This Pacifica made a mistake of going head to head against a curb and I am sad to report that the collision bent the inner tie rod, rendering the car undriveable. The damage could have been much worse considering that there was a metal guard rail 10 inches after the curb. This guide will explain how to go about changing both the inner and outer tie rod. There is plenty of room to maneuver and with the proper tools this repair does not require a lot of time. The guide will cover the passenger side but the same technique can also be applied to the driver side.
Required Parts & Tools:
- New inner tie rod kit that includes the tie rod, boot, and all the required clamps. At the time of this repair the kit cost $50.
- I prefer to use the inner tie rod removal tool - Lisle Tool 45750 - makes tie rod removal a breeze. You can also use a plain wrench, if you can fit it in there.
- Oetiker clamp pinch tool. Not needed if you are using different style of clamps.
- 2006 Chrysler Pacifica
- 3.5L V6 Engine
- ~33,000 miles
Removing The Inner and Outer Tie Rod Ends
1. Start off by setting the car on jack stands and removing the wheel.
2. Wheel removed. Lot of things going on in this photo. Notice the damage to the inner tie rod. Remove the jam nut (#1) with a 22mm wrench, use a 19mm wrench to hold the tie rod in place. Follow up by removing the nut from the outer tie rod (#2). I used a big hammer to knock the tie rod out out of the steering knuckle. Apparently this is not the approved method of doing it. If you're paranoid, get yourself a tie rod seperator tool.
If you are only changing the outer tie rod then you are pretty much done. Unscrew the outer tie rod and remove, count the number of rotations that it took to remove it. You will need this number when you reinstall the outer tie rod.
3. Continue the process by removing the inner tie rod boot (also called a bellow). The boot is held on by a spring clamp on the outside and an oetiker clamp on the inside. Use a screwdriver to pry the oetiker clamp off. Don't forget to disconnect the transfer tube from the boot. Once everything is disconnected slide the boot off (may take some force).
4. Use the tool to unscrew the inner tie rod from the steering rack. Place the attachment on the tie rod and slip the tool on. Use a 1/2 inch ratchet to unscrew the whole thing.
Installing The Inner and Outer Tie Rods
1. Grab the new inner rod and install the plastic travel restrictor, flat side of teeth facing outward.
2. Apply some medium strength thread locker to the inboard end of the tie rod. Use the tool to screw in the tie rod. Tighten to 58 lb-ft.
3. Install the new boot (don't forget the clamp!). Apply some grease on the small end of the boot to prevent it from bunching up during an alignment. The small end of the boot need to be pushed just far enough to engage the groove that is machined into the inner tie rod.
4. Use the pinch tool to tighten the inside clamp and finish off by installing the remaining spring clamps.
5. Install the outer tie rod (with the jam nut going first). Use the same number of rotations that you counted when you removed the tie rod to get the alignment somewhat close to the correct specs.
6. Tighten the outer tie rod nut to 35 lb-ft + 180 degrees.
7. Tighten the jam nut to 55 lb-ft.
8. Install wheel, torque to 100 lb-ft., and get an alignment done as soon as possible.