Track rod/tie rod end nut turns but won't undo

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Track rod/tie rod end nut turns but won't undo

Postby Coupeboy » Fri 10.07.2015, 22:17

I thought I would fit my new track rod ends I bought in the Lotus sale and then get the tracking checked/adjusted (steering wheel not straight). Simple, or so I thought. I now have two issues: the locknuts on the steering rack tie rods are seized to the rod - but I can release them from the track rod end - and one of the domed nuts holding the track rod end to the steering arm rotates but doesn't undo. The seized locknuts I am soaking with WD40 and maybe will have to apply heat. The domed nut seems to be seized to the track rod end vertical taper thread and the whole thing is rotating in the steering arm/knuckle. My questions are does this seem safe to drive with and would you agree that sawing off the domed nut close to the steering arm is the answer? I'm hoping nothing is hardened or it'll be out with the grinder. One last question - are the steering rack tie rods available separately (with locknut) in case I can't unseize the locknuts. Thanks for any suggestions.
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Re: Track rod/tie rod end nut turns but won't undo

Postby lotusflasherman » Fri 10.07.2015, 22:37

I find 'PlusGas Dismantling Fluid, a purpose made penetrating oil, has better creep than WD40 and gets things undone quicker. Doesn't claim to disperse water and lubricate like WD 40 so it's a 'horses for courses' issue but I'd put my money on PlusGas for what you are doing.

Suggestion for removing the nylock from the ball-joint taper through the steering arm is to use a jack, a bottle jack is most convenient, under the ball-joint to force the taper back into the steering arm and 'lock it'. Then you should be able to undo the nut. If that fails there is room to use a nut-splitter.
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Re: Track rod/tie rod end nut turns but won't undo

Postby dapinky » Fri 10.07.2015, 23:37

Yep - like Phil says, force the taper into the hub arm (sometimes it can be done with a piece of 4" x 2" timber, but a jack is ideal) - it may be that you have to actually lift the car to get enough grip, but the tequnique has never let me down.

As for the lock nuts on the actual arm, they can be cut (nearly) through with an angle grinder, dremmel or hacksaw, and then split with a cold chisel. Obviously, you will need new half-nuts, but they are cheap and easily availlable.... support the arm under the nut with a suitable pile of bricks/timber before you smack the cold chisel to avoid damage to the arm.

The combination of heat from cutting and impact from the chisel should shift it quite easily.
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Re: Track rod/tie rod end nut turns but won't undo

Postby lotusflasherman » Sat 11.07.2015, 00:10

dapinky wrote:Yep - like Phil says, force the taper into the hub arm (sometimes it can be done with a piece of 4" x 2" timber, but a jack is ideal) - it may be that you have to actually lift the car to get enough grip, but the tequnique has never let me down.

As for the lock nuts on the actual arm, they can be cut (nearly) through with an angle grinder, dremmel or hacksaw, and then split with a cold chisel. Obviously, you will need new half-nuts, but they are cheap and easily availlable.... support the arm under the nut with a suitable pile of bricks/timber before you smack the cold chisel to avoid damage to the arm.

The combination of heat from cutting and impact from the chisel should shift it quite easily.


Nut splitters are much easier, controlled and less likely to damage threads you want to preserve - or your hand if you miss the chisel. Like splitting with a cold chisel that is wound in rather than hit. Every tool box should have a set.
www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Brand-New-Set-of-2-Forged-Steel-Nut-Splitter-Set-2-15mm-15-22mm-Sizes-Tools-/231617542799
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Re: Track rod/tie rod end nut turns but won't undo

Postby dapinky » Sat 11.07.2015, 00:16

Yep - I agree that nut splitters are less damaging - but not everyone has them to hand, and I was sort-of assuming that if the job is part way through and the request was for advise to get it completed for driving the car, then there may not be enough time to purchase the 'best' tool for the job, so was offering an alternative which will work in this case.

But I do agree that the 'medieval' approach may risk damage to the thread, and should be done with due care.
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Re: Track rod/tie rod end nut turns but won't undo

Postby Coupeboy » Sat 11.07.2015, 17:14

Thanks for the replies and timely advice. Was able to remove/retighten the track rod end domed nut this morning. Been searching for the 22mm tie rod adjuster nuts to replace the ones I intend to split. Any suggestions of a source and would stainless/A2 be acceptable to ease future adjustment? I'm aiming to replace the tie rod bellows/gaiters as well but the inner clamp/tywrap looks like a challenge - anyone done this on the car?
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Re: Track rod/tie rod end nut turns but won't undo

Postby dapinky » Sat 11.07.2015, 20:08

Whilst i can't offer any help or information on the rubber bellows (I've never changed them on mine - and when I do, it'll be a rack replacement and then re-build the old one on the bench)...

.... but the lock nut is a metric fine thread M14 (x 1.5mm thread) half-nut.... the 'stamdard' pitch for an M14 is 2mm, so make sure you get the 'fine' thread ones..... and as they are availlable in right and left hand threads, you need a 'normal' right-hand thread.

I replaced mine with Stainless ones - and as they are not a load-bearing part I used A2.

If you can't find any easily, then a full hex nut will work just as well - but they should be freely availlable locally, or if not, then by post...... £2 for 5 of 'em in stainless on ebay.
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Re: Track rod/tie rod end nut turns but won't undo

Postby Coupeboy » Sun 12.07.2015, 09:11

Thanks - the locking nuts are 22mm A/F but knowing they're M14 x 1.5 and RH thread means I have now bought some ( 5 x A2 for £1.99) :-) Now for the fun bit....
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