When’s the Last Time You Replaced Your Tie Rod Ends?

By Colin Wood
Mar 29, 2021 | Elva, Handling, Tie Rod

A tie rod end is one of those small, relatively inexpensive pieces of hardware that are often taken for granted but can ruin a perfectly good day of driving if they break.

To avoid such a disaster for our 1962 Elva sports racer, we sought help from Aurora Bearing Company to make sure all of our tie rod ends are safe, up to date and well-suited for our needs.

Read more about what Aurora told us over on Classic Motorsports.

Like what you're reading? We rely on your financial support. For as little as $3, you can support Grassroots Motorsports by becoming a Patron today. 

Become a Patron!

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Elva, Handling and Tie Rod news.
More like this
View comments on the GRM forums
Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/29/21 4:06 p.m.

It could be argued that rod ends like this have no place on a street car. The Miata in the headline should not have any as it is clearly a street only vehicle.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/29/21 4:40 p.m.

Not to pile on, but rod ends take very little time to develop slop and hellacious rattles.

Found out that certain Johnny Joints have enough articulation to not lock up in my rear suspension.  They are similar to rod ends but are polyurethane bushed, so should last longer than metal on metal.  (Or metal on a thin layer of Teflon over metal)  Definitely should transmit less drivetrain noise to the tub, which is an even higher priority for me...

aircooled MegaDork
3/29/21 4:58 p.m.

Yeah, just say no to rod ends on a street car.  It does not take long to wear them out.

I find those Johnny Joints interesting.  I will have to look into those.  I have some very nice rod ends that were destroyed by a few thousand miles of street driving.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
3/29/21 5:48 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Good point. I've updated the lead image.

M2Pilot Dork
3/29/21 8:03 p.m.

Well, to answer the question, about a month ago.

Ranger50 UltimaDork
3/29/21 8:20 p.m.

Like never. Still have the OEM ones on my Avalanche at 190k.

Rod ends I don't have a problem with as long as they are the appropriate version needed and replaced often. They are the only way to fix the horrible bumpsteer in Mustangs. 


MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
3/30/21 7:34 a.m.

The Dart had them replaced about 20 years ago, definitely needed them then. I think I also replaced a set on a D50 that had a ball joint failure, although I'm not entirely sure if I swapped those or just all the ball joints and shocks.

When to use spherical rod ends and when to use conventional tie rod ends sounds like a good subject for an article.

Trent PowerDork
3/30/21 9:32 a.m.

Just so you folks who are interested know, Johnny Joints are freaking huge!

This is the smallest Johnny joint i could buy. 9/16" ID with a 1" shank. Next to it is a standard 3/4" Heim joint. It weighs about 5lbs. A Johnny joint will not fit where a spherical rod end will. 

Brilliant product and surprisingly affordable,  but in no way made for the race car market.  

If anyone happens to know of something similar but not "extreme duty" in the 1/2"-3/4" range I'd love to hear about it. 

wspohn SuperDork
3/30/21 10:58 a.m.

I see that some vendors are offering seals for rod ends these days. That should help extend life.


rslifkin UberDork
3/30/21 11:00 a.m.

In reply to Trent :

Johnny joints are meant more for suspension links than for steering

FMB42 Reader
3/30/21 11:02 a.m.

The last time I replaced a customer's tie rod ends was probably in the early '90s. But now that I've said this I'm sure I'll be replacing a pair on at least 1 of our older/high mileage vehicles...

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/30/21 11:49 a.m.

In reply to Trent :

The ones I just bought are MUCH smaller.   3/4" thread, with a .625" hole 1.8" wide.  They make smaller ones, too, but I'm installing in a spot built around 50mm wide bushings with 5/8" through bolts.

Our Preferred Partners