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How to change the inner tie rod on a Subaru Outback

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Picture of How to change the inner tie rod on a Subaru Outback
...As the title says. A national chain wanted over $250 to do this job. I did it myself in about an hour -with tools I had around the house. It should be as quick or quicker for you, if you follow this instructable. If I had had an instructable like this, I probably could have done this in 45 minutes or less, without rushing. The parts ran me about $50.
 
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Step 1: Tools Needed

Wheel chocks or rocks, bricks
Jack stand(s)
Breaker bar/extension
Needle nose pliers
Locking pliers or Vice Grips
Channel locks
Rubber mallet or hammer
19mm open wrench
19mm deep well socket and matching socket wrench
Spray paint or nail polish
Center punch or punch or medium sized, regular, non-high quality flat head screw driver

Step 2: Prep

Picture of Prep
Park the car on a level surface
Set your emergency brake
Chock the wheels
Loosen tire lugs
Jack vehicle
Place jack stand
Remove lug nuts
Remove tire
Turn steering wheel all the way right if working on right tire -so that the front of the wheel you are working on faces out. Turn steering wheel all the way to the left if working on the left tire.

Step 3: Removing the cotter pin

Picture of Removing the cotter pin
Using the needle nose pliers, remove the cotter pin on the castellated nut on top of outer tire rod.

Step 4: Removing the castellated nut

Picture of Removing the castellated nut
Remove castellated nut w/19mm socket wrench and/or breaker bar, if needed.

Step 5: Hammer Time!

Picture of Hammer Time!
Knock lower tie rod assy out of steering knuckle assy with rubber mallet or hammer.

The picture shows a ball joint puller that I thought I needed. I did not need it at all, it is only here to save you time and money -by not going to the store and buying one.

Step 6: Mark your territory

Picture of Mark your territory
Mark the current position of the outer tie-rod end with spary paint or nail polish, or whathaveyou

THE FOLLOWING IS NOT NECCESARY FOR THIS INSTRUCTABLE:

At this point, you can use a 19mm open wrench and a pair of vice-grips to remove the outer tie rod. Secure the vise-grips to the outer tie rod's flat spots, use the box wrench to loosen the locking nut, then unscrew the outer tie-rod. Count or mark the threads. If you were just doing the outer tie rod, you'd be done here.

THE PRECEDING IS NOT NECCESARY FOR THIS INSTRUCTABLE:

Step 7: Removing the boot: Part One

Picture of Removing the boot: Part One
Using the needle nose pliers, remove the spring clamp on the end of the inner tie rod boot.

Step 8: Removing the boot: Part Two

Picture of Removing the boot: Part Two
From the front of the car, with your head near the fog lamp, look for the other end of the inner tie-rod rubber boot. On the tie-rod shaft, closest to the center of the car is a 1" flap at the end of the rubber boot. Flip the rubber lip towards the center of the car to expose the retaining wire or ziptie.

Remove ziptie or retaining spring

Step 9: Removing the boot: Part Three

Go back to the side of car, where you removed the castellated nut

Grab the boot and slide it towards you. Alternatively, you can roll the boot over itself. This will expose the inner tie-rod end.

Step 10: Unstake my heart: Or unstaking the washer

Picture of Unstake my heart: Or unstaking the washer
At the rear of the inner tie-rod is a staked washer of sorts, you must unstake this washer. I used a flat head screw driver and a hammer. A punch is the proper tool. I didn't have one handy.

Step 11: Get a Grip!

Picture of Get a Grip!
Using the locking pliers, grip the flat edges of the inner tie-rod ball/socket assy.

Loosen and remove the inner tie-rod.

Step 12: On comparing rods

Picture of On comparing rods
My replacement inner tie rod was a different style than the original, so I lined up the sockets and then screwed the old outer tie rod to the same position compared to the old inner tie rod.

Be sure to put the boot back on the inner tie rod BEFORE securing the outer tie rod to the inner tie rod. I didn't do that in this picture, so I wasted a few minutes taking it apart again.

Step 13: Installation is the reverse of removal

Installation is the reverse of removal. My iPhone's battery died, so I have no pictures of this process.  However, it's pretty straight forward.

Thread the boot onto the inner tire rod
Install the inner tie rod with the locking pliers
Stake the new washer
Pull the boot over the inner tire rod and secure it to the same place you unsecured it from
Put the outer tie rod back into the wheel assy.
Replace castellated nut
Put new cotter pin in
Put wheel back on



Notes:

With the inner tie-rod off of the car, slip or thread the boot on. I had to thread it on.
If the cotter pin wont come out, then break off what you can and torque it out with the 19mm socket.
If you can't get the remnants of the cotter pin out of the threaded rod on the outer tie-rod end, drill it out. I used WD-40 as a drill lube.

boxcarl1 year ago
picklefork!
criggie4 years ago
What is a staked washer in step 10 ? how do you unstake and restake (?) this washer ?
ill13 (author)  criggie4 years ago
...also a "centerpunch" or "punch" is the proper tool [versus a screwdriver]
ill13 (author)  criggie4 years ago
jeepers, how do i describe staking a washer?. So, say you have a flat washer, laying flat on the ground...What you are going to do is take a flat head screw driver and hold it, perpendicular to the washer, then hit the handle of the screwdriver with a hammer, vertically -as if the screwdriver were a nail. This ought to dent the washer in such a way that it is no longer flat. That is essentially staking a washer. Unstaking would be the opposite, which would be removing the dent you made. This is probably something a friend or relative could do/or show you quicker than I can describe
thx
auersperg5 years ago
 Nice work and a good homemade, i like this kind of homemade. I repare a lot of things of my mother´s car and it cost me 1/10 of the cost in a repair shop, and it work´s perfect. Sorry about my english . . . i´m from chile and here we speak spanish, so it´s not that easy write in english. 
Good bye and good luck!