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So, I believe I already screwed up big time during the process of replacing my tie rods (inner and outer). I removed BOTH tie rods and the bolts from the rack at the same time. I've since read that this is going to be a pain lining the bolts back up. I didn't read that much into it thinking this was a pretty straightforward process...I was wrong... The one thing that lead me into so much reading into this was not so much removing the tie rods, but trying to find out what diagrams, articles, threads, pretty much everyone is saying about "making sure the washer goes back on between the tie rods and the rack". I have no idea what washers everyone is talking about. As far as I know, I didn't see any come off the tie rods and the kit I have from Moog only includes the plate with the tabs you bend down...no washers. I can't find a picture, part number, etc...just people talking about it and showing an assembled picture.

Here is one thread I'm referencing that shows the assembled pictures from before and after.


Does anyone have a picture what these washers look like? Napa had no idea what I was talking about.

Here are the inner tie rods I'm using:



As you can see, they don't include washers.

Any help on what's going on with these washers, if they're really needed or if the bushings have them integrated into them, and any comfort in knowing someone else removed both tie rod bolts before thoroughly reading up on it would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Check out Moog K7349 on Rock Auto. It's the bushing kit. They're the two flat washers (see photo below) - they go between the rear-most bushings and the rubber sleeve/cover on the rack. It's hard getting the washers in place while you get the bolts started without dropping the washers - and then they fall back onto the transmission, and you'll never find them after that.

The kits you got include the single-piece bushings (and probably the bushing sleeves?), but don't include the two washers.

Are your old washers possibly stuck to or into the rack rubber sleeve/cover?

Moog K7349:
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Found this in the FSM - items 5 and 7 are the washers:
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Now - to address getting everything in the rack lined up for your bolts to be installed:

Referring to this exploded view of the rack that I found on the internet, we'll call item 3 the rack uousing, 14 the rack rod, and 20 (what I called the rubber sleeve/cover in my first post) the boot:
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Notice that I added two green and two red arrows. When the rack is assembled with the two inner tie rid bolts installed, the two red arrows will be in the same horizontal position, and the two green arrows will be in the same horizontal position.

Notice that the boot is shown cut away to reveal the spacer block (metal piece with two thru holes at the points of the one pair of arrows in line with the inner tie rod bolts). The back side of the spacer block is machined narrower than the front side you're seeing, and slides back and forth, left and right, in the slot that you see in the rack body as you turn the steering wheel.

Right now on your car, you've got the two tie rod bolts, the two tie rod ends (with bushings), the two holes in the boot, the two thru holes in the spacer block, and the two threaded holes in the rack rod that are not lined up with each other. With both bolts out, everything moves independent of each other left-right. Your tie rod ends should be pretty much stuck in their original position - you can wiggle them a little if you need to, but the friction of the tires is holding them still. The rack rod should be locked in place by the steering wheel - if you had to, you could have a helper move the steering wheel slightly lift or right to line up the rack rod holes as you insert the two bolts and get them started into the rod hole threads. BUT - you've got the boot holes that want to be in a certain position by themselves, but the boot is made to flex and be pulled left and right with a small force, AND you've got the spacer block that slides freely left and right within the rack body slot, independent of the two boot holes.

S-o-o-o - you're task is to stick a finger or two thru the holes in the boot and move the spacer block left and right to get its two holes lined up with the two holes of the boot. Notice that it is possible to line up the red arrow hole of the spacer block with the green arrow hole of the boot (and vice-versa), get one bolt started, and then be tearing your hair out trying to figure out why you can't get the second bolt started into the rack rod threads.

See my note at the end of this post about applying blue thread locker to the bolt threads just before installing them.

Once you have the spacer block fairly lined up, you position the inner tie rod end hardware (the two washers, retaining plate and retaining tabs thingy) to the tie rod ends and push the bolts thru all that and the boot holes, then thru the spacer block, and finally, thread the bolts into the holes in the rack rod. Get one bolt at a time thru all the holes and started into the rack rod. You might have to wiggle and push things one way or the other as the bolt is pushed thru one layer at a time. Again, hopefully the tie rod ends and rack rod are already being held close to the same position by the tire friction and steering wheel position. Don't move the tires or the steering wheel UNLESS you determine they aren't lined up close enough with each other to get the bolt started in the threads.

The main challenge will be to not let the two flat washers fall because, again, they'll want to fall into a black hole behind the engine and on top of the transmission never to be found again. Ideally you'll have spare washers because of the original factory ones plus new ones from a Moog bushing kit.

The second thing to focus on is to not cross thread the bolts in the threads because you're frustrated or tired or whatever. Force/wiggle the bolt one way or the other to align with the threads as you start to turn them into the threads. Once you have the first bolt in no more than a couple of turns, put the second bolt in - it should go a lot easier with the first bolt lining everything up (except for the second tie rod end, but it too should be close to the right position).

NOTE: As if there aren't enough moving parts to control all at the same time, I highly recommend putting blue thread locker on the bolt threads just before you start installing them. Especially if the bolts are not the factory originals, the heads are likely to be smaller than the originals, and the retainer tabs will not be as effective at preventing the bolts from loosening and backing out over time. That has actually happened to a few people on this forum and elsewhere. Imagine what happens if you're going down the road at 60 mph and one of those bolts falls out - it has happened - and to people on this forum. I recommend the thread locker even if the bolts are the originals with the larger heads.
 

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Now - to address getting everything in the rack lined up for your bolts to be installed:.....

The main challenge will be to not let the two flat washers fall because, again......

NOTE: As if there aren't enough moving parts to control all at the same time, I highly recommend putting blue thread locker on the bolt threads just before you start installing them......
Edited: The replacement bolts that come in one of the Moog inner tie rod bushing kits have 16mm heads, not 15mm heads as I originally posted. The "How To" that was linked by the OP also says 15mm heads. There are other brand bushing kits available such As ACDelco, which may have 15mm bolts. I don't know if the Mopar replacement bolts referenced in the TSB on the subject are 15mm or 16mm heads. (By the way, a 5/8" socket is 15.9mm, and should also work.) With either the replacement bolts or the original ones with the larger heads, I'd recommend using a 6-point socket or combination wrench rather than 12-point to avoid slipping and rounding the heads. 3/8" drive equipment, including a torque wrench, will obviously fit with more clearance in the tight space to remove and install the bolts.

You will also see different posts saying the original Mopar bolt heads are 21mm or 22mm. The original poster in the other good How-To from the allpar forum about the 1st Gen (linked below in this thread also) says 21mm, but one of the "additional notes" at the bottom says 22mm.
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Good write-up on getting things lined back up, which the manuals and most of the How-Tos don't address very well (there are a few online here and on the allpar forum and at least one YouTube video). Obviously the service manuals should have made clear to not to take both tie rods bolts out off at the same time (or else re-insert them them as soon as removed from the tie rod end (?) so the rack spacer block doesn't get out of alignment. And they should tell you about the washers in the back falling off! In any case the Factory Service Manual would be good to download and it has the torque spec. It is 74 ft-lb, but always double check the printed material (it was changed by a TSB in the late 90s from 55 ft-lbs when it was found bolts at that torque could loosen after bushing wear without threadlocker). The FSMs in pdf links are still in the Service Information subforum (link in red letters on main forum page) under this 2nd Gen Forum and the 1st Gen Forum.

The OP probably already completed the job, but for others, here's s some more info.

First, the complete inner tie rod ends for both 1st and 2nd Gen LH cars are sometimes available NOS at a low price on Rockauto as "wholesaler closeouts." These obviously have the one-piece poly bushings pressed in. The old tie rod ends can be re-used with the Moog two-piece bushing kit by very carefully drilling out the poly of the old bushings with a small drill bit, and wire brushing out any residue. (Old-school shops used to burn supsension bushings out with a torch to speed things up). I'd recommend painting the tie rod ends with Rustoleum to reduce surface rust.

If the washers get lost and you can't retreive them with a magnetic or grabber pick-up tool (very handy), good hardware stores and some NAPA and a few of the remaining CarQuest stores will have high-strength metric washers with the grade 10.9 metric bolts.

When removing or reinstalling washers in this type of hardware stack-up you can hold them in place temporarily with some thin strips of masking tape on the top and bottom so they don't fall down. (Can also do the same with masking tape to hold a loose bolt to a socket.) And when removing or installing you can put an old large towel or drop cloth down below so if they fall, they don't fall into the abyss (good idea for working on anything with little parts that can get dropped and bounce or roll away.)

I believe the factory bolts have 22mm hex heads (at least on the 1st Gen). The bolts and washers that come in the Moog K7408 Bushing Kit ($12 on Amazon or $14 Rockauto) are 16mm, and I think the replacement bolts listed in the original Mopar Techincal Service Bulletin on this subject may also be 16mm heads. Even though they had new bolts listed in the TSB, I assume it is fine to re-use the old bolts - unless they became loose and have any visible wear on the shaft or threads. I don't know why they went to smaller heads, except one reason may have been to fit a 3/8" drive socket and ratchet and torque wrench in the tight space (I read some people resorted to cutting down 1/2-drive 22mm sockets to fit).

Moog also sells a different MOOG K7349 kit shown in the above reply post that doesn't come with the grade 10.9 16mm head bolts, or the thick reusable "retaining plate." However, even if you are using new inner tie rod ends with bushings pressed in place, it is worth it to buy one of the kits to get a new thin plate with the bendable locking tabs, since the old ones could weaken, bending them a second time against the bolt heads. Some Mopar tab plates are still around for sale (can Google p/n in Parts Catalog), but with the Moog kit you obviously get new press-in bushings too. HOWEVER, the complete Moog inner tie rod ( with one-piece bushings pessed-in) comes with a new tab plate, so use that new one.

When you re-install the bolts, yes use some threadlocker as was written. It is a safety issue to hold that bolt in place, since the bushings do wear over time. Without the threadlocker, when the bushings wear significantly, the bolt could loosen and you could lose steering control. After replacing the bushings or complete inner rod ends, it is a good idea to have the bushings visually inspected at every alignment service. Worn bushings can show up in the alignment report as "play in the steering"; it doesn't mean the steering rack is bad. Here is a picture of the Permatex ORANGE threadlocker that is removable also, but says is three times stronger than blue. Autozone had it.
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When bending the lock tabs on the thin plate, it is harder to get them to contact and restrain the bolt heads on the 16mm hex head than the original 22mm. After torquing to spec, you need to bend the tabs down. If you just bend them straight over, unlike on the larger 22 hex head, they won't really do much to lock the 16mm hex. So you can try to do an "L-shaped" bend in the tab using some padded channel locks pliers (can wrap with duct tape), or whatever pliers you can fit in there and not mangle the tab. I read that others have bent the tab over and then used a small brass punch with light taps to GENTLY indent it against the bolt head, but I 'd try the channel locks or other padded pliers first. See the photo below, where the red line is the shape of the bent tab to hold the hex head in place should it loosen.

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In other similar threads, I verbally described bending/squeezing the locking tabs with Channel locks to more closely hug the contour of the smaller-headed bolts. Good illustration. 👍

How does the orange thread locker compare to the red? We think the red is generally considered to require a torch to break loose - maybe not so with the orange. 3X the torque of the blue - sounds like a lot. Maybe not enough to create problems getting it to break loose. I assumed the blue would be plenty strong.
 

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In other similar threads, I verbally described bending/squeezing the locking tabs with Channel locks to more closely hug the contour of the smaller-headed bolts. Good illustration. 👍

How does the orange thread locker compare to the red? We think the red is generally considered to require a torch to break loose - maybe not so with the orange. 3X the torque of the blue - sounds like a lot. Maybe not enough to create problems getting it to break loose. I assumed the blue would be plenty strong.
I just picked up the orange Permatex threadlocker at Autozone recently; hadn't seen it before. On the package it says "hand tool removable" like the blue, but "3X stronger" than blue. From the info on the back of the two packages (blue and orange) looks like the torque break away/prevailing specs on the package (in-lb on a 3/8" nut and bolt) are very roughly 2X more break and 3X more prevail (but they list that it varies with plain steel hardware or zinc plated). So to remove the orange-applied bolts with hand tools, you probably have to grunt two to three times louder.

There is a detailed spec chart on the back of the blue packages only for some reason titled "Permatex Threadlockers," but the orange wasn't on the chart yet. A new chart may be somewhere on the Pematex site, but quick Googling just turns up the chart other places without the orange listed. The old chart lists purple (low strength), blue (medium), red (permanent) lower strength, red higher strength, red high temp, red large diameter, and green penetrating. The chart has all the detailed tech specs including fastener size, torque comparison (break/prevail), max temperature, and common applications. Then there is also the separate Sleeve Retaining Compound for close-fiting slip fit stuff.

Other random thoughts on this topic an similar:

For others reading, the bolt and nut (or inner threads) have to obviously be clean for threadlocker to adhere. You can't just do a quick wipe of dirty or oily threads, or probably won't do much at all. It is also possible that the threadlockers have a shelf life, so I'd just buy a new small 0.2 oz tube after a few years rather than wasting money on buying the 3/4 oz size if you don't use it much. Same thing as anti-seize compound in the big plastic ar; it seems to dry out after a few years and I don't know what to thin it with. Greases and non-organic oils seem to last many years if sealed.

For any younger people reading this, with large high-torque bolts like these on the steering rack or suspension, always try to set up to push the wrench AWAY from you when loosening (or even when tightening if you slip), or else take precautions like even wearing a face shield with a bicycle helmet (or something). And mechanic's gloves - cheap at Walmart in the hardware and auto sections. When I was young and stupid, I didn't follow these rules as my shop teacher had told us. And when one thread-locked bolt finally let go, the long ratchet wrench handle put a gash in my forehead that bleed like a SOB until I got pressure on it with a rag. An unlatched first aid kit with easily opened big gauze pads is a must in the garage, as well as a turned-on cell phone that is nearby. And if you use cheap, low-quality tools, the odds of a tool breaking and smashing/squashing parts of your body increase significantly.

By the way, speaking of Permatex, I haven't been impressed with their or Loctite's regular-grade consumer epoxies that come in small tubes at the hardware stores or Walmart. It is as weak as JB Weld, which has somehow bamboozed people for years into using it on cracked engine blocks and such. I do not believe the strength specs on the packages. (Though I think one of them may now have a "high strength" consumer product available in larger plastic bottles - don't know if it is much better). There are hobby and marine store epoxies that also come in two larger bottles that are stronger (a few brands now sold on Amazon), not to mention the expensive 3M and similar brand industrial stuff from Grainger, McMaster, etc.. Regular (not gel) Acraglas rifle bedding epoxy from Brownells is like the expensive industrial stuff - cures hard as a rock and you need to smash it with a hammer to break it.
 

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I know this is old news for most here, but for any new members, here's some additional info on replacing the inner tie rod end bushings, a couple photos of the Mopar bushing kit, and info on the Technical Service Bulletins that Chrysler issued on this subject. As has been discussed many times over the years, due to the safety considerations, this should have been a paid recall at about 50K miles with a notice for future inspections at say every 30K, rather than just a TSB to mechanics.

Here is the link to the other popular 1st Gen How To from the Allpar forum (2nd Gen somewhat similar). Be sure to read the additional information added by others at the bottom.

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As mentioned before, there are many more threads in addition to the previously linked How Tos with more info, including other versions of How Tos for 1st & 2nd Gen.
To find them, search on:
+"inner tie rod" +bushing +Moog +bolt
or leave out "Moog" and you'll get even more with people using new tie rod ends. They come up sorted by relevance in the regular search bar, so the first several pages are likely the best and more detailed threads.

There were at least three Chrysler technical service bulletins on the inner tie rod end bushing wear and higher torque spec above that of the early FSMs (new spec at 74 ft-lb). The last revision I have is this:

DaimlerChryslerTechnical Service Bulletin 19-001-01, Mar. 23, 2001
Subject: Loose Steering
Overview: This bulletin provides service procedures and parts information for the inner tie rod bushings.

In the bulletin to mechanics, they go through pressing out the old bushings and installing the new ones in the kit. You could drill out the old bushings, but you need a special tool that they show, or a press of some kind to push in the new one-piece bushings. The Mopar kit is similar to the one Moog kit that includes replacement bolts and split bushings. It contains the press-in bushings, 2 bolts, 2 washers, one plate (with the locking tabs), one bracket. The Mopar kit number in the TSB is 05072586AA. Below are photos of the Mopar kit, showing that just like the Moog kit, it also has bolts with the smaller heads (likely either 15mm or 16mm). Again they may have done this so 3/8" drive sockets can be used to fit in the tight space.
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