When I had my truck in the shop to reinforce my seatbelt anchors, I checked over the suspension and noticed that the outer tie rod ball joints were both loose. With how rusty my truck is, I thought it would be a hassle to replace them, but it actually wasn’t that bad.
The alignment adjustment is made by loosening the bolts on the adjustment sleeve and turning it. Because of how rusty it all was, I ordered new adjustment sleeves along with new outer tie rods. To save time, I simply cut the bolts on the sleeves. I heated up the right side sleeve a little bit with the torch and got it to turn surprisingly easily.
The left side was actually really easy. The steering gearbox has a little bit of a leak, and the fluid runs down the left tie rod and onto the adjustment sleeve, and like I expected, acted as a penetrating lubricant, and I was able to remove it entirely by hand, without even using a tie rod tool.
I roughly guessed how far to install the new sleeves and tie rods based on the rust lines, and put the truck on the alignment rack. As expected, my guesses were pretty far off. I had a little trouble with the alignment, it kept wanting more and more adjustment, and my steering wheel is no longer straight, but the truck drives straight so that’s good enough for me. Someday I’ll either try to readjust it, or just take the steering wheel off and recenter it.
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