Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

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Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by 76malibu on Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:27 pm

Hi,
I have to change the tie rods on my 76 Malibu Classic.
The auto parts store close to my home is asking around 460$ CAD for the whole list shown below (I am in Canada).
I think I can find a better deal online but I am confused by what I see: sometimes not all parts are available, or they are not from the same brand, or I am not sure it will fit.

Do you know a trusty website for those kinds of parts?

What I have to change:
- Inner tie rod end x2
- Outer tie rod end x2
- Adjusting sleeve x2
- Center link x1
- Idle arm x1

My search results:
- Southwest speed kits:
* http://www.amazon.com/SOUTHWEST-STEERING-1973-1977-CHEVELLE-CENTURY/dp/B00VU8PNRG/ref=sr_1_13?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1439398991&sr=1-13&keywords=Southwest+Speed+tie+rod
* http://www.cafr.ebay.ca/itm/NEW-STEERING-KIT-W-BALL-JOINTS-DRAG-LINK-IDLER-ARM-TIE-RODS-75-77-CHEVELLE-REGAL-/270818438935?hash=item3f0e096f17&vxp=mtr
* http://www.cafr.ebay.ca/itm/NEW-DELUXE-STEERING-KIT-FOR-75-77-GM-DRAG-LINK-IDLER-ARM-TIE-RODS-BALL-JOINTS-/290148174232?hash=item438e2dc998&vxp=mtr
It looks good but I don't know this brand.

- https://www.npdlink.com/store/products/rod_steering_connecting_centerlink_repro-117193-8.html
Seems to have all the parts but it is not clear if it will fit my 76 Malibu: the range 64-87 is far too wide.

- https://www.opgi.com/chevelle/1976/chassis-suspension/steering-components/
Nice website, but no center link found!

- http://www.canadapartsonline.com/
No choice between inner and outer tie rods. And to have a complete list I need to mix ACDelco, Mevotech and Moog brands

- http://www.partsgeek.com/
No outer tie rod available online

Thanks for your help,
Alan
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by dynchel on Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:06 pm

Try rockauto.com.
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by Joe73 on Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:33 pm

dynchel wrote:Try rockauto.com.

I agree. I bought all MOOG from them. If you get a pic of the center link, there may be an extra hole in the center part nearest where the pitman arm connects. That would be for a steering dampner. Alot of montes have them and I've seen them on some malibus as well. Unless of course you have manual steering, then no dampner.
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by cutlassguy on Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:07 pm

76malibu,

My husband purchased most of our Oldsmobile parts from summit, rockauto, and the parts place in the U.S.
I know our dollar has hit record lows now and it is very expensive to buy across the boarder.
Earlier this spring I recall installing a centre link, and more front end stuff, I just asked my husband and he mentioned he purchased all the parts from napa ( moog parts). After doing the math with the shipping an exchange rate it was cheaper to purchase up here.
Hope this helps
Christine
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by 76malibu on Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:15 pm

Thanks for your quick replies.

Interestingly, Summit racing (http://www.summitracing.com/) is currently cheaper than Rock auto (http://www.rockauto.com/) for MOOG steering parts.

The key is to know the exact part number you want, which is not always easy...
The bottom line is an estimated price of 275$ CAD instead of 460$ in store!

For those who want the full list with numbers:
- Moog Chassis Parts DS808 - Moog Replacement Center Links x1
- Moog Chassis Parts ES2004S - Moog Tie Rod Sleeves x2
- Moog Chassis Parts ES2020RLT - Moog Problem Solver Tie Rod Ends (inner) x2
- Moog Chassis Parts ES427R - Moog Replacement Tie Rod Ends (outer) x2
- Moog Chassis Parts K6152 - Moog Replacement Idler Arms x1

Some details are quite strange to me, for example there is no "Problem Solver" product line outer tire rod, only "replacement".
Hopefully those part numbers will fit on a 76 Malibu, I'll let you know Smile
Alan
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by 76malibu on Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:57 pm

The parts list provided above fits on a 76 Malibu. I got it for 285$ CAD at summitracing and delivered within 3 days by Fedex. That is almost 200$ of savings!

I am looking for a tip to adjust the sleeves (toe-in). I tried with the tape but I don't get enough precision with it.
I think I could:
1. Put the old parts back
2. Put the tires back and remove the jack stands
3. Remove the old parts
4. Put the new parts by adjusting the sleeves until it goes in the holes (the tires won't move because they touch the ground)

Do you think 50 miles can be done with this setup before going to the alignment shop?
Otherwise I'll have to rent a trailer.

Here are the parts ready to be installed:
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by cutlassguy on Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:18 am

You will be fine driving it 50 miles once you get the new set-up in, Using a tape measure you won't get it bang on but for 50 miles you will be good to go. You may want to count the threads on the original tie rods and see how close you got it with your tape measure just a thought.
Parts look great and the $200 in savings is awesome.
Eric
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by Joe73 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:15 am

I think you'll be fine for 50 miles. You can also assemble one side (tie rod/sleeve/tie rod) and lay it on the ground next to the your original set up. Then adjust the new to match the length of the old. It will be close enough.
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by thatfnthing on Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:14 am

Quick-n-dirty:

Adjust the toe-in as best you can with the tape, but make sure to have actual toe-in and not toe-out. Drive it around the block after adjusting it. Tap the gas and let it coast. If it decelerates on its own quicker than it should, you have too much toe-in. Bump it out a touch and repeat. When it coasts along pretty well on its own, you're good enough to drive to the alignment shop.
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by Tom77 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:04 pm

When I did mine took all the old parts off as a unit and built the new parts on the bench side by side. Got it close enough on the first try for the drive. Good luck!
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by Joe73 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:07 pm

Tom77 wrote:When I did mine took all the old parts off as a unit and built the new parts on the bench side by side. Got it close enough on the first try for the drive. Good luck!

X2. Thats what I was saying. Match up the length side by side.
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by 76malibu on Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:58 am

Thank you all. Your advices help me a lot.

After trying several techniques I ended up using the rope trick. I watched several youtube videos, starting by "front end alignment".
I used a mason rope stretched from back to front tire then measured the front tire at the rim.
I found that the car _must_ be on the ground because the suspension geometry is altered on jack stands.
Another important detail is to check the steering wheel is straight with a level as often as you can (ask me why I know that !!!).

Then you have proper alignment when you are fed up of the "sleeve adjustment / rim measurement / steering wheel check" drill Very Happy


The most difficult part for me was to build the proper parts list (with parts numbers).
I used rockauto.com and focused on one Brand (MOOG for this repair).
You may still miss some parts so I looked at the 1973 model to find them. Be very carefull when doing this because some parts are not the same (ex: idle arm). Then I double checked with other sites to make sure it is compatible. You may have to select another car of the same year (ex: El Camino or Monte Carlo) because the web site may say it is not compatible, but it is !
Then once you have your list you can shop where you want Smile

Cheers
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Re: Steering: tie rod ends / center link. Where to buy online?

Post by chevellelaguna on Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:46 am

Late to chime in on this one but maybe for future use for someone to look into. Measuring the length of the overall assembly can get you close enough to drive it, so can counting the number of threads, however with the vast amount of manufacturers and tolerance variables sometimes you can still be way off. As much as an inch of toe or more. And you know about centering the wheel as well, so, it sounds like you're on the right track. If you want to get it as close as you can... Get a good sturdy tape measure. With the wheels on the car at ride height and weight on the car, pick an inside tread edge of the tire... Say pass tire, then measure to the same tread edge accross to the drivers side (behind the fenders) record the number, ie- 57". Now do the same however, on the front of the tires, side to side again...ie-56, the difference is 1".. In this case 1" toe in. Adjust a side accordingly, but remember it's one side so a quarter turn on one side can react to be a half a turn total, watch the steering wheel, and remeasure across the front and back, do this till you're within a 1/4" and you're good to go. Ie-56-1/2 on the backside, 56-1/4 front across... 1/4" toe in.
Don't bash me, I know there are tire tread variables tape measure variables etc. this is an old school method for checking toe alignment on tri axle dump trucks and long axle vehicles such as limos that do not fit on computerized alignment racks. If he understands the principles he already does, then this should make sense. I apologize to those whose heads I have made hurt!
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