Replacing perished track rod ends (front)

Tracking is quite important in an  MGF.  The track rod ends (along with upper and lower ball joints) also seemt o be a favourite for MOT fails.

For under 17 pounds , YES under 17 pounds, I have truly transformed my souspension.  Its like having a new car!!

Bad tracking due to loose track rod ends may also lead to increased abnormal tyre wear and can lead to dangerous situations (without these attached, the wheel can swing round at its leisure !!!!)

This is a video of mine.  Quite obvious as the wheel had lots of play when moved, and accompanying knocking sound.   video (mov file requires quicktime)

To confirm, remove wheel and move disc, you should see track rod end moving.

 Time to complete:

Took me allmost 90 minutes, but one of them only took about 7, the first oen took longer as I did it wrong (see end of how too).  I recklong both sides can be done in 30 mins if you have the right tools

Tools required:

  • Usual tools to remove wheels
  • Axle stands MUST be used to support car
  • Ball joint splitter (6-10 pounds)
  • Spanners/sockets for 17mm (for track rod end lock bolt) and adjustable spanner for bolt on track rod.  May need another spanner/socket for ball splitter (mine was 19mm)
  • mole grips or some sort of pliers to grip onto track rod when removing end part

These are important suspension components and you should only attempt if confident. 

Remove front  wheel as usual and jack up and SUPPORT car

Click on thumbnail for larger picture
First of all I had to brush away rust with wire brush in order to get socket onto locknut (see number 4.   I would suggest slackening the nut on the track rod end whcih seperates track rod end from track rod-this is MUCH easier and quicker than the way I did it below)
Locknut was 17mm.  This should be removable before usig ball splitter
(I never and used ball splitter to split locknut-bad mistake)
Once nut is removed , you can now attach ball joint splitter a shown (pretend locknut is not there ;) )

You can get other shapes/sizes of splitters.  Not sure how good other ones are
Once nut has been removed, simply tap top of track rod end (TRE) with a hammer (plastic or wooden preferred), or something to get TRE out of socket.  It can now be removed.  If you followed my advice in number 1 above, you have already slackened the bolt which seperated the TRE from the track rod (highlighted in red in picture).  If not, you need to somehow stop the TR from rotating (pliers/mole grips) so you can loosen the nut. This took me a long time, so do it at step1. This is like a brake caliper bolt, in that as it is facing away form you, it is essentially backwards, so to undo you turn clockwise, as opposed to normally tightening bolts clockwise, otherwise you will spend all day tightening it !! Now you can undo TRE. COUNT how many turns you took to remove it (although it should not change much).  Unscrew and simply screw on new TRE  back on same amount of turns.  Now add the new locknut and tighten to 50NM.  You can now re-tighten the nut on the TR Job done!!  Replace wheel and notice how solid it is when you try and move it .  IT IS ADVBISABLE to get car tracked using 4 -wheel laser tracking as you have effectively replaced the parts wich control tracking, and likely to have altered tracking set up.

  • I was amazed at the difference.  Bumps in road have disappeared, car is quieter (less knocking). Speed humps are a dream to drive over!! And it cant fail an MOT now!!!!
  • Difficulty rating:  With rigfht tools and confidence to remove wheels and to hammer bits etc, I would say 2/10.  It was probably a 3/4 out of 10 for me as I used the splitter wrong, but the driver side was an absolute cinch.  Just remember the tracking may now be out and should be checked!

*All mechanical suggestions and tips are purely for information only.  I accept no responsibility for any damage to vehicles or persons as a result of any of my information.  Consult a MG-Rover manual before attempting any repairs.  Some repairs should be carried out by professionals only.