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Unread 05-03-2010, 04:12 AM   #1
CALOcruiser
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removing tierod end from steering knuckle

I need to remove my tierod to make it easier to work on my differential. I've removed the nuts that hold the tierod ends to the steering knuckle, but they won't budge. They seem to be in a bind. On top of that, there isn't enough clearance between the tierod and the springs to drop it down clear of the knuckle. (notice the clearance in the second pic) What's the trick to get these off? Something doesn't seem right. BTW, the weight of the Jeep is on that spring, so I don't see it moving much more to gain clearance.

Shouldn't the tierod and connecting rod ends drop out of the bottom of the steering knuckle once the nuts are removed? Even with persuasion, they won't budge. I don't want to damage the threads.

tierod_end.jpg   tierod_clearance.jpg  
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Unread 05-03-2010, 04:22 AM   #2
80cj
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The tire rod ends are a taper fit in the knuckle. I use a pickle for to wedge them apart but there are screw type removal tools that work well and don't damage the rubber boots. If you jack the Jeep up by the frame and let the suspension droop, you should have enough clearance. I've never come across one with as little clearance as yours. Are your springs shot?
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Unread 05-03-2010, 05:08 AM   #3
CALOcruiser
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thanks. It's actually worse when it's supported by the frame. That is how I've been working on it. I jacked up one spring to change the angle and 'straighten' the spring, which gave more clearance. There is zero clearance when the suspension is hanging, due to the arc of the spring.

Maybe the springs are shot. Just bought the jeep. PO put the lift on, but it's only a few years old. I didn't think the clearance was right, but didn't see how it could much be different. Since the rod ends attached to the knuckle at a level that is basically even with the axle, how can it be much higher? Since they attach forward of the axle, and the springs arch upwards, seems like the clearance should worsen with the axle dropped and springs arched more. how much should there be with springs hanging?

Last edited by CALOcruiser; 05-03-2010 at 06:32 AM.. Reason: typo & add a comment
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Unread 05-03-2010, 06:28 AM   #4
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You need to use a pickle fork to remove the rod ends since they are a taper fit.
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Unread 05-03-2010, 06:51 AM   #5
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Thanks. I just noticed something else. Are my tie rod ends installed on the wrong side of the steering knuckle? Mine are on the bottom of the knuckle, whereas this pic shows it being on top of the knuckle, which gives a lot more clearance. I'll have to consult a diagram for sure. Can they go either way?
stock_springs.jpg  
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Unread 05-03-2010, 07:59 AM   #6
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I used a tierod puller it is a screw type works really well. They will just pop out. Not 100% but I think you can install them on the top but you have to drill the hole out.

Here is one I found http://www.harborfreight.com/catalog...tie+rod+puller
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Unread 05-03-2010, 08:08 AM   #7
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Just found some pics of stock setup, and they are mounted on the bottom. The two pics I found for top install have after-market suspensions. Mine has after-market lift, but steering is stock. Still not sure what dimension is out of whack to cause clearance issue.

As it is, I'll have to remove the springs to get the tierod off, just to get to the diff. Way too much work for a simple diff cleaning and seal replacement.

Guess God is telling me I need new springs. I have a lean issue anyways. The spring arcs are not the same, likely cheap and need replacing. one more thing to do ...

Last edited by CALOcruiser; 05-03-2010 at 08:10 AM.. Reason: typo
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Unread 05-03-2010, 10:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALOcruiser View Post
thanks. It's actually worse when it's supported by the frame. That is how I've been working on it. I jacked up one spring to change the angle and 'straighten' the spring, which gave more clearance. There is zero clearance when the suspension is hanging, due to the arc of the spring.

Maybe the springs are shot. Just bought the jeep. PO put the lift on, but it's only a few years old. I didn't think the clearance was right, but didn't see how it could much be different. Since the rod ends attached to the knuckle at a level that is basically even with the axle, how can it be much higher? Since they attach forward of the axle, and the springs arch upwards, seems like the clearance should worsen with the axle dropped and springs arched more. how much should there be with springs hanging?
Huh. Maybe you're right. Thinking about it, compressing the springs would push them away from the tie rods. Increasing the arch as with new springs might bring the springs closer to the tie rods. When my Jeep had the stock springs , I was able to remove the tie rods once they were loose by sort of "rolling" them out of the knuckles. I'm sure I had more clearance than shown in your pic. I guess you could loosen the spring U bolts a little to get more clearance.
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Unread 05-03-2010, 11:44 AM   #9
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In stock form the tie rod is mounted on the bottom. The one in your photo has been "flipped". A common mod.



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Unread 05-03-2010, 11:58 AM   #10
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O'reilly's and Auto zone have a tool loaner deal. I got a tie rod end puller @ $13 and they gave money back when I returned it, worked great.
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Unread 05-03-2010, 12:06 PM   #11
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Loosening the u-bolts is the only way to go. I borrowed a tierod end puller from Autozone at lunch, and got them loose but they stop after moving about 1/2" due to the springs. Even the connecting rod hits the spring before it can be "rolled out".

It seems the only way to fix the clearance issue is to "flip" the tie rods to the top. probably why it is so common.

the PO that put on the lift had to have connected the steering before mounting the axle to the springs. He probably didn't want to take the time to flip it since it just barely clears when suspension is bottomed out. not the best setup, but I want to get it rolling again myself. The new calipers I was going to throw on have already turned into rotars, wheel bearings, spindle bearings, u-joints, diff seals, ... TBD
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Unread 05-03-2010, 01:39 PM   #12
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When I increased the caster on my front end with 4 degree shims, it also fixed my tie rod clearance problem.

In regards to loosening the U bolts. If you loosened them, is it possible to "roll" the axle housing backwards with a pry bar between the axle spring perch and spring so as to angle the knuckle arms upward? That's essentially what installing the caster shims on mine did.

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Unread 05-03-2010, 02:50 PM   #13
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I really should do that flip-- my tie rod has been hitting the spring it's so close
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Unread 05-03-2010, 03:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepgump View Post
I really should do that flip-- my tie rod has been hitting the spring it's so close
That's probably the best solution.
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Unread 05-03-2010, 05:23 PM   #15
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I just ordered my bushings today from Goferit offroad. $45 shipped. Drill out the holes to 3/4" drop in the bushings and tack weld them onto the knuckle. Then you can install tie rods on the top and get your clearance and maybe do away with a drop pitman arm if you are using one.
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