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Old 21-04-2011, 21:16   #1
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How to change a Track Rod End

I have had a vague steering feeling on the TF lately, it has felt light at speed and very jittery on heavy braking.

I did start doubting the tyres and tyre pressures, but they were fine. It's funny because whenever someone says they are having handling problems and they have decent tyres the advice I always give is to check tracking, bushes etc. You would have thought I would take my own advice.

Anyway, after putting up with it for a while I decided to check the front end out. Put it up on ramps and got Anne to rock the steering wheel to and fro. While she did this I put my hand around the left and the right track rod end in turn. You could feel a clunk and some play as the steering changed direction. You shouldn't be able to feel any clunkiness or play.





I took a video of the play when I had the wheel off. You can't really see much as when I move the hub with one hand the camera was moving too. You should be able to hear the clunking though.

Click on the pic below and turn your speakers up.



The joint you can see, roughly in the centre of the next pic, is the track rod end and is the moving joint between the steering rack and the hub.



If the wear in the TRE (Track Rod End) becomes excessive the wheel can turn slightly independantly of what you do with the steering.

This can lead to the vague feeling, tramlining, poor road holding, light front at speed and unstable handling under braking. Potholes can seem to steer the car as well.

So, we have established that the TRE is worn and needs to be replaced.

First job is to take the old one off.

Put the front of the car up on axle stands and remove the wheels. This should give enough access to the TRE.



You will need to soak the threads with release oil. Don not use WD40. Use something like PlusGas which is a proper penetrating oil. This is designed to soak into the rusted threads and help ease the removal process. WD40 doesn't do this as it for water dispersal and evaporates.



Use a wire brush to remove as much rust and crud from the exposed threads as you can. This will help in the removal and adjustment of the TRE.



After cleaning, add a bit more release oil to lubricate the threads.

Each of the 3 components have a squared off area or nut to take a spanner.

The TRE is a 22mm spanner, the lock nut is a 19mm and the steering rod itself is 12mm. It is important to keep the steering rod from turning as you undo the others as this will increase/decrease your tracking.



Loosen the locking nut and TRE while the TRE is still fitted to the hub as it is easier.

Mine was on pretty damn tight so I had to apply a little heat to loosen the locknut. Only do this if you are happy using this sort of equipment and watch you don't set light to yourself or a part of the car.



Once you have loosened the locking nut and TRE you need to look at disconnecting the TRE from the hub.

Hammer a deep 15mm socket onto the TRE nut



and using a ratchet



remove the nut.



The TRE will most probably not come off at this point as the threaded shaft has a taper which locks into the hub when the nut was tightened.

What you need is a TRE/Ball splitter. They are easy to come by/borrow/buy and are only around 15 for the one I use.



The tool body is forced under the arm on the hub, and the moving arm of the tool rests over the TRE threaded bolt.



Then, when you tighten the bolt on the tool



it pushes the TRE out of the tapered housing in the hub.



The arm is now free of the hub.



Before we remove anything else, it is essential to measure the length of the assembly so that you can set it up when the new TRE is fitted.

Some people count the number of turns that it takes to remove the TRE. This is one method but often fails as TREs have different thread cuts etc, but it will get you a rough idea. I prefer to measure the distance from the centre of the TRE to the other end of the steering rod.



Now just twist off the TRE with a spanner while holding the rod with the 12mm spanner



I also removed the locking nut



cleaned up the threads some more with the wire brush (you could use a die if you have one)



Applied lots of Copper grease to the thread and worked the locking nut back and forth to clean the threads too.



This will all help the poor git who has to adjust them once completed.

Apply plenty of copper grease to the threads and fit the new TRE.



Wind the new TRE on to the steering rod and set it up using the measurements you took earlier.



Once set up, put the threaded bolt part of the TRE though the opening in the hub



add a new nyloc nut (a new one should come with the new TRE) and torque to 30Nm.



Now tighten the locknut onto the TRE



You have now replaced your TRE.

Do the same to the otherside, if you wish to, and refit the wheels.

Lower the car to the ground and you have now hopefully sorted your steering problem.

The car will not handle properly yet until the car has the tracking and alignment set up properly.

You now need to take the car to a suitable garage to have the car 4 wheel laser aligned. It doesn't matter how carefully you measure the TRE, you will never get it accurate enough and it is important that you have it set up properly.

This is an old and new TRE



and this shows the wear on one of mine.

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Old 21-04-2011, 22:15   #2
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Excellent how to as always Clive, when can you do mine?
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Old 21-04-2011, 23:58   #3
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Still going strong Clive? Thanks for sharing, and a very nice howto!
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Old 22-04-2011, 05:01   #4
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Brilliantly comprehensive, and explicitly simple.





The hallmarks of a classic CJJ 'How To'.



...oh, and your 'click pic' video of the TRE clunk and wobble.....

.......nice touch.

The audio alone is a very useful tool for diagnosis, and the play was clearly visible.
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Old 22-04-2011, 09:00   #5
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Sheer genius as always Clive!

Coincidentally, I had one advisory when my ZR had it's MOT a couple of weeks ago.......slight play on the nearside TRE. Your 'how to' will help me if I decide to tackle it myself
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Old 22-04-2011, 10:14   #6
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Sheer genius as always Clive!

Coincidentally, I had one advisory when my ZR had it's MOT a couple of weeks ago.......slight play on the nearside TRE. Your 'how to' will help me if I decide to tackle it myself
Go on, give it a go.

The hardest part is getting them loose if they haven't been touched for a while.
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Old 22-04-2011, 10:42   #7
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Go on, give it a go.

The hardest part is getting them loose if they haven't been touched for a while.
I think I will. I have a good release agent, so I'll get some of that on this weekend. Rather handy as I'm off work all next week
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Old 22-04-2011, 11:00   #8
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This is very well documented

I am not sure if such a thing exists, but this and others like it should be made part of a specific 'How To' sub-forum to act as a repository/wiki of repair and service jobs.
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Old 22-04-2011, 13:02   #9
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and if you fancy doing your own tracking, the gadget I reported on a month or so back - http://www.trackacestore.com/ is now available 84.99 but if you enter the promo code THANKYOU25 it seems you get 25 off.

Not a substitute for a propper 4 wheel alignment, but if just swapping one track rod end at a time should allow you to put it back somewhere very close.
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Old 22-04-2011, 16:47   #10
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and if you fancy doing your own tracking, the gadget I reported on a month or so back - http://www.trackacestore.com/ is now available 84.99 but if you enter the promo code THANKYOU25 it seems you get 25 off.

Not a substitute for a propper 4 wheel alignment, but if just swapping one track rod end at a time should allow you to put it back somewhere very close.
An interesting looking gadget, but I don't think it is worth it for the TF.
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Old 22-04-2011, 19:43   #11
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Great guide and excellent timing there Clive, just found play in one of mine today Could you tell me where you got your new TREs from please?
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Old 22-04-2011, 19:49   #12
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i could have sworn CJJ made a post there, but then I saw loads of rust, so it must have been that can of redbull
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Old 22-04-2011, 20:23   #13
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my tf just failed its mot for this very thing, wish this post was up before they charged me 30 for it!!!!!! makes a massive difference tho!
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Old 22-04-2011, 20:29   #14
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Added to "MGF Repair" bookmarks - repped accordingly...
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Old 22-04-2011, 20:42   #15
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Great guide and excellent timing there Clive, just found play in one of mine today Could you tell me where you got your new TREs from please?
These are the ones I have just bought.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...fvi%3D1&_rdc=1

But the ones I fitted were these

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/SGF900152-TRAC...item3a647990d4

Which I got off Mindy.

They look the same but the ones I fitted have a slightly longer threaded collar than the ones I bought and now have as spares.
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Old 22-04-2011, 20:44   #16
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my tf just failed its mot for this very thing, wish this post was up before they charged me 30 for it!!!!!! makes a massive difference tho!
Sorry. I'll try to be quicker next time.

Still have to get the tracking done, so that's another 60
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Old 22-04-2011, 20:47   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJJ View Post
These are the ones I have just bought.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...fvi%3D1&_rdc=1

But the ones I fitted were these

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/SGF900152-TRAC...item3a647990d4

Which I got off Mindy.

They look the same but the ones I fitted have a slightly longer threaded collar than the ones I bought and now have as spares.
Thankyou sir Should hopefully be here for next weekend so that I can fit when i'm back and get the tracking done
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Old 22-04-2011, 20:48   #18
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Sorry. I'll try to be quicker next time.

Still have to get the tracking done, so that's another 60
bloody hell, car ownership is getting so expensive, to be fair that was just one of the reasons my car failed, there was a list including but not limited to 2 severely bald (down PAST wire) rear tyres and serious leak of exhaust gasses, 60 and a trip to steal wheels off of Adam-MGTF's TFvtec and I have a nice green certificate again, still cant believe that my mgf passed first time even though it was 12 year old!!!!!! bloody 5 year old one doesn't!!
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Old 22-04-2011, 20:54   #19
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bloody hell, car ownership is getting so expensive, to be fair that was just one of the reasons my car failed, there was a list including but not limited to 2 severely bald (down PAST wire) rear tyres and serious leak of exhaust gasses, 60 and a trip to steal wheels off of Adam-MGTF's TFvtec and I have a nice green certificate again, still cant believe that my mgf passed first time even though it was 12 year old!!!!!! bloody 5 year old one doesn't!!
Luck of the draw.

Adam tells me that 2 more bits from his car on yours and he can legally put his name on your V5.
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Old 23-04-2011, 09:48   #20
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Well, I'm now sitting in the waiting room of North Eastern Tyre & Autocare waiting for the 4 wheel laser alignment to be done, drinking their free coffee and using their free internet.
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