Should I Replace Outer Tie Rods Along With Steering Rack?

Discussion in '1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk-' started by tracyballard, Jan 21, 2014.


  1. tracyballard

    tracyballard New Member

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    I'm about to replace my leaking steering rack, and having never done this before, I was wondering if I should also replace the outer tie rods at the same time? Any tips I should know? thanks in advance!!







    :)
  2. jetmech807

    jetmech807 Mustang Master

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    If they've not been replaced before, that wouldn't be a bad idea.
  3. Mattstang04

    Mattstang04 Active Member

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    If they've been on there as long as the rack, have torn boots, are getting loose, or even just for the convenience of having your entire steering rack assembly new and fresh, I say go for it. Don't forget to get an alignment afterward.
  4. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Fried or Broiled ?

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    only replace if required the inners are far more likely to need replaced than the outers
  5. Thatsweetstang

    Thatsweetstang Active Member

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    I would personally replace the outers, they're really cheap, I think autozone has them for like 16 bucks. If you need help on the rack let me know :) I've done too many, our racks are craptacular.
  6. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    Steering rack replacement
    The two inner tie rod ends are usually what wears out, and at $45 each, it's better to get a replacement rack assembly since they are part of the package. The rack is about $100 + a $40 refundable core charge, which you get back when you return the old rack. Be sure to ask for the GT or high performance rack, it has fewer turns lock to lock than the standard rack.

    The flex coupling for the steering shaft needs to be disconnected before you can get the rack out. You should disassemble the coupling by removing the 2 bolts that hold it together. The lower part of the coupling will then come out with the rack, and can easily be removed.

    The tie rod ends can be removed with a tool that looks like a giant "pickle fork", it's less than $8, or some stores will rent/loan one. Remove the cotter pin & nut on the tie end, stick the tool between the rod end and the arm it connects and hammer away. The bigger the hammer, the easier it comes apart.

    Remove the two bolts that bolt the rack assembly to the frame and then pull the rack down. Dropping the rack before attempting to remove the hydraulic lines will save you 30-45 minutes of fussing and sweating, and you’re going to have to remove them anyway. Get a catch pan to dump the fluid in when you disconnect the hydraulic lines. I replaced the rack mount bushings with some Energy Suspension urethane ones. When you re-install the rack assembly, put the rear bushings in the rack assembly and lift it into place. Then install the hydraulic lines, front bushings & washers and tighten down the nuts. Doing it this way makes room for the hydraulic lines without having them bind against the frame.

    To change the tie rod ends, do them one at a time. Loosen the jam nut 1/4 turn, then unscrew the tie rod end from the rack. Turn the jam nut back 1/4 turn to return it to its original position. With the tie rod end removed, use a machinist square to measure the distance between the end of the threaded rod and the jam nut. Sit the bottom of the square against the end of the threaded rod, and the end of the blade of the square against the jam nut. Duplicate the measurement on the new rack and then install the tie rod end and tighten the jam nut. Then do the other side: the front end will need aligning, but the toe in will be close enough to the setting of the original rack to drive to the alignment shop.

    Buy several extra quarts of fluid to run through the system to flush it when you change the rack. The car needs to be up on jackstands for the next step. Fill the pump up, start the car, and turn the wheels lock to lock to bleed the air out. Then stop the engine, disconnect the low pressure hose (the one that is secured with a hose clamp) and drain the pump. Re-connect, refill and do it several more times or until the fluid looks clear and not burnt or black.

    Power steering pressure lines:
    Each hose uses an O ring on each end to seal them. The hoses will swivel when they are installed and tightened into place. That is why there are O rings on the fittings. The O ring is the part that actually makes the pressure seal. If you slide the nut all the way back as far as it will go, you will see the O ring and the groove cut into the center section of the fitting.

    [​IMG]

    Sometimes you will get some white Teflon rings with the pump or rack. The rings go on the threaded part of the fitting to reduce or prevent small leaks. They are not meant to seal the pressure part of the line or substitute for the rubber O ring. Heat the white Teflon seals in hot water and they will be easier to install. You can install the fittings without them and not have any leaks if the O rings seal good.
    Kilgore Trout likes this.
  7. flstang65

    flstang65 Well-Known Member

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    They are cheap, quick and easy to do. Good insurance.
  8. 91TwighlightGT

    91TwighlightGT Active Member

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    Yes, I agree. Plus you have to have it aligned when you change them (or you should at least) and the cost of the alignment makes this a no brainer to me.
    flstang65 and BOSSMAN2888 like this.

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