Escort inner tie rod

I have a bad inner tie rod on my '97 Escort and I’m trying to figure out if I’m going to replace myself it tomorrow or just take it to the shop on Monday (since it will need an alignment anyway).

In principle I know this is easy. But I assume that getting it off at the rack end can just be a bear.

Autozone has at least some versions of inner tie rod removal tools - though I haven’t gone to look at which ones yet.

The body of this car has 273K on it. I have no idea whether the inner rods have ever been done. The boots are in good shape.

So I guess I’m just looking for difficulty rating and whether or not anyone would say one way or the other how likely I am to regret doing it myself. There’s little room to work in there, so a removal tool is probably necessary. But I guess I’m just wondering how many hours I might spend beating on the thing trying to get the old one off. The rest is easy.


If it just needs an inner tie rod, I would take it to Midas; this is a dirty job and the few bucks you save on labor plus the needed alignment make it easier to let someone ellse do it.

We live near a Midas that does not push extra services,and have used this shop since 1984.

Whatever you do, don’t take it to a Ford dealer or postpone the repair. With the high mileage, many other things will go wrong in the future, so keep only doing repairs that are relatively cheap and don’t skimp on safety.

Very easy - 1 hr start to finish using two free tools from Autozone. 1) Jack up the car safely; use one of the Autozone “rent a tool” tie rod end tools to separate the tie rod end from the steering hub; 2) count the threads showing and unscrew the tie rod end from the tie rod. 3)Cut the 2 clamps holding the plastic dust bellow to the rack / tie rod and remove it, and then slide the Autozone Tie Rod tool (basically a metal tube with a 1/2 fitting on one side for your ratchet, and on the other end an opening with adapters to fit your tie rod end style) over the tie rod and unscrew it. Installation is the opposite of removal; put Loctite blue on the threads of the tie rod where it screws to the rack; use new clamps on the bellow (worm style radiator hose clamps are ok if you don’t have CV clamp pliers) and put the tie rod end on the new tie rod with the same number of threads showing - should be close enough to get it to the alignment shop. Good luck - save some $ for Christmas presents.

Thanks folks. I guess based on those two responses I’ll have to flip a coin :wink:

I do have a local front end/alignment shop that I generally use when I need front end work that I can’t (or decide not to) do. I have replaced the struts & halfshafts in the car so I’m not afraid to roll up the sleeves on the front end. Just wondering how stubborn that inner end will be to twist out of the rack. Its not a big money saver, true (nothing like doing my own struts was), but I still just like to do my own work when I can.

I’ll probably just give it a go. Worst thing as far as I know is that I just decide to put it back together & take it in.

A general question about outer end removal if anyone cares to comment. I have always just picked up a puller (all of the manuals say to use one) and used it. Its fine & can be used without wrecking the boot. But I also see people explaining the method of just giving the knuckle a good whack at which point the end just pops out.

Its odd tho’, because I come across 2 kinds of advice. Some people say use a puller or pickle fork and never mention the hammer. Others just talk about the hammer and never mention anything else. What do the voices of experience have to say about just whacking the thing with a hammer? (I’m talking about giving the knuckle a whack next to the stud, not whacking the stud itself). If it works and does no harm I’d rather not bother with the puller.