UPDATE: Both tie rods were removed by unscrewing the inner tie-rod from vehicle:

  • rotated steering wheel to maximum to improve access
  • removed bellows boot to expose wrench-able area of inner tie rod
  • used inner tie rod socket with pipe wrench to unscrew inner tie rod

GOAL: 95 Acura Integra left inner+outer tie-rod replacement. This challenge was identified after resolving: Difficulty removing Outer Tie Rod from steering knuckle

  • Outer tie rod removed from steering knuckle (see photo)
  • Jam-nut loosened (red-box in photo)

Uppermost part of rod is in a rotating socket (similar to a human arm). Attempts to remove and disconnect the outer tie rod by applying wrenches at the upper and lower arrows are unsuccessful because the assembly is in the rotating socket

**Seeking advice \ clever techniques to remove tie rod assembly: ** How to unscrew the outer tie rod from the inner tie rod, or unscrewing the inner tie rod from the steering assembly?

I am under the impression it is necessary to unscrew the outer tie rod so that the tie-rod tool can be slipped over the inner tie rod and unscrew the inner tie rod. I hope this is incorrect and there is a clever method to unscrew the entire assembly from the inner tie rod.

enter image description here


Success! Thank you for the nudges and guidance. Review this link for the final photos of the successful install

  • 1
    are you replacing both the inner and outer? if so cut the outer off. if not just use heat.
    – Ben
    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:55
  • @gatorback I'm confused. Your question seems to say that the inner and outer tie rod are stuck together and you are looking for workarounds for that. Is your goal for this question (not overall) to remove the inner tie rod from the steering assembly? Or, is it how to separate the inner and outer tie rods? Oct 31, 2016 at 15:07
  • From the photo, the outer tie-rod is as good as toast anyway. Cut the inner tie rod off (so you can get the tie-rod tool onto it), and replace both parts. Cost is pretty negligible compared to the time you'll spend trying to separate them.
    – PeteCon
    Oct 31, 2016 at 15:15
  • @ZachMierzejewski Good questions. Yes: inner\outer TR are stuck and seeking workaround: the standard procedure is to unscrew the outer TR from the inner before applying the inner TR tool. Answer to Zach's question: I would like to learn techniques to overcome separating the two TRs, despite have the inner installed. I was hoping that it was possible to bypass the need for inner / outer TR separation with a clever technique to remove the I/O-TR assembly at the inner TR connection to the steering assembly (unlikely).
    – gatorback
    Oct 31, 2016 at 15:21
  • @PeteCon That is a great example of a clever approach to the problem and with good critical thinking behind it. Although I am not a mechanic, I am willing to learn and try: is cutting the inner tie-rod a job for a hacksaw? If not what tooling is needed? Please keep in mind that there is limited working space in the wheel well. Can I suggest that you promote your response from a comment to an answer to this question?
    – gatorback
    Oct 31, 2016 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


2 things about removing inner tie-rods:

  • Yes, the outer tie-rod (tie-rod end) needs to come off first in order for most tie-rod removal tools to go on
  • In my experience, tie-rod removal tools don't have the grip to handle the amount of torque needed to remove a tie-rod that is seized with rust and age. I've tried them but ended up using a pipe wrench. One inner tie-rod was seized so badly, I needed to brace my shoulders against a wall and roar like King Kong while pushing the pipe wrench with my foot. I call this technique "gas pedaling it."

Whenever anything is seized, here's what you do:

  • generously apply penetrating oil and let it sit for a few hours
  • apply heat (propane/butane torch) for a good 30 seconds, then splash with water. The heat expands the metal, the rapid cooling from the water shrinks it, often that separates the male and female threads and you can crank them loose with a wrench
  • get more leverage. Use tools with longer handles. If using a socket, get a 24" breaker bar. If using a pipe wrench, get an 18". If using a regular open-end wrench, use a 2nd-one for added leverage like this
  • if your tool is secure, hit the end of it with a hammer or mallet. The heavier the better. Do try not to miss.
  • For things that have 2 parts you can wrench on (like a nut with a bolt, or a tie-rod end with an inner tie-rod), get 2 wrenches in there (one on each wrenchable part), position them in a V relative to each other, grab one with each hand and force them apart or together (whichever is the "loose" direction). If forcing the wrenches together, don't leave your fingers between the wrenches
  • grunting in a manly fashion doesn't help one bit, but it does make it look good
  • Thanks for the lessons-learned: given your experience, I'm looking forward to any comments regarding how to unscrew outer tie-rod from inner tie-rod. The forces involved with an old vehicle are at the high end of my physical strength. I had to use a mallot to drive a wrench to loosen the jam-nut.
    – gatorback
    Oct 31, 2016 at 3:24
  • @gatorback Updated my answer to include tips when things are seized
    – tlhIngan
    Oct 31, 2016 at 3:54
  • My WOF-man blocked his ears and said "LALALALALA" loudly when I told him that we'd heated the drag link to loosen a ball joint. Apparently heating steering components would be a Warrant failure here in New Zealand.
    – Criggie
    Oct 31, 2016 at 8:18

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