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Inner Tie Rod End Replacement (ITRE)

Posted by wret, Apr 3, 2006

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  1. wret

    wret Proven Member

    Joined Jul 3, 2003
    Bel Air, Maryland
    As performed on 2g GS-T. Other models may differ

    Since replacing any tie rod end requires a follow-up trip to an alignment shop, it is wise to replace any questionable joints all at the same time. The ITRE’s are hidden and excessive play is not easy to assess until they are exposed. Replacement inner tie rod ends typically cost $20 to $40 and are available at most general parts stores. Plan about 2 hours to replace both. There are special tools available to remove th ITRE's. This procedure uses a pipe wrench to grasp and turn the the ITRE's instead of special tools.

    You will need a method to get your alignment into safe tolerances before your trip to the alignment shop. Some people count turns on the tie rod ends and try to install the new ends with the same number of turns. If you center the steering wheel and site along the front tire towards the rear, you can judge the alignment with enough accuracy to make a safe trip to the shop. If you lack the resources or you are not sure of your ability to get the alignment within safe parameters, do not attempt to replace your own steering parts.

    Tools / Materials Needed

    . Jack and Stands
    · Socket Wrench (or impact wrench) 12mm socket
    · 7/8” or 22mm open end wrench or adjustable wrench
    · 13mm open end wrench-stubby preferred
    · Diagonal Cutting Pliers
    · Long Heavy Screwdriver or small pry bar
    · Pipe wrench-should have a narrow head to get into tight space
    · Hose clamp-3”
    · Pliers
    · Punch or piece of rod to bend lock washer

    · PB-Blaster or equivalent
    · Plastic Dead-blow hammer
    · HD Grease


    1. Chock and safely jack the car onto stands (or lift)
    2. Locate steering rack and tie rod ends. You will find the ends mostly covered by a gusset support member with about 5 or 6 12mm bolts.
    3. Remove support gusset bolts. If this is the first time you have removed them you may find the bolts resistant to removal. In this case, it is best to precede removal with a liberal dose of PB Blaster. While it could be possible to change the ITRE’s without removing the gussets, it will likely result in more time and aggravation.
    4. Locate bellows boot covering ITRE. Clip the metal strip on the large end using cutting pliers.
    5. Move spring clamp from small end of boot with pliers.
    6. Loosen the jamb nut at the outer tie rod end with a 7/8” or 22mm open-end wrench. Some people will unscrew the shaft of the ITRE out of the outer end at this point and count the turns in order to preplace things with a reasonable degree of alignment. Use a 13mm open end wrench.
    7. Slide boot away from the tie rod end / rack junction.
    8. The rack/ITRE junction is a cylindrical shape with flat spots for a wrench and a washer bent over the flat spots to prevent loosening when adjusting alignment. Unless you remove the rack from the vehicle, in most cases you cannot get an open-end wrench to engage the flat spots. Use a pipe wrench to loosen the ITRE. It has a standard thread but you must overcome the washer that is bent over the flat spots. On the left side of the vehicle, the wrench is an easy fit (to loosen) but on the right it’s a tight fit. A large wrench will not fit in the space but a small one will not have a long enough handle. A foot or so of pipe over the handle will help. One tuners member reported that was able to overcome the washer by using a large set of channel-lock piers.
    9. Once you have it started, it should turn easily. Turn it all the way out. Then you will need to turn it the other way to remove it from the outer end.
    10. Transfer the boot and spring clamp to the new ITRE. Put the lock washer over the end with the tabs pointing out.
    11. Thread the ITRE into place at the rack and tighten securely with the pipe wrench.
    12. Use a punch (or rod) and hammer to bend the washer over the flat spot. If the flat spot ends up an awkward angle, you may need to use a large set of pliers to mangle the waher into place. Without removing the rack, you will only be able to bend one side of the washer. This should be adequate to keep the ITRE place as the only turning action is during alignment adjustment.
    13. Replace the boot. Use a 3-inch hose clamp to replace the metal strap on the large end. Replace the spring clip on the small end.
    14. Replace the gusset support and bolts. Some heavy grease on the bolts will make them easier to remove next time.
    15. Use a 13mm open-end wrench to thread the shaft of the ITRE into the outer tie rod end. Here's where you will want re-count the turns if you are a turn counter.
    16. Repeat steps 2-15 for opposite side.
    17. Perform basic alignment.
    18. Tighten jamb nut with 22mm open-end wrench.
    19. Follow up with accurate alignment

    Ron Tew
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2014
    9!'clipseDOHC likes this.

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