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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 10-09-2006, 11:17 PM   #1
EDawg
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tie rod DIY question

can someone please tell me what tool i need to remove the tie rod from the steering rack?? that piece that i'm supposed to turn is octogonal shaped, as opposed to hexegonal, with a width of about 1 5/16". the only tool i can think of to remove it is an open ended wrench, but with a wrench i won't be able to torque it back to proper spec. has anyone done this DIY and can shed some light?? thanks.
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Old 10-10-2006, 05:33 AM   #2
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At what part steering rack are you looking to takethe tie rods off?

At area around 2 or at 4?
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Old 10-10-2006, 06:27 AM   #3
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2

btw, can i replace the boot clamps with screw type clamps they sell at hardware stores or are those too wide??
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:24 AM   #4
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This is an interesting thread.

Next weekend, I'll be swapping my steering rack and I too will be disconnecting tie rods at location 2 and swapping in new rack.
EDawg, we're pretty much looking for same information.

So if anyone else has some light to shed please do so!

P.S.
Regarding clamps, I am pretty sure you can get them at different sizes and widths, so I can't see why the hardware ones wouldn't work.
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Old 10-10-2006, 08:28 AM   #5
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someone recommended using a crowfoot wrench. this way you can use a torque wrench to tighten it to spec.



as for hardware store clamps, i've noticed they typically have only one size width for each diameter size of clamp. hopefully those will fit, cuz i really don't want to get the oem clamps and have to find a special tool to fasten them.
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDawg View Post
someone recommended using a crowfoot wrench. this way you can use a torque wrench to tighten it to spec.



as for hardware store clamps, i've noticed they typically have only one size width for each diameter size of clamp. hopefully those will fit, cuz i really don't want to get the oem clamps and have to find a special tool to fasten them.
hmm. that tool looks interesting. I'll make a run to Sears to see if they have one.

Let me ask you this. This is the same pic as above, I just marked couple things (A and B)


1. Obviously A is screwed into B. Is this a standard CounterClock wise to losen, Clockwise to tighten?

2. Am I supposed to clamp B and hold it so it doesn't move when I am loosening/tightening A?
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so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:10 AM   #7
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1. as far as i know clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen. neither bentley or TIS mentioned otherwise so i'm assuming the standard is correct.

2. B only moves in and out of the steering rack when you turn the steering wheel but will not spin when you try to loosen A, so NO you do not need to clamp B.

btw, i think it's recommended that you turn the steering wheel all the way to the left when working on the left tie rod and all the way to the right when working on the right tie rod to so that B will protude as far out as possible, giving you more room, and minimizing the chance of your accidentally damaging the steering rack if your wrench slips or something. removing the key from the ignition and making sure the steering wheel is locked will also help.

Last edited by EDawg; 10-10-2006 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDawg View Post
1. as far as i know clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen. neither bentley or TIS mentioned otherwise so i'm assuming the standard is correct.

2. you need to remove clamp B so that you can push the boot aside to expose A so that you can access and loosen it. A will spin freely from the rest of the tie rod so you don't have to hold anything down.
1. That's what I thought

2. Maybe I didn't word myself correctly. What I am talking about is the rod that comes out of the steering rack. You screw A into it. Am I supposed to clamp and hold that rod when I am losening/tightening A?
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:24 AM   #9
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2. Maybe I didn't word myself correctly. What I am talking about is the rod that comes out of the steering rack. You screw A into it. Am I supposed to clamp and hold that rod when I am losening/tightening A?
yeah, i realized my mistake before you posted again and had edited my previous response.
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:28 AM   #10
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it's all good. I thought I wouldn't need to clamp the rod coming out from steering rack but just wanted to be sure.

so I think I am all set to replace my overboosted rack. can't wait!

when are you doing your tierod ends?
please let me know how you make out.
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:35 AM   #11
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i'll probably do mine tonight or tomorow night depending on when i get my hands on the crowfoot wrench. the only thing i'm concerned about at this point are the clamps. hopefully the generic hardware store ones will fit.
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:41 AM   #12
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I'd like to add something here. Backdoc and I did his tie rods a couple of months ago. All the information up to here is fine - B stays put while you un-screw A, and any old hose clamp will work if you can find one that works.

However: 1) you'll probably be able to use your old boot clamps without a problem. 2) if you want to use your old *boot*, you will have to un-screw the tie rod assembly at the junction of parts 8 and 9. Otherwise the old boot won't come off without tearing. The problem: the tie rods we did were completely seized at that junction, and had to be cut with a rotary air-powered saw. We had to do that, because we had to re-use the old boot (didn't get new ones).

So if you're not prepared to cut some steel, maybe buy new boots, too. Good luck.
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:45 AM   #13
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And I have no idea what the heck you guys need a crowfoot wrench for. Is this for the boot clamps? That kinda seems like overkill. We needed no funky tools like that.
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Old 10-10-2006, 10:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
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And I have no idea what the heck you guys need a crowfoot wrench for. Is this for the boot clamps? That kinda seems like overkill. We needed no funky tools like that.
Crawfoot wrench is to screw A (which is at the end of tie rod) into the Steering Rack piston.
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:45 PM   #15
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After removing the outer tie rod ends, you use a tie rod tool (shown). You will be able to use the tool to apply the proper torque. I was able to rent/purchase the tool from my local auto parts supplier. Lisle tools has a similar version- search the internet.
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:04 PM   #16
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I just replaced my entire front suspension, incuding the tie rods. I just used an open end wrench. Mine came off easy, and the steering rack part wont turn when you unscrew it. I used some heavy duty plastic zip ties on the boot ends. Its not like the CV boots that spin all the time these just sit there, and you can visually inspect them when you change your own oil.

You'll need an alignment for sure after this. There is only one shop around here I trust to work on my steering and suspension. Make sure you go to a reputable place. I've gotten some really funky alignments in the past. If your really worried about the tourque setting, make it tight with the open end wrench. Then just have the alignment guy check it for you before you clamp the boot back on. A good alignment shop will have all the fancy tools and the boot clamps also.

PS. you may want to turn off your traction control on the way to get the alignment. Mine was going nuts on the way to the shop.
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Old 10-17-2006, 05:02 AM   #17
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Edawg, how did you make out with tierod replacement?
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Old 10-17-2006, 04:21 PM   #18
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I just ordered mine, so any advice would be great edawg
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:41 PM   #19
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i haven't done mine yet. i've been too lazy. maybe this weekend...
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:00 PM   #20
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i finally changed out my tie rods today. overall, it was a fairly simple DIY. i borrowed this tool from autozone to detach the ball joints which i find to be a lot simpler to use than that fork thingy tool that you have to hammer. http://www.autozone.com/in_our_store...ie_rod_end.htm



the most important thing is to make sure you have the right size wrenches before you begin. i had to stop in the middle of the job to go to sears cuz i realize i didn't have the right size wrench. anyway, the inner tierod requires a 1-5/16" open ended crowfoot wrench (flange nut crowfoot wrench will not work), and nut #8 in the diagram a few posts above requires a 15/16" wrench or crowfoot wrench (if you want to torque it to spec). using crowfoot wrenches will allow the inner tierod and nut #8 to be torqued properly (you can use regular wrenches if you don't care about torque specs), and i used heavy duty zip ties to refasten the boots. also, make sure the balljoint is pushed all the way up into the hole. otherwise, the balljoint will just spin when you try to turn the nut and you won't be able to tighten it. and yeah, removing the wheels and turning the steering wheel all the way to the side you are working on will give you plenty more room to access the balljoints, especially when you're trying to detach them with the special tool.

Last edited by EDawg; 10-23-2006 at 10:13 PM.
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