It's common knowledge among drivers that the steering and the suspension systems cannot work smoothly if any of their vital components are damaged. Even if only one steering or suspension component becomes defective, the entire system could be rendered useless.Take the tie rod assembly, for example. A tie rod is a steering component that serves as the connection between the steering knuckles and the center link. With assistance from ball steering gears, the assembly helps the wheels turn, transmitting force from the steering center link to the steering knuckle.The tie rod assembly also comes with inner and outer ends, both of which make the tie rod flexible and easily adjustable. Should any of the assembly's parts become damaged, you can trust Carparts.We can help you get the perfect tie rod assemblies for your vehicle.
• Helps the wheels turn by transferring force from the center link to the steering knuckle
• Maintains critical vehicle alignment settings
• Comes with inner and outer end for easy fitting
A Simple Guide to Tie Rod Assembly Installation
Tie rods are an integral part of your vehicle's steering system, joining the front steering spindles and the front steering link. When your steering wheel becomes shaky and your car starts to vibrate and wander, your tie rod must be going bad. Installing a one is usually the best course of action in such cases and this guide will teach you how to do so. The process is a complex one, requiring you to disassemble a number of parts.
Required skill level: Intermediate
Needed tools and materials
- Tie rod assembly
- Hydraulic jack
- Jack stands
- Socket set
- Cotter pins
- Pickle fork
Preparing the vehicle
Place your car in a cool shady area. This is important if you plan to work on your car for an extensive period of time. Lift up the front of the vehicle with the hydraulic jack before supporting it with jack stands. Remove both front wheels to gain access to the tie rod assembly inside.
Removing the old tie rod assembly
Locate the outer tie rod end, which is connect to the spindle, and remove the cotter pin followed by the holding nut. After that, locate the inner tie rod end, which is connected to the steering link, and remove its cotter pin as well. Insert the pickle forth where the outer tie rod end and the spindle meet. Use a mallet to hit the pickle fork and separate the tie rod end from the spindle. Use the pickle fork and the mallet again for the inner tie rod end and the steering link. Remove the tie rods.
Installing the new tie rod
Attach the tie rod sleeves to the appropriate tie rod ends. Install the tie rod assembly by attaching the tie rod ends to the spindle and steering link. Secure the assembly by screwing in the holding nut before tightening the adjusting sleeve. Install new cotter pins into the appropriate location.
Repeat the process on the other side of the vehicle. When you're done installing the tie rod assemble, put the front wheels back on before lowering the vehicle.
What to Consider When Buying a Tie Rod Assembly
Equipping your ride with a high-quality tie rod assembly ensures smoother steering performance. But with so many options out there, figuring out the good ones from the bad can be tricky. To help you find the best tie rod assembly for your vehicle, consider these factors:
Location (passenger or driver side, Pitman to passenger, or knuckle to knuckle)
A tie rod assembly, which consists of a tie rod and its connecting parts, can be found in different areas of the steering system. This is because it serves as a link between moving parts such as the steering components found on the passenger and driver sides, the steering knuckles, and the Pitman arm. When shopping for a tie rod assembly, figure out its location since a tie rod set for the passenger side has different specs when compared to one that connects the knuckles.
Basically, a greasable assembly has to be lubricated whenever you do an oil change, while a non-greasable set doesn't need frequent lubrication. If you want a low-maintenance assembly, a non-greasable type is the perfect choice.
Aluminum - Aluminum tie rod parts may not be as durable as their steel counterparts, but these components are more tensile. This means they have a better ability of going back to their original shape after being exposed to pressure.
Steel - As for a steel tie rod assembly, it's quite durable and provides longer-lasting performance compared to an aluminum-based set. However, its parts are prone to corrosion and are less flexible.
Carbon fiber - Carbon fiber resists tension better than steel, but not so much when it comes to compression. A carbon-fiber made tie rod assembly is also very lightweight, making it perfect for those who are after speed.
Other factors to consider
You also need to factor in the application for the tie rod assembly. Will you be using it on a regular vehicle, a street car, or a racing car? For heavy-duty driving needs, we suggest that you choose a steel assembly since it's durable and affordable. Product fit is also an important factor; for easier installation, go for an OE assembly since this is designed to fit your perfectly match your car's specs. As for prices, a complete tie rod assembly can cost anywhere between $40+ and $100+, giving you plenty of budget-friendly options. To get the more value for your money, always go for an assembly that's from a reliable manufacturer.
How to Install a Tie Rod Assembly
A worn-out tie rod assembly can cause poor steering control and uneven tire wear. When left unchecked, it could put extra pressure on other steering components, leading to more car trouble. To prevent the situation from getting worse, replace it immediately. Don't know how? Then check out the steps below:
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Hydraulic jack
- Jack stands
- Lug wrench
- Cotter pins
- Pickle fork
Step 1: Jack up your car using a hydraulic jack and support each side with a jack stand.
Step 2: Remove the front wheels by unbolting the lug nuts.
Step 3: Loosen the outer tie rod end by sliding off the cotter pin from the holding nut. Remove the holding nut by using the right-sized wrench and turning it counterclockwise.
Step 4: Separate the inner tie rod end from the center link by driving the pickle fork into the joint.
Step 5: Set aside the outer and inner tie rod ends. Take note of which bolt was removed from where for easier reinstallation.
Set 6: Thread the new tie rod assembly into the sleeve by following the original layout. Be careful not to puncture the dust boot and sleeve. Don't let the tie rod ends rotate their threads to retain original adjustment.
Step 7: Keep the inner tie rod end in place by attaching a locking ring.
Step 8: Bolt back the outer tie rod end, making sure that the bolt is properly tightened.
Step 9: Insert the new cotter pins in place, bending them properly to ensure a secure fit and to prevent vibration while the car is moving.
Step 10: Apply grease onto the entire tie rod assembly. Wipe off excess grease and install the wheels back in place, taking note of which bolt goes where.
Step 11: Repeat the whole process on the other side of the car. Once the tie rods are installed, lower the jack, and test drive the car to check the alignment. If there's something wrong with the angle of the steering wheel, have it professionally corrected as soon as possible.
If you have an older vehicle, you might need to hammer the pickle fork several times to loosen the tie rod end. For easier reinstallation, putting marks or labels on which bolt goes where helps. Another trick is to accurately measure the distance spanned by the entire tie rod assembly.