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alignment and inner tie rod question. Topic is solved

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

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amblerman
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alignment and inner tie rod question.

Post by amblerman » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:01 pm

Hi Folks,

I recently replaced my struts (will write up a review of that soon) and brought my 99 S70 in for an alignment.

They could not do the alignment because they said they couldn't get my inner tie rods loosened.
I said "The inner tie rods? " and they said yes and gave me a quote for doing the work.

I chose not to have them do the work and I am going to tackle the job myself.
However I suspect what they really meant was that they couldn't loosen the jam nut on the inner tie rod so they could adjust the OUTER tie rod.

There isn't anything to loosen or adjust on the inner tie rod is there (aside from that one nut)? All the adjustment comes from spinning the outer tierod correct?

I think their concern was that if they kept at it, they might damage the inner tie rod and would have to either leave me stranded or do the job. They wanted my consent before trying drastic measures in loosening things up. I suspect this was just a terminology issue and things got lost in conversation.

They said the problem was with the inner tie rod but what I really thing they meant was along the lines of "if we keep trying to loosen the jam nut, we might damage the inner tie rod ."

I currently think there's nothing wrong with the inner tie rod other than a rusted nut. But I'm double checking here.

Thanks -A

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Re: alignment and inner tie rod question.

Post by JDS60R » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:27 pm

inner tie rods are removable/replaceable and do wear. Do a search for the part and you can see how yours attaches. They screw into the steering rack.
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Re: alignment and inner tie rod question.

Post by erikv11 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:52 pm

amblerman wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:01 pm
... There isn't anything to loosen or adjust on the inner tie rod is there (aside from that one nut)? All the adjustment comes from spinning the outer tierod correct?...
Correct. Nothing to loosen unless you are replacing it.

I agree with your surmisal. But also I would check the inners for any play or looseness, just to be sure.
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 286k
'06 S60 R, 167k
'99 Camry V6 :shock: 125k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: alignment and inner tie rod question.  Topic is solved

Post by kahl » Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:04 pm

The outer tie rod does not turn. The inner tie rod screws into the outer tie rod for toe in or out. The nut locks the two rods together. Loosening the nut lets you rotate the inner tie rod for adjustment of toe. The outer tie rod remains stationary. several times I have had to R and R the outer and inner as an assembly even after using heat. Use a monkey wrench on the inner to rack nut. Line up the old and new assemblies to get the approximate length. Cut off old boot to get to inner tie rod nut on the rack end. Unscrew the new assembly counting the turns. Attach inner tie rod then new boot then nut. Install outer to inner counting the rotations. This will get your toe close so you can get to an alignment shop without scuffing your tires. Quick and easy job.

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Re: alignment and inner tie rod question.

Post by precopster » Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:25 pm

Perhaps the inner tie rod ball was seized/rusted (however unlikely) stopping it from spinning to allow the adjustment. How do the inner tie rod boots look?

So yes you turn the INNER TIE ROD for adjustment by means of a 6 sided profile. The adjustment is very fine. A quarter of a turn will adjust toe by about 2mm depending on the thread pitch.

If they couldn't undo the nut they just need better tools. The local tyre place said the same thing to me about 6 years ago and the same nut was undone by a course grip plumber's spanner by me at home later that day.

I often struggle with garages' ability to convey the problem with words alone.
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Re: alignment and inner tie rod question.

Post by oragex » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:19 pm

As above, they couldn't loosen the nut so they could not adjust the inner tie rod since it's the rod on the inner tie rod that actually turns when the geometry is adjusted. Sucks, I mean if a garage can't undo it it means the nut must be jammed solid. I happened to me once, three garages couldn't undo it. Not sure if it can be done, but I'd try replacing the inner and outer tire rods on that side.

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Re: alignment and inner tie rod question.

Post by mrbrian200 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:22 pm

If the inner ball was seized it would break off during normal driving.

Clean threads past the jamb nut you can see with a wire brush. I use a small wire wheel on the end of a drill. Spray jamb nut with wd40 or PB blaster. Heat the jamb nut with a torch. Not red hot! Just enough to make the penetrating oil bubble and froth. There's supposed to be grease in the threads where the inner/outer screw together to make the adjustment, you don't want to get it so hot that the grease breaks down/carbonizes. While still hot spray again. Try to loosen the jamb nut. Repeat... eventually the nut will loosen. Apply fresh grease to the threads, preferably a moisture resistant PTFE marine grease like is normally specified for wheel bearings on a boat trailer. Once you have the jamb nut loose if the inner doesn't want to turn to adjust your toe setting you can heat the whole thing and usually back the inner out of the outer fully. Clean threads on the inner, blast out the threads on the outer with brake cleaner. Apply fresh grease, screw back together and adjust.

Shops don't want to mess with this. Can take an hour or more if things are stubborn and for $70 your time allotment is about 20-30 minutes. Which is enough time to adjust the alignment but not to deal with rusty stubborn bolts.

But if you're doing it yourself in the driveway and don't mind a little effort, go to it.

On the Volvo I haven't had any trouble with this stuff getting stuck/rusty. On previous cars I certainly have. I've always gotten them loose when I needed to.

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erikv11

Re: alignment and inner tie rod question.

Post by erikv11 » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:52 am

PB Blaster yes and heat yes, great tips. WD-40 no, it is worthless as a penetrant.
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 286k
'06 S60 R, 167k
'99 Camry V6 :shock: 125k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: alignment and inner tie rod question.

Post by amblerman » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:32 pm

Kahl,
Thanks for the clarification as to how the adjustment is made. I hadn't thought of it that way but it makes perfect sense.

Here's up an update.
In the end, I followed the excellent PDF that is found in this thread: viewtopic.php?t=11806
Just because I wanted to see if I could do it, I spent about 1 solid hour trying to loosen the jam nut on the drivers side.

I used:
wire brush to clean threads,
Lots and lot of PB blaster,
propane torch,
electric 1/2 in impact gun with deep 22 mm socket while I held the shaft with either wrenches or vice grips.
I even tried moving the the nut both ways.
no go. btw the electric impact gun (harbor freight special) had no issues with my crankshaft bolt but this tie rod nut wouldn't budge.

No matter how tight I had the vice grips, the impact gun would eventually spin the shaft. I had a small pile of metal shavings on my driveway where the vicegrips shreded the metal shaft.

So I gave up.
I used a pipe wrench on the inner tie rod and had it off in about 10 mins (9 min for getting the pipe wrench on in the tight space and 1 min to get tie rod off).

When I moved to the passenger side, I didn't even try to get the jam nut loosened but by the looks of the tie rod, the shop did use some agressive procedures and it was a little chewed up.
Given that the TRW tie rods (made in spain) were so cheap, I didn't mind losing the battle against the jam nut.

I also replaced the outer tie rods and discovered one of my boots was torn anyway.

Now off to get it aligned. A not on this. I compared the new parts to the old and by lining them up they were the same length. I did count the turns it took me to get the outer tie rods off. I even double checked that. I was then shocked to find my steering wheel cocked to 1:00 while driving straight. I was expecting to be closure to dead on. At least now I KNOW it need an alignment. :-)

Thanks for all the help.
-A

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Re: alignment and inner tie rod question.

Post by erikv11 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:42 pm

Good news, thanks for the update. Interesting to hear about your experience with the jam nuts. I would have expected it to give when holding the inner on its flat surfaces with an open end wrench. Sounds like they were just totally fused. Yeah if the shop truly can't do it, I am probably not going to get it loose in my driveway. Time for outer-inner as a pair.
kahl wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:04 pm
The outer tie rod does not turn. The inner tie rod screws into the outer tie rod for toe in or out. ...
Just for the sake of others who come to read this later ... you guys do understand this is totally semantics, right? The point is that the only thing to loosen is the jam nut, then you turn one tie rod relative to the other tie rod. If the outer is still installed you turn the shaft of the inner, if the outer is not installed you turn the outer tie rod itself. At any rate there is nothing else to loosen on the inner tie rod, just the jam nut.
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 286k
'06 S60 R, 167k
'99 Camry V6 :shock: 125k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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