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What Kind Of Grease For Outer Tie Rod Ball Joint


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2001 C4 Cab 60k miles. Outer Tie Rod ball joint boot is split but joint is still nice and tight. If I want to maximize life of joint until I get around to the fix (its fix your boat time of year in Boston not car) what kind of grease could I pack in there and then lightly wrap with that super flexy rubber tape for sealing hoses. I know I should just do it correctly now but no time. Predicting I will be told this is bad idea, but appreciate any input. thanks,

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Not a fan of "get-by fixes," but I understand that sometimes you have to do some field triage on a wound.


In this case, the patient is already dead (torn rubber). That means the grease in there is already contaminated with very fine dust that is picked up while driving along with moisture. Not all greases are compatible with each other and can create a mess or make matters worse by using an incompatible grease. You will spend more time finding the "right one" and a bunch of MacGyvering work will likely take longer than popping the tie rod and replacing it. The tie rod is about $50 and a new alignment is ~$80. I guarantee you will spend more money getting a boat ready for the season.


If you are only going to drive a few more weeks and few hundred miles before replacing it, just leave it alone and go enjoy your boat but get it fixed. If you are trying to "get by" to next winter, this is not one of those items you put off. Just my opinion.
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2001 C4 Cab 60k miles. Outer Tie Rod ball joint boot is split but joint is still nice and tight. If I want to maximize life of joint until I get around to the fix (its fix your boat time of year in Boston not car) what kind of grease could I pack in there and then lightly wrap with that super flexy rubber tape for sealing hoses. I know I should just do it correctly now but no time. Predicting I will be told this is bad idea, but appreciate any input. thanks,

We have seen a lot of people try this trick, and quite plainly it does not work. Xmac is on the money when he notes that by the time you see the ripped tie rod end boot, the damage is already begun. Dirt, water, road salt, and whatever else happens by has already gotten in there and is slowly started chewing the unit to death. The time you would spend trying to tape up the joint and lubricate it would better be spent replacing it.

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I am working on my boat too.

Don't let this happen to you: I lent my first sports car to my sister. She called an hour later complaining that she used the brakes and the car jumped a lane. Since you are a Bostonite, this happened on Rt 16 in Watertown. The tie rod end ball joint had popped out. When the brakes were applied the wheel turned sideways taking the car into the next lane. Could have been very ugly.

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OK. Thanks. I suppose it would be a form of natural selection if my car was wrapped around a tree and they found a popped tie rod ball joint with flexy tape all over it. Will just do it right. I was quoted $200 for an alignment at a reputable tire place. Is $80 more like the going rate and can any decent tire/alignment handle the alignment or as usual is there something trickier requiring dealer or specialized indy knowledge? thanks

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OK. Thanks. I suppose it would be a form of natural selection if my car was wrapped around a tree and they found a popped tie rod ball joint with flexy tape all over it. Will just do it right. I was quoted $200 for an alignment at a reputable tire place. Is $80 more like the going rate and can any decent tire/alignment handle the alignment or as usual is there something trickier requiring dealer or specialized indy knowledge? thanks

...$79.99 is what a local shop charged me a few months ago for my SUV on a Hunter Hawkeye table.This is SF Bay Area pricing which is likely different. For $200, my race alignment shop will add weight in the driver's seat to match my weight and the steering wheel is perfectly aligned at 12 o'clock with the alignment report showing both left/right sides having matching numbers, even if more adjustments are required to get there.

There is something tricky to it in that they have to align the steering angle sensor correctly or you may get an error light may come on. They connect to the OBD connector to get a real-time readout to find zero and lock it prior to making adjustments.

edit: fixed typo

Edited by xmac
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  • 2 weeks later...

So based on the sound advice above I ordered an outer rod. Then I started thinking I should have ordered two outers. The other outer rod boot has not split but I can see its weakened and will go before too long, so if the alignment costs more than the parts I might as well just do both outers. While I am there does it make sense to do the inners because they can't be too far behind, or is it the case that inners don't generally wear as fast as outers? many thanks

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So based on the sound advice above I ordered an outer rod. Then I started thinking I should have ordered two outers. The other outer rod boot has not split but I can see its weakened and will go before too long, so if the alignment costs more than the parts I might as well just do both outers. While I am there does it make sense to do the inners because they can't be too far behind, or is it the case that inners don't generally wear as fast as outers? many thanks

The outers are much more susceptible to wear because of the amount of movement they see, plus they are directly in the line of fire for road debris. The inners lead a sheltered existence by comparison. I would not replace the inners unless they show signs of needing replacement.

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