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Old 05-04-2009, 10:19 PM   #1
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Default replacing inner tie rods

I'm assuming the extra play on center I'm noticing is my inner tie rods, since the boots are split wide open and the outers look good (but will probably be replaced at the same time anyway, likely with R-package outers). Any thoughts, anyone else had these go bad? Tips?

Edit - Pics are DS, PS, and top of rack in that order.
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replacing inner tie rods-dscn2482.jpg   replacing inner tie rods-dscn2483.jpg   replacing inner tie rods-dscn2484.jpg  

Last edited by kotomile; 05-04-2009 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:53 PM   #2
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I've been told a good test for inner tie rods is to push them up (without outers intact) and see if the arms droop. If they droop, it's time to replace, if they don't, they are still functional. If you're going to do inners, do outers at the same time to save on the alignment cost. There's probably a lash setting in the rack that may be loose, but I dunno.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:50 PM   #3
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I'm thinking more and more that those busted boots were the only thing keeping any remaining PS fluid (read: lubricant) in the rack and preventing debris from entering. I'm no expert, but I can see the teeth of the rack in the pics. Makes me think debris has been collecting and grinding down the metal inside the rack.. leading to the imprecise steering I've been feeling and causing my play-on-center I complained about.

So, what are my options here? If it's like I think, I'm guessing some sort of rebuild is out. How much do good used racks run? Help!
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:33 PM   #4
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Or, maybe, there's just enough crud in there that it's all jammed between the gears and all it needs is to be taken apart and cleaned, and reinstalled with new boots...

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Old 05-05-2009, 08:57 PM   #5
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I would just clean it up, put new rods and boots.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:59 PM   #6
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Cool, thanks for the input, I just got back with some grease and such so I can knock out the FM depower while I'm at it, debating on switching to R-package rod ends...IIRC the only difference is the kink in the R ends. Is there anything more hardcore out?
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:26 AM   #7
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I think your rack is likely shot or dirty as **** if you drive that daily or have any off track excursions. My boots were mangled and all the **** that got in there actually started to make my rack bind LOL. Scary **** when you are sliding along a wall and need the steering to work..
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:45 AM   #8
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Indeed. I'm going to pull it apart and clean the pieces, and see what they look like. If they're gone, then I'll get another rack and consider this one "practice". I think I've seen racks come up fs on RD pretty often so I'm going to keep an eye out.
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:03 AM   #9
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I replaced mine last week and it was pretty easy, but those rusted nuts were a PITA!
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:05 AM   #10
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Keep us updated; I'm in the same boat.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta93LE View Post
Keep us updated; I'm in the same boat.
Ok, I'll document my findings and keep you informed. How bad is the play in your wheel?

Also, I've just ordered the R package ends and urethane rack bushings. w00t, hope there's a noticeable difference.

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Old 05-07-2009, 09:57 PM   #12
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Which bushings did you get? Do Energy Suspension offer poly bushings for the rack?


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Old 05-07-2009, 10:17 PM   #13
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Did my inner and outers about a year ago. Those little lock washers are kind of a bitch. Driving it to the alignment shop afterwards on the highway was interesting...
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:48 PM   #14
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I just did all this to my stock 96. That was a pain in the ***. I ended up replacing the inner and outer tie rod ends and both the ball joints. I went with an ebay special for the tie rods and the lower ball joints. The uppers I ordered from Planet miata since its all part of the upper control arm. I figured i might as well take care of it all while I was in there.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_man View Post
Which bushings did you get? Do Energy Suspension offer poly bushings for the rack?

FM sells them, I think they are "superpro" or something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe View Post
Did my inner and outers about a year ago. Those little lock washers are kind of a bitch. Driving it to the alignment shop afterwards on the highway was interesting...
Which lock washers, the jam nuts?
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kotomile View Post
FM sells them, I think they are "superpro" or something.



Which lock washers, the jam nuts?
He's probably talking about the washers that go between the inner tie rods and the steering rack. You bend them over to keep the ITR from spinning.
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kotomile View Post
Ok, I'll document my findings and keep you informed. How bad is the play in your wheel?
Maybe 5* either direction of near-dead zone.
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe View Post
Driving it to the alignment shop afterwards on the highway was interesting...
To avoid this, count the number of turns it takes to remove the end from the rod. Install new piece opposite of removal. If it's not right, it'll at least be close for the drive to the alignment.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:09 PM   #19
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Yup, I am definitely going to try to install the new ends in the same location.

Just got the rack out, the old ends are toast, but the inners *seem* fine. They can hold the ends up in the air indefinitely, I'm guessing that's a good thing. It looks like the rack itself took the brunt of the split boots. There's some gunk in there, time to see what it looks like on the inside..

Took some pics:
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:08 PM   #20
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See what the steering gear looked like below.. pretty bad. I did my best to clean it all up, inside and out, to get rid of the grit and old grease. Removed the PS seal while I was at it, and reassembled with liberal amounts of grease. If, when it's all back together it still has slop, I have a lead on another used rack.

Hopefully I'll have good news for you Atl93LE, I'm waiting for the new rod ends to come in before I can reassemble the car.
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