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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 04-03-2011, 10:59 PM   #41
vishmutzy
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Originally Posted by spennI View Post
Thanks Neil. I banged some more to no avail. The ball joint on the one tie rod came off with the "sleeve" that sits in the knuckle . My Indy friend said he hasn't seen that in eight years while working on BMWs. For this reason (the sleeve must be pressed back in the knuckle) and becuase I cannot get the second tie rod off, I plan to cut my loses and have my Indy friend do this job.

For some reason I feel like I failed this DIY attempt. Do you ever feel this way when a job stumps you?
Removed tie rod & LCA ball joints at 140k miles and I really had to resort to every trick, tool and swear word to get those buggers off. Used pickle forks, ball joint pullers, big hammers, chemicals, fire and ice (inverted compressed air can)... and I wasn't being very gentle. Was finally able to get them off using an air hammer with a pointed end chisel on the top of the stud.
Good luck.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:33 PM   #42
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:30 AM   #43
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Step 8 worked like a champ on one side but the d*&^m joint won't come out on the other side. I must have wacked it with a 6lb hammer about 20 times. Any thoughts?
They can be hard to shift, but the actual ball-joint pin is tapered so it will separate - eventually! I found it useful to brace the bracket attached to the suspension strut with a bottle jack to provide some upward pressure and stabilise the bracket. It then came away with only a few sharp jabs with a hammer.

=D=
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:16 PM   #44
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Stuff like this makes me miss my E46. A friendly tip if yours are mad corroded a blow touch can help loosen things up.
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Old 05-08-2011, 05:37 PM   #45
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many thanks, I used this today and it helped a bunch in preparation and execution.

Also got rid of the vibrations at speed like I was hoping it would. The old inner tie rods had a little play in em... She feels tight again!
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:33 PM   #46
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Gracias!

First, mad props to missamo80 for the most excellent writeup and to Mrs. missamo80 for the great pics!

As reference, my 2003 330i has lived in the Northeast all of its 8 or so years and hasn't had any tie rod work (other than an alignment).

Recently, I got new shoes for my ride (Michelin Pilot Super Sports) and took it for a front end alignment. Try as they might, the alignment shop could not loosen the nut that holds the inner and outer tie rod together, making it impossible to align the car. I got quotes from this shop and another, both at around $140 x 2 for the tie rods and roughly $150 for labor, bringing the total to $430 or so. After some searching, I was able to get 2 new Meyle tie rods from Turner Motorsport for $137 including tax and shipping (I live in Northern MA). That price, along with this DIY, tipped the scales in favor of doing it myself.

After jacking the car, placing it on jack stands and pulling the wheels, I soaked the tie road nut attached to the wheel mount with PB Blaster (the OP used Liquid Wrench). The thing to note is that PB Blaster is a PENETRATING oil, not a LUBRICATING oil like WD40. WD40 is somewhat useless in this situation. After letting it sit for 5 minutes or so, I grabbed my ball joint lifter:



I cranked the nut to get it snug and then some, then banged the side of the ball joint a few times to loosen things up a bit. That didn't appear to free it, so out came my trusty pickle fork:



I bought this kit as it has an end to wail the crap out of with a 3 lb sledge OR an end that can be inserted into an air hammer should I ever own one. After about 30 seconds of pounding on the thing, it popped free. I have no idea if it was the PB Blaster, the ball joint lifter, the pickle fork or a combination of all three, but it freed up pretty quick for me.

The inner tie rod, attached to the steering rack, freed up easily using the pipe wrench. I assume the rubber boot protecting it from the elements (as well as the plastic engine shield on my car) helped, too.

Getting the boot off proved to be a challenge - these tie rods are hardened steel. Thank the garage gods that I had several metal cutting blades for my jigsaw; it made the job go much faster. Had my buddy known, he would've brought his Sawzall with a metal cutting blade and the job would've gone lickety split.

If you're on the fence about doing this yourself, don't be. As long as you have the right tools, it's a snap. Outside of the correct ratchets and wrenches, a pickle fork, a 3 lb minimum sledge and penetrating oil (Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster) are requirements. 3 hours and I saved $300.

Again, hats off to the OP for the great writeup and giving me the confidence to give this a shot! Now it's off to get an alignment.
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Old 05-24-2011, 03:11 PM   #47
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I just finished replacing the tie rods, control arms w/ new bushings and front control arm links. whew! That was a project.

My 2002 330cci has 150K and the the pickle fork was a no-go for the outer tie rod ball joints, and to get it off I had to use a ball joint separator tool that my local auto parts store rented for free (Autozone):



on higher mileage cars I highly recommend this tool, it was one of those "right tool for the right job" moments.

thx to the original poster for this great DIY!
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:49 AM   #48
dheafey
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Getting the boot off proved to be a challenge - these tie rods are hardened steel. Thank the garage gods that I had several metal cutting blades for my jigsaw; it made the job go much faster. Had my buddy known, he would've brought his Sawzall with a metal cutting blade and the job would've gone lickety split.
I purchased an angle grinder for a different job (sharpening lawn mower blades) and decided to pick up a metal cutting disk for the grinder and test it out on the leftover tie rod pieces. The grinder got through it in about 10 secs flat. $30 at Home Depot and $2 for a cutting disk are worth every penny, IMO:

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Old 06-20-2011, 06:16 PM   #49
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Tie rod tool borrowed from my local mechanic made this easy compared to the LCA ball joints. Two wrenches were all I needed to separate the tie rod ends, I was surprised how easily the nut loosened. Thanks for the write up!
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:56 PM   #50
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Great Write-up!

I just did this DIY today. It went without a hitch. Thanks for the write-up!

Just a few thoughts to add to the pile:

1. sdpaguy is absolutely right. The tierod puller is the way to go. I bought this for $15 - http://www.amazon.com/Powerbuilt-648...3184051&sr=8-1 - which is the same price as a pickle fork and hammer (although the fork is certainly useful for the control arms too). It fit fine (using the smaller of the two bolts) and worked in just a few turns (See the attached pictures).

2. Both the jam nut on my old tierods, as well as that on the new ones, were 24mm rather than 22mm (YMMV).

3. I wanted to be able to torque the inner tierods to spec, so I also decided to go with a 1-5/16" crowfoot for $7 - http://erisautomotivetools.com/SUN97741.aspx - the actual size is 34mm but this seemed harder to find close to me. All I had to do was slightly file it down to get it to work.

Thanks again for an excellent write-up!

Luke
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:57 PM   #51
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[QUOTE=missamo80;12007878]This weekend I installed a complete front suspension overhaul kit from bimmerworld. Except for getting the ball joints apart with the pickle fork it was pretty straightforward thanks to the various DIYs I found on this forum. One DIY that seemed to be missing, however, was how to replace the tie rods. It isnít a terribly difficult procedure and the Bentley manual has reasonably good steps but I figured while I was doing it why not whip up a DIY with photos. All the photos shown here are for the driverís side, but itís the exact same process for the passenger side. Thanks to my wife for taking the photos!

For those that enjoy seeing a diagram of parts RealOEM is your friend.

Tools required
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Pipe wrench
  • 19mm socket wrench
  • 13mm wrench
  • 19mm wrench
  • 22mm wrench
  • Allen key
  • Hacksaw
  • Liquid Wrench
  • Normal zip tie
  • Long (14Ē) zip tie

Good stuff thank you
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:53 PM   #52
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My concern is the use of a pipe wrench on the rack. The wrench's teeth could put grooves in the rack, and those grooves could damage the outer seals. JMVHO YMMV
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:21 PM   #53
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You aren't using the pipe wrench on the rack. You're using it on the end of the tie rod that screws into the rack.

Neil
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:25 PM   #54
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10-4 roger!
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:19 AM   #55
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Great write up...anyone ever replace the outer ends only?
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:35 AM   #56
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Per some previous commens in the thread, the nut that joins the inner and outer tie rod is often so siezed it isn't worth the effort. Just replace both.
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:55 AM   #57
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I used an adjustable wrench to get the inner rod nut off...otherwise this is pretty straight forward. Took about 2 hours...I took my time. Thanks for the DIY!
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:03 AM   #58
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How many miles did you guys have when you replaced these? I'm at 98k miles and my steering feels loose and wanders at freeway speeds. I've replaced the whole front end suspension, tie rods are next (and last) on the list.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:08 AM   #59
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I was at 125k when I did mine. Overall they weren't terrible when I took them out. The new joints were tighter, but the old ones were not flopping around the way that you often see the ball joints on control arms get.

Luke
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:25 PM   #60
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diy

did you have to put grease inside the boot? like cv joint grease?
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