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Tie Rod "Adjuster Tool"
When the tie rod wore out on Darrell Cooper’s Ford F-250 pickup, he replaced it. But instead of paying to have the front end aligned, he came up with a tool to adjust the toe-in himself.
  “It lets me know how much I need to adjust the end of the tie rod so that it fits snug. I know how many turns I need to make so the tires will be in alignment and won’t wear prematurely,” says Cooper.  
  The tool consists of a 27-in. long, 5/8-in. dia. threaded rod that fits inside a 44-in. length of 1-in. O.D. threaded pvc pipe. A nut and washer serves as a spacer and allows the threaded rod to be adjusted in and out.
  To use the tool, Cooper measures the distance between the 2 front tires before he removes the tie rod end, then threads the rod into the pipe. Then he places the pipe end of the tool against one tire and the threaded rod against the other.
  “I used it for the first time last year and it worked perfectly. I think the same idea would also work on other pickup brands,” says Cooper. “The distance between the front sides of both tires should be about 1/16 in. shorter than between the back sides so the vehicle will drive true. If you install an aftermarket tie rod brand the threads might not be exactly the same as on the original tie rod. In that case you’d want to measure everything before you remove the original tie rod ends, so that you can get pretty close to the original measurement.”
(D.C. from Mo.)

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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #2