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Tie Rod End: Grease or No Grease Fitting

I’m looking to replace the inner tie rod end on the left side of my 1979 Celica. Brands that I find on Rock Auto’s website are Moog, and Delco, among others.
Is it better to get one with a zerk fitting (Moog)? Or is Delco a better brand (no zerk fitting)?
Also, the description for the Delco says that it has a castle nut, but the illustration shows what seems to be a nylon insert nut (I know these from aviation uses)

I’m more comfortable with a castle nut & cotter pin. But I’ve never used a Moog product.

Quality aftermarket steering/suspension parts come with grease fittings.

OEM parts don’t come with grease fittings. The part just needs to last until the vehicle goes out of warranty.



It’s a 79 model. I think either would be fine…but I’d opt for grease fittings if the cost difference wasn’t substantial.

Also, that nylon lock nut can only be used once.

So for example, if you had to remove tie rod end in order to remove the half shaft, you’ll have to hunt down another nylon lock nut.


My 47 year old truck has the original tie rod ends. Zerk fittings were oem at the time, consistently greased on the recommended schedule. The tie rods are very easy to grease, the driveline U-joints, they are more of a challenge. Reminds me, time to bring out the grease gun again.

The good old days, with millions of cars and trucks on the road that were greased every 3 months how much grease dripped onto the roadway?

I felt that way too on my first vehicle without grease fittings (1998 Pathfinder). My 1990 Pathy didn’t have Zerks either, but they had these little bolts you could remove and then add them (which I did). I was really disappointed with my 98 Pathfinder not having Zerks or the ability to have them. 300k miles later when I gave the truck to my oldest - original tie-rods and ball joints. I think it was after 400k miles that we had to replace the tie-rods.

Unless you’re putting lots of miles on this '79 (which would surprise me), either would be fine. At, say, 2,000 miles a year, either will last for decades.

And all my recent zerk-free cars have required no tie rod end replacements, and have gone 10+ years.

I was surprised (and excited) to see that my 2005 Sierra had zerks on a lot of the suspension and steering parts, including the ball joints. And they’d even been used occasionally! Especially the ball joints. Hate replacing those. I once sold a truck to avoid replacing ball joints.

All of the suspension and steering components on my 98 Sonoma have Zerks.

I put on 3000 miles in one year. It’s a beautiful car, meticulously maintained (no oil leaks, etc.), Everything but the clock works.

Last for decades? I’m 63. I DON"T have too many decades left myself! LOL.

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The only grease fittings on this car are on the ball joints.
They’re original, as they get greased once a year (just like the landing gear on my Seneca!)

How I wish Toyota could have placed zerks on the 3 piece driveshaft. Luckily the u-joints have no play.

Is there any logic to the thought that a neglected ball joint/tie rod end/etc. with a grease zerk is worse than a “sealed for life” one? In other words, are greasable and non-greasable suspension parts generally identical, except for the zerk, or are there other aspects of the greasable part that might make it worse if you don’t keep up on greasing?

The hypothetical example I’m thinking of is let’s say a greasable tie rod end has a looser rubber cap, to allow excess grease to escape if you get crazy with the grease gun. Would that looser fitting also make it more likely for dirt and road grime to get into the joint? If you’re regularly greasing, this stuff would be pushed back out, but if you neglect it/forget, might the contamination cause the joint to fail sooner than a “sealed” one?


That’s a good article. Given that the OP is greasing the ball joints already, I might go with greaseable tie rod ends.