Tie rod end

So I am attempting to change the outer tie rod end on my daughter’s 2009 cobalt sedan. I have taken the nut off and knocked the stud at the bottom side of the knuckle trying to get it to separate without luck. I got the “tuning fork” separator and knocked it all the way up to the bottom of the horseshoe shape and the stud still hasn’t moved in the knuckle. I think the tie rod end itself is trying to separate. I tried to get this one from Oriely’s (https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/c/evertough/tools---equipment-16488/tools-23747/rental-tools-16837/rental-tools--suspension---steering-19169/7ca89b2a19e6/rental-tools-evertough-tie-rod-remover/ren1/67008/v/a/30018/automotive-car-2009-chevrolet-cobalt) and push it back up through the knuckle, but it wont open up enough to put it on. I have tried turning the wheel thinking it may be in a jam and nothing seems to let it free up. I have tried using PB Blaster on the top and bottom and no help. Am I missing something? I have never had this much of a problem changing a tie rod end.


I appreciate the tip, tried everything in the video and still stuck. That think hasn’t budged.

I have had luck with these…

Apply pressure with this tool to the tip of the stud thread and then heat the knuckle with a propane torch or heat gun. Then smack the side of the knuckle where the tie rod taper enters it with a ball peen hammer backed up with a bigger hammer on the other side if the knuckle. The combination will usually get it loose.


I bought a set of presses to remove tie rod ends and ball joints. With aluminum steering knuckles you shouldn’t hammer the joints loose.

just a thought… if you have a jack under the knuckle, you need to lower it to release the tension. otherwise you are pushing up on the knuckle towards the tie rod and it won’t release.


Put a bottle jack or floor jack under the stud, and jack it up pretty good, till it’s almost picking the car up.
Then smack the knuckle as shown in the video.
That should do it.

That doesn’t look anything like the separator I’ve got. Maybe try a different store. Might have to buy one. I think I paid under $10.

This has always worked for me.

Yep that’s what I’ve got, plus the pickle fork. In the bottom of my tool chest somewhere. I gotta tell ya though that pickle fork has come in handy on lots of stuff, even tearing lumber apart. I knew I used one on ball joints and the other on tie rods but didn’t remember which.

I have to admit, I tired everything from a pickle fork to beating it pretty good. Jacks, no jacks, nothing worked. Put it back together and going to the shop tomorrow.

I’ve usually gotten ball joint studs out just hitting the knuckle with a hammer.
But my 01 grand prix, I had to use a pickle fork to separate the stud from the knuckle last time when I did the control arms.

Just in case you have not told the shop to do so you should have them give this 12 year old vehicle a good going over as it is your daughters vehicle .

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Aluminum steering knuckle, use the correct tool to remove the tie rod end. If the steering knuckle is damaged, the shop may refuse to replace the tie rod end.

A set of tie rod/ball joint presses is less than $100.

Yeah I saw that in the video but I’m reluctant to hammer on a cast iron part. Who knows? I’m not a metal expert but I always thought that cast iron was brittle and subject to cracks if hammered. Maybe it’s not problem or not cast iron or an alloy.


If you don’t want to ruin the boot on the tie rod end with a pickle fork, then I’ve always had good luck using two hammers.

With two fairly large hammers, hit both sides of the metal enclosing the tie rod end’s tapered area. Each hammer should hit the metal at the same time.

After several whacks, the tie rod should drop out, in perfect condition.
It’s never failed me.

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Some of the aluminum steering knuckles have steel inserts, this makes the hammer method more difficult and damaging to the knuckle.

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Thanks for that update.

I’m wondering if the hammer method would not be as effective on an aluminum knuckle with a steel insert.

I usually use the one on the left for popping off tie rod ends