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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I’m installing an ADF lift kit. I get the final bolt at the bottom of my first strut off, and then I look around to inspect. I notice that there is tan colored grease that has freshly squeezed out of this steering tie-rod boot:

522187


Should I wipe it off and move on with life, or be more concerned?
 
2017 2.5i Fozy CVT
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If you try to wiggle the rotor can you feel play in the TIE ROD ( what that is)?

No, then clean off the excess grease and monitor it..

Yes, then change both sides and get alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you try to wiggle the rotor can you feel play in the TIE ROD ( what that is)?
No play is felt. The joint and the rod both still feel solidly connected. There is more grease that came out the other side that can’t be seen in the photo too. It feels like a lot for this small boot.

The vehicle is a ‘15 with 36k miles, so this surprises me.

Also, due to the lift I am going to need an alignment.
 

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2003 EJ20K Forester
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Grease leaking/torn boot is the first stage of joint failure. If you're getting an alignment soon, it might be worth it to replace those joints ($20-40 ea?) now, instead of later and getting another alignment, which you need after replacing the joints. Alignment probably costs more than the joints, so think of it as getting them for free if you do it now :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Grease leaking/torn boot is the first stage of joint failure. If you're getting an alignment soon, it might be worth it to replace those joints ($20-40 ea?) now, instead of later and getting another alignment, which you need after replacing the joints. Alignment probably costs more than the joints, so think of it as getting them for free if you do it now :)
Man, that is so not what I was expecting to do as part of this job. Are there any instructions lying around for how to replace this joint? The FSM isn’t super clear on replacing just this part, but it does mention a “tie-rod ball joint puller.” 😟
 
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Might just try hitting the threaded end gently with a BFH after loosening the nut somewhat and spraying it all down with penetrating fluid. Or try your local FLAPS to get a loaner picklefork.

Get the BJs first, though, and mark the tiered so you can put the new BJ on the same amount.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How do replacements for these joints come?
  • Do they have all the grease already in them and come with a new bolt or something?
  • Is this something I can get from the dealership?
 

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Man you guys are confusing me. Quick and dirty outer tie rod end instructions:

Step 1: Go buy the replacement "outer tie rod ends".
Step 2: Loosen jam nut on tie rod end. Watch out, one side is usually left-hand thread. There is normally a flatted spot on the tie rod end to hold on to if required. Don't worry about wrecking anything, just use a big wrench to loosen the jam nut.
Step 2: Remove cotter pin and loosen castle nut (impact helps). Re-install castle nut upside down, about 1/2 to 3/4 of the depth of the nut on. With hammer, smash side of steering knuckle in vicinity of joint, and downward on the castle nut if required. (no puller required) Once it pops free, remove castle nut again, and tie rod should drop out of knuckle. If castle nut is stuck from smashing, use a vice grip or whatever to hold it from rotating to get the nut off.
Step 3: Twist off outer tie rod end. There is a flat spot on the tie rod itself (the bar portion) that you can hold on to if required.

Install reverse of removal. If the new tie rod is OEM and you kept track of how much you moved the jam nut, putting it back together exactly in the same position will get you close enough to drive to an alignment shop. IE, if you loosened jam nut two turns, installing new joint such that tightening jam nut two turns makes it tight, you are probably close enough. If you opt for non-OEM or the new joints look totally different:
Measure between tread blocks between the front tires on the front of the tire best you can, and then the back of the tire best you can. You are trying to measure the "toe" or how much the tires are pointing towards each other. Aim for as close to 0 as you can get before you drive it off to get your alignment. Less than 1/8" is a good target. Lots of you tube instructions on setting your own toe.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to both of you! Your instructions are 👍. Also thanks for naming what this piece is, an "outer tie rod end" so I know how to talk about it when buying a new one.

Both of you mentioned needing an alignment after replacing this. Should I mention that I got a new (or both) tie rod ends to the shop that does the service, or is adjusting these part of the procedure, so I don't need to say anything? If the toe is effected by how these are screwed on, then I assume it's part of the alignment procedure.
 

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It is part of the procedure! If I were you, I'd ask for a "before" and "after" printout of the specifications, just for your information. You might learn that with a lift you are maxed out on some adjustments due to the change in geometry. Could be no harm done, but also might prompt further modification. The reports might be standard practice for them as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It is part of the procedure! If I were you, I'd ask for a "before" and "after" printout of the specifications, just for your information. You might learn that with a lift you are maxed out on some adjustments due to the change in geometry. Could be no harm done, but also might prompt further modification. The reports might be standard practice for them as well.
Sounds like a pro tip. I wouldn't have even known to ask for that. Thanks
 
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