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    Hot Rod Tech and Tools Main Page

    Understanding Tie Rods


    The tie rod is part of the steering mechanism in a vehicle. A tie rod is a slender structural rod that is used as a tie and capable of carrying tensile loads only.

    A tie rod consists of an inner and an outer end. The spokes on a bicycle's wheels are tie rods. As the ratio of its length to the radius of gyration of its cross section is normally quite large, it would likely buckle under the action of compressive forces.

    The tie rod transmits force from the steering center link or the rack gear to the steering knuckle. This will cause the wheel to turn. The outer tie rod end connects with an adjusting sleeve, which allows the length of the tie rod to be adjustable. This adjustment is used to set a vehicle's alignment angle.

    The working strength of the tie rod is that of the product of the allowable working stress and the minimum cross-sectional area. If the threads are cut into a cylindrical rod, that minimum area can be found at the root of the thread. Rods are often made thicker at the ends and this then means that the tie rod does not become weaker when the threads are cut into it.

    Tie rods are connected at the ends in various ways. But it is desirable that the strength of the connection should be at least an equal strength to that of the rod. The ends can be threaded and then passed through drilled holes or shackles (this is a U-shaped piece of metal that is secured with a pin or bolt across the opening), and then retained by nuts that are screwed on the ends.

    If the ends are threaded right hand and left hand, the length between the points of loading may be altered. This then brings a second method for prestressing the rod at will by turning it in the buts so that the length will be charged.

    A turnbuckle (a device that is used for adjusting the tension in tie rods) can accomplish the same purpose. Another way of making any end connections is to forge an eye or hook on the rod.

    It is advisable that your vehicle's steering and suspension systems are checked regularly, at least once a year along with a complete wheel alignment. A worn tie rod can cause wandering, erratic steering and also major tire wear.

    If a tie rod is necessary then a wheel alignment will also be required because tie rod replacement will disturb the alignment setting. As the ratio of its length to the radius of gyration of its cross section is normally quite large, it would likely buckle under the action of compressive forces.

    The tie rod transmits force from the steering center link or the rack gear to the steering knuckle. This will cause the wheel to turn. The outer tie rod end connects with an adjusting sleeve, which allows the length of the tie rod to be adjustable. This adjustment is used to set a vehicle's alignment angle.

    The working strength of the tie rod is that of the product of the allowable working stress and the minimum cross-sectional area. If the threads are cut into a cylindrical rod, that minimum area can be found at the root of the thread. Rods are often made thicker at the ends and this then means that the tie rod does not become weaker when the threads are cut into it.

    Tie rods are connected at the ends in various ways. But it is desirable that the strength of the connection should be at least an equal strength to that of the rod. The ends can be threaded and then passed through drilled holes or shackles (this is a U-shaped piece of metal that is secured with a pin or bolt across the opening), and then retained by nuts that are screwed on the ends.

    If the ends are threaded right hand and left hand, the length between the points of loading may be altered. This then brings a second method for prestressing the rod at will by turning it in the buts so that the length will be charged. A turnbuckle (a device that is used for adjusting the tension in tie rods) can accomplish the same purpose. Another way of making any end connections is to forge an eye or hook on the rod.

    It is advisable that your vehicle's steering and suspension systems are checked regularly, at least once a year along with a complete wheel alignment. A worn tie rod can cause wandering, erratic steering and also major tire wear. If a tie rod is necessary then a wheel alignment will also be required because tie rod replacement will disturb the alignment setting.


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