This is a repair that I was not expecting to do. There has been a little bit of binding in the
steering when the car was on track but it only happened on extreme conditions
so I let it go. It rarely happened while
street driving so I did not feel that it was unsafe. However, the car started shaking pretty bad
while stopping and then it did feel unsafe, so I investigated the issue.
To troubleshoot, I jacked the car up on jack stands. To do this you will want to break the lugs on the tires to make tire removal easier. This is a ¾ inch lug so either a 4-way lug wrench or just a breaker bar with a socket on it will work.
Use the jack mounting points underneath the car to lift up one side at a time. This seems to be designed as a race car and using the factory jack mount point will lift the entire side of the car.
Place a jack stand underneath the front end of the car using an appropriate location that will support the vehicle. I used the front subframe. When you have the front of the side you are working on up in the air, go do the other side. When you are finished getting the car in the air it should look something like this.
Once the front of the car is safely supported in the air you
can start troubleshooting. I found my
issue pretty quickly, I shook the passenger side tire and there was a lot of
movement back and forth. Looking further
down underneath the car revealed the inner tie rod end having a lot of
play. It needed to be replaced. The driver’s side was replaced as well, but
it was in much better condition.
Remove the 4 bolts that are holding the front sway bar to the chassis. This will make it easier to remove the inner tie rods later on.
Remove the 19mm bolt that is holding the outer tie rod end to the front hub assembly. This is much easier if you have an impact gun to remove this bolt. Hopefully you will be able remove that nut without too much issue.
Hit the top of the bolt with a rubber mallet to knock it out of the hub assembly.
There is a rubber boot that needs to be moved to gain access to the inner tie rods. Grab the grommet on the side closest to the wheel and pull it towards the wheel.
Then you will use a flathead screwdriver to pop off the rubber boot that is covering the inner tie rod. If you are re-using this boot, be careful not to damage it.
This is the part where I needed to get a new tool. Removing the inner tie rods requires a 1 ¼” open ended wrench. You removed the sway bar brackets so that you can turn the inner tie rods with this wrench. I did not have an open ended wrench this big so I went and purchased one. You may be able to use a large adjustable wrench, vise grips, or some other type of square wrench but I did not have anything big enough.
Once the inner tie rod is loose, you should be able to
straighten it out and turn it by hand to remove it.
Take the new tie rod assembly and make it the same length as the old one. If they are the same, your alignment should remain good. If you screw this up, your alignment will be all over the place and you could have wheels pointing in the wrong direction.
Installation is the reverse of the disassembly. I would use the impact gun to tighten the
outer tie rod bolt to the hub assembly, since doing it by hand tends to move
the bolt that you are trying to tighten it to.
You will know when it’s tight.
My steering is so much better now that the tie rods have
been replaced, it is tight and crisp, feels a lot easier to turn as well.