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(I am in hopes this will get moved to the how to section)

OK, so you’re ready to get started on your Tie Rod change. I would say weather or not your Tie Rod(s) is/are broke changing them with after market Heavy Duty Tie Rods is money well spent. Being stranded somewhere with a broke tie rod is no fun! I say this from experience. I cannot speak for the tie rod sleeves as I have never used them but it would seem to me sleeves only band aid a problem and not correct it. IMHO a Heavy Duty truck deserves Heavy Duty tie rods, a problem which GM seems not to wish to admit. Fabtech and Cognito both make a Heavy Duty tie rod sets. I have seen both first hand and both seem very comparable to each other so I will not recommend one over the other. I will say that all the pictures you have seen of both do them justice. They are huge compared to the stock.
IMG_0966 (Medium).jpg
Set aside about 2 hours to do this. It shouldn’t take no were near that long but you never know what problems may arise.
Now to begin: The things you will need before you start is a very big crescent wrench, big channel locks, normal crescent wrench, a 13/16 socket, a torque wrench and ratchet, a hammer (preferably ball peen), a grease gun, tape measure, a jack and jack stands are optional.

It is advised that you remove the negative battery cable before beginning (I don’t see why so I didn’t.) I do advise setting the parking brake tight before beginning. I didn’t use a jack and stands because I didn’t want to drag them out. Other than having to rotate the steering wheel a little at times it was really no problem. I also recommend a ball peen hammer. Since someone borrowed mine and hasn't brought it back I couldn't.


Start with the wheels facing straight forward. Using the crescent wrench or 13/16 socket and ratchet, loosen and remove the top nut of the ball joint.
IMG_0933 (Medium).jpg
With the hammer give a few hard blows to the side of the spindle steering arm. The ball joint should fall right out. If it still doesn’t come out hit the side a few more times. It will come out!
IMG_0934 (Medium).jpg
Locate the inner tie rod end nut where it connects to the center link. Use a very big crescent wrench to turn the inner tie rod counter clockwise and break it loose from the center link. It has thread locker on it so it is not easy. You may have to rotate the steering wheel a little in either direction to find the best place to get the wrench on and turn it. You could probably use a pipe wrench for this if you don’t care if you scuff up the old tie rods.
IMG_0937 (Medium).jpg
Once it comes loose you can use some big channel locks to completely remove it. You will probably need to hold the outer part of the tie rod straight out so it doesn’t flop around while you’re turning it (you will see what I mean when you get this far.) Once removed, Do Not attempt to wipe out the inside of the threads on the center link unless you can see grease on the threads. If you already have grease on the threads you will need a clean rag and some grease dissolving solvent to clean it out thoroughly.
IMG_0938 (Medium).jpg
IMG_0948 (Medium).jpg
Now you have one side loose you’re ready to remove the other. Just repeat the steps for the other side. Now that you’ve done one the other will be easy!

Once you have both tie rods off the truck remove your new ones from the package and assemble them. The instructions that came with the new ones said to make them the same length as the old ones. I found this to be wrong. Because the new ones are larger, the height center point is different than the old. This causes the length to be different. I had mine set the same as the old and had bad toe in. My advice is to add 1/4”-3/8” to the total length of the new from the old. No matter what you will have to have an alignment done so just try to get them close for the ride to the alignment shop. They are easy to adjust when they are on the truck. No matter what be sure to tighten the jam nut before you drive!
IMG_0966 (Medium).jpg
Now to install the new tie rods. Place each tie rod assembly under the truck for easy access. One under the right side and one under the left side. The first thing you will need to do is place a few drops of supplied thread locker on the threads of the inner tie rod stud (the part that goes into the center link.)
IMG_0969 (Medium).jpg
Screw the big end in the opposite way you removed it. Tighten it with the big crescent wrench. The instructions say to torque the tie rod end to 100 ft. lbs. I would really like to know how you’re supposed to torque it with a recommended crescent wrench, DUH. My advice to torque it is to put some ass behind it and make it TIGHT!

Now simply slip the ball joint up and into the spindle steering arm. Start the nut and screw it on by hand while pushing the ball joint up tight. This is where you may have to rotate the steering wheel a little to get it started. (The Fabtech instructions show the tie rod ball joint going into the top, this is wrong!) Now using the ratchet and 13/16 socket tighten the nut. Now torque the nut to 35 ft. lbs. and repeat for the other side.
IMG_0970 (Medium).jpg
You can use two crescent wrenches to adjust toe in or out as in picture. Use one to hold the tie rod end and the other to loosen the jam nut and /or adjust the link. Be sure to tighten the jam nut.
IMG_0972 (Medium).jpg
The final step is to thoroughly grease the fittings. A few pumps of the grease gun is all you need. Too much will make a mess.
Now your ready for the alignment shop.


Check out this monster! It looks like a tie rod on a heavy duty truck ought to look.
IMG_0971 (Medium) (2).jpg
IMG_0968 (Medium).jpg
IMG_0967 (Medium).jpg

I have tried to explain this the best way I know how. It was a relatively easy job. If you have someone to help you I would say it could be done in half the time. Good luck and ask any questions you have.
 
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Nice write-up using simple words and tools, good photos, definite DIY material.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Excellent write-up! :ro)

One suggestion: In order to be able to use a torque wrench on the tie-rod to drag-link joint, you can use a Crowfoot wrench on the end of the torque wrench. Sears sells them individually or in sets.
I was speaking mainly about the directions Fabtech have with there tie rods. They suggest using a large crescent wrench to tighten and then say torque to 100 ft. lbs. I suppose sears could order that for you. It would need to be about a 2-1/2" or better crowfoot. Probably a little expensive for perhaps a one time use. It would have to be way bigger than anything in your link. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Another option, if your obcessive, is to hang 100lbs from your 1ft long crescent wrench.
:lol2: That's the best torque wrench ever!
 

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Easy to read pic gotta love it thanks
 

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I've been looking for this exact write up! Thanks!

What is it they say..... "so easy, even a caveman can do it?"
 

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(I am in hopes this will get moved to the how to section)

OK, so you’re ready to get started on your Tie Rod change. I would say weather or not your Tie Rod(s) is/are broke changing them with after market Heavy Duty Tie Rods is money well spent. Being stranded somewhere with a broke tie rod is no fun! I say this from experience. I cannot speak for the tie rod sleeves as I have never used them but it would seem to me sleeves only band aid a problem and not correct it. IMHO a Heavy Duty truck deserves Heavy Duty tie rods, a problem which GM seems not to wish to admit. Fabtech and Cognito both make a Heavy Duty tie rod sets. I have seen both first hand and both seem very comparable to each other so I will not recommend one over the other. I will say that all the pictures you have seen of both do them justice. They are huge compared to the stock.
View attachment 52283
Set aside about 2 hours to do this. It shouldn’t take no were near that long but you never know what problems may arise.
Now to begin: The things you will need before you start is a very big crescent wrench, big channel locks, normal crescent wrench, a 13/16 socket, a torque wrench and ratchet, a hammer (preferably ball peen), a grease gun, tape measure, a jack and jack stands are optional.

It is advised that you remove the negative battery cable before beginning (I don’t see why so I didn’t.) I do advise setting the parking brake tight before beginning. I didn’t use a jack and stands because I didn’t want to drag them out. Other than having to rotate the steering wheel a little at times it was really no problem. I also recommend a ball peen hammer. Since someone borrowed mine and hasn't brought it back I couldn't.


Start with the wheels facing straight forward. Using the crescent wrench or 13/16 socket and ratchet, loosen and remove the top nut of the ball joint.
View attachment 52284
With the hammer give a few hard blows to the side of the spindle steering arm. The ball joint should fall right out. If it still doesn’t come out hit the side a few more times. It will come out!
View attachment 52285
Locate the inner tie rod end nut where it connects to the center link. Use a very big crescent wrench to turn the inner tie rod counter clockwise and break it loose from the center link. It has thread locker on it so it is not easy. You may have to rotate the steering wheel a little in either direction to find the best place to get the wrench on and turn it. You could probably use a pipe wrench for this if you don’t care if you scuff up the old tie rods.
View attachment 52286
Once it comes loose you can use some big channel locks to completely remove it. You will probably need to hold the outer part of the tie rod straight out so it doesn’t flop around while you’re turning it (you will see what I mean when you get this far.) Once removed, Do Not attempt to wipe out the inside of the threads on the center link unless you can see grease on the threads. If you already have grease on the threads you will need a clean rag and some grease dissolving solvent to clean it out thoroughly.
View attachment 52287
View attachment 52288
Now you have one side loose you’re ready to remove the other. Just repeat the steps for the other side. Now that you’ve done one the other will be easy!

Once you have both tie rods off the truck remove your new ones from the package and assemble them. The instructions that came with the new ones said to make them the same length as the old ones. I found this to be wrong. Because the new ones are larger, the height center point is different than the old. This causes the length to be different. I had mine set the same as the old and had bad toe in. My advice is to add 1/4”-3/8” to the total length of the new from the old. No matter what you will have to have an alignment done so just try to get them close for the ride to the alignment shop. They are easy to adjust when they are on the truck. No matter what be sure to tighten the jam nut before you drive!
View attachment 52283
Now to install the new tie rods. Place each tie rod assembly under the truck for easy access. One under the right side and one under the left side. The first thing you will need to do is place a few drops of supplied thread locker on the threads of the inner tie rod stud (the part that goes into the center link.)
View attachment 52289
Screw the big end in the opposite way you removed it. Tighten it with the big crescent wrench. The instructions say to torque the tie rod end to 100 ft. lbs. I would really like to know how you’re supposed to torque it with a recommended crescent wrench, DUH. My advice to torque it is to put some ass behind it and make it TIGHT!

Now simply slip the ball joint up and into the spindle steering arm. Start the nut and screw it on by hand while pushing the ball joint up tight. This is where you may have to rotate the steering wheel a little to get it started. (The Fabtech instructions show the tie rod ball joint going into the top, this is wrong!) Now using the ratchet and 13/16 socket tighten the nut. Now torque the nut to 35 ft. lbs. and repeat for the other side.
View attachment 52290
You can use two crescent wrenches to adjust toe in or out as in picture. Use one to hold the tie rod end and the other to loosen the jam nut and /or adjust the link. Be sure to tighten the jam nut.
View attachment 52292
The final step is to thoroughly grease the fittings. A few pumps of the grease gun is all you need. Too much will make a mess.
Now your ready for the alignment shop.


Check out this monster! It looks like a tie rod on a heavy duty truck ought to look.
View attachment 52291
View attachment 52294
View attachment 52293

I have tried to explain this the best way I know how. It was a relatively easy job. If you have someone to help you I would say it could be done in half the time. Good luck and ask any questions you have.
Pm sent
 

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Excellent write-up! :ro)

One suggestion: In order to be able to use a torque wrench on the tie-rod to drag-link joint, you can use a Crowfoot wrench on the end of the torque wrench. Sears sells them individually or in sets.
It's important to note that if you do use this crowfoot with a torque wrench, due to the fact that the torque center (crowfoot) is not on the same torque centerline as the torque wrench (1/2" drive) there is a calculation required to achieve an accurate torque. I don't have the calculation available, but what is certain is that if you torque the crowfoot to 100 ft/lb on torque wrench, what you will get at the fastener will NOT be 100 ft/lbs

Great writeup and GREAT photos, thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It is important to torque bolts, however it calls for 100 ft.lbs. with thread locker. If you get it "TIGHT" as I described along with the thread locker you will have no problems.
 

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Great write-up! I will need this when I do the new trans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Well you should now know that heavy duty tie rods along with the after market wheels and tires just voided my extended warranty covering the suspension. What a crock of $hit! I took it in to see if they would fix my idler arm and the dealer said because I had after market wheels and heavy duty tie rods the extended warranty company was voiding my complete suspension warranty. The guy I usually deal with at the dealer was on vacation. This dumbass kid that helped me must not know how to keep customers. Makes me scared to not remove the other after market stuff, i.e. intake, Banks, exhaust, etc. I still have all the factory stuff.
 

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where did you get the bigger tie rod from please give name of dealer as where we can order them thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The best way I have found to shop for anything is to do a GOOGLE saerch. Then change the filter up top to "shopping". Then sort the responses from "price low to high". :)
 

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where did you get the bigger tie rod from please give name of dealer as where we can order them thanks
You can get the Cognito 8Lug OE Style Heavy Duty Tie-Rods from Nick at Nor*Cal Truck HERE

Nick is a supporting vendor on this forum. Very helpful guy. :D
 

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Thanks
 
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