How to Change the Inner Tie Rod on a Ford F150by Kyle McBride
Ford equipped the F-150 truck with a steering system that includes tie rods (with both inner and outer ends) that connect the wheels to the center link and steering shaft. The inner tie-rod ends connect to the center-link knuckle. Wear over time causes the tie-rod ends to become loose, which adversely affects steering. Loose steering is a dangerous condition to safe driving. Replace the inner tie-rod ends if they become loose or damaged.
Park the truck on a firm, level surface. Turn the ignition off and set the parking brake.
Jack the front of the truck up with the jack and support it on jack stands.
Remove the wheel trim with a flat-head screwdriver. Remove the wheel lugs with a lug-nut wrench. Remove the wheel and set it aside.
Get under the truck. Draw a line with the grease pencil down the tie rod's adjusting sleeve, across the jam nut and down the threads of the inner tie rod.
Straighten the legs of the cotter pin with pliers, then pull the cotter pin out. Remove the castellated nut with a wrench.
Clamp the hooks of the steering-arm remover over the head of the center-link knuckle. Turn the extruding screw of the steering-arm remover clockwise with a wrench to push the tie-rod spindle out of the center-link knuckle. Remove the steering-arm remover once the tie rod is free of the center-link knuckle.
Loosen the jam nut with a wrench. Unscrew the tie-rod end from the adjusting sleeve. Count the number of revolutions needed to completely unscrew the tie-rod end.
Insert the threaded end of the new tie rod into the adjusting sleeve. Screw the tie rod into the sleeve the number of turns counted in step 7. Tighten the jam nut to 56 to 84 pound-feet with a torque wrench.
Insert the spindle of the tire rod into the hole in the center-link knuckle. Install the castellated nut and tighten to 56 to 84 pound-feet with a torque wrench. Insert a new cotter pin through the castellated nut and bend the legs around the nut.
Reverse the tire removal procedure to reinstall the tire. Tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern. Torque the lug nuts to 100 pound-feet for 12-mm lug nuts or 150 pound-feet for 14-mm lug nuts.
Remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle to the ground.
- Counting the rotations of the tie rod is a good rough estimate of the tie-rod end's position, but a proper front-end alignment which includes adjusting toe should be performed. Consult a qualified mechanic to have the toe adjustment performed.
- Never get under a car or allow anyone else to get under a car that is supported only by the jack. Always use jack stands for safety.
- If any part of the procedure seems beyond your capabilities, consult a qualified mechanic before proceeding.
Items you will need
- Jack stands
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Lug-nut wrench
- Grease pencil
- Wrench set
- Steering-arm remover (Ford special tool F211-003 or equivalent)
- Pound-foot torque wrench
- New cotter pin
- "2003 F-150 Workshop Manual"; Section 211-03, Steering Linkage-Removal and Installation-Tie Rod End, Inner; Ford Motor Company; 2002
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images