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TR2/3/3A Missing zerk from inner tie rod end

TAS525

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Greetings all! Long time reader, first time poster! Since recently taking ownership of my father’s ‘59 TR3A (TS43172LO) I’ve begun several relatively routine maintenance projects. My latest was a much needed “lube job.” While greasing the front suspension and steering per the maintenance manual, I found that a zerk was missing from the inner tie rod on the passenger side where it connects to the (idler bracket?). There appears to be no grease in the joint and I’m a little surprised this was left out, since dad had a well known and reputable shop rebuild the entire front end and steering in 2002. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as installing a new zerk, since the hole in the inner tie rod end is facing the idler bracket and there is consequently no room (at least there appears to be none) for its insertion. From the parts diagram, the zerk should be closer to the top of the tie rod end. I’m afraid I may have to replace this part, or at the least reorient (if that’s even possible). Definitely worried about continuing use without lubrication. Your suggestions and comments are much appreciated.

~ Tommy
 

TR3driver

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A photo might help; that zerk should be nowhere close to the idler bracket. The end attaches to the center link, which in turn goes on top of the idler arm. The bracket should be under the arm.

Assuming that the hole is too close to the spring tower, you may have the tie rod installed backwards. The outer tie rod ends are turned by 90 degrees, so the hole that would be the top on the outer end becomes the back if it's mounted as an inner end. The assembled tie rod will fit either way, but the inner zerk hits on the spring tower.

Another possibility is a part that is simply made wrong. In that case a new end may be your only choice.

After 16 years with (apparently) no grease, I would be inclined to replace the tie rod end anyway. They aren't terribly expensive (TRF has them on sale for $30) and kind of critical. Not likely to fail entirely, they are pretty bullet-proof; but any wear or stiffness is likely to have an adverse effect on steering.

Yn8dQ6h.jpg



PS, welcome to the asylum!
 
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TAS525

TAS525

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A photo is a big help Randall, thanks! In my mind’s eye I was seeing the idler bracket, but of course you’re spot on with the spring tower. I can feel the hole for the zerk in between the tower and inner tie rod end with my finger, so the shop must’ve put two “outers” on the passenger side. I’m pretty limited with time and tools, and not sure about tackling this project right now. Will it require any alignment adjustments or should it be a simple remove and replace?
 

TR3driver

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The inner and outer ends have opposite threads, so it's not likely to be two outers. I think it has to be either the tie rod is flipped (meaning an inner end on the outer side), or you have a mis-made end.

If you can just flip the tie rod, the alignment should stay the same. But if you have to replace the end, you should probably check wheel alignment afterwards. They aren't all exactly the same, so it's tough making a reliable measurement. I guess in a pinch, you could try to measure the center-to-center distance and duplicate that; but I still wouldn't trust it to be exactly right.

But there are ways to check the alignment yourself; if you don't want to take it to a shop and have it done. My method uses some scraps of wood screwed together to form a gauge
rgb3bbE.jpg

(pencil marks on the edge of the uprights check the actual distance).

But there are certainly other methods that seem to be more popular.
And I'll admit I didn't feel like crawling around on the floor last time, so I took it to a local shop. He just used a measuring tape!
 

bobhustead

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Not foolproof due to product differences, but county the exposed threads on the old one before removal and leave the same number exposed on the replacement.Bob
 

bobhustead

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Not foolproof due to product differences, but count the exposed threads on the old one before removal and leave the same number exposed on the replacement.
Bob
 
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TAS525

TAS525

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Great stuff! Thank you both. I figured a good starting point would be the 7.68” centers referenced in the manual, but also thought about marking the threads with a piece of tape or string so as to replicate the original position. I suppose as long as the distance is the same after replacement, the alignment shouldn’t be too far off. If only I had my trusty “Dunlop Optical Guage!”
 
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TAS525

TAS525

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Quick update. The “missing zerk” wasn’t missing. In fact the inner tie rod end was a non-greasable type and was in good condition other than the boot was pretty well shot. I removed and replaced with a greasable type from TRF. Measured the centers prior to removal (7 10/16ths according to my “guage”) using your suggestions and the new one is easily within 1/16th”. Road tested and she seems to track just fine. Thank you both again for the help!
 
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