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In Part-1 of this two part series, we will remove the front steering tie-rod on a typical BMW with rack and pinion steering. We will be using an E30 3-series (84-91), but these general procedures will apply to most models that have the rack and pinion type of steering system. See Part-2 for the installation

The Bentley repair manuals will cover standard tie-rod replacement for the various BMW and MINI models. This DIY will assume that the DIYer has the applicable Bentley manual for additional reference as well as fastener torque values.

• Tie-Rod (complete, inner & outer)
• Rack boot
• Rack boot clamps (2)
• Tie-rod inner lock plate

• Bentley Repair Manual
* Tie-rod inner end removal tool
* Tie-rod outer end removal tool (press)
* Boot pinch-clamp pliers
* Safe-Grip gloves
* 3/8″ drive ratchet or breaker bar (for inner tie-rod end removal tool)
* Various 3/8″ and/or 1/2″ drive sockets and ratchet (13mm through 22mm, depending on model)
* Various 13mm through 22mm combination wrenches, depending on model.
* Hammer
* Flat-blade screwdrivers and/or cold-chisels
* Diagonal or end/flush cutters

NOTE: In this DIY, we will be replacing the complete tie-rod assembly (as opposed to just replacing the inner or outer joint). We find this preferable as it is typically easier and while only one end (inner or outer) may be worn-out, the other end is likely near the point of wear-out.


1) Safely raise and support the front of car, with suspension hanging.

2) Remove the wheel.

3) Assemble the outer tie-rod end removal press tool to the outer tie-rod end. Tighten the pressing bolt on the tool until it is fairly tight. This may equate to around 50 to 80 ftlbs.

4) If the joint does not pop apart as the press is tightened (step-3), shock the joint by hitting the tie-rod end with a 2 to 3 lb hammer. This should pop the joint apart. If not, try more tension on the pressing bolt and repeat the hammer blow.

5) Remove the clamps on the rack boot, by grasping the “mushroom’ pinch crimp with diagonal or flush/end cutters and twisting/cutting.

6) Pull the boot off the steering rack and outward on the tie-rod, to expose the inner tie-rod joint.

7) Bend the locking plate tabs away from the flats on the inner joint housing.

8) Use the applicable size thin open-end wrench on the inner joint housing flats or the inner tie-rod removal tool to loosen and un-thread the inner tie-rod joint from the end of the steering rack. Remove the tie-rod assembly and the lock plate.

9) Place the old tie-rod and the new tie-rod assembly on the workbench, side-by-side. Compare the length from the flat face of the inner joint housing (where it mates with the end of the rack) to the center of the outer joint spindle pin. Adjust the new assembly to match the length of the old assembly. DO NOT adjust to the end of the outer joint housing as the casings could be of slightly different sizes. Measure/adjust to the center of the spindle pin.

10) Once adjusted, tighten the adjustment locking clamp or sleeve nut (depending on the application). This adjustment will allow the vehicle to be driven until an alignment can be performed (front toe adjustment), without excessively wearing the tires.

11) Install the new rack boot over the inner tie-rod end and push the boot down the tie-rod so that it clears the inner joint.

12) Install a new lock-plate on the inner tie-rod end (over the threaded end). Note the tab that mates into the cut-out in the end of the rack. Be sure to install the lock-plate so that the tab properly engages into the rack’s cut-out.

13) Thread the inner tie-rod end into the end of the rack. Make sure the lock-plate tab aligns with the rack’s cut-out (as noted in step-12). Use the thin wrench or the inner tie-rod tool to tighten the tie-rod’s inner end to the rack.

14) We’re sorry, but the description can not be any longer (youtube requirement). Watch the video and see our tech blog for the full DIY steps at

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