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By Ron Bramlett
Photos by Michael Wallace
(From Restomod Daze, Vol. 1, No. 1, May 2003)

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This is how the tie rod end looks when attached to your Mustang's spindle. The grease boot is the black sack that sits between the spindle arm and the tie rod end housing. It should always be filled with grease.

This is the same tie rod end separated from the spindle and with the grease boot removed. You can see the machined tapered area that fits into the spindle arm. The hole in the threaded area is where the cotter pin is installed.

Here, the tie rod end is inserted into the spindle. It stops at a predetermined spot on the stud in the spindle arm. This is a ‘65-'66 V8 outer tie rod end. The tie rod end studs on 6 cylinder equipped ‘65-‘66 Mustangs are even smaller! No matter how much you tighten the nut, the tie rod end stud will not go any farther into the spindle arm. Different years and models used different size holes and tapers and are not interchangeable. Be careful when swapping parts.


When removing a tie rod end, loosen the nut but leave it on the stud with a couple of threads. This is so the tie rod assembly does not fall off the spindle arm. It can swing down, or fall off the car completely if the nut is removed. With the hammer, give the spindle arm a couple of good whacks where the tie rod end stud comes through. If the stud doesn't come loose, give it a few more! If it still doesn't come loose, get a bigger hammer and start over!
This is the result. The tie rod end stud will drop out of the spindle arm and the nut will keep it from swinging or falling down. This is very important as you can damage other parts or be hurt if this heavy assembly hits you. After removing the nut, you can separate the tie rod end from the spindle. Our ‘66 Mustang that was used for the pictures shown here hadn't been apart for several years. It took 3 swift whacks with Ol' Betsy to complete our mission!


Upper and lower ball joints are basically the same as tie rod ends only they are a lot bigger in diameter. Don't let it intimidate you! Loosen the nut and, just for safety's sake, leave it screwed on by a couple of threads. Pick a good angle and whack it a couple of good ones! Be careful not to miss and hit anything other than the spindle where it surrounds the boll joint stud. It may take several good whacks to loosen the stud but it will come apart.
The results: The spindle will drop off the upper ball joint. A word of wisdom. Whack it a few times then check to see if it's loose. Spring pressure and other parts can prevent it from dropping onto the nut even though it's loose. With the nut removed from the spindle, you can pull the spindle straight down and off the ball joint stud. But it's better to let the spindle hang from the upper ball joint while you remove the lower ball joint. That way, it can't fall.


DO's & DONT's
Be sure to have a good, heavy hammer handy when removing suspension and steering parts. Ol' Betsy started out life as a piston pin out of a Cummins diesel engine. David made her years ago during his mechanic days. Never hit straight down on any stud, even if the nut is on it. The force it takes to remove a stud from the spindle or centerlink like this usually damages the threads on the stud or the part it is being removed from.
Yes, I know. It's well hidden and hard to get at. But never use a pickle fork on your power steering control valve. Do it just like the tie rod ends. A couple of good whacks to the pitman arm where it surrounds the stud will drop it! NO Pickle Forks! Want to instantly turn your power steering control valve into junk? This can be the most destructive tool in your tool box. It's great for removing rubber bushings from GM front ends, but you're working on a Ford!


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