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Thread: tie rods "too short"?

  1. #1
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    tie rods "too short"?

    Is it normal/okay for there to be only about a quarter inch of threads actually threaded in?
    I did a rough alignment yesterday and I'm really worried that to get the front wheels straight there really isn't much material left threaded in on either side.

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    I had the same issue on my 33 hotrod. I searched for compatible ends with more threads, but to no avail. Don’t have it running yet so not an issue now. Maybe some one has located longer threaded ends

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    My roadster with power steering rack has 3/4" thread engagement on the tie rods.
    I would like more, but think 3/4" is on the border.
    I could not be comfortable with 1/4". Maybe another rack or replace with longer inner tie rods will help.
    Let us know what you do.
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    I just replaced my inner and outer tie rods and there's definitely more than 1/4 engaged. Somewhere around an inch I believe.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bob_n_Cincy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    Is it normal/okay for there to be only about a quarter inch of threads actually threaded in?
    I did a rough alignment yesterday and I'm really worried that to get the front wheels straight there really isn't much material left threaded in on either side.
    Any chance you have an early serial# (<100). The early frames had a 20mm wider track width when using wagon LCA.
    The early frame also had a offset steering rack that caused the thread engagement on the right side to be to short.
    See attached picture.
    Bob
    P1040613s.jpg
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  6. #6
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    Don't know if the wagon had different tie rods, but that's something to look into.

    Bob is right about early cars. I made these to extend the right side: http://zerodecibelmotorsports.com/pr...rack-extender/
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    Kit #343.
    Donor was a 2003 Impreza Wagon, VIN JF1GG29623G809580.
    When I tried to do my own rudimentary alignment I definitely had the problem shown in the picture Bob posted. I compensated by shifting the steering and re-centering the wheel but it sounds like that is bad for two reasons...

    What really sucks is I just paid a fortune this morning for an expensive alignment that will be worthless if I have to change parts (maybe it is already). I specifically asked the guy running the shop if it was a problem to have so little threads connecting the ends...

    How do I find the original center for the rack?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bob_n_Cincy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    How do I find the original center for the rack?
    Go lock to lock and then 1/2 way back.

    Did you switch to aluminum LCA?
    If so, they need to go into the inner holes as the were for sedans.
    Post some pictures.
    Bob
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    I had #399, built with an '03 wagon. Never got a perfect, professional alignment, but was pretty dang close. IIRC, there was about 3/8 to 1/2 an inch on the passenger side, at least an inch on the driver side. Going lock to lock the wheels had nearly the same clearance to the frame so at most I was one tooth off center on the rack. So while I could see an offset happening, the fact that you're almost out of thread on both sides is a little weird, and I certainly wouldn't feel safe with 1/4inch of engagement.

    In a somewhat related, mildly amusing anecdote, I have a friend that works at a major OEM supplier of steering components that recently moved some manufacturing to mexico. In the chaos of the move, they accidentally clocked a key-way on a universal 90 degrees from what it should be, and nobody noticed until there were about 10,000 of them installed on vehicles already sold to consumers. Long story short, it wasn't a safety or performance issue, so there was no recall, but if you ever find yourself driving a 2018 Explorer and it seems to have a much tighter turning radius in one direction, your dealer should replace said universal free of charge if you complain about it.
    Last edited by phil1734; 07-18-2018 at 06:34 AM.

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    They look like aluminum to me.
    Here's a picture from Alan's build thread:
    I'll check the bolt locations in a bit...

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    Quote Originally Posted by phil1734 View Post
    I had #399, built with an '03 wagon. Never got a perfect, professional alignment, but was pretty dang close. IIRC, there was about 3/8 to 1/2 an inch on the passenger side, at least an inch on the driver side. Going lock to lock the wheels had nearly the same clearance to the frame so at most I was one tooth off center on the rack. So while I could see an offset happening, the fact that you're almost out of thread on both sides is a little weird, and I certainly wouldn't feel safe with 1/4inch of engagement.
    I originally had close to an inch on the driver's side, but not enough thread on the passenger side to have the wheels straight and the passenger wheel connected. So I "borrowed" from the driver's side to get the passenger wheel connected and straight enough to take for an alignment (not realizing I was wasting money).

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bob_n_Cincy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    They look like aluminum to me.
    Here's a picture from Alan's build thread:
    I'll check the bolt locations in a bit...
    The sedan LCA are 10mm longer than the wagon arms. The aluminum arms were not offered on a wagon.
    You should move the alum LCA to the inner holes. This will give you 10mm (3/8") more thread engagement on each side.
    Bob
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_n_Cincy View Post
    The sedan LCA are 10mm longer than the wagon arms. The aluminum arms were not offered on a wagon.
    You should move the alum LCA to the inner holes. This will give you 10mm (3/8") more thread engagement on each side.
    Bob
    Thank-you, I checked and they are indeed bolted through the outer holes currently.
    If I move them in I'm not only going to throw the toe-in off but I'm also going to mess up the camber right?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bob_n_Cincy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    Thank-you, I checked and they are indeed bolted through the outer holes currently.
    If I move them in I'm not only going to throw the toe-in off but I'm also going to mess up the camber right?
    Yes, but:
    Move the LCA in 10mm.
    short tie rods by 10mm
    move upper ball joints in 10mm
    should get you close.
    Bob
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    Okay, it's a little weird, I took a closer look tonight and the rear bolts are through the inner holes but the fronts are not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechie3 View Post
    Don't know if the wagon had different tie rods, but that's something to look into.

    Bob is right about early cars. I made these to extend the right side: http://zerodecibelmotorsports.com/pr...rack-extender/
    Mechie3, I'm trying to figure out if I can use your extension but I'm not knowledgeable about Subaru steering racks (yet), how can I tell if mine has the "aluminum mounting ears" your website mentions?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DND View Post
    Mechie3, I'm trying to figure out if I can use your extension but I'm not knowledgeable about Subaru steering racks (yet), how can I tell if mine has the "aluminum mounting ears" your website mentions?
    It will look like this. Sounds like you can fix your issue by just moving your arms in though. I would definitely go that route first as it's free and puts the suspension in the correct position too.

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  18. #18
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    The pass. side tie rod end on my 818S also had minimal engagement so I welded a nut to the tie rod end to gain thread depth. My pair of tie rod ends (both new and right side lengthened) are for sale as I have installed a Baer bump steer kit. PM me if interested.

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    Thanks for the offer.
    I'm moving the lower control arms front bolt locations in to where they should be (one done, one to go) as this fixes multiple issues (wheel rub at tight turn radius as well as thread engagement) plus I also plan to get the bump steer kit before realigning.

  20. #20
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    I have the exact same issue, Alum LCA and hardly any thread engagement. just read this post went and checked my front end, sure enough they are mounted to the outer holes. Thanks for the answer.

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