Tie rod end removal and replacement -B5 Passat and Audi

Dec 7, 2013
Tie rod end removal and replacement -B5 Passat and Audi
  • How to remove and replace the tie rod ends on a B5.5 Volkswagen Passat

    This article shows DIY replacement of TRE tie rod ends: mk4 B5 VW Passat
    The tie rod ends (TRE) connect the steering rack to the wheel hubs (steering knuckle). Below is a steering rack out of the car showing these components.

    The stock outer TRE use a rubber bushing inside to dampen steering feel. I used TRE from the Audi S4 (old and new shown below) because they use a bigger ball joint and eliminate the rubber bushing. This increases steering feel and durability.

    To check for failed tie rod ends, raise the front wheels and shake the wheel side to side. If you note play in the outer tie rod end, replace. If there's a clunk in the steering system noted in the steering wheel or just under the steering rack boot, replace the inner tie rod. If the car has bad shocks, it will also wear out the TRE because it will allow excessive movement.

    TRE can be replaced left or right without replacing the other side. However, if you're putting on heavy duty TRE, replace both sides to keep the steering response balanced. If your car has very high miles or a rusted out suspension, you may want to replace both inner and outer TRE together. The TRE is often seized in place and it's easier to replace the inner and outer TRE as a unit.

    If you choose to replace the steering rack boots, they came in 7" and 10" long lengths. Measure them before starting and order the right ones. If they're torn, it will allow dirt to damage the inner tie rods.

    CAUTION: The car will need an alignment the same day or the day after. Count the threads or count the number of turns for removing the outer TRE so that the car is driveable to the tire shop and won't scrub the tires. If the alignment is way off, the car will be dangerous (unstable) to drive and the high degree of tire scrub will shorten tire life. If the alignment is almost identical, the car should be safe to drive for a few days, just do it as soon as practical.


    inner+outer tie rod assembly: VW/Audi # 4b0 419 801 m

    inner tie rod: 4d0 422 821 a

    outer tie rod end: VW/Audi # 4f0 498 811
    Preferred: heavy duty tie rod from Audi S4: VW/Audi # 8e0 419 811 b

    1x vertical TRE bolt: n 906 289 02 (new TRE come with this)
    1x horizontal TRE bolt: 4d0 407 192 c (always replace, is probably rusted anyways)
    1x horizontal TRE nut: n 102 861 10 (always replace, is probably rusted anyways)

    Loosen the lug bolts 1 turn each on the wheel you wish to remove.

    Put the parking brake on, chock the rear wheels, and raise the front end of the car and rest it securely on jack stands. Make sure the car is safe and secure before getting underneath it at all! See 1000q: B5 jack points for more details. See the TOS Agreement for the full legal disclaimer. Remove the lug bolts and the wheel.

    Loosen all the bolts mentioned below first. It's easier to loosen them while attached, since they'll probably be seized.

    Remove the vertical 13mm bolt holding the tie rod end and squirt some PB Blaster or other penetrating lubricant into its hole. This will penetrate down and make the tie rod easier to remove. Then remove the 16mm horizontal nut/bolt pinching it in place. If they are rusted/seized, let the penetrating lubricant sit for a while and gently tap them with a hammer. You must remove the 16mm horizontal nut all the way because it locks the tie rod in place. The head of the 16mm pinch bolt has a flat spot to lock it in one position relative to the steering knucle arm.

    Again, count the threads for alignment purposes. Counterhold the inner TRE (on the inner side) and loosen the lock nut (on the outer side and visible in the first picture at the top). The picture below shows the TRE after installation. If the outer TRE threads are really seized, use PB Blaster or another penetrating lubricant on the threads and angle it up/hit it gently to help the lube work its way down into the threads.

    WARNING: Don't spin the inner TRE. It should just spin in the ball joint but it's possible that the inner TRE threads could also come loose.

    Once it's loose, thread the vertical bolt back most of the way but leave a gap. Use a hammer to gently tap the tie rod end down and out. Once the bolt runs out of thread, use a punch, socket extension, or the horizontal pinch bolt to knock the tie rod end out only after the pinch nut/bolt are removed. Be careful not to damage the tie rod end threads. (pic is reused from the control arm DIY, don't remove the other stuff). I put the bolts back so they wouldn't get lost.

    Here is a video showing outer TRE removal.

    To remove the inner TR or both inner and outer TRE as a unit, cut the steering rack boot clamp and pull the boot back. Use a crows foot extension to couterhold the inner TRE while you loosen it. Measure the length of the outer tie rod end threads on the old and new unit and swap them out. Here's a stock photo from ECStuning.com of an inner TRE connected to the outer TRE.

    Here's a video showing inner+outer TRE removal.

    Installation is the reverse of removal.

    Torque specs:

    vertical outer TRE bolt: 5 ft-lb (7 Nm)
    horizontal outer TRE bolt/nut: 36 ft-lb (50 Nm)
    inner tie rod to steering rack: 74 ft-lb (100 Nm)
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