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I have a 1996 VW Passat TDI and need to replace the inner tie rods on both sides of the vehicle. When I read the "Bentley Official Factory Repair Manual" it tells me that I have to remove the entire steering gear to replace the inner tie rods. Is this necessary or is it possible to replace the inner tie rods and inner tie rod boots without having to remove the steering gear? Also how do I tell if I have a TRW or ZF steering gear? Thanks.

Vesuccio
 

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My mate just replaced his on his 97 Golf tdi with the rack on the car and he didn't have any problems. I cant see the passat being that much different to get at. I would have a go myself, just turn the steering full lock so the arm sticks out as far as possible, pull back the boot and have a go.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Did he clamp onto the steering gear with anything to counter the turning of the inner tie rod when it was removed?
 

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No, the rack itself isn't round and is held straight anyway. He just got hold of the arms with a suitable tool and undid them, I don't think they were that tight.:)

(I pressume you are talking about the arms that connect to the rack)
 

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when you turn the steering to extend the rack don't go all the way out. When looking from under the car you will see a space between the control and and sub-frame, sort of crescent moon shaped. You can get a wrench in nicely, once loosened you can use Knipex or other good Chanel-lock type pliers (smaller) to finish removing. Do yourself a favor and buy factory tie rods, the aftermarket ones will only last half as long. Of course they are half the price, so if you have nothing better to do with your life than lay around under your car,by all means use the cheaper ones. Fitting the inside of the boot onto the rack is a bit tricky as you need a mirror to make sure you get the vent tube in the hole in the boot. You may need to pry the tube slightly away from the rack body (increase the space) about a millimeter, and use some lube. Then double check with the mirror that the tube is indeed in the hole. Forget trying to use the steel clamp, you will drive yourself insane. Get the long, large tie wraps, the will do fine. The first tie rod will probably take you an hour and a half, the other one maybe only 45 minutes. Count the threads showing on the Outer end and write it down.... for both sides. Put the new outer ends to the same thread count. You still should have the car aligned but at least it will be real close. If the car does not drift or pull and the steering wheel is in the same position as before, you could wait on the alignment and monitor your tire wear..... maybe be fine and save the alignment fee. TRW rack is steel housing whereas the ZF rack is aluminum housing with "waffle looking" castings.. 90% bet that it is TRW . hope this helps L
 

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I've just replaced an arm on my 2000 plate car with an aftermarket one and if it lasts half as long as the original I'll be delighted.:D
 
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