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 Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation

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DEMonte1997
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PostSubject: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:32 am

Write-up: http://rivperformance.editboard.com/brakes-suspension-f6/write-up-outer-tie-rod-end-installation-t5171.htm#71170

Inner Tie Rod write-up is here: http://rivperformance.editboard.com/t6316-write-up-inner-tie-rod-ends#90392


I know replacing the outers is usually elementary but I ran into a big snag with mine over the weekend. This setup was quite different from the Regal as there wasn't a jam nut behind the outer tie rod. So when I tried to loosen the outer, the inner would spin with it. The good news is that the inners seemed to be in pretty good shape so I shouldn't have to replace them. I soaked it in PB Blaster in hopes that when I go to tackle this again, the outer will break free. no
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:48 pm

I have one almost ready; will try to upload images today or tomorrow.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:53 pm

That's great. Thanks Aaron, I appreciate all the work you and others have put into documenting repairs on this site. It's definitely the best I've seen in that regard.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:38 pm

If your steering feels loose, you sense vibration at cruise, or the car wants to track left/right on its own, outer tie rod ends could need replaced. The outer tie rod ends are a mini ball-joint connecting the tie rod to the steering knuckle. The tie rod and inner/outer ends are what "ties" the rack & pinion to the wheels, allowing you to steer. The ends wear down over time, more so than the inner tie rod ends (inside the rubber boot) in most cases, because they experience a greater range of motion on a regular basis.

You can test the looseness of an outer tie rod end by raising the front end (by the frame, no ramps) and, grabbing the wheel, rock it back and forth between 3 and 9 o'clock positions. There should be a slight amount of play, but not much. If you cut the wheel one way, you might be able to observe the steering knuckle moving while the tie rod does not - this means the slack is in the outer tie rod end, and should be replaced. Ideally, they should be replaced in pairs.

The OEM tie rod ends are sealed, so you can't grease them. They are expected to last the life of the car, which is about 150k miles by GM's definition. They do last that long, and maybe longer - I'm at 178k miles doing this first change. Here is what a stock outer tie rod end looks like:



I found Duralast part number ES3452 at Autozone for 30.99 each. I'd guess there are better deals out there, but I like the design of the Duralast, which included a grease fitting. You can see the tie rod end, castle nut, washer, cotter pin, and grease nipple are included (old end shown left):



STEP 1: Raise front of car on jack stands, remove left & right front wheels.

STEP 2: Spray PB blaster on tie rod ends near the jam nut (hex nut butted next to tie rod end) and let soak. Remove cotter pin and castle nut from tie rod end on underside of steering knuckle:





STEP 3: Loosen the jam nut. Don't turn it much, just break it loose. You may find the entire rod moves with the nut - this is good - it means the rod has loosened inside the tie rod end. Note the flatten hex portion of the tie rod between the tie rod end and the boot:



STEP 4: Take a hydraulic jack and place it under the tie rod end's shank, as shown below. Apply lift until you feel it compressing the suspension slightly. WARNING: DO NOT LIFT THE CAR OFF THE JACK STANDS! DO NOT TOUCH THE TIE ROD END WHILE LIFTING. The tie rod end will probably pop up. If not, take a metal hammer and tap on the tie rod end. It should pop. If it's stubborn, take a butane torch and heat the portion of the steering knuckle around the tie rod end shank:



STEP 5: You should now be able to move the tie rod up and out of the steering knuckle. Take a set of large locking pliers and clamp to the flattened hex portion of the tie rod (on the rod, half way to the boot). Holding the pliers on the rod, grip the tie rod end by hand and see if it will spin off. If not, try using tongue & groove pliers to turn the tie rod end. If needed, use a butane torch to heat the outside of the tie rod end, the portion near the jam nut. Try to preserve the orientation of the tie rod and jam nut (they may turn easily), as this is will help keep the original alignment:



STEP 6: If your new tie rod end has a grease fitting, install it now:



STEP 7: Thread on the new tie rod end onto the tie rod until it meets the jam nut. Orient the tie rod end vertically, so that it can insert into the steering knuckle. If you need to spin the tie rod or jam nut a little bit, that's fine:



STEP 8: Insert the tie rod end into the knuckle; add grease if necessary:



STEP 9: Assemble new washer (if provided) and castle nut to shank of the tie rod end, securing it to the steering knuckle. Tighten castle nut to 35 lb-ft, then tighten more until you can insert the new cotter pin. Do not exceed 52 lb-ft.

Insert cotter pin and bend ends.

Outer tie rod end installed:



STEP 10: Have your front end aligned within 100 miles. Most alignments include a rear alignment also, so may want to take this into consideration if you need to do any rear-end suspension work (shocks). I had my alignment done at Sears for $75. The shop guys really enjoyed taking the Riv out for a test drive. "Rides nice and smooth" was the reply he gave, smiling, after handling me the keys.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun


Last edited by AA on Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:12 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:32 pm

my steering feels somewhat loose. I have 107k miles right now. I'm thinking I should do this, would that fix the problem?
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AA
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:38 pm

Hard to say without an inspection. I put mine up and checked the wheels for play. They felt loose, but I didn't know what was "normal", so I took the car in to a mechanic for front end inspection ($40). I did not mention the purpose, I just said check everything. The diagnosis was bad outer tie rod ends and a bad hub/bearing.

Loose tie rod ends will cause loose steering, but if it's the actual steering wheel that's loose, it might not be the tie rod ends. There's a difference between a loose wheel and loose steering feel. Hope that makes sense.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:49 pm

Thanks AA this rocks!...
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:55 pm

By the way... Your never on AIM anymore AA!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:08 pm

AA wrote:


STEP 10: Have your front end aligned within 100 miles. Most alignments include a rear alignment also, so may want to take this into consideration if you need to do any rear-end suspension work (shocks). I had my alignment done at Sears for $75. The shop guys really enjoyed taking the Riv out for a test drive. "Rides nice and smooth" was the reply he gave, smiling, after handling me the keys.

Why would you need an alignment done if you change your rear shocks?

_________________
1998 Supercharged Riviera - Custom CAI, Alpine spx-13ref, Infinity 6x9's, Alpine 4 Channel Amp, Kicker KX3, Silverstars, STB, Hawk Brake Pads, Monroe Air Shocks, KYB GR2
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:11 pm

Probably wouldn't. But if I were going to do rear shocks, I would do them before the alignment instead of after. Just in case.

Quote :
By the way... Your never on AIM anymore AA!!!
I discontinued my AOL dial-up service after 10 years!

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:15 pm

AA wrote:
Probably wouldn't. But if I were going to do rear shocks, I would do them before the alignment instead of after. Just in case.

Quote :
By the way... Your never on AIM anymore AA!!!
I discontinued my AOL dial-up service after 10 years!

I changed my rear shocks a while back and just wanted to make sure that I didn't miss something.

_________________
1998 Supercharged Riviera - Custom CAI, Alpine spx-13ref, Infinity 6x9's, Alpine 4 Channel Amp, Kicker KX3, Silverstars, STB, Hawk Brake Pads, Monroe Air Shocks, KYB GR2
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:21 pm

Mine were off by a tiny bit. You're probably ok if your tires aren't showing any uneven wear.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:29 pm

AA wrote:
Probably wouldn't. But if I were going to do rear shocks, I would do them before the alignment instead of after. Just in case.

Quote :
By the way... Your never on AIM anymore AA!!!
I discontinued my AOL dial-up service after 10 years!

high speed WOOT... you can still download aim if ya didn't already know... I was gonna maybe plan a late july riv meet.. or somethin
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:31 pm

The rear shocks can indeed affect the alignment - by a change in ride height, which shouldn't have been a problem, but if you _had_ leaky air shocks, your last alignment probably threw things off, and now that things are right again you'll need to undo those changes... Changing the rear ride height will change the geometry of the whole rear suspension a bit...
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:36 pm

deekster_caddy wrote:
The rear shocks can indeed affect the alignment - by a change in ride height, which shouldn't have been a problem, but if you _had_ leaky air shocks, your last alignment probably threw things off, and now that things are right again you'll need to undo those changes... Changing the rear ride height will change the geometry of the whole rear suspension a bit...

That makes sense. The last time I had my alignment done, my shocks weren't leaking. Thanks for the clarification.

_________________
1998 Supercharged Riviera - Custom CAI, Alpine spx-13ref, Infinity 6x9's, Alpine 4 Channel Amp, Kicker KX3, Silverstars, STB, Hawk Brake Pads, Monroe Air Shocks, KYB GR2
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:54 am

for step 4 is a quicker and easyer way, and maybe even safer.
Just hold on the tierod. keep up pulling pressure on it and hit whit a hammer there where the arrow shows.
cos the head is made like a cone it will pop up easely if it gets a bit vibration. (have done that way for ower 7 cars and all came out easely even that they had alot rust on them)

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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:22 am

I agree, that will work if you can get enough room to swing the hammer under the steering knuckle. Sometimes the tapered shank is really stuck in there. The reason I use the jack method is because I once tried the hammer and couldn't get it to pop. They also make a fork tool for this, but it can damage the tie rod end, so no good for temporary removal.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:23 pm

nice timing on this thread. i think i damaged my driver side tie rod when i was swapping knuckles for my fbody and suspension install. the driver side makes a nasty clunk/pop when i am going over bumps in turns and then again when i am straightening out the wheel.
does anyone know what the differences are between the 98 tie rods and the 96 tie rods? they have different part numbers and prices (98's being cheaper). i have 97+ steering knuckles, but the 96 steering rods still. which part do i need?

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1996 with 244k miles, L324" FWI -> ported N* -> Ported Gen V w/3.2" Pulley, Stage 3 Phenolic I/C, 1.84 RR, Headers and 3" pipe to mufflers, F-body brakes, and lowered on Eibachs.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:38 pm

not sure if it is a typo or not, but rockauto has outer tie rods for 97+ riv's for 1.72 each wow they say they only have 15 left (i just bought 2, and i hope they fit!) the acdelco ones are $50 each.
hope i dont get then installed and they break on the first bump lol

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1996 with 244k miles, L324" FWI -> ported N* -> Ported Gen V w/3.2" Pulley, Stage 3 Phenolic I/C, 1.84 RR, Headers and 3" pipe to mufflers, F-body brakes, and lowered on Eibachs.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:41 pm

I would think the '97 would be the right one, so that it fits in the hole in the knuckle. The tie rods could be different sizes, but I don't think so. I'll measure the dia of mine when I get a chance (this week).

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:41 pm

This may sound odd but I don't believe my outer tie rod has a jam nut or else they have become completely welded together. Is that even possible? frown
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:54 pm

It has to have a jam nut, or else the tie rod would be loose, in a constant state of adjustment. The rod does not tighten against the inner tie rod end (inside the boot). The only thing that keeps the alignment is the jam nut being tight against the outer tie rod end.

At least this is how the '98 works. '97 might be different?

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:55 pm

my 96 works like that. the only forseeable problem would be if the 96 vs 97+ had different threads on the steering rod.

_________________
1996 with 244k miles, L324" FWI -> ported N* -> Ported Gen V w/3.2" Pulley, Stage 3 Phenolic I/C, 1.84 RR, Headers and 3" pipe to mufflers, F-body brakes, and lowered on Eibachs.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:57 pm

If there is a hex at the end of the tie rod end, try turning it - hard. Per the instructions, be sure to use vise grips on the flat of the tie rod. Apply heat to the tie rod end/nut if needed.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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http://www.cardomain.com/ride/657082/4
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Outer Tie Rod End Installation   Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:25 pm

I think the jam nut was just stuck really bad on the end of the tie rod because there is a hex fitting on it. It just looks like that fitting is a part of the tie rod itself. I'll put some vice grips on the tie rod while trying to break the hex piece loose again.

Thanks for the writeup Aaron!!
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