2007 Dodge Grand Caravan - Outer Tie-Rod End Replacement

Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
3,495
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
I was doing the seasonal tire changeover yesterday, and did my usual quick check of critical front-end components.

Grab tire at 6 and 12 o'clock to check ball joints. Good.

Grab tire at 3 and 9 to check outer tie-rod ends. Uh oh - clunk clunk clunk on the passenger side. (Driver's side was OK, and had obviously been changed out - the outer tie-rod end has a grease fitting.)

Wanted a replacement right then, as the weather is deteriorating rapidly here and I still have a lot of outdoor work to do, so no Rock Auto this time.

Phoned around 1:45 and picked one up from CTR (Central Transport and Refrigeration) about 3:30. It had to be brought in from a local warehouse. It turned out to be a Moog Problem Solver, with the box marked "Made in USA". Strangely enough, it also has a grease fitting.

Anyway, got home and started the job just after 4 p.m. It's pretty much too dark to work outside by about 5:30, certainly 6:00, at this time of year, soon to get worse by an hour.

Anyway, the job went reasonably well. After loosening and backing off the locknut (had to lie down and give the wrench a good push with my leg to break it free), I painted the exposed threads so as to know how far to thread on the new part. (This only works, of course, if the new part is the same length as the old one.)

I ran into a seized outer tie-rod end on my friend's Hyundai Sonata a few years ago, and feared the same here. To my surprise, someone had oiled the threads (unless my penetrating oil had migrated that far that fast, which I doubt). I could turn the tie-rod end by hand on the threaded rod. There was enough slop in the ball & socket assembly that I could turn it 30 degrees or so before popping the spindle out of the steering knuckle.

Popping the spindle out of the hole in the knuckle was a challenge. Due to really long threaded spindle on the old part, the tie rod press wouldn't fit. (I could have cut the spindle shorter, if it came to that.) The ball joint press was too wide to side on the knuckle properly.

I wound up putting a bottle jack underneath and putting upward pressure on the spindle while hitting the knuckle with a hammer. No joy. (The bottle jack compresses the coil spring, but also does put significant pressure on the spindle.) I left the jack in place and got out the pickle fork. BANG! after just a few blows from the hammer.

Put everything back together and cleaned up before I ran out of daylight.

Did it have to be done right then? Who knows. The upselling service writer will say "Well sir, it could go a day, it could go a week, it could go three or four months. I mean, I'd hate to see anything happen to your family ..."

In this case, he'd be right - I'd hate for it to fail in January and come home on a tow truck. Glad it's done.

The van drives fine, so I guess I got the toe-in close, but I should take it in for an alignment anyway.

Sorry about the quality of the first photo - diminishing daylight, I guess.

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Joined
Nov 27, 2020
Messages
169
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I use a Tenhulzen automotive toe plate wheel alignment tool for setting toe-in after an inner or outer tie rod replacement on my vehicle.
 

Number_35

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
3,495
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
I use a Tenhulzen automotive toe plate wheel alignment tool for setting toe-in after an inner or outer tie rod replacement on my vehicle.
The Tenhulzen 2200 toe plate was delivered today. Looking forward to trying it out. Thanks for the recommendation.
 
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