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Answered 2009-07-02 11:35:27

first: lift the side of car were the tie rod is damaged. first i must say i had one bent and i simply heated it with a welding torch and straightened it and it has been fine.

---- EDIT: NEVER bend back a tie rod it will not be the same, it will be weaker, and most likely break again, now as to the bent inner tie-rod to begin with if you have a bent inner tierod, i would be inspecting the entire front end, they dont just bend on there own, there would have to be some sort of impact to do that damage, meaning there could very well be more damage than just the inner tie-rod(i.e. bent control arm, damaged balljoints, damaged tire/rim, or even a bent sub-frame) if you dont know how to change a tierod than you are obviously not a mechanic and i advise you to just take your vehicle to a mechanic, it will save you more money in the long run, rather than someone getting under there not knowing what to do and doing even more damage. ----

But for the average guy ....

* take off tire

* buy or rent a tie rod puller tool and ball joint separator tool.

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

* Remove the outer tie rod fastening nut and separate from the steering knuckle

* 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.

* 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 wrench on the connecting nut will work

NOTE: I found on a 2002 Focus the connecting 'nut' on the inside end of the tie rod had NO FLAT SIDES!! No wrench or inner tie rod tool was going to work. I tried all sorts of pipe wrenches to no success. Ended up using a pair of channel lock pliers to grab onto the darned thing and got it loose.

* 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 it is recommended to get a front wheel alignment after a tie rod replacement.

* Reattach tie rod end to steering knuckle - nut and cotter pin (torque is somewhere in the 30 ft lb range).

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