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'94 Tie Rod Replacement


Rhodesplyr
10-24-2013, 04:11 PM
After just getting new tires on my Lesabre, I went to get a 4-wheel alignment and was told by the mechanic that he couldn't do it because there was too much play in the tie rod ends, especially on the left side.

Since this seems to be a job within my capabilities, I was thinking I'd do it myself. I'm assuming that it's usually the outer tie rod end that fails. The mechanic said that they tend to fail on Buicks because they're permanently sealed and can't be periodically greased.

Looking at parts sites, there are lots of selections by Moog, Driveworks, NAPA, etc.. ranging from ~$18 to $53. Is there any brand or type preferred by the experts? I'm a little baffled by the price extremes.

tken35
10-24-2013, 04:52 PM
Not an expert by any means, but when it comes to suspension, the only brand that I now use is Moog. If you are going to get rid of the vehicle, then by all mean use the other brands. Rockauto usually has some of the best prices (but shipping can be high), but you can try www.autopartstomorrow.com, autoplicity.com, and I have even gotten some good deals on Moog parts from Amazon.com.

Rhodesplyr
10-24-2013, 05:13 PM
Before undertaking this, since I've never done it before, I went back to the mechanic and paid him to do a diagnostic. He says it's usually the outer tie rod ends on these cars, but, in this case, he said it looks like the outers have already been replaced (probably by my uncle, who owned the care before me). Thus, I would need to replace the *inner* tie rod ends, which seems a bit more challenging.

Does it require a special tool?

gmtech1
10-24-2013, 05:38 PM
Before undertaking this, since I've never done it before, I went back to the mechanic and paid him to do a diagnostic. He says it's usually the outer tie rod ends on these cars, but, in this case, he said it looks like the outers have already been replaced (probably by my uncle, who owned the care before me). Thus, I would need to replace the *inner* tie rod ends, which seems a bit more challenging.

Does it require a special tool?

Your mechanic should be able to tell if it's the inner or outer tie rods that are worn. Just because the outers have been replaced does not mean they are not worn. If the inners need replaced, yes, there is a special tool available. It's a long socket that fits over the inner tie rod and is usually available to rent from most parts stores.

Rhodesplyr
10-24-2013, 05:45 PM
Sorry I was unclear. The mechanic says that, in this case, it's the inner tie rods that are worn and need to be replaced--on both sides. He said that I could potentially get away with just doing the right side, which is worse, but both sides are worn.

Is this something that someone with good sense should be able to do himself without screwing anything up? I'm a little intimidated by the procedures I've seen online; however, I did put all the current struts on the car.

gmtech1
10-24-2013, 05:55 PM
Sorry I was unclear. The mechanic says that, in this case, it's the inner tie rods that are worn and need to be replaced--on both sides. He said that I could potentially get away with just doing the right side, which is worse, but both sides are worn.

Is this something that someone with good sense should be able to do himself without screwing anything up? I'm a little intimidated by the procedures I've seen online; however, I did put all the current struts on the car.

Yes, you could probably do it. Take the outer tie rod off, adjustment lock nut off, remove the clamps from the boot, the boot from the gear (be careful to reinstall the tube that is between the left and right boots), slide back the plastic sleeve at the end of the tie rod, use the tool with the correct adapter to unscrew the old tie rod. Apply red or blue locktite to the threads of the new one and reinstall.
When reinstalling the boot, just use a long zip tie to secure boot to the gear.

Rhodesplyr
10-24-2013, 07:42 PM
In excerpts from the FSM I've been able to find, it seems like the factory procedure is to remove the rack from the car, particularly because they specify "staking" the new inner tie rod housing to the flats of the rack.

I suppose that the use of locking compound would be a substitute for that?

On many of the inner tie rod videos on youtube, they simply use a large tool to break the tie rod loose from the rack, but on the Buicks of this era, the FSM says that you have to put a wrench on the rack itself to keep it from turning while you try to break the tie rod loose to avoid damaging the rack.

gmtech1
10-24-2013, 08:32 PM
In excerpts from the FSM I've been able to find, it seems like the factory procedure is to remove the rack from the car, particularly because they specify "staking" the new inner tie rod housing to the flats of the rack.

I suppose that the use of locking compound would be a substitute for that?

On many of the inner tie rod videos on youtube, they simply use a large tool to break the tie rod loose from the rack, but on the Buicks of this era, the FSM says that you have to put a wrench on the rack itself to keep it from turning while you try to break the tie rod loose to avoid damaging the rack.

You can usually get to the staking are from under the car. You are correct about that. Yes, the manual states to use a backing wrench. I can tell you that I have done probably over 100 and seen at least that many done by others and have not seen a problem doing it without a backing wrench. You can stake it with a long screwdriver and hammer.

Rhodesplyr
10-25-2013, 10:16 AM
My brother--who's done more car repair than I have--asks this question:

He found that you can now get an entire rebuilt AC/Delco steering gear for this car for ~$100, with new inner tie rods already installed. Car has 160k miles on it.

How much more difficult and or worthwhile would it be to replace the entire steering gear and, thus, get new/rebuilt everything?

gmtech1
10-25-2013, 10:28 AM
My brother--who's done more car repair than I have--asks this question:

He found that you can now get an entire rebuilt AC/Delco steering gear for this car for ~$100, with new inner tie rods already installed. Car has 160k miles on it.

How much more difficult and or worthwhile would it be to replace the entire steering gear and, thus, get new/rebuilt everything?

Replacing the gear will be more work, and more difficult, but for 100.00 for a Delco reman at 160k it would be worth it. Would still need a alignment done after the gear replacement.

Flat backing the repair with floor jacks and stands will take the better part of a day to do. A lift and air tools maybe 2 hours.

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