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Tie Rod Replacement *

Old 04-13-2008, 12:26 AM
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Default Tie Rod Replacement *

Thanks too braddunagon.

OK, so youíre ready to get started on your Tie Rod change. I would say weather or not your Tie Rod(s) is/are broke changing them with after market Heavy Duty Tie Rods is money well spent. Being stranded somewhere with a broke tie rod is no fun! I say this from experience. I cannot speak for the tie rod sleeves as I have never used them but it would seem to me sleeves only band aid a problem and not correct it. IMHO a Heavy Duty truck deserves Heavy Duty tie rods, a problem which GM seems not to wish to admit. Fabtech and Cognito both make a Heavy Duty tie rod sets. I have seen both first hand and both seem very comparable to each other so I will not recommend one over the other. I will say that all the pictures you have seen of both do them justice. They are huge compared to the stock.

Set aside about 2 hours to do this. It shouldnít take no were near that long but you never know what problems may arise.

Now to begin: The things you will need before you start is a very big crescent wrench, big channel locks, normal crescent wrench, a 13/16 socket, a torque wrench and ratchet, a hammer (preferably ball peen), a grease gun, tape measure, a jack and jack stands are optional.

It is advised that you remove the negative battery cable before beginning (I donít see why so I didnít.) I do advise setting the parking brake tight before beginning. I didnít use a jack and stands because I didnít want to drag them out. Other than having to rotate the steering wheel a little at times it was really no problem. I also recommend a ball peen hammer. Since someone borrowed mine and hasn't brought it back I couldn't.

Start with the wheels facing straight forward. Using the crescent wrench or 13/16 socket and ratchet, loosen and remove the top nut of the ball joint.

With the hammer give a few hard blows to the side of the spindle steering arm. The ball joint should fall right out. If it still doesnít come out hit the side a few more times. It will come out!

Locate the inner tie rod end nut where it connects to the center link. Use a very big crescent wrench to turn the inner tie rod counter clockwise and break it loose from the center link. It has thread locker on it so it is not easy. You may have to rotate the steering wheel a little in either direction to find the best place to get the wrench on and turn it. You could probably use a pipe wrench for this if you donít care if you scuff up the old tie rods.

Once it comes loose you can use some big channel locks to completely remove it. You will probably need to hold the outer part of the tie rod straight out so it doesnít flop around while youíre turning it (you will see what I mean when you get this far.) Once removed, Do Not attempt to wipe out the inside of the threads on the center link unless you can see grease on the threads. If you already have grease on the threads you will need a clean rag and some grease dissolving solvent to clean it out thoroughly.

Now you have one side loose youíre ready to remove the other. Just repeat the steps for the other side. Now that youíve done one the other will be easy!

Once you have both tie rods off the truck remove your new ones from the package and assemble them. The instructions that came with the new ones said to make them the same length as the old ones. I found this to be wrong. Because the new ones are larger, the height center point is different than the old. This causes the length to be different. I had mine set the same as the old and had bad toe in. My advice is to add 1/4Ē-3/8Ē to the total length of the new from the old. No matter what you will have to have an alignment done so just try to get them close for the ride to the alignment shop. They are easy to adjust when they are on the truck. No matter what be sure to tighten the jam nut before you drive!

Now to install the new tie rods. Place each tie rod assembly under the truck for easy access. One under the right side and one under the left side. The first thing you will need to do is place a few drops of supplied thread locker on the threads of the inner tie rod stud (the part that goes into the center link.)

Screw the big end in the opposite way you removed it. Tighten it with the big crescent wrench. The instructions say to torque the tie rod end to 100 ft. lbs. I would really like to know how youíre supposed to torque it with a recommended crescent wrench, DUH. My advice to torque it is to put some *** behind it and make it TIGHT!

Now simply slip the ball joint up and into the spindle steering arm. Start the nut and screw it on by hand while pushing the ball joint up tight. This is where you may have to rotate the steering wheel a little to get it started. (The Fabtech instructions show the tie rod ball joint going into the top, this is wrong!) Now using the ratchet and 13/16 socket tighten the nut. Now torque the nut to 35 ft. lbs. and repeat for the other side.

You can use two crescent wrenches to adjust toe in or out as in picture. Use one to hold the tie rod end and the other to loosen the jam nut and /or adjust the link. Be sure to tighten the jam nut.

The final step is to thoroughly grease the fittings. A few pumps of the grease gun is all you need. Too much will make a mess.
Now your ready for the alignment shop.
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