Tie Rods


#1

Ive seen video of folks loosening tie rod nut, then loosening/lengthening tie rod itself for slight alignment issue.

I can reach tie rod w/o jacks, and can loosen the two nuts. But unlike the video, there is nowhere ON THE TIE ROD to place a wrench to move it.

How do I “lengthen” the tie rod???

2002 Trailbalzer


#2

There are often just two flats on opposite sides on the tie rod, not the usual six you find on a nut or bolt.

Are you trying to just guess at proper alignment?? You are very likely to wear out your front tires very quickly and/or have handling problems. Take to an alignment shop.


#3

Figured it out.
What appears to be two nuts is really only one, the lock nut. The other one is actually connected to the rod itself and thats what moves it in and out.

But, as far as an alignment shop goes, if what I did not makes the steering wheel go where it belongs when going straight, and the vehicle does not drift at all, didn’t I fix it???


#4

You need to take the car in for a proper alignment

It’s as simple as that

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but it appears that you do know a few things, but perhaps you should leave the alignment to the professionals

And if you don’t want to do that, at least look up toe adjustment on google, using a tape measure. Or look on youtube

Is it that you want to save a few bucks, or you just want the satisfaction of having fixed it yourself?


#5

Nope, no ego involved. I just gotta save money.


#6

No, there is a lot more to alignment than just centering the steering wheel. After centering the steering wheel, you have to set the toe and you can’t do that by eyeball. You can do it with a 2x4 or 2x6 and a straight edge if you fully understand the front end geometry.

In your vehicle, you also have camber and caster adjustments. If they are off, then you will also have excessive tire wear and tracking issues.

Your vehicle is also 15 years old so you may have some worn out components that a good alignment technician will catch. This is a safety issue as well. Get a pro, but check references, get recommendations from friends and co-workers etc and if you have any concerns that the shop or technician is suggesting more repairs than necessary, get a second opinion.


#7

You can center the wheel and bring the car into alignment but it’s going to take some careful and repeated adjustments of the tie rods.

This means that once the toe is correct and if the wheel is off-center you need to screw one side a certain number of turns and the other side out the same number of turns.

It’s best to leave the lock nuts loose. Start the car, turn the wheels one way or the other, and adjust a tie rod. Turn the wheels the other way and adjust the other tie rod the same number of turns in the opposite direction. Wash, rinse, repeat until correct.

It would be a lot easier to just have the alignment checked but if you insist on DIY (nothing wrong with that) then it will be more time consuming.

Also make sure you have about the same number of threads showing on each side. Some people have been known to go too far with one side or the other and leave the steering knuckle hanging by 4 or 5 threads. That is highly dangerous.


#8

But, as far as an alignment shop goes, if what I did not makes the steering wheel go
where it belongs when going straight, and the vehicle does not drift at all, didn’t I fix it???

@mfa:
The tie rod end changes you are making only changes toe-in settings. Toe-in generally does not affect vehicle drifting.


#9

Driveway alignments are only good enough to get your vehicle to the alignment shop. Get your Trailblazer to a good independent alignment shop.


#10

What price for my vehicle would be too much???


#11

Brought it in for alignment.
Was told cant/wont do alignment until control arms are replaced. $620


#12

When I asked for toe-in and steering wheel straightening instead of entire alignment, he still said no, control arms first.


#13

I’m going to guess your bushings are toast . . . maybe your ball joints, as well


#14

Im a novice, and here’s what I dont get:
I had no complaints about my steering wheel, tracking, etc.
Then I put in a new tie rod.
Steering wheel was way off.
I go back under the car, tweak the tie rod, and now its pretty close.
Whats the big deal???
I just want myncar to go straight and have the steering wheel where it was when Im going forward.


#15

I probably would have at least replace both tie rod ends and then probably the ball joints while at it. Then get it aligned once. Then at least you’re not at the mercy of having the shop say they are needed too.


#16

Years ago I would perform a driveway adjustment after replacing suspension/steering parts just to get by for a few months before getting on the alignment rack at work. Most of the time the alignment would be forgotten for five years, then the car was retired.

Scribe a chalk line in the center of each front tire while spinning each them. Measure the distance between the front tire chalk lines, adjust so that the distance between the lines on the front side of the tires is 1/8 inch less than the distance between the chalk lines on the back side of the tires. Short track racers have done this for years.

You should inspect and assess the amount of wear on your front suspension. If the ball joints are worn beyond specifications, this should be addressed. This evening I spotted a teen pacing around a 1995 Avenger with a broken ball joint. He had a nice $1500 sport coupe but it was immobilized in the driveway of an apartment complex.


#17

I just want myncar to go straight and have the steering wheel where it was when Im going forward.

I assume you do not want to prematurely wear out your tires. You can have your car track straight and have a centered steering wheel, but that doesn’t always mean your wheels are in alignment.

If your control arm bushings are shot, then the static alignment you do in your driveway (with chalk and string) will likely not be how the tires are aligned when going down the road.


#18

If my vehicle has so many issues, why weren’t the tires wearing down quickly and incorrectly two days ago before tie rod was replaced???

From end to end there could be hundreds of things wrong with this car. But Im not in the position to replace everything that “has some play” or “looks shot.”


#19

You’re being told what needs to be done to make your car safe and stop the tires from prematurely wearing out. You can either spend the money now and get the alignment done, or spend the money over and over again buying new tires before you should have to. It’s your choice.

If you want to save money, replace the parts they told you about yourself, and then take it to the shop and have them align it. That’s how I approach suspension work. I can do the wrenching myself but I’d rather the pro with the scandalously expensive alignment machine do the actual tweaking.


#20

But why would the tires start wearing away now when they hadnt before when it had faulty parts???