Your Ford tie rod is an essential part of your steering system, translating the steering demands you make using the steering wheel into action of the part of the wheels. Your Ford tie rod experiences a great deal of wear and tear as it performs its tasks over time and you can expect to have to replace it at least once over the life time of your vehicle, though driving mishaps can cause it physical damage and make replacement necessary. You should make sure to be familiar with the symptoms that can indicate that your Ford tie rod is becoming worn, as a complete failure of your Ford tie rod can have rather dramatic results. It is rare, but possible, for a complete tie rod failure to result in your wheel separating from your vehicle, which can cause a serious accident and, if it happened on the highway at the peak commuting time, it could cause more than one accident to occur if it should roll into traffic rather than off to the side. However, as long as you are even moderately observant, it is unlikely that you'll ever experience this type of complete Ford tie rod failure. When your Ford tie rod begins to become worn, you'll likely notice a distinct deterioration in your steering and handling, and hear a clunking type of noise. You may even notice that the tread wear of your tires is irregular. If you have doubts about your ability to discern Ford tie rod problem symptoms, have it checked periodically by a trusted mechanic. When the time does come to replace your Ford tie rod, and it will eventually, you'll find a quality replacement at an affordable price in our online catalog, ready to be ordered using either our secure site or our toll-free telephone number.
Fixing a Worn-out Ford Tie Rod End
A busted tie rod end can make vehicle steering sloppy, unpredictable, or less responsive. Your ride may start pulling to one side as you drive it or you may have to turn or adjust the steering wheel because it's off center. A bad tie rod end can also cause uneven tire wear. To fix the steering issue and other troubles this may cause, you'll have to get rid of the old and bring in the new. These are best replaced by pairs (both inner or both outer). And as you replace the Ford tie rod end, you also need to have the alignment settings adjusted, preferably by a professional. Here's a quick guide to changing the tie rod end:
Difficulty level: Moderate
Things you'll need:
- Replacement tie rod end
- Jack and jack stands
- Wheel chocks
- Tire iron or impact wrench
- Needle-nose pliers
- Tie rod puller or ball joint separator
- Open-end wrench
- Lug wrench
Step 1: Use a tire iron or impact wrench to slacken the front tires slightly. Lift the front end of the vehicle with a jack and support it with jack stands. Block the rear tires with wheel chocks for safety. Now that you've prepped the vehicle, access the tie rod end by removing the wheel. Undo the lug nuts and remove the wheel from the base.
Note: Placing the wheel you just removed underneath the vehicle can be done as an additional safety measure in case the stands suddenly break or fail.
Step 2:Loosen the pinch nut, which holds the tie rod in place, with a wrench. As you break it loose, you can turn the tie rod end. You then have to move this nut up till it reaches the tie rod end. With this, you can tell how far you should go to thread on the replacement. Don't tighten the nut just yet.
Step 3:Locate the cotter pin, where the tie rod end comes in contact with the steering knuckle, and remove this. With needle-nose pliers, pull it out. A new cotter pin should be used in place of the old one.
Step 4:Pull out the castle nut, where the pin goes through, using a ratchet. This nut secures the tie rod end to the steering knuckle. After this, you can disconnect the tie rod end using a tie rod puller or a ball joint separator.
Step 5:Set the new tie rod end in place and thread it onto the inner tie rod shaft. Do the threading by hand till this touches the pinch nut. By loosening it about one quarter turn, you can tighten the nut properly.
Step 6:Link the tie rod end to the steering knuckle. Make sure that the tie rod end shaft will fit through the knuckle. Adjust them until their lined up appropriately.
Step 7:Seal in the tire rod end to the steer knuckle. You have to tighten the castle nut according to torque specs and put in a new cotter pin. See to it that the nut will line up with the hole in the shaft before slipping in the pin through and twisting the ends to wrap around the nut. (Note: If the tie rod end comes with a grease fitting, now is the best time to screw it into the top. Coat the tie rod assembly with grease and be sure to remove any grease residue that may ruin the brakes.) With an open-end wrench, you can now tighten the pinch nut.
Step 8: Put back the wheel. Secure it with the lugs, tightening it by hand in a star pattern. After you lower the vehicle back to the ground, tighten the lug nuts with a lug wrench according to torque specifications.