Having trouble putting nut one tie rod end



Okay, so I had to take the steering knuckle apart on my '88 Dakota, which involved disconnection of the tie rod.

Now, when I go to re-tighten the nut, the threaded end of the tie rod just spins! My first attempt to overcome this was to drill a small hole in the center of the threaded end, and just jamming a screw extractor in…but whatever steel they spec’d can’t be drilled w/ cobalt bits.

Any ideas?


Did you damage the threads when removing it? Some people pound on the stud to remove the tie rod end (TRE) which mushrooms the stud preventing the nut from engaging the threads.

If the threads are ok, I?ve had good luck using a bottle jack to push the stud up into the steering knuckle to engage the taper and prevent it from spinning. Make sure you put a block of wood between the jack and the TRE and drill a hole in the wood block if your TRE had a grease fitting. Be careful not to use too much force, as you can break the knuckle, which is a hell of a lot more expensive than just replacing the TRE.


Remove the tie rod from the knuckle. Take a heavy dead blow hammer and smack the steering knuckle where the tie rod passes thru to slightly deform the tapered hole. Tap the tie rod back into the steering knuckle and try tightening the nut.



If the threads are ok, I?ve had good luck using a bottle jack to push the stud up into the steering knuckle to engage the taper and prevent it from spinning.


Worked like a champ–thanks!


I just use a big pair of pliers, this is a common situation.


Dont do anything but except replace the tie rod end. The spring inside the ball/socket of the part is no good and for the price just replace it. It is a safety part, replace it.


See if you can find a picture of this spring inside the tie-rod ball and socket. None of my manuals mention it. Where did you hear of it?


Bump, for mystery spring in tie-rod ball and socket


No such thing.



You hate to call people out when they post bad info, but when it is potentialy harmful and just not harmless urban legend it must be done.


Apparently I am thinking of old technology. Back when I worked on the service side (several years ago) there were a few incidences when a tie rod end or a ball joint was removed and it fell apart. After the stud was a stout small spring. I searched for a cutaway or exploded view of this part and only found one. It in fact did not have this spring so apparently it has gone by the wayside. Even the simplest part can change with technology and time.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention but with all due respect I do not see it as being harmful.


It is harmful in the aspect of making people think that this is a part that could fail in this way, we get enough posts about situations that don’t exist, and you linked it to a safety hazard, a double no,no.


'fraid so Tester, not sure about current models since I haven’t pulled any apart but ball joints including tie rod ends used to have a cup and spring. How this information could be potentially harmful to anyone, I can’t fathom.

Take a look at this Land Rover pitman arm repair kit, you can clearly see the cups and spring listed and this goes up to 99.



Meaneyed is partially right. If you use a 1/2" drive impact on the tie rod stud nut, you can inadvertently spin the ball in the socket at tremendous RPM, creating wear. A lot of the older tie rods that had grease fittings had that spring in there, too. You’re just about R&I-ing the tie rod to begin with, so, especially if your own labor is free, you could argue to R&R tie rod in question. If it’s a paying customer, you don’t want to oversell, on the other hand.



If you look at the 2nd URL, you can see the cross section of a spring under the “socket” or bearing, made of babbit, (or metal softer than the ball) the ball being high carbon steel. So the socket wears much faster than the ball. The spring seems to take up accumulating axial wear in the bearing (socket), but of course, when the lateral play becomes perceptible to the mechanic during a safety check, the party’s over for the poor
tie rod!


My current manual states"an elastomer bushing bonded to the stud ball provides strong shock absorption" no mention what so ever of a spring involved.Lets not start comparing what ever we can grasp at and stick with tie-rod ends.


I’m not sure that most all tie rods, even modern ones, don’t have this spring. I mean, whether or not a tie rod has a grease fitting, you can never see the spring, anyway, unless the ball joint (tie rod) falls apart or is sawed open by a technician or shop teacher.


I’ve been doing some reading up in the last couple hours. In the '80’s Ford pickups had rubber bonded socket tie rods (no metal socket; no preload spring). They prevented road shock energy from getting to the steering wheel. They were a failure, though.

So some tie rod sockets now are made of some type of high tech plastic compound. Maybe there are no springs used in these, I don’t know. It would seem, though, that if the socket is metal, there will be a preload spring. The URLs I gave were of a tie rod, not a suspension ball joint.


OK, oldschool, here’s an example of what I think you’re talking about, except this one has a polymer bearing. You’re right about the lack of a preload spring, but you’ll note that under the polymer bushing, there’s a “lower bearing that works as a spring to support the main bearing”. This makes me think that if the bearing (socket) is metal, there will always be a preload spring.


Scudder & karl sieger…thanks for providing the pics that I could not find. I knew that I had seen these in the past and that I am not going nuts. There is/was in fact a spring in the part. Now who’s giving harmful info? (: