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Split Tie Rod Ball Joint Boot


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2001 C4 Cab 58K miles. At 5 months of ownership I am still finding good stuff to fix that did not show up on dealer PPI. While replacing the right side radiator fan I noticed that the boot on the tie rod ball joint is split. The split looks to be held shut still by the compression of the boot. Can I replace just the boot or next best thing (ease-wise) just the ball joint (assuming that when I get in there its still greased up and not corroded- that is if its even possible to inspect without destroying the boot)?, or do I need to replace the tie rod? if so just the outer? And if so, I am barely getting back on the horse after 20 years of not working on cars/engines and from the threads I have read it looks like you can get in trouble pretty quickly with tie rods, or maybe if you use/rent the right tools its not too bad? any guidance greatly appreciated! Pretty sure I will need an alignment if I replace a tie rod too.

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2001 C4 Cab 58K miles. At 5 months of ownership I am still finding good stuff to fix that did not show up on dealer PPI. While replacing the right side radiator fan I noticed that the boot on the tie rod ball joint is split. The split looks to be held shut still by the compression of the boot. Can I replace just the boot or next best thing (ease-wise) just the ball joint (assuming that when I get in there its still greased up and not corroded- that is if its even possible to inspect without destroying the boot)?, or do I need to replace the tie rod? if so just the outer? And if so, I am barely getting back on the horse after 20 years of not working on cars/engines and from the threads I have read it looks like you can get in trouble pretty quickly with tie rods, or maybe if you use/rent the right tools its not too bad? any guidance greatly appreciated! Pretty sure I will need an alignment if I replace a tie rod too.

Trying a replacement boot or boot cover on a tie rod end is often false economy as the internal damage is already done by the time you see it. Tie rod ends are not all that expensive or hard to replace, but you will need the correct tool to get it apart, and you will also need to at least have your alignment checked afterwards. The correct tie rod end tool looks like this:

IMG_5357.jpg

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Thanks again JFP! I don't see the image above, but there was another thread where someone got in trouble not using the right tool and your post said "I am guessing that the tool did not look like this:" It is that one right? thanks

Actually, there is a new design tool out that does an even better job (OTC 7135A or Great Neck 27175 are the same exact tool and can be found on Amazon for about $35):

41%2Bc0QHIL1L._SL500_SS140_.jpg

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Many thanks. I can see my next project after the other radiator fan! I didn't really know it when I bought this car that I would be buying a series of DYI projects, but I actually like them - almost as much as having everything working just right for a while. Man, if you bought one of these and did not like doing this stuff you would be screwed (or not mind racking up some hefty bills). thanks.

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Many thanks. I can see my next project after the other radiator fan! I didn't really know it when I bought this car that I would be buying a series of DYI projects, but I actually like them - almost as much as having everything working just right for a while. Man, if you bought one of these and did not like doing this stuff you would be screwed (or not mind racking up some hefty bills). thanks.

I think one of the major issues with some owners is that they are not ready or capable of undertaking at least some of the simpler repairs, and then end up trying to unload the car with a bunch of small and easily fixed problems because they received a horrendous estimate from a dealer. These cars are not particularly hard to work on, with certain exceptions, and most of the tools you purchase (like this one) can be used on just about any vehicle as well, so the investment is not "lost" if the car leave your stable at a later date.

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