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Steering binding up turning hard right or left

I need some help I messed up something! I have a 01 Chrysler Sebring 4D Sedan. I have been working on cars many years, never done tie rods. This my first attempt, I messed something up I believe. I replaced both inner tie rods and outer ends. I followed what I thought was correct procedure., counted turns on ends coming off. Installed new ones the same amount of turns. Before I did this the steering was fine. Now when I turn sharp to the right or left, like turning in to a driveway, I get an awful binding grinding noise, and I can feel it shimmy in the wheel. It will even stop the car going hard right. I can see evidence of rubbing on the CV boot closest to the wheel on the pass side. I assume I messed up somewhere with setting the steering when I installed the Tie rod ends to the wheel hubs. I done have a lot of money left to throw at this, but I don’t know where to go from here. Help!

This is unsafe. Have it towed to a shop and have a pro look at it. It needs to be aligned anyway.

The only thing that’s effected when replacing the tie rod ends is the toe adjustment.

Counting turns when removing the outer tie rod works if the replacement tie rod is exactly the same length. I’ve found some replacement tie rods to be slightly shorter than the originals. So instead of counting the number of turns, I measure to the center of the outer tie rod stud to some feature on the assembly.

So the problem is most likely there’s too much toe in or toe out after replacing the outer tie rod ends, and the tires are now rubbing the sub-frame when making sharp turns.

Drive to nearest alignment shop, without making any sharp turns, and have the toe adjusted.


I emphatically disagree. A toe adjustment is not going to correct the symptoms the OP describes.
I strongly urge the OP to consider this unsafe to drive until a qualified shop looks at it.

You can check the alignment quickly with a string:

Whether the problem is toe or not, I expect a proper alignment job will fix it. For what it’s worth, my truck experienced a similar symptom – not as dramatic though, but annoying – when the toe was a little out of whack.

Offhand, sounds like a toe issue to me. That can also be checked with a tape measure if you have help or a long slim wooden slat with pencil marks used to differentiate front and back of the tire specs. It’s a lot easier than it sounds.

Just a stupid question but the outer tie rod ends are oriented properly aren’t they? As in the ball stud facing down or up as the case may be in the steering knuckle attachment point.

I do appreciate the concern for safety as people have mentioned, but i would like the opportunuty to correct my mistake so i may learn from it.
It will eventually go to a shop for alignment in the end.

Tester: Yes, I should of measured instead. Rookie mistake. Where I believe I went wrong was while removing, and installing the tie rod end, I disturbed the position of the steering. So it did not go back on exactly where it came off. So I’m wondering how I could Reset everything so to speak. Granted, I am going to take it in to a shop anyway, I would rather it wasn’t way out of wack and could safely drive it there. What’s odd is the toe seems to be correct after checking with tape measures. So I think something else is in play. Such as the steering being in the wrong position when I installed the rod ends.

Yes I did make sure the ends were oriented in the same manner as they came out. Good question though, Ok4450.

Well I think I may have found the culprit. Got to be one of the more bone headed mistakes I have made…if it proves to be what I am near 99% sure it is. Anyone care to lob yoyr answer for the moronic move I made?

I’m guessing you got the outer tie rods switched left and right? Or installed them upside down?

I think it is too late to learn from this mistake and fix it yourself. You have no reference points as to what the original alignment was. That was gone once you removed the old tie rod end.

The only way out is a good alignment shop. Not your regular mechanic…unless he has an alignment rig.

I do as @tester describes, ie; when doing an outer tie rod end, I break loose the jam nut 1/2 turn and measure from the nut to the center of the tie rod end stud. Then install the tie rod end to that measurement and thread the nut to the tie rod end. Actually the stud does pivot in it’s bore so it is best to measure to the cap end of the stud…where you would find the grease zerk if it had one. This is the true center of the stud…the threaded could be pivoted by a half inch or more.


I’m going with ASE’s guess.

Yes @asemaster, you got it! Humiliation sets in.
I take what @Yosemite and @Tester, as well as others opinion on this. However I wish it was so complicated. However, I don’t know if it’s industry standard or not, but when Duralast stamps R and L on thier Ends, that means R= Driver and L= passenger. I always thought it was opposite. Now I’m not letting my own ignorant stupid behavior off the hook. I should have matched the ends as they came off. This is why I was so hesitant to do this, I was kind of “nudged” into doing this. Again not making excuses. I’m dumb and everyone else is smart. :-/ . LET’S just say alls well that ends well, drives fine, steering is slightly off center, I will have the alignment shop worry about that. thank you to all of you that offered input. I wouldn’t have arrived at a solution with out all of you. Especially ok4450. His post really got me thinking, to go back and check all the basics.

If you properly installed your tie rod ends, it wouldn’t matter if your steering wheel was turned a half turn right or left. Your wheels would Just be pointed in that direction when you reconnected the tie rods.
If you are determined to fix this yourself:

Disconnect your tie rods.

Turn your steering wheel in both directions to find the center of travel and lock it in place.

Re-install your tie rod ends. If your wheels are not parallel and pointing straight ahead, you have done something wrong and if you can’t see what it is, you need to take it to a pro.

@mmasterson91 You aren’t “dumb” unless you fail to learn from this mistake. We’ve ALL been there at some point with our first repair. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Some people take pictures, some, like me, leave the old part on the ground near where it was removed so you can compare new to old. Replacement parts do vary from original at times AND parts counters make mistakes and give you the wrong parts. The wrong part may even have match the correct listing at the auto parts store. If it looks very wrong, it usually IS.

Like you, I expect the markings to be relative to one sitting in the driver’s seat. This kind of thing had bit me in the past until I developed a routine to prevent it. Since I got bit, I always compare the new part to the one that just came off, before I install the new part. It’s just something I do as a routine check and balance and it has caught some things that might have gone unnoticed or caused me to redo the job.

We learn by being burned. Whenever possible, I take the one example of the old parts with me to the parts store as well so I can compare them right then and there. Had to return for the correct parts one too many times…sometimes very inconveniently as the car is disassembled and can’t be driven back to the store…

I replaced both inner tie rods and outer ends.

Were both inner and out ends marked ‘R’ or ‘L’? Seems fishy to me…

The Old School L and R. That takes me back a few decades. My Father had “Motors” manuals for 1940s and 1950s Chevrolets. I remember reading the instructions for using the manuals. The terms Right and Left were facing the front of the vehicle. It seemed odd. Later on as I acquired British manuals it made sense. They made right hand drive vehicles for the UK and handful of other countries where people drove on the wrong (left) side of the road and left hand drive vehicles for the rest of the world where normal people drove on the correct (right) side of the road. Using the terms Driver and Passenger side could be confusing.

I’ll throw in the possibility that the Chinese marked them wrong.

This car has curved tie rod ends to provide clearance for the tire when turning. If the tie rod end is installed upside down through the steering knuckle they will rub the tire.

If the tie rod ends fit when right/left are reversed the are probably upside down, the stud points down for this application with the nut on the bottom.