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Old 09-16-2009, 11:34 PM   #1
ShawnV
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Default Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

Here is a how-to guide for replacing the inner tie rods on a Saturn S-Series. I performed this on my 1997 SW2. When I replaced my outer tie rod ends, I noticed that the tie rods would drop very easily from any position Ė time for new inner tie rods!

Make sure to watch the Richpin inner tie rod walkthrough video.

First get the car up on jack stands and remove the wheels. Hereís a picture of the tie rod to remove. Note that I was also replacing my hubs, but you donít need to remove the drive shaft nut.



Remove the cotter pin and castle nut and use either a pickle fork (youíll need to replace the outer tie rod boot) or a tie-rod separator (youíre keeping your outer tie rod end boot) to remove the outer tie rod end from the steering knuckle. Leave the outer tie rod end on the tie rod and just let it hang there. Next, remove the boot thatís covering the inner tie rod ball and socket. There is a spring clamp on the small end and there is a metal band on the larger end of the boot. If you canít see the connection part of the metal band, grab the boot and turn it until you can. I shoved my flathead under the end of it and it popped off. Once the metal band is off grab the boot and pull it off.



On mine there was a plastic cover covering the socket end that had me stumped as to how to remove. I mistook it for the socket itself, but just grab it and push it back. Skipping ahead, hereís a picture of the socket and the cover once it was off.





Back on trackÖ Youíll need a crow foot wrench to properly remove the tie rod. There are two flat surfaces on the socket end that will accept your wrench. I could not find anyone who had a large enough crow foot, so I fashioned my own using my cheapest 12Ē crescent and my angle grinder.



This was a pain to get in there, but it worked. I also used some channel locks to finish unscrewing the socket once it was loose.

After itís off, place in your vice and loosen the jam nut on the outer tie rod end.



Next, remove the outer tie rod end counting how many turns it takes to remove. Keep that number in mind then remove the jam nut, spring clamp from the small end of the boot, and boot. Reinstall everything onto the new tie rod, making sure to count the turns for the tie rod end.

Hereís a picture of the new and old tie rods.



Place some lock tite on the threads of the new tie rod and thread back into the steering rack. I used my wrench to snug it back up. Pull your plastic cap back over the socket end and replace the boot. I used a zip tie for the larger end of the boot where the metal strap was and replaced the spring clamp on the small end.

Here are some pictures of the passengerís side of the car. There was much more room to work from under the car on this side.







If I had not recently replaced my oil and filter I would have removed the oil filter to gain more room, but it came off all right anyway.

Reinstall everything and youíll be on your way. With any luck you wonít have messed up your alignment too much.


Some notes:

A mechanic told me I had to ďhold the steering rack or youíll break itĒ but I didnít have any problems when I was wrenching on the socket end of the tie rod.

Power steering fluid will leak out once you remove the boot, but I didnít need to add any after the replacement. Check your fluid level after a day of driving.

The tube-style inner tie rod removal tool from autozone will not work with our style inner tie rods.

The inner tie rods were $25 each from Napa.

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Old 04-07-2010, 10:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

Thanks for posting this shawn. What size crow foot wrench fits on the flats?

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Old 04-07-2010, 01:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

Another FANTASTIC way to break those 30MM axle nuts is, have a friend sit in the car, and hold the brakes down firmly.

The brakes can STOP THE ENTIRE CAR, they can certinally be used to get that axle nut off.

...
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

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Originally Posted by cincy_14 View Post
Thanks for posting this shawn. What size crow foot wrench fits on the flats?
I wish I knew. They're huge. Perhaps the best way to find out would be to go to the auto parts store and ask to look at a replacement inner tie rod end then match it up to a wrench on the shelf.

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Old 04-07-2010, 11:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

I did this and it is a 1 7/16 in wrench pretty big.
Kenny

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Old 04-08-2010, 08:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

Thanks! I wondered how the inner TR ends were attached to the steering rack. Now I know.

...
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjtyo4 View Post
I did this and it is a [strike]1 7/16 in[/strike] 36mm wrench pretty big.
Fixed.

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Old 04-08-2010, 11:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

Using an inner tie rod tool (if available) makes the job much easier. Dont know if the parts stores rent them out.

...
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

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Originally Posted by mr18436572 View Post
Using an inner tie rod tool (if available) makes the job much easier. Dont know if the parts stores rent them out.
Yes they do. There is a Saginaw attachment that needs to be rented along with it too.

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Old 04-09-2010, 01:06 AM   #10
kjtyo4
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Happy Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

I bought a inner tierod tool today. will work with any car it has several diffrent size crows foots for it. The crows foots have little legs one on each side with no square opening where you would put you ext like on the rich pin video. It has a log hollow tube that you put the inner rod in select you foot in this case 1 7/16 in put it over you rod where you put your ***** an the slide the tube up and ithose little legs fit into groves and there is a lock to lock it in to place the you put your 1/2 braker bar or rachet i think on the end and lossen it pretty simple. I got this a carquest paid 80 for it but it be the last touble Ill have ever agina seeing with this has all these diffrent sizes for diffrent cars. I reommend it

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Old 04-09-2010, 09:48 PM   #11
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjtyo4 View Post
I bought a inner tierod tool today. will work with any car it has several diffrent size crows foots for it. The crows foots have little legs one on each side with no square opening where you would put you ext like on the rich pin video. It has a log hollow tube that you put the inner rod in select you foot in this case 1 7/16 in put it over you rod where you put your ***** an the slide the tube up and ithose little legs fit into groves and there is a lock to lock it in to place the you put your 1/2 braker bar or rachet i think on the end and lossen it pretty simple. I got this a carquest paid 80 for it but it be the last touble Ill have ever agina seeing with this has all these diffrent sizes for diffrent cars. I reommend it
This tool won't work with our inner tie rod ends because the socket is too large for that tube to fit over. I also rented this set when I did mine, only to find out it would not fit.

Let us know if it works for you and take some pics.

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Old 04-10-2010, 10:08 AM   #12
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

/\ good avatar! Family Guy

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Old 04-10-2010, 07:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

All done where you want the pics at I don't know if the pics on here are still working yet. please let me know
kenny.

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Old 04-10-2010, 07:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

See if you get these This is a carqust brand tool. I did look at the autozone one and the end is smaller as you can see in this one it is alote bigger and with the crows foot it all fits nice as you can see.
Kenny.
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

This is excellent to know. Thanks Kenny. The tool I rented was indeed from autozone and was too small.

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Old 04-13-2010, 08:59 PM   #16
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
/\ good avatar! Family Guy
ahhh ha ha

I'm glad someone noticed

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Old 04-14-2010, 01:03 AM   #17
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjtyo4 View Post
See if you get these This is a carqust brand tool. I did look at the autozone one and the end is smaller as you can see in this one it is alote bigger and with the crows foot it all fits nice as you can see.
Good to know

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Old 05-12-2013, 11:52 AM   #18
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

I found this to be a very difficult job and could not have done it myself.
I could not get the joint to turn loose with the crow foot wrench.

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Old 09-02-2013, 10:34 AM   #19
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Default Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

I did this job yesterday on a 2k SL2, and I would seriously recommend renting the tube-type tool pictured earlier! Because I used to enjoy pretending to be a rally driver on local logging roads, I have replaced way more than my fair share of tie rod ends, but this Saturn (an automatic)was intractable until I borrowed the tool. The way the flats were oriented, there just wasn't room to get my normal hodgepodge of tools on there.
If you try it with just a crows foot, keep in mind that it is loctited from the factory, so you really need to have your breaker bar parallel to the open jaws to have the leverage. Hard to explain in words, but the farther you get away from parallel, the further the actual pivot point moves away from the centerline of the tie rod.
I suppose you could heat it(iirc, Loctite loosens up at around 300*), but I don't know enough about metallurgy to be comfortable doing that to a car someone else drives.
Btw, if you're carefull prying the big inner crimp band, you can re-crimp it with a pair of dull nips.

Good luck!
Scot

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Old 01-24-2014, 11:42 AM   #20
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Question Re: Replacing the inner tie rods S-Series

I guess the one question I have is: Why loosen or remove the axle nut, as seen in the first picture?

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