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Stuck Tie Rod End Hack



 


Dealing with a stuck bolt is a pain. Dealing with a stuck Tie Rod End...now that can be CRAZY frustrating! In fact, I've battled some tough ones. One's that broke ball-joint pullers of all sizes, and ones that even broke a 3 pound sledge hammer's handles. Unfortunately, I didn't know then, what I know now. My, "brake almost any Tie Rod End and rusty bolt loose hack". As we all know though, with great hacks, come great responsibilities... No. I mean seriously. This is a great method, but it does call for quite a bit of care to pull it off right. But we'll go over that in a few minutes.



When To Use It

This method of releasing a seized TRE (Tie Rod End), is directly related to situations when a TRE is stuck inside the conical pass-thru hole of a steering link, knuckle, or pitman (steering arm). If your issue is that the nut is seized on to the TRE threaded stud, you may be able to use this concept to break the rust loose. However, this particular method is not designed to attack that particular issue. (I'll go over a few tips for a releasing a seized TRE castle nut in the near future).

 

What You Tools You Will Need

Basic mechanics tools are all that you will really need to accomplish this method of TRE extraction, plus one, slightly more specific tool. Make sure that you have your common tools for changing out TRE's first. These will include:
- Pliers (Needle nose usually work best)
- Hammer (3lb sledge or a medium to large ball peen work best)
- Ratchet and Socket for the castle nut
- Penetrating lubricant
- Jack Stands
- Tire Iron
- Floor jack of some sort

Our specialty tool that is also required, is a MAP Gas, or Oxy-Acetylene torch.


Do not remove, or overly loosen the lug nuts while the weight of the vehicle is still resting on the tire/wheel.

Procedure

Our procedure to follow, is pretty simple. It goes pretty much like any basic TRE removal tutorial, just with a twist.

1) Break loose the lug nuts on one of the front wheels.

2) Jack up the side of the vehicle that you have loosed the lug nuts on.

3) Place a Jack stand securely under the chassis/cross-member of the vehicle.

4) Finish taking the wheel and tire off this side.

5) Place to the floor jack under the front axle, or the lower control arm in a safe place so that you can jack up on it and bring the TRE as close as possible to level without lifting the vehicle off of the jack stands.



6) Loosen the TRE Castle nut.

7) Try striking the knuckle, at the mounting point of the TRE. Do not hit the TRE. (It's also a good idea to stick with using a Ball-joint puller for getting TRE's out of a steering/pitman arm, instead of striking the pitman/steering arm with a hammer as this can damage the drag link or steering box.)

When striking the steering knuckle with a hammer to unseat the TRE, it's a good idea to keep the castle nut threaded on to the tip of of the TRE stud. This way, the TRE has room to move. When it is loose, it will drop down to where the castle nut is laying on the knuckle. At the same time, you will have protection on the TRE studs in case a wayward hammer blow accidentally strikes the TRE stud. Therefore keeping you from ruining your TRE threads.
8) If after a few blows on the knuckle mount for the TRE, if it doesn't drop out of the conical insert, grab the blow-torch/oxy-torch.

9) When using the blow-torch, try and keep the heat as centered on the TRE Stud, and Knuckle TRE pass-thru as possible.

10) Once the Knuckle Steering mount and TRE stud is nice and hot, quickly spray the area with a generous amount of rust penetration lubricant.

Always be very careful when using one of these torches on steering components. When heating steering knuckles and TRE's, you are using a flame in close proximity to break fluid fittings, bearings, bushings, hoses, and CV dust boots [if working on an IFS 4x4], not to mention the dust boots of the TRE's. So, caution is needed so as not to burn something important. Potentially causing premature failure, or the need for immediate replacement.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   By spraying the whole area, you are "shocking the two materials into contracting rapidly, causing them to separate from each other. At the same time, the coolness of the penetrating fluid [relative to the heat of the TRE and Knuckle] will be drawn into tiny [imperceptible] cracks between the two pieces, lubricating in between the TRE stud and the knuckle pass-thru.

 It's Over

That is it my friends! Unless you have something seriously wrong, welded together, or a very abnormal TRE situation, this should solve your problem. Never forget, that angles on TRE's can also bind them in the knuckle, pitman arm, or intersecting steering linkage. So, if you've done all of the above, and it's still not coming out, recheck the angle of your TRE ball-joint and steering link. Making sure that they are level enough to be free and unbound.


If you are interested in any of the tools that I prefer to use, I have a few of them listed below. All the links are made available thru the affiliate sales program that Off-Road Independence is associated with thru Amazon. So, when you purchase any of these tools, or the items linked above in the article, you are helping support ORDIP and it's associated websites and videos. Thanks for your support!

3 pound Estwing sledge



For some tight spaces, I also like to use a medium Ball ping hammer



Channellock Needle nose Pliers



Map Gas Torch



Pb Blaster Penetrating Lubricant



Jack Stands



Ball Joint Puller


Ratchet and Socket Set


Flat head Screw Driver


Impact Gun


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