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tie rod dust boots

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As I replaced the shocks on our 2002 Knight 30PBD this week I noticed the dust boot at one end of the tie rod was split. All the dust boots are almost 19 years old and none of them look very good. I would like to replace them.

First question: How big a job is that? It doesn't look difficult--certainly not as difficult as replacing the shocks--but I've been fooled before.

Second question: our parts list shows the dust boots are available from EnergySuspensionParts.com, but they have several. How do I know which ones to order? Or is there another source I should check?


Jim M.
Payson, AZ
2002 Monaco Knight

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You can replace the boots but it takes some specialized tools. You need a tie rod joint separator tool (there are two types, one looks like a puller, the other a fork). https://www.carid.com/tie-rod-repair-tools.html  Some backyard mechanics will try to remove the tie rod by smacking the steering knuckle with a sledge hammer. That works sometimes but can also destroy the ties rod end. with a bad hit. The Tied rod is held into the steering knuckle by a tapered shaft so it takes some force or shock to break that connection.

If you use the "Fork" style, you just need to know the width of fork to use (the size of the stud on the tie rod). You can remove the nut and measure the stud size. Many auto-parts stores loan these tools. You just need the correct size (truck size, not car) for your tie rod end size.

Same for determining size of boot. You need to know the "stud size" (the hole size). If you have the old one out - you can take it to Napa or a "truck parts store". 

Once you get the tie rod separated from the knuckle, you can put a new boot on it. Then you need to reassemble - and should use a torque wrench to tighten (although some mechanics just tighten with an impact gun).  As long as you don't "screw the ties rod in/out" while you have it separated from the knuckle, the alignment wont change. Also, Know that when you reassemble, you would torque the nut to the specs, then rotate (tightening direction only - never loosen) the nut until the cotter pin hole aligns with the slot in the nut.

Lastly, note that you could leave the dust boot off and nothing terrible will happen - as long as you keep the ties rod end greased, dirt/water can't get in.

Ties Rod End seperator tool.jpg

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I agree with Country B completely, but I also want to say that I have never used a fork or puller to loosen a tie rod end or ball joint, just a big ball peen hammer. 2 pounds minimum. A hammer is quick and fast, but the biggest problem is a persons ability to swing the hammer with great force and hit the side of the steering knuckle. And I mean hit it hard and square on. The second problem is access. You must have clear access to hit the knuckle square on. If you choose to use a hammer, wear gloves to protect your hands. Also loosen the nut to where you can see a gap between the knuckle and the nut. This will show you when the joint is loose. Do not take the nut off incase you miss. The boots, I think Country B covered that. Hope this helps, and watch out for your hands. Skinned knuckles that a long time to heal.

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