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Old 03-13-2006, 05:37 PM   #1
jjsk8r85
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Default need tie rod end opinion

so i'm changing the oil yesterday giving everything the once over, and I see that my passenger side tie rod has play in it, both left to right, and up and down. I checked it by grabbing the tie rod itself. the outer end looks pretty good, could it be the inner tie rod end? how hard is it to replace?
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

Each side of the car has two tie rods. The innner and the outer. Outer one is at the wheel--obvious. It is not supposed to have any play in it at all. Side to side or up and down. The inner (at the rack) will normally only get in and out play. If it gets worn enough I am sure that it could get up and down play but t would need to be almost falling out to get that.

You need to figure out which one it is that you are g ettign the play from. Either way the one with the play needs to be replaced and then you need to get a wheel alignment. Outer tie rod ends are more common to go on the S-series than the inner. Not that tie rods are neccesarily common items to go.
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

well, while I was moving it, I couldn't see any play in the outer tie rod end, indicating that it was further up toward the rack :/
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

You are there and I am not. If you feel that the play is in the inner then it should be replaced.
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

replacing outer tie rod ends is fairly easily. you need an alignment afterward though unless you get the new one in the exact same position as the old one. even then you should get the alignment checked.
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Old 03-14-2006, 01:21 AM   #6
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

its almost always outers on S cars. Remove the outer tie rod end and lift the inner up and let go. It should stay in place if still tight.
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

cool, ill check it out again here soon, thanks guys!
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Old 05-10-2006, 01:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

so here's an update. i checked the outer and inner tie rod ends, and it seems that both of my inners are bad! can these be replaced? I talked to a saturn tech at saturn of plymouth michigan, and he said it can be done, but they recommend having the rack replaced. is this just a money making scheme or will I be okay replacing them with aftermarket?
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Old 05-10-2006, 01:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

Very....VERY rare for ONE inner tie rod to go, let alone both. Yes, they can be replaced but you will need a special tool to do the job. You check for play in your outer tie rods by jacking up the front of the car and putting your hands on the tire at 9 and 3 o'clock and move it side to side looking for play. Do the same at 12 and 6 to check for up and down play. There should be none. You don't need to use so much force as to move the entire wheel back and forth. I would put my money on outer tie rods LONG before assuming BOTH inners are gone. No need to replace the entire rack to replace an inner tie rod though, that's complete BS.
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Old 05-10-2006, 06:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

well, I Checked as you said, and nothing has changed since I checked it last: the passenger side tie rod moves (the whole thing, including the end), and has a bit of play, but it's not in the end, as the end moves with it, and the tie rod moves also.

I connected chassis ears today to both tie rods and to the ball joints and strut mounts to see if I could gather any more data.

What I found was that both tie rods were making tons of noise. the strut mounts were rattling very slightly also. I got a consistent rattle out of both tie rods (passenger side worse, its the only one I can find play in) when my foot is off the accelerator, but it's still in gear (decelerating). Although, I can't hear the rattle constantly, like I did today with the chassis ears. It gets REALLY bad going down a dirt road or a badly paved road. I thought it was all my strut mounts, but they don't really make too much noise.

Anyhow, let me know what you think. I always value everyone's input. BTW, what is that tool you speak of?
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:35 PM   #11
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

The reason they reccomend the rack is because the rack needs to be removed to do it by the book. There is a special tool out that i use that allows you to put a tube over the inner then you lock a crows foot into the tool. Takes like 10 min to do if this tool is used. It was well worth the $70 wisco wanted for it.
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

so where can one of us get this tool?
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

I found the tool at autozone. I just wish there was some sort of guide as to how to use it or how to do the job period. the chilton's manual doesn't say anything about it.

here's the link to the tool at autozone:
http://www.autozone.com/in_our_store...e_rod_tool.htm

Also there's a company called wesco that sells them online. i'm gonna have to do some digging I guess to figure it all out. it doesn't look like all that daunting of a task, but I still like to have a little bit of paperwork to back me up.
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjsk8r85
I found the tool at autozone. I just wish there was some sort of guide as to how to use it or how to do the job period. the chilton's manual doesn't say anything about it.

here's the link to the tool at autozone:
http://www.autozone.com/in_our_store...e_rod_tool.htm

Also there's a company called wesco that sells them online. i'm gonna have to do some digging I guess to figure it all out. it doesn't look like all that daunting of a task, but I still like to have a little bit of paperwork to back me up.
Thats the wrong tool. Its for old school inner tie rod ends what you need isLink to tool. The main sleeve slides over the whole thing then a crows foot is locked into the tool to engage with the flats on the tie rod end.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

THe autozone tool is the right one but you need the adapter also:OEM27042.
It realy easy. Take outer tierod off. Remove dust boot. Slide tool with adpater on tie rod and turn it. Thats all. Worked fine on my 94.
Good luck.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:18 AM   #16
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

I still wonder if it's really the inners. Have you grabbed the knuckle with one hand (ideally, the "ear" to which the outer attaches), the outer with the other, and pushed/pulled? Each side? Then, get under the car, and if your arms can span it (and if there's a place to do it), grab each inner, one in each hand, and push/pull.
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:45 AM   #17
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

yes. i've tried with the tire on and off, and pushed and pulled every which way on the tire and the tie rod itself. there is no play at all in the outer tie rod end, it stays tight while the whole tie rod itself moves up and down, and in and out. I'll see if I can take a video tomorrow and post it.
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Old 05-12-2006, 02:00 AM   #18
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

If he's crazy, so am I. My outer joints are perfect, but the inner joints have just enough slop in them to make for an interesting drive. The car really likes to change direction on its own despite having an acceptable alignment.

At least, I think it's the inner joints.

Maybe it's just rack slop. Three alignment shops have been stumped by it. I finally discovered on my own that with weight on the wheels, there is slop in the steering system. All of the shops kept putting the car on a frame lift to check everything out, and with the wheels hanging free, there appears to be no slop at all.

...Beats the heck out of me.

The car also refuses to return the wheels to center from a hard turn. Strut mounts are not binding. Again, the alignment is acceptable, and the car doesn't have tire wear problems. Just has odd slop from what seems to me to be the inner joints or the rack itself.

I'm just going to swap the entire freaking rack with a low mileage one and see what happens. I wish finding a remanufactured rack for an SC2 wasn't impossible, or I'd just go that route.

Keep us updated on your findings.
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:43 AM   #19
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

Could take it to a front end specialist and get a free estimate. Take it to several and see what they have to say.
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Old 05-12-2006, 10:41 AM   #20
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Default Re: need tie rod end opinion

[QUOTE=KAdams4458]If he's crazy, so am I. My outer joints are perfect, but the inner joints have just enough slop in them to make for an interesting drive. The car really likes to change direction on its own despite having an acceptable alignment.

At least, I think it's the inner joints.

Maybe it's just rack slop. Three alignment shops have been stumped by it. I finally discovered on my own that with weight on the wheels, there is slop in the steering system. All of the shops kept putting the car on a frame lift to check everything out, and with the wheels hanging free, there appears to be no slop at all.

QUOTE]
I had the same problem. It is the inner tie rod. When the car is on a lift the tierod is at an angle with rack, this takes out all the slop. With the weight on the wheels the inner tie rod is almost inline with the rack and you will feel the slop. Best way to test it to pop of the outer tie rod end. You can then easily feel the slop. You should feel some resistance when moving the rod around. If it just falls down it is bad. On mine I could easily feel the slop when straight but no slop at an angle. Check it out.
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