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DIY:Inner/Outer Tie Rod Replacement

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Disclaimer: Use this guide at your own risk! TN and I assume no responsibility for any damage to your vehicle or personal injury as a result of following this guide.

1.Engage the Parking Brake and block the rear wheels. Jack up the car and set it on Jack Stands.
2.Remove the front wheels.
3.Remove the cotter pins on the outer tie rods.
4.Loosen the outer tie rod about 3 threads.

5.Hit the steering knuckle under the outer tie rod until it pops out.
6.Count the threads on the inner tie rods. I wrote the amount of threads on the outer tie rods in sharpie.

7.Loosen the jab nut from the outer tie rod.
8.Remove the outer tie rod and jab nut.

9.Remove the clamps from the rack boot. The larger one needs to be broken. I used a long screwdriver and hammered the little clip until it broke.



10.Remove the boot.
11.Bend the lock tab out on the inner tie rod.
12.Loosen and remove the inner tie rods, I didn't have to use the special tool. They are not tight, an adjustable wrench and channel lock pliers worked fine. On the driver's side I had to remove the air intake, on the passenger side the power steering pump had to removed and moved out of the way.

(Originals were trashed)
13.Install the new inner tie rods, I didn't install lock tabs, it was impossible for me to bend them so I bought red strength thread locker and put alot on the threads. Then tighten with an adjustable wrench.
14.Reinstall the rack boots, I used a worm gear clamp for the larger clamp, much easier to work with, install the smaller clamp too.
15.Install the jab nuts, make sure the amount of threads is the same number you wrote down.
16.Install the outer tie rods and try to get the wheels as straight as possible with the steering wheel.
17.Install the nut and cotter pin on the outer tie rods.

18.Install the air intake, ps pump and belt.
19.Torque the wheels to specs.
20.Go for a test drive and enjoy the new tight steering and no clunking.
21.Don't forget to get an alignment.

I also posted this in the Camry forum, but I thought posting here would help the avalon guys as well. The inner tie rods were the last parts making noises in the steering and suspension. I also replaced all sway bar links and bushings, struts, new lowering springs, strut mounts. The car rides and handles so nice now, feels very solid and quiet on the road.
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my inner rods were very tight. yours must have been changed before. i had to buy a 30mm crow's foot 'cause none of the tie rod removal tools i could find (autozone rents them) was the right size.

you could have bent the tangs with a hammer and a long chisel/screw driver/pry bar or a pair of water pump pliers. if you did not clean the threads very well the locktite is iffy, at best. sometimes it works - sometimes not - depending on what was on the threads, and how much of it.

i would have the toe set. you did not get it right - i'll guarantee that! and i would watch, very carefully, for the steering wheel's position when going straight to change. if it does one or both of those tie rods are backing out, and you need to re-do this. not what you wanted to hear, i know :(

not to worry - the steering will get ridiculous, to the point of crying tires, long before anything can actually let go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nope, they're the originals. Yeah Autozone didn't have the right size. The inner tie rod won't come loose now, I put plenty of thread locker and I drive aggressively and no problems. I tried everything to bend them, I have a long screwdriver etc, but it wouldn't work for me. Anyways, I took the car for alignment on Friday, the steering wheel stays straight if I hold it, but it pulls to the right a little so I'm taking it back this afternoon. Since the car is lowered, I had pull the strut out a little on driver's side front to bring camber within spec.

Hope this DIY helps other members!
 

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'98 Avalon, my 2 cents

I just wanted to add my 2 cents to this thread after having read everything I could find about doing this job and having changed both sets of tierods.
I was determined to not put torque on the rack, so I needed a way to hold it while removing and replacing the inner tie rod. The 24mm crow's foot wrench on 24" of extension was the key. And at least in the case of my '98 Avalon with 240,000 miles the crow's foot wrench will enter from the bottom as seen in the photo.


I did buy the Harbor Freight inner tie rod tool (at the moment there is a 25% off coupon available online). By using the HF tool I was able to slide a radiator hose clamp over the HF tool and the extension for the 24mm crow's foot wrench to hold the crow's foot in place.

I used the HF 1-1/4 adapter on the drivers side but it wouldn't go all the way on on the passenger side so I used the 1-5/16 adapter. I bought a 30mm crow's foot wrench but that didn't fit anything. I used Moog replacements from Rockauto.com and they took a 1-3/16 adapter.
On the passenger side I tried using an awl to break the inner boot clamp but that didn't work. But after that I was able to pull the boot off by hand. I slid the new boot on and after it was in place slid a 36 hose clamp over the boot and was able to tighten it with a long screwdriver from underneath the car.
Channellocks worked well for bending the locking plate.
 
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