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Guide to Fitting or Changing Defender Track Rod Ends

Nov 5th, 2010 | By | Category: Defender How To Guides

Defender Track Rod ends

If your Landrover feels like it isn’t handling as well as it once did, you could have components in your vehicle’s steering system that are wearing out.

Some obvious signs of a problem are the vehicle pulling to one side during braking, the steering wheel pulling to one side, or difficulty maintaining control over uneven road surfaces. These symptoms can signal potentially serious problems that should be addressed immediately. A common cause of these issues is worn Track Rod ends. Drag Link Tubes/Track Rod are part of the link between your steering system and your front wheels with the Track Rod ends being on the ends of the Drag Link Tube/Track Rod. Because they affect your ability to control your vehicle, you should check their condition.

How to check for wear – (The Proper but not very practical way)

Engage the handbrake, and lock the steering wheel with the front wheels in the straight ahead position by locking the ignition and removing the key.

Don’t do this job on an incline but do please Chock the rear wheels.

Raise the vehicle on one side with a trolley so the front wheel is approximately 6 inches off of the ground.

Jacking points with trolley jack or bottle jack –

1) any part of the main chassis rails
2) any chassis outrigger
3) any chassis crossmember
4) front bumper
5) diffs (if need to get the wheels off the ground and dont need to work on the suspension, use a bit of wood on the jack to protect the diff)
6) underneath the radius arms/trailing arms on the axles (if you need to tip the car slightly, e.g. when you are changing halfshafts and dont want all the oil to fall out)

Place an axle stand under the vehicle making sure to position it under a solid contact point such as the axle tubes, and slowly lower the vehicle onto it letting the full weight of the vehicle rest on the stand.

Axle stands –

1) any part of the main chassis rails
2) any chassis outrigger
3) any chassis crossmember
4) on the axle tubes (front or rear)

When using axle stands use a pair and space evenly across the width of the car, check for stability by rocking the car before lowering the jack completely.

Repeat for the other side of the vehicle.

Locate the Drag Link Tube, which will be visible as a bar with a rounded ball joint on each end and attached next to the inside of the front wheels. Firmly grasp the Drag Link Tube in the center, and attempt to move it back and forth, and up and down. If any movement is detected, the joints are worn and need to be replaced.

How to check for wear – (How you will really do it)

Locate the Drag Link Tube/Track Rod, which will be visible as a bar with a rounded ball joint on each end and attached next to the inside of the front wheels. Firmly grasp the Drag Link Tube/Track Rod in the center, and attempt to move it back and forth, and up and down. If any movement is detected, the joints are worn and need to be replaced.

Completely missing out the entire jacking up part of the task.

So moving on here we have the track rod ends.

You’ll need to remove the split pin.

Then undo the castle nut.

Once the nut and washer are off you’ll have to decide whether to knock the track rod end out with a hammer or just use a ball joint splitter (either way will work and it doesn’t matter as the ends are being replaced), for the guide it was decided to use the splitter.

Repeat for the other side.

Next its a case of measuring the visible thread on the Track Rod Ends (you could count the threads, use a tape or vernier thing)

Then give the ends a clean with a wire brush and removed the clamps on the track rod.

Next slide the clamps out of the way and give the rod and ends a good soaking with some GT85.

After letting the GT85 soak in clamp the rod in a vice and try removing the ball joint.

At this point the photo’s didn’t work out too well so here are some of another guide for removing drag link ends. Virtually the same but using an alternative method to using a vice.

Whilst the rods off it gives you the perfect opportunity to clean them and spray paint them, so we did.

Parts to be used.

After the paint had dried, ah stuck on a new clamp, bolt, washer and nut….

Next its time to fit the new ends so cover the threads of the ball joint with copper grease and wind it in to the right measurement and loosely clamped it up…

Once you have one side fitted repeat for the other side.

The manual says that both ball joints should be in the same upright position, so for the purpose of this guide we used a piece of angle iron to make sure. We sat the track rod and ends so they sat flat on the bottom and both the sides touched the side of the angle iron.

When your happy with the lining up of the ends its time to put the rod back in place on your Landrover.

Not all new ends come with castle nuts but will instead come with nyloc ones.

Then it’s just a case of tightening the nut up and setting it to the right torque.

Torque Setting = 59 lb/ft. (80nm)

Repeat for the other side and that’s about it.

 

*** We recommend that you now have the tracking checked properly ***

Once you have had it professionally tracked you may find the steering wheel isn’t straight when the wheels are pointing straight forward. You will need to remove the steering wheel and put it back in place at the straight on position.

To remove the steering wheel you need to remove the centre cap and Loosen the nut a few turns, tap the top of the steering shaft with a hammer whilst pulling the wheel towards you. Dont remove the nut or you’ll get a face full of steering wheel. Also hit the shaft square on or you’ll burr the threads over.

When you put the wheel back on use some copper slip and don’t over tighten. It will come off easier should you need to remove it again.
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5 Comments to “Guide to Fitting or Changing Defender Track Rod Ends”

  1. Rosaria Walde says:

    Quite a beautiful website. I recently built mine and i was looking for some ideas and your website gave me some. Did you develop the website alone?

    Thanks

  2. Repair My Landrover says:

    Actually no I didn’t develop it myself. Used a wordpress template and added plugins as I go. The Artwork is all mine though and the photo’s are a mix of Bustersbus’s from Landyzone and others from various sources.

    Thanks for the compliments.

  3. Krystyna Balkey says:

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so here i am!.I am looking for ways to add things to my website!Is it ok if i use some of the things i saw here?!

  4. Lynall says:

    Excellent site made me chuckle especially the intro page.
    Tips for track rod end replacement, hit whatever the ball joint taper passes through this will shock it loose, hit the track rod itself to shock the thereaded sections loose, makes the job a doddle

  5. liteucantresist says:

    Dear all

    This is a great article for which I am most grateful. One question or query, The guide says to torque the ball joint nuts to 80nm but the workshop manual states 41nm. Which should it be?

    Thanks for your assistance.

    Jason

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