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Old 12-29-2008, 11:34 PM   #11
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Here's a write-up on the replacement of my tie rod ends.

A closeup of the torn and collapsed passenger side tie rod end grease boot.


The new parts. About $50 each from RockAuto, plus shipping.



Unpackaged. They also come with an extra zerk fitting, a new castle nut, and a new cotter pin.


Here's my arsenal to fix my problem.


Before starting the removal, I counted the exposed threads between the tie rod end and the jam nut on the tie rod. Both the driver's and passenger's side had 7 full threads, and another full, but diminishing thread. I took the time to write that down, and mark which end of the tie rod was which. I don't know if it makes a difference or not, but just in case...

With the tie rod still secure, I took the time to loosen the jam nut on each end of the tie rod. Keep in mind the one side is reverse threaded. Uhhh, I think it was the driver's side.

Using a pair of pliers, I straightened the cotter pins going through the tie rod end castle nuts. Loosened the nuts (1 1/16") but did not remove them per a good recommendation by deminimis. For a 1 1/16" socket, I only have a tall socket, and on the passenger's side, it was not possible to use the socket due to interference from the drag link above. I ended up using a large pair of slip-joint pliers.


Lets just say that even with both castle nuts loosened, the tie rod itself took a bit of persuasion to come out. By not removing the castle nuts, the tie rod did not fall onto the ground or my knee, shin, or foot. By loosening the castle nut to be even with the top of the thread, it also provides a better surface area to hit with a "persuader". It also helps protect the threads (even if I'm not reusing a part). I started with a deadblow hammer, quickly progressed to a rubber mallet, and finally a three pound sledge. I did use a rubber mat between the castle nut and the sledge.

After a minute or two of alternating between the driver's and passenger's side, the tie rod broke free (but was still supported by the attached castle nuts). I then completely removed the castle nuts and moved the tie rod (maybe 15-20lbs?) to the side to replace the ends. Here's a closeup of the damaged grease boot.


I replaced the tie rod ends, including counting out the same number of exposed threads as I counted with the old tie rod ends. I did not fully tighten the jam nuts however, as I wasn't sure if I'd had to make some minor adjustments once the tie rod was installed. Here's a pic of one of the new rod ends without the plastic protective cover.


I then moved the tie rod back over to the van, and used jackstands to support it while I inserted the threaded portion through the steering knuckle. The jackstands were hardly necessary, but they were right at hand.


Robert at Dynatrac was not aware of a torque spec for the castle nuts, but he recommended tightening them till firm, and then tightening them just enough more to expose the hole through the threaded portion and through the low portion of the castle nut. Then insert and bend the cotter pins. After both sides were secure, I recounted the exposed threads (both still on the money), and fully tightened the jam nuts.

I then greased up the new rod ends, put away the tools, and took it for a test drive. No steering issues that I can detect. I will keep a closeeye on things for a while, as I'm no mechanic and any time I work on steering components I get very cautious. Mistakes can kill.

Here are the pics of the new rods ends installed, and greased. I hadn't wiped up the excess grease yet when I took these last two pics. All in all, I'd say this was an easy 2-3 hours fix, though it could easily be less if I had been fully prepared with all my tools in place. I will also keep a close eye on wear on the front tires, and haven't ruled out getting the toe-in checked by an alignment shop.




Herb
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:17 AM   #12
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Thanks for the writeup Herb! Great to see pics of the whole deal.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:44 PM   #13
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Thanks Herb, the pics and great explanations make it a DYI job for sure.

My boots look as bad as yours did.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:07 PM   #14
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Thanks guys. Hopefully it will make someone's life easier if they're doing the same replacement.


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Old 12-31-2008, 12:57 PM   #15
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Thanks Herb that's really good info. I just took my rig to the alignment shop and gave them the info you posted. The guy showed me the computer screen that was right on with your specs and said it didn't need to be screwed with. He sent me on my way with a N/C and Merry Christmas. One thing he did tell me was that I could have bought U-joints and ball joints that are greasable like the tie rod ends you put in. Dyna trac left that part out. I won't make that mistake next time. Anyway glad you're back up and running.
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Old 07-03-2011, 05:26 PM   #16
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Re: Tie rod ends

BroncoHauler,

I am having steering troubles with a balljoint D60 front and am looking to make it highsteer like what appears to be in your pictures above. Can you tell me the source of your front axle in the pictures? What I am really after is the outer knuckles and related equipment. Let's just say when I was a younger and more foolish man I should not have done what I did to my favorite Dodge truck.

Thank You,
Mark Miller
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:31 AM   #17
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Re: Tie rod ends

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmiller113
what appears to be in your pictures above
It's a Dynatrack ProRock 60, it's a "standard" part for the Sportsmobile brand 4x4, despite being custom made by Dyantrack (who make a lot of nice custom axles). I doubt his is any different from anybody else's. Any competent offroad shop should be able to help you.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:32 PM   #18
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Re: Tie rod ends

Thanks Jage. Just got off the phone with Dollartrac. Don't think I am willing to afford their products.
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