Inner Tie Rod

As any experienced mechanic knows, tie rods are an integral part of a vehicle’s steering mechanism and are only capable of handling tensile loads. Each tie rod is comprised of both an outer and inner end and they are employed to transmit force from either the rack gear or steering center link to the steering knuckles. It is imperative to inspect tie rods at least once a year, since worn or faulty tie rods interfere with not only the steering of your vehicle but can be the primary cause of some major tire wear. Keep in mind that if the tie rods need to be replaced you may also need to have your wheels aligned at the same time.

What Do I Need To Replace an Inner Tie Rod?
If you have found that your tie rods need to be replaced it is important to have the correct tools and parts ready before putting your vehicle on a lift. You can buy tie rod assemblies or simply the outer or inner end if that is all that would be needed. However, to replace an inner tie rod you will need special tools proprietary to the type of inner tie rod you need for your make and model vehicle since there are a variety of ways in which they are connected at the inner and outer ends.

The Importance of Connecting Strength
The first thing to keep in mind is that strength is of utmost importance since tie rods are, indeed, an integral part of your vehicle’s steering mechanism. Therefore, the connecting strength needs to be at least that of the strength of the tie rod itself, never weaker but a bit stronger is okay. The connection for an inner tie rod are threaded and then placed through either shackles or drilled holes. They are kept in place by nuts screwed into each of the ends.

Prestressing an Inner Tie Rod
Since we have seen that strength is of utmost importance when replacing an inner tie rod, it is important to know how to go about prestressing them to acquire the right amount of tension to handle the desired load. Different types of inner tie rods are prestressed according to how they are connected. For example, there are certain types of inner tie rods that have left hand and right hand threads that can be adjusted to the amount of stress (tension) needed and there is a method whereby the rod is turned in the buts in order for the length to be changed. Some people use a forged hook or eye to adjust the tension/stress. Everything depends on the type of inner tie rod and of course how mechanically creative you are in terms of being able to devise your own end connections.

Tools Needed to Replace or Adjust an Inner tie rod
An inner tie rod tool set would consist of a wrench and usually five or six crows feet. The beauty of the right tool set is for facilitating removal of the inner tie rod without the necessity of also removing the entire rack. Some sets work on rounded ends that are not accessible by wrench flats. Also, keep in mind that tool sets need to be specific to the inner tie rod for that particular vehicle. In other words, some inner tie rod tool sets will not work on Fords while others may not work on GMC vehicles unless the right crowfoot is purchased along with the wrench.

If you are trying to save a few bucks on labor, being able to replace and maintain inner tie rods is a great place to start. It is not difficult to do once you have the correct replacement parts and tool set corresponding to the parts needed for your vehicle. There are plenty of ‘how-to’ tutorials and videos online that will give you an idea of how to actually do the labor and the parts can be ordered online as well, usually at a greatly discounted price. However, just make sure you have done your homework before putting the car up on the rack or you might be without wheels for a bit!

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