I teach High School Automotives and while replacing a clutch (and most everything else we came across!) in a faculty member's car, we found the tie rod end boots were completely torn off. I didn't want to send the car down the road without any protection, and the faculty member (being a teacher) had no extra funds for any more replacement parts...
...so I came up with a cheap to keep idea!
This should work with any ball joint, or tie rod end type of joint.
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
- A piece of heater hose (we used 3/4")
- A means to cut the heater hose
- - Band saw (use power tools whenever possible!)
- - Utility knife (Razor type knife)
- - Diagonal cutters (Dykes)
Step 2: Identify and Prep
Find all instances of deteriorated boots and remove any left over rubber from around the joint. This joint had no boot at all left!
Step 3: Measure Twice, Cut Once!
Then measure the length of hose you will need. It should have a small amount of compression when the joint is reinstalled. Shoot for about 1/16" of crush after it's installed.
(Make the length of the hose 1/16" longer than the space into which it will fit)
Step 4: Cut New Boot to Length
Step 5: Quality Assurance
What a superb job you have done!
Step 6: Install Your New Boot!
Don't forget to properly torque the fastener and install a new cotter pin!
Step 7: Final Thoughts and Considerations.
2. I am pretty sure that the rubber in a heater hose will not stand up to super long term exposure to petroleum products (that's why we don't use radiator hoses for gas tank filler necks). However, this will keep grease in and protect the joint from foreign matter. I believe that it should last quite a while.
3. Remember to routinely inspect your entire vehicle for safety and keep the rubber side down!