Hi there my fine feathered friends. I can add another dimension to this story. I ran into this same issue at the Chrysler dealership. The reason the inner tie rod procedure is not listed in the service manual is it was not intended to be replaced in the field when the vehicle was still under warranty. I never ran into a bad one in warranty, but if I had, we were supplied with a brand new rack and pinion assembly with both inner tie rod ends and both outer tie rod ends already installed. I did replace a few rack assemblies on the Stratus model for a very slight chirp when changing direction. Those were covered under warranty and a service bulletin for "customer satisfaction". Those racks also came with all four new tie rod ends.
Part of their warranty policy had to do with anything that was replaced under warranty had to restore that system to like new condition. That meant no used or rebuilt parts, and no machining of parts like brake rotors because that would reduce their life expectancy.
They never said the inner tie rods couldn't be replaced separately, but they left that up to the aftermarket suppliers. You might still find torque specs in the service manual, but always defer to those listed on the instruction sheet that comes with the new part.
The plastic piece described is often referred to as a "cushion". It slides over the end by my red arrow in the first photo. It softens the metal-to-metal contact when the steering system is turned fully in that direction. Tap that off with a flat-blade screwdriver and small hammer. You can reuse it if it fits. New inner tie rod ends sometimes come with a plastic disc that is slid on first for the same purpose. Don't use both.
The tool to remove this design is shown in the second photo. Use the crow's foot that fits the two flats on the back side of the joint. Slide the tube over it and run the ears into the two slots on the tool. Swivel the metal ring to hold the wrench in place. Put just a little outward pressure on the tool to keep the wrench on the flats while turning it with a ratchet.
Buy this tool from any auto parts store or any of the tool trucks that show up each week at the repair shops. You can also rent or borrow it from auto parts stores that borrow tools. In my city they make you buy it, then you get a full refund when you take it back. If you choose to keep a tool, you still return it, then they give or order you a brand new one.
By the way, three of my best students were girls. (I think they still are). The guys had a lot of respect for them.
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Thursday, March 23rd, 2023 AT 5:53 PM