Replacing a tie rod or anything else on your car may look like an overwhelming task. But chances are, you can do this and it's not as hard as you might think. You are going to need a few tools, the replacement part (a new outside tie rod end in this case) and an hour or so of your time, maybe more maybe less. That is up to you.
Step 1: Preparing to Prepare
My teachers used to accuse me of preparing to prepare. But getting your act together before you start tearing things apart is a really good idea. If you are over 30 I strongly suggest a chair or stool with wheels lower back pain is not fun. Ok, so what should you get out and have at hand?
1. Wrenches or a couple adjustable wrenches
2. Vise grips (at least one pair) Just because they are useful
3. A hammer
4. Hobby paint and q-tip (nail polish or white out work good too) this is for Match marking
5. Car Jack
6. Jack Stand
7. Wheel chock
9. Safety Glasses
10. Tie Rod Separator
11. Rags or paper towel
13. Shop manual if you have it (optional in this case)
Step 2: Jacking Up the Car and Taking Off the Tire
With the car on the ground "crack the nuts" that just means loosen them a little. Do NOT take them all off. Use a tire iron with a lug wrench to crack the nuts a little. Crack each nut. Once the nuts are cracked put your wheel chocks in place. Those are the yellow things in the picture. They should banged in place so they are nice and tight and will prevent the car from rolling backward. If the car can roll forward then put them under the front tires.
Now, you can jack up the car. I am using the jack that came with the car. I have hooked it up to a power drill and let me tell you, it makes life very easy!
Once the car is jacked up, put a Jack stand underneath to support the car. Only after the jack stand is in place should you remove the lug nuts and take the tire off the car.
Step 3: Out With the Old
This is the outside tie rod end, it should look just like the one you bought as a replacement. Mine looks similar although the new one is bear metal while the old one is black. Before you start trying to take the old one off you must take your white paint and make a matchmark on the threads of the tie rod. A matchmark is a mark that lets you align the new part very precisely. This is really really important. If you put your tie rod on and it isn't in the right place on the shaft you could do serious damage to the car and yourself. Mark that nut and the threads and you are good. Give it a minute to dry before you put the wrenches to it.
You will need two wrenches, one on the nut and one on the tie rod to keep it from moving. If necessary use a little penetrating oil and a hammer to tap on the wrench to loosen the nut. Once the nut gives STOP. Then turn it 1/4 turn looser then Stop.
Now it's time to take off the castle nut and pop the tie rod off of the wheel hub. First pull the cotter pin out, use pliers for this. Then take off the castle nut. Now use your tie rod end lifter to pop off the tie rod end. You may use a pickle fork or hit it with a sledge from underneath but I recommend the lifter as seen in the photo.
Once the End is out of the hole STOP.
READ CAREFULLY; COUNT THE TURNS AS YOU UNSCREW THE TIE ROD FROM THE THREADED ROD. WRITE DOWN THE NUMBER OF TURNS IF YOU HAVE A BAD MEMORY THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
Step 4: In With the New
Screw the new tie rod end onto the threaded shaft with EXACTLY the same number of turns it took to take the old one off. On my car it was 18 turns. It may be different on yours who knows?
Make sure the matchmark lines up! Then tighten the nut on the threaded shaft against the tie rod end. Make it tight!
Place the end though the hole in the wheel hub and screw the castle nut on. Having a torque wrench would be great here because the book says 27 foot lbs. I have to guess at 27 foot lbs, because my wrench is in inch lbs and doesn't go nearly high enough, but I am good at estimating these things so I am not going to harp on it.
Once the castle nut is on and tight put the cotter pin in place through the hole in the threaded stud and bend the ends of the pin so it can't come off.
Step 5: And You Are Just About Done!
OK you did it! Now put the wheel back on. Thread the nuts on the studs and hand tighten. Then using your lug wrench go around tightening the nuts a little at a time using the star pattern. Top, right bottom, right side, left side to right bottom.
Now remove the jack stands (you have to jack the car up a little to do this) and then lower the car to the ground. Once on the ground you can properly tighten the nuts to whatever torque you like.
Remove the wheel chocks and go for a test ride. Drive slow at first, check the play in the steering and when you stop check your tires for any unusual wear, smell (burning would be bad) or anything out of the ordinary. If you are experiencing an unusual wear pattern you will need to bring your car in for an alignment (actually you could do that yourself too if you wanted to).