Replaced the TOE LINKS! Here's how!

don-ohio

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Looks pretty simple,but I learned a few things along the way. BTW,pre-soak the nuts with penetrant a day ahead if possible.
(1) Set emergency brake. Chock the opposite front wheel.Chocks in front and rear of that tire.
(2) I used a small trolley jack inserted from front of tire under the outermost point I could get to that still let jack clear the tire and I jacked up the wheel I chose to work on.
(3)Remove lug nuts and tire and slide an immovable object under axle,like what I used was a wheel ramp.This so car cannot fall on you if jack fails.
(4) Your alignment is still correct,because you kept the weight of the car body collapsing the suspension when you jacked it up under the lower A frame(control arm),SO measure from the center of the head of the outer mounting bolt to a point on the body or axle as a reference measurement later when new part is installed.
(5)WRITE DOWN that measurement to the 32nd of an inch.
(6)Remove the outer bolt and pry out the end so it hangs loose.
(7) Now the inner end has a 8mm or 5/16ths hex so you can hold it while loosening the 18mm nut and remove the rod.
(8) Now that you have the whole toe link out, straighten the ball joint stud at the end and lay it flat. Now lay the new assembled link next to it and adjust the new length to as exact match of the old link's length.Snug the locknut to keep it at this adjustment.
(9) Inject some oil under the ball joint boot so that when you finally tune your adjustment in, the boot won't bind up and get damaged.Found this out the hard way.
(10) Install the link,inner mount first,torque to 65 lbs.,then install the outer end,AND it slants one way(the bushing)and that's the way to make sure it's positioned.You'll see what I mean.
(11)Tighten outer link to 45-50 lbs.
(12) NOW you refer to your written down measurement from the center of the bolthead to your reference point. Loosen the locknut and adjust as CLOSE as you can.
(13) I used never-seize silver on the adjustment threads and the nuts for the alignment people's convenience.Turned out I had measured so closely,they said they didn't have to touch the rear toe.(Don pats hisself on the back!) LOL!
(14) Don't forget to remove the ramp or whatever you use from under there and the wheel chocks.
(15) Repeat for other side and ALWAYS be careful! don-ohio :)^)
 

Kumba

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I'm not sure I agree with jacking the car up by the a-arm/knuckle. Cast aluminum isn't the most forgiving material. Your measurement should be the same whether the suspension is loaded or unloaded as long as you measure and set the toe link with the suspension loaded/unloaded the same as when you took your measurement..
 

don-ohio

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I'm not sure I agree with jacking the car up by the a-arm/knuckle. Cast aluminum isn't the most forgiving material. Your measurement should be the same whether the suspension is loaded or unloaded as long as you measure and set the toe link with the suspension loaded/unloaded the same as when you took your measurement..


Kumba,I never doubted the strength of the lower control arm(why do you call it the a-arm/knuckle?). If I did,I sure wouldn't have done it that way or dare to recommend it.
If it makes someone feel better to do it a different way,then that is fine. The suspension being loaded for THIS replacement is best,because of the angle of measurement. Why steepen your angle of measurement? The straighter,the better.
Anyway,if anyone can detail an easier way for the novice or weekend mechanic to do this,I'd be happy to consider it. don-ohio :)^)
 

max93

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Is the toe link the same as a tie rod? Was told I needed a rear tie rod, and can't find one. The dealer says it is called (their description) a Rear Link. I am so confuzzled!
 

joegr

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Is the toe link the same as a tie rod? Was told I needed a rear tie rod, and can't find one. The dealer says it is called (their description) a Rear Link. I am so confuzzled!

According to the service manual, "toe link" is the correct term, but many call them tie-rods. In any event, I believe that all three terms are indicating the same item.
 

max93

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According to the service manual, "toe link" is the correct term, but many call them tie-rods. In any event, I believe that all three terms are indicating the same item.

Thank you muches!! I have been going crazy. Literally. Is the service manual and the owners manual the same thing? I just downloaded the owners manual and started looking through it.
 

LS4me

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Thank you muches!! I have been going crazy. Literally. Is the service manual and the owners manual the same thing? I just downloaded the owners manual and started looking through it.

No. You can get a service cd off of ebay relatively in expensively. Though, asking the question leads one to believe you should just take it in.......
 

max93

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True. My mechanic is on vacation right now and I had diagnostics done to see what was the issue. If I have the parts ready for him when he returns, he can knock it out with no problem! I definitely won't me trying anything like this myself :)
 

joegr

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joegr

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True. My mechanic is on vacation right now and I had diagnostics done to see what was the issue. If I have the parts ready for him when he returns, he can knock it out with no problem! I definitely won't me trying anything like this myself :)

Be sure to get the hardware too (nuts and bolts), it's not supposed to be reused because of the aluminum suspension parts. If he does reuse them, get him to clean them off and put Loctite on them.
 

Kumba

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Kumba,I never doubted the strength of the lower control arm(why do you call it the a-arm/knuckle?). If I did,I sure wouldn't have done it that way or dare to recommend it.

I don't like the idea of jacking the car up by the suspension since it's all cast aluminum. Rather use the jack points so there isn't a risk of messing something up. Aluminum is not nearly as forgiving as steel. It's an old habit to call it an A-Arm cause that's what they look like when you take them out of the car. Look at the upper control arm and then imagine it sitting vertically with the ball-joint pointing up. Certainly looks like the letter "A". A-Arm and Control Arm are interchangeable in my head. Mea Culpa for the confusion.



The suspension being loaded for THIS replacement is best,because of the angle of measurement. Why steepen your angle of measurement? The straighter,the better.

The length of the toe-link doesn't really change with the suspension angle. That would kind of defeat the purpose of the toe-link. For that reason it really doesn't matter how you measure the toe-link just that you measure it the same way both times. Other then giving it an initial setting I would still recommend replacing both toe links and then getting an alignment. Plus when my toe-links went out there was a 1/4" slop from extended to compressed. No amount of measuring was going to help me get them 'right'.

However, the OE Ford toe-link *does* change length a little by collapsing a bushing located in the middle of the link. That pretty much only happens when the weight of the car is pushing on the wheel laterally like when going through a corner. This is why you'll hear some people mention "passive 4-wheel steering". It's not really much of an issue with the car up on a jack in your driveway.
 

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