>From: email@example.com On Behalf Of Gary Davis
>I didn't receive any responses to my initial posting so I'm trying again.
>1. Because the tie rod ball joint boots were trashed when I got my car, I
>intend to replace them (I.e., tie rod ball joints) in the near future
>are ordered). Manuals suggest replacing the whole enchilada if the boots
>torn so that's where I'm headed. Any advice before I dive in. I've read
>Haynes and Bentley and it seems fairly straight forward. Please help me
>making a major screw-up.
Okay, my two cents worth. First off, some definitions. The steering racks
have a total of four ball joints; two on each side; an inner and outer.
The outer ball joint is also called the tie-rod end and are the simple
joints that connect to the steering arm that is part of the brake mounting
plate for each front wheel. The tie rod ends are mounted via a tapered peg
and hole and secured by a (often castellated) nut.
Removal of tie-rods ends can be pretty damn difficult as the nut has been
squeezing the peices together for all of these years. Some times it will
take heat and extreme pressure to separate the tie-rod end from the steering
My advice is to loosen the tie-rod nut. Then, using a BFH, wack the end of
the steering arm a couple of times and see if the tie rod end will pop
loose. If it doesn't, give up. If you're gonna replace the tie-rod ends
anyway, then have at it with pickle forks or tie rod pullers.
Otherwise, loosen the ring clamp on the steering rack boot gators and
unscrew the steering link from the still-connected tie-rod. Count the
rotations and use the same number -- as a guideline -- when reinstalling.
Once you've seperated the steering link from the tie rod end you can remove
the reamains of the steering rack gator. This will expose the inner tie rod.
Separating the steering link from the rack differs according to the age and
type of car. There is usually some sort of jam-nut arrangement that is
holding the jooint together plus a tabbed-washer keeping things from
rotating. Naturally, if this come loose you're day will take a diversion so
make sure you udnerstand how it should go together and stay together.
When you get that apart, you should find a nylon (white plastic) cup at the
end of the steering rack arm. Don't be surprised if this cup is cracked -- a
major cause of internal play on one effected side of the steering rack.
The nylon cup is a $12 part on a TR6 but, apparantly, is N/A on a 'B'. There
may be shims under the cup but it should be reassaembled 'loose' with a lot
of grease. The grease contributes quite a bit of stiction when everything is
bloted up. There should be a spring under the plastic cup.
Ideally, all is well. Regrease the inner tie rod joint. Observe that it will
be just about impossible for that joint to ever get grease without
dissassembly. Consider that the only purpose of axle oil in the steering
rack is to lubricate the pinion/gear assembly and it probably will do
nothing for the actual inner tie rod.
Conclude that if the rubber gator is cracked, the steering rack is going to
quickly fill with road dirt and dust. Also, without the gator, all the oil
will dribble out. Deduce that cracked-gator cars should be avoided.
Replace the rubber gator. Do not snug down to the steering link. Rotate the
link into the tie rod end. Do not snug down the gator to the steering link.
If you've dissasembled the inner tie rod end and repacked with grease, you
toe-in is going to be off. So figure on setting toe-in in any case when the
job is done. Then cinch up the gator to the steering link.
If you do not remove the tie rod end from the steering arm and if you do
clean and repack the grease in the inner tie rod, and you do a decent job of
toe-in, this job will still keep you in the garage all afternoon.
Bob Allen, Kansas City, '69C/GT