We love our Jeep Wranglers because they can brave rough terrains, but undesired road conditions can take a toll on your vehicle’s steering system. The tie rod, in particular, undergoes a lot of pressure as it absorbs the shock when you drive through bumpy roads.
If you have to navigate such trails more often, upgrading your vehicle’s tie rod would be a good idea. In this piece, we will tell you how to upgrade the tie rods on Jeep JK.
When To Upgrade Tie Rod On Jeep JK?
The Steering Wheel Control Is Poor
You should suspect that your tie rod has been compromised when the steering wheel begins to wiggle for no apparent reason. Since the tie rods connect the steering wheel to the front wheels, a loose or damaged tie rod can cause the wheel to wobble, vibrate, or become unstable.
Abnormal Tire Damage
Abnormal tire wear is another telltale indicator that your tie rod may be damaged or loose. What exactly do we mean when we say ”abnormal tire damage”? It means the tire has excessively worn out on one side but not so much elsewhere.
This happens because underperforming tie rods make the wheels toe out. So, the outer side of the tire gets more damaged compared to the inner side.
Weird Noises Coming Out Of The Vehicle
Unusual noises coming out of the vehicle are never good news. It could indicate many underlying problems, one of which could be a faulty tie rod. Tires start moving erratically when the steering wheel loses control due to a weak tie rod or faulty connection.
This creates abnormally high levels of vibrating noise, which is noticeable mainly while starting, stopping, accelerating, or navigating sharp turns.
How Much Do You Have To Spend For Upgrading Jeep JK Tie Rod?
For replacement parts, you might have to shell out between $250 and $400. If you hire a mechanic for the job, it will set you back around $100.
How To Upgrade Tie Rod On Jeep JK?
Before you start to change the tie rod of your Jeep JK, you need to take some measurements. First of all, you have to measure the length of your tie rod end. That way, you’ll know the distance you have to go to replace the tie rod end properly.
Now let’s move on to replacing the whole tie rod. You have to get a socket to help remove the first bolt of the tie rod end. Put most pressure onto the bolt with the socket and loosen it off. If it doesn’t work, use some penetration fluid. Repeat the same with another bolt on the other end of the tie rod. Just loosen the bolts and keep them on by two/three threads.
If your new tie rod doesn’t come with a steering damper, you must reuse the old one for your steering stabilizer. Now, measure the distance from the tire to the steering damper; that way, you’ll know where to put the steering stabilizer on the new tie rod.
Next up, you’ll see a bolt attached to the steering damper. Crack it loose and take that off. Remember we told you to keep the bolts of the tie rod ends on by two/three threads? We’ll go back there. Take a hammer and hit the steering knuckle. Put maximum pressure on the ball joint.
At one point, it’ll drop. You must remember that once the ball joint is destroyed, you can’t reuse the tie rod anymore. And that’s okay as you’ll replace it with a new one of course.
After both sides drop, you have to unthread the last two bolts. After that, the old tie rod will come out quickly.
Now you put the old and new tie rod side by side to balance the new one. You’ll get a new pack of bolts with your new tie rod pack. Take two bolts out. Snug them up on the two ends of the tie rod. Do not tighten them down completely so you can adjust them if necessary after putting the tie rod in place.
Now, put on the new tie rod by lightly putting the bolts in. then lift the ends in by taking the crown nut off. Make sure you put it back on.
If your Jeep Wrangler’s tires have not moved, the new tie rods will smoothly fit in the exact same position. Next, take a torque wrench and set it to 55 ft-lbs. Grab a torque and put them in.
You’ll see a cotter pinhole on the bolt. You must take the cotter pin and slip it into the pinhole. Once you put that pin through, you must bend the pin leg onto the top of the bolt.
Now let’s come to the part where you put the steering stabilizer back on. If your steering stabilizer goes on without any modification, you can easily put it back on.
But if it doesn’t fit the new tie rod, either you have to squeeze or spread the steering stabilizer to get it around the rod. You can use a die grinder to stretch the stabilizer. If you don’t have a die grinder, you can put it on a vice and hit it with a file. But that will take longer.
Round the corner of the steering stabilizer a bit so that you can slip them on easily. Now you have to put it over the tie rod and compress it if it seems loose. Next, put the steering stabilizer’s bolts back in. Set it up on the previous mark. That’s it; the new tie rod is in place.
If you know how to upgrade the tie rods on Jeep JK, you will not have to pay mechanic fees. Tie rod replacement is a costly process; why would you add more to the expenses? It’s not the most straightforward DIY project to undertake, we admit. But it’s not the toughest, either! Just follow our instructions, and you are good to go!
I am Rick Bofia, a Jeep mechanic with a wealth of experience in repairing and maintaining Jeeps of all models and ages. I take pride in my expertise in diagnosing and repairing complex Jeep problems, from engine and transmission issues to suspension and brake system repairs. My passion for Jeeps and my dedication to delivering top-quality services have earned me a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy mechanic in the Jeep community. Whether you need routine maintenance or major repairs, you can trust me to get your Jeep back on the road in optimal condition.