Loosening Stubborn Tie Rods

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Tractors Owned: 1942 Farmall AV, serial #87025
1947 Farmall Circle Cub, serial #2116
1948 Farmall Cub, serial #46066
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Location: Lone Jack, MO

Loosening Stubborn Tie Rods

Postby Stanton » Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:05 am

Refurbishing my '48 Cub, it was time to separate the front tie rods from their tubes. Unless some previous owner (PO) was foresighted enough to grease the rods, 63 years has a way of cementing them together.

Materials Needed:
1. 12-14 Large Washers with 1/2" nominal opening (actual opening = 0.551")
2. Several lengths of 1/2" copper water piping (mine shown are 3/4", 1-1/2" and 8", though by the end of the job the 8" became two 4" lengths)
3. PB Blaster or your favorite penetrant
4. Propane torch
5. (1) 1/2-20 nut (1/2" opening, 3/4" across flats)
6. 3/4" Wrench
7. Patience

1. Important: Make sure the tie rods and tubes are straight or as straight as possible. It is very difficult to straigthen the tube after the rod is removed; both should be straightened while the rod is still in the tube. Use a method that works for you (combination of ball peen hammer and anvil, press, etc.).
2. If possible, remove tie rod clamps and use PB Blaster to liberally soak tie rods for overnight or 24 hours.
3. As an option: Store in freezer overnight. Might want to wrap a paper towel around the end where the PB Blaster is sprayed to keep from getting in freezer and keeping home life happy.
4. Remove from freezer, set on a non-flammable surface (I used a vise) and heat with propane torch for about a minute. The object is to heat up the outer tube without heating up the frozen rod inside.
5. Set tie rod tube vertically in a vise that will not allow it to rotate under pressure.
6. Use a combination of washers and spacers with the nut to pull rod from tube.

Pictorial Sequence:

Frozen (literally) tie rod and tube...


Frozen tie rod and tube set on vise with propane torch applied...again, I say optional because I'm not sure how effective the heat/freeze method has on the tie rod.


Set tie rod and tube vertically in vise so it won't turn under pressure...



Begin with enough washers and spacers in place so the threaded end of the rod is even with the top of the nut. At first pull, you want as many threads in contact with the nut as possible to get it started...


Begin tightening the nut. Note the movement of the notch in the rod visible through the opening in the tube...



The process is tightening down the nut to the end of the threaded portion of the rod, then backing off the nut, adding more washers and spacers so the nut can be at the top of the threaded rod again. Repeat, adding enough washers and spacers until the rod is fully retracted. Caution: don't tighten the nut down too much on the rod; once the nut reaches the end, the whole rod will begin to rotate in the tube. Then you'll have to find a way to hold the rod while removing the nut...



As you can see, a rod may be stubborn. This one took several combinations of washers and spacers before it finally came out...


But the end is in sight...


And finally, success. Two rods separated from their 60+ year old homes...


Some wire wheeling for the rods and utilizing a brass bristle shotgun cleaning kit for the inside of the tube, then a liberal application of grease or anti-seize lubricant to the rod before reassembly will make sure the tie rod and tubes are movable in the future.
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