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Tie Rod End and Draglink Replacement

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I did all of this work to my '90 4.0L 2wd MJ, the procedure is the same for all years of the MJ, 2wd or 4wd, any engine.


First off get your parts. The parts I used are MOOG. Part numbers are as follows:


Tie Rod End at Pitman Arm - MOOG ES2222L

Tie Rod End at Draglink - MOOG ES2223R

Tie Rod End at Driver's side Steering Knuckle - MOOG ES2221L

Draglink - MOOG DS1046


Start by loosening the lug nuts and then lifting the vehicle. Support it correctly by using jackstands under vehicle's front axle. You are aiming to have enough space to work under the front of the vehicle so be sure to give yourself the space you need. I usually lift the truck up about 1' above it's ride height to allow myself to crawl around down there.


Remove the tires.


Now you should have something that looks like this:





Remove all of the cotter pins from the castle nuts on your tie rod ends, steering stabilizer and drag link. This can be frustrating depending on how badly they are rusted. Give yourself plenty of time and patience.


Also remove the nuts (and bolts) from the clamps on the tie rod and the clamps on the steering adjustment sleeve.





Get a pipe wrench and loosen the tie rod by rotating it while it is still on the vehicle. This will allow you to remove the tie rod ends much easier once you remove the setup from the vehicle as you have already broken them free.




Do the same for the steering adjustment sleeve with a BIG standard screwdriver.




Prepare to remove the tie rod by loosening the castle nuts at the draglink and driver's side steering knuckle.


Prepare to remove the drag link by loosening the castle nuts at the pitman arm and the passenger's side steering knuckle. Also loosen the castle nut at the steering stabilizer so it may be left on the vehicle (mine was good).


I use a 3/4" 6 pt. boxed end wrench and a hammer to tap all of the nuts loose. Loosen all of the nuts completely and then re-thread them back on with a few turns. This will keep them intact during the removal process but allow you to remove them by hand once the tapered stud is broken free in the next step.




Use a tie rod removal tool to break the seat of the tapered tie rod ends on the tie rod and draglink assemblies. The tool is inserted between the top of the dust boot and the surface that the tapered fitting is to be removed from.




The tool is then struck (repeatedly) with a large hammer (I used a 3 lb. sledge) until the tapered stud releases from its seat.






The tie rod can now be removed from the steering linkage assembly.




The draglink can also be removed.




This is what you should have removed from the vehicle.




Remove the old tie rod ends from the draglink and driver's knuckle sides of the tie rod. Also remove the draglink and the pitman arm tie rod end from the steering adjustment sleeve. I found a bench vice to be useful for this step. I clamp the old rod end into the teeth of the vise and then turn the threads off with the pipe wrench.




Now is where I took a break for the day and cleaned everything up with my wire wheel so I could paint the steering adjustment sleeve and tie rod before I installed the new parts in them. If you paint the parts or not is up to you. YOU SHOULD make sure that the threads in the steering adjustment sleeve and the tie rod are clean though. I use a household plumbing tool to do this. It is a wire brush for cleaning the inside of copper pipe prior to the sweating process and is usually available at your local hardware store. It looks like this.




Assemble the new rod ends in the tie rod and steering adjustment sleeve. Make sure you put the new rod ends in the tie rod and steering adjustment sleeve with the same amount of turns to keep the rod ends threaded evenly in on both sides. When assembling these new rod ends make sure you use generous amounts of white lithium grease to lubricate the threads and keep them from rusting in the future. Make sure you remember to re-install the tightening clamps, but leave the bolts out of them for the moment.




Begin by placing the draglink assembly back on the passenger's side steering knuckle. Tighten the castle nut down to 80 ft lbs with a torque wrench and then tighten the nut farther to align the holes for the cotter pin to go back in. I also grease the fittings when I am working on them so its done and out of the way. Make sure some grease flows out of the rod end and you should be good.




Do the same at the pitman arm side of the draglink assembly. Tighten to 80 ft. lbs, align the holes and grease it. Also reinstall the steering stabilizer now and tighten it to 80 ft. lbs as well.




Install the tie rod now to the draglink, tighten to 80 ft. lbs, align the holes and grease it.




Finally put the tie rod on the driver's side knuckle, tighten to 80 ft. lbs, align the holes and grease it.




Reinstall all of the cotter pins on the castle nuts.




Now you can reinstall the nuts and bolts to the clamps on the tie rod and steering adjustment sleeve, but do not tighten them just yet.








Now comes the part that most fear, the alignment of the front end. Put the tires back on the truck (I torque my lug nuts to 100 ft. lbs.) and let the truck back down to the ground. Make sure you have the steering wheel unlocked during this step and that the wheels are pointed as straight as possible at all times. Find a common point on the front and back of the wheels (I use the rim) to measure between with a yardstick and dowel rod (or some other stick). What you are looking to measure is just about the same distance between this common point of the wheels on the front and back. Rotate the tie rod to adjust this distance, if you greased everything up good you should be able to do it by hand. It is a good practice to have the front of the wheels about 1/8" less in measurement than the rear of the wheels. You DO NOT want the fronts of the wheels to be wider than the rear of the wheels.


Once you think you have it correct, tighten down the clamps on the tie rod and steering adjustment sleeve and take the truck for a spin around the block. Bring it back and re-check your measurement. If it still looks good then you are done with your alignment.


Now move onto making your steering wheel straight again, this is done by adjusting the steering adjustment sleeve. Loosen the clamps and adjust this sleeve until your steering wheel is where you want it. Then tighten the clamps back down.


Thats it, you're done! Enjoy your new steering!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

do not ever use those separators unless you have no other choice , it destroys the boot and the ball joint.


use a 16oz or a 20oz hammer and smack the section where the tie rod give it a good smack and it will fall right out. a propane torch or mapp gas will help too. heat it up a lil and give it a smack on the edge where the ball joint threads go up in. do not hit your threads but hit the metal that accepts the ball joint shaft, the vibration will loosen it right up.


i hate thos ball joint separators, all they do is run stuff. even know the joint is bad its 100 times easier to just give it a smack and it will fall out. better then beating the snot out of it and ruining something.

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I beg to differ. I've had good success with removing Tie Rod ends this way and re-using them. If you do it correctly and keep the tool off of the boot, you can even re-use the boot.


I've tried it the way you guys describe and it wasn't a fun experience. You can do it your way, I'll do it mine.


Regardless...these rod ends were all trash to me so I got them off of there and threw them away anyway...

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  • 11 years later...

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