner tie rod susceptible to rapid wear. Add only specified grease to front end components. Replace cracked or broken boots.
Inner Tie Rod End Had Failed Due to a Cracked Boot
As the wheel turns. Replace all cracked or worn bushings. In this case, the sway bar is an integral part of the front suspension. Worn bushings make for clunky and wandering steering.
Replace All Cracked or Worn Bushings
The new bushings at left clearly show the punishment the old bushings at right endured.
 
Comparing the New Bushings at Left Shows the Wear on the Old Set at Right
Here is the front sway bar and bushings ready for install. It may be easier to remove and replace the sway bar with the vehicle weight compressing the suspension.
 
Front Sway Bar and Bushings Are Ready for Installation
Re-install the castellated nuts to target torque, stopping as the hole in the tie-rod lines up with the nut. Always install a new cotter pin.
 
Re-install the Castellated Nuts to Target Torque
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