Tie rods on Jeep JK can turn bad either because of the general wear and tear due to harsh road conditions or lack of lubrication. Even potential encounters with road hazards can also reduce the lifespan of tie rod ends.
The best way to get rid of the weak or damaged Tie rod on your Jeep JK is to upgrade it accurately on time.
In this article, I have decided to explain the detailed procedures of upgrading bad Tie rods on Jeep JK with the costing details.
Can You Upgrade Tie Rod On Jeep JK?
Yes. You either do the entire upgrading task yourself or call for a professional mechanic to help you out.
But confirm that the sudden commotion you are experiencing is caused by the faulty or damaged Tie rod on your Jeep JK.
That is why the real question here is when you should upgrade or replace the tie rod and how to determine when the tie rod has turned bad.
In general, most Jeep owners love to overland their vehicles very often because it’s fun. But at the same time, they also overlook that Overlanding or crashing over rock, stump type of materials puts their vehicle’s suspension at an alarming condition.
This also forces the Jeep’s tie rod to turn bent and deformed, which eventually ruins the alignment and makes the vehicle virtually undrivable on the road.
So, when you experience this kind of situation, you can assume that your vehicle’s Tie rod is most probably craving for an upgrade or replacement.
Still, always remember to investigate the tie rod’s condition properly, before you finally decide to upgrade the Tie rod on your Jeep. If you are not knowledgeable enough, take your vehicle to a professional technician.
When Should You Upgrade Tie Rod On Jeep JK?
Before you learn and understand the process of upgrading the weak or damaged tie rod, you need to know and understand the signs to detect when it turns bad.
So, let’s learn about the significant symptoms that will help you detect when the tie rod turns bad.
Shaky Or Unstable Steering Wheel:
The most commonly experienced symptom of a bad tie rod is when you notice any unusual movement on your vehicle’s steering wheel.
Since the tie rods are responsible for linking the steering wheel to the front wheels so when the tie rod becomes loose or bad, it forces the steering wheel to shake, vibrate, or becomes unstable.
Even in some cases, users claimed that the shakiness and vibration become worse when they try to turn the corners due to the loose tie rods on your Jeep JK.
Unusual Vibration, Knocking Or Squealing Noise:
When your tie rod turns loose or weak, you might notice not only unusual vibrating noise but also knocking, clunking, or even squealing noises.
Because when the steering wheel loses control over the wheels due to a weak tie rod or its loose connection, the tires start to move randomly.
This causes the excessive vibrating sounds, and you can notice this unusual noise more during speeding up, slowing down, accelerating or turning corners.
Another thing all vehicle users, including Jeep JK, should remember is that any unusual noise coming from the vehicle or its engine, whether it’s squealing, knocking, or clunking is undoubtedly bad news.
Therefore, if you ever notice a high-pitched squeal while turning your vehicle or unusual knocking/rattling noise while turning at a low RPM speed, get the hint and check your tie rod’s condition.
Worn Out Or Toe Out Vehicle Tires:
Another visible sign that your tie rod might be loose or badly damaged is when you notice uneven or excessive wear patterns on your tires.
Remember, when the tie rod has been worn out or damaged for a long time, it eventually causes the tires to toe out and forces the vehicle to go out of alignment.
To confirm, visually inspect the inside and outside edge of the tires. If you notice excessive wear on one side but not on the other side, that’s a clear sign of a weak, damaged or loose tie rod.
However, if you notice even wearing on your vehicle tires, that means the tie rod is working accurately, and there is no such issue.
Bad Front End Alignment Issue:
Another typical symptom of a failing or bad tie rod is when the vehicle visibly pulls or drifts to one side, which is unusual.
A worn-out, lose or faulty tie rod can force the front-end alignment of your vehicle to turn misaligned.
Although misalignment issue on the vehicle can also occur due to other parts problems, since tie rods are directly involved in controlling steering and keeping the vehicle straight, the first doubt goes to the tie rod.
How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade Tie Rod On Jeep JK?
To calculate the cost of upgrading or replacing the tie rod on your Jeep JK, you have to consider two things first. One is the price of your parts, and another one is the estimated labor cost.
However, you can skip the second one only if you are knowledgeable and experienced enough to do the upgrading or replacement task all by yourself.
For upgrading tie rod on Jeep JK, the estimated parts price will be between $287 and $370.
You probably can get the replacement task done within an hour, and the estimated labor cost will be between $59 and $74.
My Top Recommendation on Jeep JK Tie Rod Upgrade:
Check out the top-rated Tie Rod Upgrade kits for Jeep JK from our top recommendation list based on Amazon Customer reviews.
Doetsch Off-Road Heavy-Duty Jeep JK Tie Rod Kit:
This tie rod upgrade kit is made from “memory metal” which is originally 1.5 inches -thick 7075 aluminum alloy material and is fitted with greaseable 1-ton heavy-duty ends. One of the best qualities of this material is that even if the tie rod bents, it will automatically return to its original shape. Another best thing about this upgrade kit is its price since it’s available at a very affordable price.
Synergy Heat-Treated Jeep JK Tie Rod Kit:
It is made from supremely strong 1-3/8 inches 4130 Chromoly steel. That’s why it has high deformation and corrosion resistance. Reportedly, this tie rod has a staggering 200% stronger heat-treated capacity than the factory unit and currently the strongest Jeep JK tie rod on the market. However, its price range is not cheaper than the Doetsch, neither it’s the most expensive one.
TeraFlex Jeep JK Tie Rod Kit:
This Tie Rod Kit has it in implements with heat-treated 4140 Chromoly steel construction and a seriously beefy 1.6 inches outer diameter to provide ultimate strength any Jeep JK requires. However, since it delivers extra strength and hardenability, it also costs a little more penny than the previously mentioned other two options.
How to Upgrade Tie Rod On Jeep JK?
Now I am going to explain step-by-step procedures of upgrading the tie rod on your Jeep JK. So, all you have to do is just follow my instructions thoroughly and precisely.
- First, you need to access your Jeep JK’s torn-out or failed tie rods and for that, Slacken the front tires slightly with a tire iron or impact wrench.
- Then, go underneath your vehicle and remove the cotter pin. Also, remove the castle nuts where the steering damper attaches to the tie rod.
- Now to raise your vehicle, put it on the jack stands and take the tires off so that you can get more room work on the tie rod ends.
- After that, remove the cotter pin and castle nuts from the tie rod end of the passenger side.
- Next, you need to take some key measurements to ensure that when you put the adjustment sleeve and tie rod in, the lengths stay exactly similar just like before.
So, measure from the center of your tie rod to the end of the adjustment sleeve. Also, take length measurement from the center of the ball joint to the very end of the tie rod.
- To remove the tie rod end, you need to count the number of revolutions that it takes to pull it off. So, first, loosen the two connecting bolts. While taking the adjustment sleeve off, count the number of revolutions.
- After removing the tie rod and reverse threading the adjustment sleeve, put a little bit of chassis grease where the sleeve is going to go on the new tie rod upgrade. When you are done, thread the adjustment sleeve back on.
- Finally, slip the new tie rod into the place and mount it properly into the steering knuckle on both sides. Then, dry-fit the drag length tie rod end into the tie rod.
- Lastly, reattach and torque steering damper, castle nuts, bolts, cotter pin, and grease fitting. Grease all the fittings properly.
Well, that’s all about how to upgrade or replace your worn-out tie rod on Jeep JK. Besides the step-by-step process and costing estimation, I have also provided the top upgrade kit recommendations for better reference. However, if you still have any further queries, feel free to ask.