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How do you replace tie rods on a Windstar?

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  • Remove front wheel

  • Remove the outer tie rod fastening nut cotter pin - if it won't come out, cut it off close to the nut

  • Remove the castle nut from the tie rod end (at the steering knuckle)

  • Separate tie rod end from the steering knuckle

    NOTE: Pickle fork versus a Pitman Arm Puller - pickle forks will likely destroy the grease boot on the outer tie rod! Pitman arm pullers are an excellent alternative and will not break the rubber

  • use two wrenches: 1 to hold the tie rod end nut the other to unscrew the tie rod end (outer tie rod).

    Count the number of threads when unscrewing the end from the inner. When reassembling, you'll want the tie rod end screwed onto the new inner exactly the same number of threads to *mostly* preserve the alignment.

    INNER TIE ROD - IF equipped
  • there is a rubber boot on the controller arm end of the inner tie rod held on with a special type of metal clamp. Remove it and the boot.

    TIP: these boot clamps are a real bear to get at and usually end up being cut. I have used a simple nylon zip-tie as a replacement for the clamp - a whole lot easier to put on.

  • Remove inner tie rod - use the tool you rented, or possibly just a a wrench on the connecting nut will work

  • Install new inner tie rod and boot

  • Screw the outer tie rod onto the new inner rod, the same number of turns as on the old one.
    If you are off by several turns you may not notice much (pulling to one side) but it will effect your tires, so I do recommend a front wheel alignment after a tie rod replacement.

  • Reattach tie rod end to steering knuckle - bolt and cotter pin

    Torque 35-46 ft lb

I will assume outers?
Easiest way is to lift front of van, remove front tires. You will see a nut on the spindle/knuckle end of the tie rod. Remove the cotter pins with a pair of sidecutters and undo the nut. If you can't get it out cut the ends off the cotter pin as close to the nut as possible are turn the nut with a socket (preferably) until it breaks the pin off (neither piece will be reused). At the inner end of the outer tie rod there will be a lock nut which is located on the outer end of the inner tie rod that threads into the outer tie rod. (enough inners & outers??? lol). Break loose the nut 1/4 turn or less (you will use this to mark how far to thread the new outer tie rods on) and the outers should be loose on the inner tie rods. Go back to the outer ends at the knuckle where you earlier removed the cotter pins & nuts and you can use a fork (front end tool) to separate the end. If you don't have a fork, a sharp blow with a hammer on the side of the spindle/knuckle where the tie rod end goes through will usually loosen it. Unthread the tie rod ends, lube the threaded outer end of the inner tie rod and thread on new outer tie rods down to the the lock nuts on the inners without turning the inners ( can use small pipe wrenches on vise grips in a pinch). Install the outer tie rod ends into the spindle holes, tighten and don't forget the cotter pin. Tighten the lock nut that 1/4 or less turn you undid at the beginning and you should be done. GET AN ALIGNMENT!! as you will be quite lucky if the steering wheel stays straight and the tires don't wear out quickly.

loosen lock nut on tie rod, just connect outer tie rod from spindle remove outer tie rod measure from lock nut to end of inner tie rod so on the new one you could put the lock nut back in the same spot, remove rubber boot over inner tie rod, you now need a special tie rod socket to remove inner tie rod or a crow foot and a long extension turn the steering wheel so the shaft on rack and pinion is sticking out so you could work on it remove inner tie rod installer in opposite order don't forget to put the new lock pin on new inner tie rod and alignment done so the toe setting is right if off you could wear you tires out
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