How To: Replace steering inner tie rod end

Discussion in 'How-To's' started by paul01zx2, Oct 7, 2013.


  1. paul01zx2

    paul01zx2 FEOA Member

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    2001 Ford Escort ZX2 5-speed 257K+ miles

    I finally needed to replace the (original) L inner tie rod end on my ZX2. I have done plenty of outers and they are fairly easy but I never had done an inner.

    This procedure should be the same for all 91+ Escort/Tracer and 98+ ZX2

    I used Motorcraft MES3066 for the replacement inner tie rod.

    I started by pulling back the inner tie rod end bellows from the steering rack end so that I could measure the distance from the end of the inner tie rod end attaching nut to the center (grease fitting) on the outer tie rod end. I will use this dimension to set the existing outer tie rod into the new inner so that the alignment (Toe) will be about where it had been. The bellows is held to the rack with a stainless steel band clamp and to the inner tie rod with a simple squeeze clamp. With the bellows slid out you can see the end of the rack where the inner is attached:

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    Loosen (slightly) the inner-to-outer tie rod end jam nut then remove the outer tie rod end from the spindle. In my case this was very easy since I had recently replaced this part and used anti-seize on the tapered stud/hole and the threads on the end on the inner where the outer/jam nut screws on:
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    Next remove the outer tie rod from the inner:
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    Remove the jam nut and then slide off the bellows:
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    Here is the old bellows, outer clamp, and outer tie rod end. All will be re-used:
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    Here are detailed pics on the nut on the inner tie rod where it attaches to the end of the rack:
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    The nut needs to be unscrewed from the end of the steering rack. Its installed very tightly and there is not a lot of working room. A special inner tie rod end tool is required which I had. This tool is not inexpensive - perhaps they can be rented - but there really is no other way that I can see to get that nut off. This tool comes with a series of spanner wrenches that attach to the end to the drive tube. The size for the nut on the inner is 1-3/16". A second wrench is used on the rack (behind the nut on the inner) to reduce the twisting load on the rack teeth when the nut is broken loose:

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    To be continued...
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
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  2. paul01zx2

    paul01zx2 FEOA Member

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    Here is the old inner (bottom) off the car next to my new Motorcraft inner. Although slightly different the overall length and nut hex size (1-3/16") were the same:
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    Here is what the threaded stud on the end of the rack looks like. I still have the support wrench on the rack:
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    The new inner installed on the end of the rack. I coat the threads for the outer tie rod/jam nut with anti-sieze compound. The special tool is used to tighten the nut with the support wrench used to counter the tightening torque of 35 Ft-LBs:
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    I cleaned up the original bellows and clamp before installing them. However the original clamp just did not want to go back on and instead of fighting with it I ended up using a large nylon tie strap:

    Before:
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    After:
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    Re-install the bellows over the inner tie rod. Then install the jam nut and the outer tie rod using the measurement taken earlier to set the position of the outer tie rod end on the inner tie rod. Re-install the outer into the spindle and install the rack bellows over the new inner's nut:

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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
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  3. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Excellent write up and pictures! I got the Inner Tie Rod Removal Tool in a set (3 sizes of 'jaws') from ebay for about $35. I used a 3" radiator hose screw clamp to secure the inner end of the bellows.
  4. EscorGo

    EscorGo FEOA Donator

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    You can borrow the tools from places like Autozone, O'Reilly's, etc. Nice writeup. I maintain the correct length by counting the number of turns of the outer rod end.
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