How to change outer tie rod on a BMW
In this guide, you will find instructions on how to replace out tie rods on BMW vehicles. Replacing a BMW out tie rod is very easy and can be completed in about one to two hours.
In this guide, you will find pictures along with tips that will make replacing BMW tie road an easy process even for a beginner.
BMW uses the same tie rod design among many models.
This DIY guide will help owners on BMW 1-series, 3-series, 5-series, 6-series, 7-series, X1, X3, X5, X6, Z3, Z4.
What you notice
Here are a few symptoms that you may notice:
What you will need
A list of tools and parts that you will need.
- BMW Outer Tie Rod
- Replace both outer tie rods at the same time.
- Popular brands include Moog, Beck/Arnley, ACDelco, URO.
- Torx Bit Set
- T-40 may be needed to prevent the tie rod bolt from spinning.
- T-50 needed to remove the pinch bolt.
Tools that you may need
Before you start
Remove front wheel
Loosen the front lug nuts using a 17mm deep socket. Don't remove the wheel yet, just break the lug nuts loose. This should be done while the car is on the ground. Next, jack up your BMW and support it with jack stands. Remove the wheel. Do not rely on the car jack alone. Use jack stands to support and secure the vehicle. Place wheel chocks behind the rear tires to prevent your vehicle from rolling back.
Locate the outer tie rod
Locate the out tie rod. On BMWs (and most cars) the outer tie rod is behind the steering knuckle.
When possible spray penetrating oil on the castle nut to make the reveal easier.
Loosen lock nut
Use a wrench to loosen the pinch nut. Some BMW models use a pinch bolt instead of a nut. Use a T-50 bit to loosen the bolt where the outer tie rod and inner tie rod connect.
Remove cotter pin
Remove the cotter pin. This prevents the outer tie rod nut from getting loose while driving. Use a pair of pliers to straighten the pin and pull it out. Some BMW use a washer with tabs that are folded inwards.
Fold the tabs out with needle nose plier in order to remove the castle nut.
Remove castle nut
Remove the castle nut using an 18mm open-end wrench. In some cases, the bolt may start to spin freely.
You will need to use an Allen wrench or an 8mm wrench to hold the center of the spinning bolt in place.
Remove BMW outer tie rod from the steering knuckle
Use an outer tie rod puller to separate your BMW tie rod from the steering knuckle. If you don't have an outer tie rod puller, use a ball joint fork.
Measure the distance
Even though you will need to perform front end alignment, you should aim to keep the alignment as close to the original as possible.
To do this, measure the distance from the castle nut to the pinch nut. It may help to use a marker and mark the threads on the inner tie rod where the outer tie rod meets.
Unscrew outer tie rod from the inner tie rod
Once you are done disconnecting the outer tie rod from the steering knuckle, the next step is to completely remove it from the car.
To do so, twist your BMW outer tie rod counter clockwise.
Install new BMW tie rod
Install the new tie rod in reverse order. First, thread it on the inner tie rod. Next, tighten the castle nut.
Install the pinch bolt or tighten the pinch nut. Install the cotter pin. If your BMW doesn't have a cotter pin, it should have the washer with tabs.
Bend the tabs inwards towards the nut.
Torque the castle nut
Torque the castle nut to 50 ft. lbs.
Torque lock nut to 35 ft. lbs.
Verify these values by calling your BMW dealer and providing the VIN of your car.
Install the wheel. Lower the vehicle and torque the lug nuts. On most BMWs, 90 ft-lb is the recommended torque for the lug nuts.
Rember to get your front wheels aligned
Congratulations! You have replaced BMW tie rods. You may notice that the steering wheel is not on center or that your BMW pull to the left or right. You will need to take your BMW for a front wheel alignment.
Even if you did a great job and the steering wheel is on center and the car doesn't pull, you should get your BMW front wheels alignment or your tires will wear unevenly.
When you replace the BMW tie rod ends, you throw wheel toe out of alignment. Your BMW dealer can do this or any wheel alignment shop.
With new BMW tie rods installed, you will notice that the car will handle much better and the steering is more responsive. Your BMW will feel and drive like a new car again. If you have any questions or tips please use the comment section below.
The cost to change BMW tie rods at the dealer or mechanic ranges between $400-$600. If you decide the change your BMW tie rods yourself, expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $100 for a set of new tie rods. You will spend an additional $100 to get the front wheels aligned.
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