How to Replace Tie Rod Ends in a Chevy S10

Written by jody l. campbell
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The Chevy S-10 tie rod ends, outer and inner, are connected to each other by a threaded sleeve clamp. The outside end of the outer tie rod is attached to the steering knuckle. The other side of the inner tie rod end connects to the centre link. This connection applies to both sides of the front wheels. Unlike rack-and-pinion steering, which integrates the strut suspension to the steering gear, the Chevy S-10 uses recirculating steering gears that incorporate the tie rod ends, the centre link, the pitman arm and the idler arm.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Car lift
  • Alignment machine and alignment rack (strongly recommended)
  • Impact gun
  • Impact socket set
  • Hand wrench set
  • Tie rod end splitter
  • Cutting dykes
  • Grease gun
  • Dead-blow hammer
  • Bench vice
  • Large channel locks or large vise-grip pliers
  • Anti-seize compound
  • Penetrating oil spray
  • Replacement tie rod end(s)
  • Measuring tape
  • Torque wrench

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  1. 1

    Raise the Chevy S-10 on a car lift to waist level. Remove the lug nut caps (if applicable). Remove the lug nuts using the impact gun and a socket. Remove the wheel.

  2. 2

    Remove the cottar pin from the outer tie rod shaft castle nut using the cutting dykes to bend and extract the cottar pin. Remove the castle nut using the impact gun and a socket. Remove the outer tie rod ball stud and shaft from the knuckle using a tie rod end splitter, or use the dead-blow hammer and strike the edge of the knuckle on the outside where the tie rod ball is located until it breaks free.

  3. 3

    Follow Step 2 to remove the inner tie rod to relay rod connection, but use the tie rod end splitter to break the connection. Do not use the dead-blow hammer on the relay rod.

  4. 4

    Bring the tie rod assembly to a bench vice and secure the assembly into it. Leave room on the assembly to allow work on the adjuster tube and sleeve clamp connection.

  5. 5

    Remove the two retaining nuts and bolts from the sleeve clamps securing the adjuster tube that connect the outer and inner tie rod ends. Spray a liberal amount of penetrating oil in the slot of the adjuster tube to lubricate the threads of both the inner and outer tie rod ends. Allow it a few minutes to soak in.

  6. 6

    Position the tie rod end assembly in the vice in a manner that allows you to see inside the slot of the adjuster tube. Measure the amount of tie rod end inside the slot of the adjuster tube. This is to install the new tie rod inside the clamp close to the position of the old one so the alignment will not be too far off. An alignment should be performed after the replacement of either inner, outer or all tie rod ends, but if the toe is too far out, the specs may not be able to be measured by the alignment machine.

  7. 7

    Unthread the tie rod end you're replacing from the adjuster tube by securing the clamp in the vice while turning the tie rod end counterclockwise with a pair of large channel locks or vise-grip pliers.

  8. 8

    Apply a light coat of anti-seize compound the threads of the new tie rod end. Thread the new tie rod end into the adjuster tube and use the measuring tape to measure your progress. Stop threading when the threaded shaft of the tie rod end is installed to the desired depth of the adjuster tube. Remove the other tie rod end on the other side of the adjuster tube applying the same technique, if desired.

  9. 9

    Insert the inner tie rod end ball and shaft into the relay rod, ensuring the seal is on the stud. Tighten the castle nut to 40 foot pounds with the torque wrench, a socket and a hand wrench, and then align one of the slots in the castle nut to the hole on the end of the tie rod end shaft. Insert the cottar pin into the tie rod end shaft hole and spread the ends.

  10. 10

    Install the outer tie rod end ball and shaft to the knuckle by applying the same technique as Step 9 and tighten the castle nut to 40 foot pounds. Insert and spread the cottar pin.

  11. 11

    Position the sleeve clamps on the adjuster tube so they are easy to access the retaining nuts and bolts when performing the alignment. Replace the retaining nuts and bolts in the sleeve clamps of the adjuster tube to 16 foot pounds.

  12. 12

    Replace the wheel and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts to 100 foot pounds. Replace the lug nut caps if applicable.

  13. 13

    Transfer the vehicle to the alignment rack and perform and alignment check for front toe. Perform any alignment adjustments necessary.

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