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Triumph Repair/TR7 tie rod ends



 I'm putting the front suspension back together on my 1976 TR7 with new poly bushings, ball joints etc.  I can't find my note as to how many full turns I made to get the tie rods off.  I remember both sides were exactly the same - 7 or 13 turns I think.  I know I'll need an alignment anyway but wanted a good starting point.  The manual mentions distance between the 2 ball centers but that may be difficult to measure.  Any suggestions ?



ANSWER: Hi Steve,

You can't replace tierod ends and not set toe in as each manufacture makes them a slight bit different lengths. So just run both in about the same number of turns. You don't need any front end alignment equipment to set toe in accuratly.

Take Four pieces of plastic or two plastic bags from a grocery store and spray the indide of the bags with spray silicone spray or any lub like WD-40. If you are using sheets of plastic lub between two sheets and put them down on the floor or driveway and role the car up on the plastic.

You will notice that you can move the steering wheel very easily now. (this is after you installed both tierod ends.

Now take a long stick of any kind or a metal rod and use a marking pen to mark the stick with. Find two blocks or anythng about 5 or 6 inches high to rest the stick on at both ends and set the stick against the front of the tire at a treat line or edge of the tire. Now go the other end of the stick where it passes in front of the tire and put a mark on the stick where the same edge is on that tire and then move the stick and blocks that support the stick around to the back of the tires and do the same. If the two marks are at the same spot on the stick then the alighment is "0" toe in. Most likely it will not be so if the rear measurement is longer then the front it is toed "IN". If it is shorter at the back it is toed "OUT". With the rubber boot clamps on the tie rods loose, rotate the tie rods on both sides to get a rear distance to about 1/16 inch longer then the front distance. Always rotate both rods about the same.

The most accurate method is to jack the front of the car up before starting and put a jack stand or such in fornt of the tire and take a pencil or something sharp and hand spin the tire and put a line on the face of the tread and use that line to do your measuring to. Some treads are not straight enough to get an accurate measurement to. A spun line is the most accurate method.

The full weight of the car must be on the tires to do all the measuring. Front End shops have rotating turn tables to set the front wheels on but lubed sheets of plastic work just as well but you must have two sheets under each tire and it should be on smooth concrete.

I did one for a friend one time on a dirt driveway by putting down two pieses of plywood and the two plastic grocery sacks lube inside.

The book says the toe in is from 0 to .062" or 1.5mm but the trouble with "0" toe in is that at high speeds that "0" turns into toe out and that makes any car wonder all over the road. (except front wheel drive cars)


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Howard,

  Sounds logical, I guess the key is to screw both tie rods in the same number of times to start and try to move them both the same amount so they track straight instead or left or right in relation to the car.  I also plan on starting up the engine after it's been idle 2 1/2 years.  I was planning on putting a few squirts of oil in each cylinder, perhaps taking the valve cover off and oiling the cam etc and leave the old oil in the filter so it primes up quickly.  Do you have any other suggestions ?

Thanks again !


The reason you start by screwing both tie rods in the same amount is so you don't end up with one total length of a tie rod a different length then the other which even if you set the toe in correctly you get what is called "bump steer" when one total tie rod is longer then the other. When you hit a wave in the road if one is longer then the other it will turn one wheel when the suspension compresses. Thus the term "bump steer".

In the dealerships I worked in we often got cars that had been stored for some time. We would change all fluids including oil and filters. Pre-fill the new filter and then remove the spark plugs and use the starter to spin the engine until you see oil pressure on the gauge, this prims the whole lube system with fresh oil before starting.

Drain the fuel tank, lines and pump and fill with fresh gas and open the line at the carburetor and run the fuel pump (if electric) to flush the lines and on mechanical pumps like Triumphs have while the plugs are out priming the oil system you can prim the fuel system at the same time.

Stale gas does not have a good octane rating so fresh gas is needed so as to avoid detonation damage. The Stromberg carburetors are difficult to drain and clean out the carb float chambers so some require to be removed and cleaned. Sometimes you can get away without that but you won't know until you try to start it. It is best to remove the hoses on the vents of the float chambers and run your own temp hoses so as not to destroy the charcoal canister if the floats stick and it floods. The temperary hoses are needed so you don't get gas all over everything if it floods and thus the danger of a fire. (then no car at all)

The brake system may need attention too. If the hand brake was left on there is a good chance that the rear shoes are stuck to the drums and if the car was in a damp area the front disks will be rusty too. A rotory fine sanding disk in a drill motor will usually clean the disks ok but do the inside and outside surface. If the rear shoes are stuck you can sometimes just pull the car forward and break them loose and drive the car a little to clean the rear shoes. 80% of your braking is in the front so most attention is required there.

Belts and hoses tend to dry rot when sitting so keep a close watch on them for the first few months of driving.


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Howard M. Fitzcharles III


Triumph TR-4 up & Spitfire, and Engine theory


Dealership line mechanic on MG, Triumph, Jaguar for 15 years, Instructor in commercial mechanics school 2 yr. Product information manager for piston and valve manufacture, Instructor & hotline answer man for import car parts importer 15 yrs.

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Import Car magazine

ASE Master Auto with L-1 certification up to 2000

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