Suspension & Steering

Tie Rod Replacement

Tie Rod Replacement

>Hi all
>There is play in the inner (not outer) tie rod ends in my 86 928,
>and I need to replace them.
>Checking the catalogs one can get replacement tie rod assemblies
>(not the entire rack and not just the outer ends), but before I
>embark on this I have a couple of questions someone might be able
>to answer:
>- removing/replacing the inner tie rod end from seems to require
> a special tool inserted in the end of a torque wrench that can
> have its socket head removed and replaced with this tool; does
> anyone know where one can get this tool or what one can use
> instead ? I imagine this is going to be difficult to unscrew,
> and that the torque applied to retighten it is important

You need two large open-end wrenches to do this - a 22 mm (7/8") to counterhold the rack, and a larger one (sorry that I don't remember the size - may be a 27 mm) to turn the inner tie rod ends. The tightening torque is 150 Nm (110 lb/ft), so it will take a good pull to loosen them. Be CERTAIN to firmly counterhold the rack so as to avoid damage to the pinion gear.

>- is this possible without removing all the steering gear, i.e.
> can one just release the outer tie rod end, remove the boot,
> unscrew the inner tie rod end and replace same from underneath
> the car ?

Yes. Safely support the car at a comfortable working height. Carefully count the number of threads showing on each tie rod at the outer tie rod end, and write these numbers down. Loosen the lock nuts, and unscrew the tie rods from the tie rod ends. Remove the rack boots. A small quantity of transmission fluid in the boots is acceptable. More means that the rack leaks, and will need to be replaced eventually. The rack must be kept perfectly clean. Counterhold the rack and unscrew the inner tie rod ends from the rack. Replace with new tie rod assemblies, and tighten to 150 Nm (a very hard pull!) Install new boots. Screw on lock nuts and screw tie rods into outer tie rod ends to exactly the same depth as the written measurement. (This is a good time to center the rack. Remove the plastic plug on the front of the rack housing opposite where the steering shaft enters. Find the dimple in the rack. When the dimple is centered, the rack is centered. The steering wheel should be straight, and both wheels should be straight ahead.) Double-check everything for security. Following instructions available elsewhere, adjust the ride height on all four corners. Have the car properly aligned without being lifted.

Wally Plumley
928 Specialists

It turns out that the flats on the inner tie rod end are about 32mm (1.25 inches) but are unfortunately relatively "thin" ... a conventional wrench just will not fit between the stop on the rack and the bulk of
the inner tie rod end outboard of the flats. This spacing is just not wide enough to fit a normal wrench :(

I guess this is why Jay Kempf wrote:

> I used bicycle bearing race wrenches borrowed from a friend.

which I presume is thinner, but I am not having any luck finding such a bicycle tool.

Does anyone know a source of either:

- "thinner flatter" wrenches, e.g. like those out of pressed steel
for such special occasions

- a tool of appropriate width and opening that has a wrench on one
end and a 1/2" socket fitting in its shaft that I can attach on
the end of a normal torque wrench

- a source for the tool mentioned in the manual which sticks in
the end of a special Stahlwille torque wrench


Well, try

Good mail order bike store. You can by a 32mm head set wrench through the net. They aren't that expensive. Nashbar has a Pedro's model in 32mm that is $13.95 in their catalogue. You can probably have it by tomorrow for less than $40.

Jay K.

Bicycle shops sell "Park" tools that are thin (the price tag is thin too...). Sizes like 13/14 for axle cone adjusting, and 32mm for bottom bracket & headsets...

CFM 80 928S

I have one in my hand, a Park HCW 5. It is a bicycle bottom bracket tool from Performance Bicycle
Products Catalog. It has a thin 32mm open end, and the other end is a "Hook-spanner" that works for the spring collars to adjust ride height. It is definately going into my "on-board" tool kit. Check the web, or stop by your local bike shop for this cheap tool that works.

Don Hanson

Actually, the tool I mentioned does NOT work to get the tie rod loose from the rack. Just too tight for the wimpy wrench, which deformed and slipped off when I tried to loosen mine today. Sorry, I guess I should have tried it before I posted that it works. The other end from the 32mm open end, the hook-spanner DOES work to adjust the collars for ride height, so it is still worth the cheap price and maybe I will find a use for the wrench on something a bit less stout than that high torque fastener for the tie rod.

Don Hanson

We have a local "ReTool" store, which is a franchised used tool chain. They typically sell large end wrenches for $3 to $8, depending on size and brand. A grinder or belt sander will take care of the thickness.


Exactly, Wally. Like I said, when I made mine it was 1/4 inch thick. I just beveled the inner edge enough to fit the bevel on the rod of the rack. Thus keeping the strength of the forks of the open end wrench.

Mark Grasser
1978 928 5-speed

It has been my experience that you can slide the steering racks stops inward (towards the rack) and this will give you plenty of room to use a normal 1-1/4" or 32mm wrench on the tie rods.

Hope that helps,

David Roberts

I agree with DR. This was indeed my experience also when I changed the inner tie rods. I just wish I had tried it before running from store to store on a Sunday afternoon.
Gary Tilson
'89 928 S4 Guards Red/Tan

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