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Old 10-31-2003, 04:15 PM   #1
eljefino
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1995 SW1
2000 SL1
Wrench Replacing Outer Tie Rod Ends

I'll edit in some pictures later.

Your Saturn S-series' steering goes from the steering wheel, down the column, to the rack which moves the tie rods horizontally. The tie rod ends transfer this motion to the steering knuckle which turns the wheels. There is a ball joint in the tie rod ends that cannot be greased after it leaves the factory and eventually wears itself out.

Bad outer tie rods ends show up as loose steering and sometimes an odd, scary vibration where the front wheels seem to be shaking off. Replace pronto! They are also noticed by mechanics at inspection time. If you notice the rubber boots are dry and cracked, outside grit can get in and really start tearing up the system. The boot might be seperately replaceable with a part from the "help" section of your FLAPS but I'd start planning on entire replacement.

Loosen lug nuts, jack car, remove wheel. The tie rod disappears towards the rear of the fender and the tie rod end is near front. It's held on with a castle nut, so named because it looks like a castle. A cotter pin through a hole in the middle keeps the castle nut from spinning off. Unbend the pin, remove, and undo the castle with an 18mm socket.

You can use a puller or pickle fork to seperate the joint. My FLAPS has a loan-a-tool program with both the above items. But both were missing. They offered to sell me one but I couldn't return it. So when I got home I put the castle nut on loosely then pounded the stud with a hammer. It came out.

Skip this paragraph if everything goes according to plan:
++++ Now the castle nut was stuck on from all the pounding. The whole stud was spinning when I tried turning the nut. I had to grind a corner off with my cheapo chinese angle grinder to get a grip with my vise-grips. Once gripped, the castle nut came off again. +++

I had to undo the jam nut on the tie rod; it looks like part of the end but is in fact seperate. I attached my vise grips to a square part of the tie rod end, and braced them against an old scissor jack on the ground. Then, with a 7/8 inch wrench I cranked the nut off. Note that the tie rod will spin freely and I don't know what's at the other end. There's a ridged portion in the middle that I put a 13mm open end wrench on to back things up. Spinning the tie rod will (mis)align your car so leave it be!

The new tie rod came with a zerk grease fitting, uninstalled. I put it in the bottom then bench-greased it with mixed success. For some reason it greases better on the car.

Once the jam nut was undone a couple turns I hit the gap between it and the tie rod end with some white spray paint. I then unscrewed the old end and counted revolutions. I counted 16 but yours may vary. The new one went on but I fumbled so I lost a count (it didn't thread in the first 360 degrees of revolution and would have fallen off). Once I had done the 16 turns it was obvous I had one more to go.

It's down hill from here. Jam nut went back in position. Rubber grease boot went over naked tie rod end. Stud went through knuckle, castle nut went on, at 33 ft lbs. New cotter pin went on. If it doesn't line up with the castle valley, keep torquing up until it meets.



Grease the new end until the rubber boot oozes. Grease this guy every oil change if you're neurotic, once a year if you're a realist.

I had the new jam nut from the kit left over; the old one inspected to be good and I didn't feel like unthreading the bugger. All other parts from the kit were used.



I paid $26.99 plus tax from my FLAPS called VIP. A rumor that autozone has this cheaply is not confirmed by their website; they want $37. It has a lifetime warranty and is "autodrive" brand.

Last edited by eljefino; 10-31-2003 at 04:25 PM..

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Old 11-02-2003, 08:07 PM   #2
94sc2boy
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eljefino

Excellent thread. I just changed out my fuel filter and realized that my tie rod is shot. The boot is gone and you can see the actual joint.

I need to check the other one, but my drivers side must get fixed next weekend.

Thanks
94sc2boy

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Old 11-07-2003, 09:14 PM   #3
94sc2boy
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Just did both of outtertie rods.

One tip. Put ithe ball joint back into the steering knuckle. Put on the castle nut. And then loosen the nut. It makes it a lot easier.

Also borrow the pickle fork. Its great, 5 hits with the hammer and your set.

Also, pay the extra money for the good tie rod. I saved 15 bucks not realizing that the other one is self sealed like the OEM. Now I have them greased every year

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