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Tie rod replacement

This is a highly unofficial way to change out a bent or damaged tie rod, but cheaper and easier way than recommended by Ford.

Note: Ford calls for you to drop the subframe, pull the whole rack out, and put it in a bench vise. I didn't have time for that. At FocusHacks, you already agree that it's not OUR problem if you mess something up on your car or hurt yourself (see the disclaimer on the front page). I've done my tie rod twice this way with no ill result, however you can bend the main steering gear or cause internal damage if you're not careful with the pipe wrench. We thought we should let you know.

Time Required:
1 hour, give or take

Tools Needed:

  • Jack
  • Jackstands
  • lug wrench
  • BIG Pipe Wrench (The 18" one I have works great)
  • open end wrenches
  • screwdrivers
  • some screw-tightening hose clamps
  • sidecutters (dikes)


    1) Raise and support the front, remove front wheel on damaged side.
    2)Crank the steering all the way over, opposite the direction of the damaged tie rod so that the damaged tie rod is sticking out as far as possible.
    3)Back off the tie rod end locknut.
    4)Get on the body of the tie rod with the pipe wrench. Get on the tie rod end with an open end or crescent wrench. There's flats on it to make it easy to hold onto.
    5)With the pipe wrench, turn the body of the tie rod until it comes out of the tie rod end. Don't allow the tie rod end to move much. You can easily damage the tie rod end if you put too much pressure on that ball joint that goes into the steering knuckle.
    6)Break or cut the tie rod boot clamps. Remove the dust boot. Get on the large ball joint that screws into the steering gear with the pipe wrench. Turn it counter-clockwise to loosen it. It's on there pretty tight.
    7)Thread the new tie rod into the steering gear.
    8)Put the dust boot back onto the tie rod. Don't clamp it down or anything just yet.
    9)Remove the locknut from the old tie rod and put it on the new one. Thread the tie rod into the tie rod end. Try to get it close to where the old one was threaded to.
    10)Tighten the locknut
    11)Replace the dust boot into position and get the air hose re-attached properly.
    12)Use boot clamps or screw-on hose clamps to re-clamp the dust boot. I couldn't get a boot clamp tightener into the confined area, so I went with hose clamps.
    13)Put the wheel on, lower the vehicle.

    Go get an alignment. NOW. Waste no time.

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