Broken outer tie rod end

linneje

Well-Known Member
My outer tie rod end broke on the Envoy. Fortunately, my wife was driving in town and not going fast when she lost the ability to turn the wheel. I haven't started this job yet, but I was wondering if I have to crack the jamb nut, or will I be able to just turn the entire broken outer tie rod to release it from the inner? Does anyone have experience removing a broken outer tie rod?

I haven't looked in detail because I do not have the parts yet, but it looks like the bolt on the control arm broke right off. I am not sure how easy it is going to be to get the broken bolt out of the control arm, but that is another matter.
 

Blckshdw

Moderator
The LCA is not threaded, so if the shaft broke off the tie rod, you should be able to pull the fragment out by gripping the nut and lifting... At worst, use a screw driver from below and tap with a hammer to push it out.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
You should be able to just unscrew from inner. I think that is how my last one worked, but I was on a dirt trail with limited tools and working fast cause of soft unlevel soil under the truck and jack.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
The jamb nut isn't too hard to turn - it's a conventional right hand thread. So is the thread for the tie rod, so turning leftward should back it right out. If you do have to 'break' the jamb nut / tie rod, due to rust, etc., you shouldn't have to move it much. I won't comment on the control arm, as I don't want to give incorrect info.

Standard advice is to count the number of turns it takes to get the outer rod out of the inner one, so that you can get 'close' by threading the new one in by the same number of turns. This is a good reason not to move the jamb nut too much, if you can manage it. But -- the alignment will still be off afterward, so don't worry about being super precise. Every time I've tried to 'match' it with the old one, the alignment machine shows the 'toe' to be way off, afterward, when I take it in. But do try to get close, as steering / tracking will be negatively affected, the more the toe-in is off from specification.


On the other end of the tie rod...
If I remember correctly (and looking at some pictures online), the tie rod shaft is tapered; if so, it will need to come back out the same side / direction it went in. Depending on how much of the shaft extends past the hole / knuckle, you may run into difficulty removing the nut, to get the shaft out.

If that's the case, try and drive the broken off end further into the shaft, to make space between the nut & the mount / knuckle. Then take something like a reciprocating saw, hacksaw, etc., to cut through the bolt just below the nut and free the remnant of the shaft.

If the shaft remnant doesn't budge, strike the side of the mount / knuckle (perpendicular to the shaft) with a handheld sledge a couple of times. That will break the torque binding it to the mount. Many people try pounding on the shaft (turning the castle nut upside down and threading onto the stud is advisable if you do this). However, the shaft frees up *much* easier if you strike from the side, rather than on the stud / nut directly.

If the shaft *is* bound, that may allow you to remove the nut first, with the shaft remnant being captive. In that case, remove the nut first, of course.
 
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linneje

linneje

Well-Known Member
The jamb nut isn't too hard to turn - it's a conventional right hand thread. So is the thread for the tie rod, so turning leftward should back it right out. If you do have to 'break' the jamb nut / tie rod, due to rust, etc., you shouldn't have to move it much. I won't comment on the control arm, as I don't want to give incorrect info.

Standard advice is to count the number of turns it takes to get the outer rod out of the inner one, so that you can get 'close' by threading the new one in by the same number of turns. This is a good reason not to move the jamb nut too much, if you can manage it. But -- the alignment will still be off afterward, so don't worry about being super precise. Every time I've tried to 'match' it with the old one, the alignment machine shows the 'toe' to be way off, afterward, when I take it in. But do try to get close, as steering / tracking will be negatively affected, the more the toe-in is off from specification.


On the other end of the tie rod...
If I remember correctly (and looking at some pictures online), the tie rod shaft is tapered; if so, it will need to come back out the same side / direction it went in. Depending on how much of the shaft extends past the hole / knuckle, you may run into difficulty removing the nut, to get the shaft out.

If that's the case, try and drive the broken off end further into the shaft, to make space between the nut & the mount / knuckle. Then take something like a reciprocating saw, hacksaw, etc., to cut through the bolt just below the nut and free the remnant of the shaft.

If the shaft remnant doesn't budge, strike the side of the mount / knuckle (perpendicular to the shaft) with a handheld sledge a couple of times. That will break the torque binding it to the mount. Many people try pounding on the shaft (turning the castle nut upside down and threading onto the stud is advisable if you do this). However, the shaft frees up *much* easier if you strike from the side, rather than on the stud / nut directly.

If the shaft *is* bound, that may allow you to remove the nut first, with the shaft remnant being captive. In that case, remove the nut first, of course.
Yes, you are correct. My new part (AC Delco) is tapered. I haven't put it up to look yet, but of course I would expect the original part is the same and I won't be able to push it out the top. I do have a grinder, and I would guess I will probably have to apply it to get the remnant out. If I am lucky, though, perhaps it broke above the taper. We will see.
 

bfairweath

Well-Known Member
Don't use an AC Delco Advantage. I used one a few years ago. The rubber boot disintegrated inside of a few months. An AC Delco Professional or OEM is probably okay. I've installed Moog's in both positions. Working well so far.

You can do a rudimentary alignment with two jack stands and some kite string. Run the string around both rear tires and up to the front tire on the side you're changing the outer tire rod end. Turn the tie rod end in/out until the tire is perfectly aligned to the string (I believe the specs might be for the tire to be slightly "toed in"). You have to put the tire on and lower the truck to the ground after each adjustment so the suspension is in the running position. I changed both tie rods and aligned them this way. Tires are not showing any abnormal wear. You'd be surprised how much of a difference one turn on the tie rod end makes in alignment to the string.
 
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linneje

linneje

Well-Known Member
That is quite an ingenious way of a simple alignment. I do have the advantage of having an alignment machine in the shop where I work. I have never used it, but several of my coworkers know how to use it for an alignment.
 

bfairweath

Well-Known Member
I can't take 100% credit. It's a combination of something I saw on YouTube and how we aligned industrial equipment at a place I used to work.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Tape measure and string is used for 4x4s all the time. Its a nice way to get close when you make major changes or have to replace parts on a trail.
 

Chickenhawk

Well-Known Member
You can even get EXACT toe-in using two straight edges and two tape measures. It takes lots of fiddling and adjusting an 1/8th of a turn at a time, but you can duplicate the computer in your driveway. I used aluminum U-channel about 4 feet long from Home Depot, bungee-corded to the wheel near the bottom, and two tape measures from side-to-side. Start with both wheels dead straight (as lined up on the front fender the same) and then adjust until the front measurement is about 1/2-inch less than the rear measurement. It took time because I also wanted the steering wheel dead straight first, but I came out just as exact as a good alignment machine with a good operator.
 
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linneje

linneje

Well-Known Member
Got it done. The broken side took longer, as the pin through the castle nut was so corroded that I had to grind it down. I caught a break, as the bolt was seized in the control arm, so I could use the air tool to get the castle nut off. I had access to a front end kit, so I pressed the bolt out. The outer was pretty hard to break free of the inner - after a lot of force the entire rod spun out, the jamb nut was frozen.

Caught another break on the other side - no castle nut, so quick work with an air tool (that must have been changed out before I got it, was surprised there was not castle nut) and that side released from the inner rod a lot easier.

I did use the AC Delco Advantage because of the hearts on RockAuto (so it seemed many people were ordering it). We will see how long they last. It wouldn't be that frustrating if I had to do it a second time, since it would come off a lot easier next time.
 

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