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How To Replace Volvo Tie Rods

volvo tie rods

Volvo tie rods are key components for your car.

Volvo Tie rods are key components in your Volvo’s front suspension and steering system. Since the late 1960’s, the ball joints on most Volvos have been of the lifetime design, i.e. no grease fittings for lubrication.

Under normal conditions they can last for over 100,000 miles. When abused or used in unusually rough road conditions the life span can be greatly reduced. When a ball joint or tie rod begins to wear it will usually increase the amount of effort required to steer the car.

Once wear has started, these tie rods usually will deteriorate rapidly as the load generated by the suspension and transferred through the ball joints and tie rods is very great. Typically you will begin to notice some looseness in the steering or you may notice that your Volvo has a difficult time holding a straight line down the road.

MVS Forum Member mrreilly asks:

I just got my car back from the shop to have an aligment done. However I was told the alignment would be useless because the tire rod end of both sides of my car have a some play in them. (Right side: minor, Left side: considerable amount. They said to at least have the left side taken car of.) They gave me a price estimate on the fix. However… they want $149.45 to do it. $88.25 for the parts, and $61.20 for labor. Why in the world is it $88 for parts?! The tie-rod end form costs $15. Are there other parts that would be involved in replacing that?

As far as doing the tie-rods myself. Does anyone have a guide to do that? My repair manual doesn’t do the best job of explaining and barely has anything about doing it. And are there other parts that should be replaced while doing this?

MVS Forum Member MadeInJapan replied:

Just do it yourself and then take it for an alignment. That will be the cheapest and easiest thing to do.

If you look at the diagram above, the tire rod end is circled in white. Just lift your car, take your wheel off and put it on a jack stand. You’ll need to take the bolt off the bottom of the tie rod and get the tie rod loose from the steering knuckle. You can either bang the heck out of it from below (below the flesh colored dot) or use a puller tool (ball joint puller) that goes over the entire section from below and then you tighten a bolt up through the middle that will separate the joint. You might be able to borrow one from AutoZone or somewhere (see diagram).Image
You can also use a large pry bar that is forked like a hammer claw and pry it from between the knuckle and tie rod end.

If you measure the threads on the threaded (other end) of the tie rod and put the new one in with the same amount of threads showing, your alignment will be close enough that you can drive to the alignment shop. If tie rods are of different length, you’ll want to measure from the steering gear housing (again, see diagram). I would do both sides while you’re at it. No sense in going through this twice and alignment twice in a short while. Just be careful of the ABS sensor on the wheel. If you’ve never done this, I would suspect it would take you an hour on one side and probably 30 minutes on the other (learning curve). Guess that’s about it.

Let us know what you decide to do.

Edit: A couple of things I left out…use plenty of PB Blaster on all areas you’re going to take loose and let it sit over night. Also, hold the section to the left (in the lower diagram) of the threads with a wrench as you unscrew the tie rod. You want to twist the area that is covered with the boot as little as possible. Good luck!

How To Replace Tie Rods (with photo)

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