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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I needed to replace both tie rods on my 544 because the rubber boots were far passed doing their job. I pulled the steering link out and I know one tie rod is left hand and the other right hand, but I can't get either to move. Is the nut that they thread in a locking nut and the tube threaded or is the nut affixed to the rod and stays in place ? I tried losening the nut, in case it was a locking nut and it didn't want to move either.
 

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I have some 544 literture that refers to a "slackening the clamping bolts or locknuts respectively". But I don't know if these are one and the same. I think "clamping bolts" are earlier production, locknuts are late production based, in part, on the fact that two different torque settings are provided.

It then goes on to say that by turning in the normal direction of tire rotation, toe in is reduced. I'd assume you are turning the loosened tie rod.

Unfortunately, no drawing that I can interpret.
 

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Technically speaking the "tie rod" is the long adjustable bar that goes across the front, below the radiator support. At its ends are two "end links" which attach to the steering arms. The two "steering rods" are the ones that go from the steering arms to the knuckles. These latter parts are generally not adjustable.

There can be different hardware on the tie rod depending on the age of the part. Early models have a kind of clamp, later ones a lock nut. Yes, one side is threaded opposite the other. Depending on which way the unit was installed, these can be left or right. Photos would help. Usually, you can see a few threads - enough to determine left- or right-handedness.

Oh - and be sure you measure the distance between the steering arms carefully, so you can return the tie rod to its original length.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Here is a picture from CVI.


By this shot, it looks like the buts ARE there to lock the ends in place. I figured they were, but I've not seen any so tight ! It's easy to tell which is right and left hand. I think the left hand side has a line in one of the flat faces of the nut as well. I will say mine is not just a rod that has the same diameter all along the length. I think it swells through the middle and is slightly narrower at the end, where the nuts are.
 

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I needed to replace both tie rods on my 544 because the rubber boots were far passed doing their job. I pulled the steering link out and I know one tie rod is left hand and the other right hand, but I can't get either to move. Is the nut that they thread in a locking nut and the tube threaded or is the nut affixed to the rod and stays in place ? I tried losening the nut, in case it was a locking nut and it didn't want to move either.
This is not a fun job. You really need to get the car up in the air - there's not enough room to swing a hand sledge with the car on the ground. I should mention that there is a press tool that grabs onto the fixed part and presses the tapered threaded piece out. I have no experience with that method.

With (earlier style - the cotter pin removed - later style is Nyloc nut), loosen the nut, but leave on the end of the stud. [DO NOT twist off the nuts to cut the cotter pin - if, once the cotter pin breaks and the nut binds on the stud, but the stud turns in the taper, it will be very difficult to remove the remaining broken cotter pin, and then the nut.] Then using aforementioned hand sledge, or other suitable hammer, BANG on the arm through which the tapered piece passes, while attempting to pull the rod up (or down) and out of the taper. Either through shock, or eventual deformation, the tapered piece will release, and the nut will keep you from smashing your hand. Sharp, determined blows right on the arm as close to where the taper is are what you want. On the aft end, the piece that is attached to the upright, bang directly on the end. The fore end that attaches to the idler arm/steering arm you must hit from the side and this is awkward. Remove the nut and lift out the rod end. Repeat on the other three tie rod ends. It you've actually altered the interior taper, maybe chase with a really fine rat tail file to return interior taper to original shape.

Install new rods, (early style align the holes for the cotter pins perpendicular to the arm, so that when you tighten down the nut you are able to see the hole and install the cotter pin. Applying pressure to the rod so the taper grabs will help keep it from spinning as you tighten the nut). Later (new) rods will probably come with Nylocs, so no need.
 

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Seeing your most recent picture, I realize that you're talking about the "drag link" and not the tie rods, so disregard my explanation.
 

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Those nuts are TIGHT. I had to use a pipe wrench on the center section (positioned near the end, but not the interior threaded part), and be careful not to crush or distort that center section. Or maybe you could use some other wrench on the cast end between the taper and the adjusting nut.
 

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Here is a picture from CVI.
...
By this shot, it looks like the buts ARE there to lock the ends in place. I figured they were, but I've not seen any so tight ! It's easy to tell which is right and left hand. I think the left hand side has a line in one of the flat faces of the nut as well. I will say mine is not just a rod that has the same diameter all along the length. I think it swells through the middle and is slightly narrower at the end, where the nuts are.
Ok, I meant a picture of the stuff in your car :D but this is what the 544 book calls a tie rod. And it's the "new style", i.e. with lock nuts.
Yep, they're generally tight. Good news is, it's the nuts which are tight, the tie rod itself will spin with much less effort.

My suggestion would be to clean the area and apply plenty of penetrating oil, and if necessary heat the nut itself, which will help a lot. You can use a pipe wrench (plumber's wrench) to the center of the tie rod as a counterhold if necessary.

Or, remove the whole thing by popping the end links from the steering arms, then do the same on the bench, using a vise etc. It's pretty typical that they put up a fight.
 

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JW63;

Tie Rod nuts lock the adjustment, and they can be loosened...obvious, but one is right-hand and one is left-hand thread so that once loose, turning the center section increases or decreases Tie Rod length for the purpose of setting Toe-In. Just beware: Nuts must be turned in the correct direction to loosen! (DUH!) ...so this will require a careful inspection of the threads outside the Locking Nut to determine which is the direction of turning to loosen (because Tie Rod may have been removed reinstalled right-to-left)...the only way to know for certain which way to loosen Nuts is to inspect threads!! I think this illustration of 122 frontend is substantially similar and so applicable (edit: Don't ask me why its up side down!).
View attachment 49649

...and even if you are replacing parts, separating them with the controlled force of a Ball Joint Separator is always preferred to attacking them with a BFH...I think. See: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/...4RcpGYY8NEz1CNSkVDF1GNip9STkE8uxoC1xgQAvD_BwE

Cheers

Edit 2: It's been a while since I was up close and personal with a Tie Rod, and from looking at the Illustration, and from memory...I believe only one of the two nuts shown is loosenable...the other is a part of the Tie Rod itself, and what you would hold a wrench on for counterforce as you were adjusting Toe...bottom line: Inspect carefully!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The rod is already on the bench. Using the tool to pop out ball joints is the ONLY way I will do it anymore. I think we have this one.

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-quarter-inch-forged-ball-joint-separator-99849.html

I almost ran out of thread before it popped loose, but this just makes removing each one a 1 minute job or less.

I'll take a run at knocking those nuts loose, tomorrow. It's pretty obvious which direction the threads of the ends are, by looking at them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The nuts broke loose with some heat and a good long wrench. One tie rod end come out with persuasion, but once fee it was no problem. The other end had an issue. I had to fight it all the way. I think that at some point, it got put in a vice in the threaded area, and perhaps deformed. Although, oyu would think the tie rod it's self would keep that from happening. The issue is that the new one binds, now. The old tie rod had a really messed up section of thread, so I cut it off and used it to try and clean out the rod. Didn't work. Gott'a but an M14X1.5 left hand tap, now, to get the simple job done !

Old cars. Simple, but you never know what you're going to find.
 
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