Tie Rods and steering wheel position


#1

I recently replaced the passenger side tie rod on my 2008 Dakota Sport. I counted the number of turns required to remove the old piece, measured it against the new to make sure they were the same size (they were) and turned the new part on the same number of turns. Everything works fine, no pulling or drifting noticed and so far no sign of abnormal tire wear. It does seem that the steering wheel is biased slightly to the left of horizontal though. Could this be caused by the tie rod end being off a turn or two? Is it more likely that it has always been that way and I just didn’t notice?
jim


#2

If the wheel is off center after replacing a tie rod end the toe is likely not correct. incorrect toe will cause excessive tire wear on the inner or outer shoulders depending on the direction of the error.


#3

To get that aligned you lengthen one tie rod and shorten the other. If the truck steers to the left with the steering wheel straight, you have to bring the wheels to the right slightly with the turnbuckles. If they were made right, turning one will change the length of the tie rod. Yes, I had one that had right hand threads on both ends. Ford of course, 1965 car.

A half turn might do the trick. If you go the wrong way, just double it the other way. Usually I adjust my rear wheel drive vehicles after the alignment is done. If you do it without the alignment, your steering wheel will be straight but the toe-in could still be too much or too little.

Let the shop do it and you won’t hurt your tires or your fuel economy. You may also have more go power on ice and snow. The truck works better if the wheels are going in mainly the same direction.


#4

@Jim, any tricks on ensuring the tie rod unscrewed easily off? I am doing this on a 1998 and worried about corrosion and not able to twist it off easily. Youtube shows heat and penetrate oil…any other suggestions?


#5

IMHO it needs to be properly aligned on an alignment station. Not a big deal.

For the record, alignment should always be based on centering the steering wheel first. That centers the steering rack and centers the tie rod inner joints (inner sockets, those joints inside the bellows) relative to the steering knuckle, ensuring proper geometry as the angles interact.

No tricks, gdawgs. Heat, penetrating oil, and elbow grease.


#6

To remove the inner tie rod end run the rack out fully to the side being replaced and hold the rack with a crescent wrench on the flats of the gears to prevent it from twisting against the pinion while twisting the tie rod end with the proper tool.


#7

When you are talking about a slight bias on the steering wheel, you are talking about only a fraction of a turn on the tie rod. What you did with the new tie rod end, I have done when removing and old tie rod end and putting it back on. In that case it works. But that doesn’t always work with a new tie rod end.

They may measure the same length etc. but where does the thread cut start. If it started at the 12 o’clock position on the old tie rod end and the new one starts at the 9 o’clock, then the new tie rod could be off a quarter of a turn, and that is plenty to affect the alignment.


#8

I do hope the truck does not have rack and pinion steering. I hope it has a steering box type.