Tie Rod/Arm Clearance Options (1 Viewer)

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Jul 4, 2020
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I've been reading up on few options on how to avoid tie rod contact on the control arm on many threads. Though it be nice to try and compile the findings in a thread- if there's one out there already, I can burn this one, but I'm still pretty naïve on a lot of this.

I've got a 3" lift on my '94 and noticed last week after doing a knuckle service that there is significant contact on my steering components on both sides- unsure if I created this or if it had been happening prior (I typically check a day or too after major work to see if there are leaks or obvious dumb actions) but there was considerable rubbing evidence:
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What are the options to create more distance? Or what to look for that may be causing the contact?

So far I've read: (potential fix and causes)
  • Grind down the surfaces- not sure if I want to damage my parts though as they shouldn't be hitting anyways
  • Castor plates- I've got the Ironman plates, but wonder is it too much correction causing the contact
  • Bushings not placed properly- I've never touched the bushings but they seem correct and not worn
  • Control arm (fixed end) drop brackets- Can you run those with Castor plates, seems like that would reinto incorrect castor
  • Knuckle arm not torqued/ facing properly- I'm at spec and direction of arm seems correct
  • High steer kit- is this even an option?
I'm open to any advice or slaps to the head for idiocy.
 
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Use a grinder to clearance it.. It’s caused by the castor correction rotating the axle.
 
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Delta looks like a solid solution but is uncheap just to make a some clunking go away! Are the arms compromised in any way by taking some chunks out?
 
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Are the arms compromised in any way by taking some chunks out?
Of course they are.

Plaintiff: 'My suspension parts failed after I removed some material from them, and Toyota should pay!'
Judge: 'I rule on behalf of the defendant and direct the plaintiff to pay them buku bucks for bringing this ridiculous suit to court'.
 

LandCruiserPhil

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Delta looks like a solid solution but is uncheap just to make a some clunking go away! Are the arms compromised in any way by taking some chunks out?
I along with many others have a ton of offroad miles without issue. YMMV If you are looking for a cheap way to rid the clunking buy earbuds.
 
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1) Your balls are dry.
2) How much lift do you have?
3) Your tie rod is already dragging and is heavily ground away on part of it.
4) You need to re-orient your TRE clamps, as they WILL hit the arms as you steer lock to lock.
5) Since you seem to have a LOT of interference, I would evaluate the caster plates you have to determine if they are correct. Have an alignment check done and get a printout and paste here for us to armchair quarterback.
6) Go with the correct Delta arms for your lift and get a new Tie Rod so you're not using a heavily damaged one, then be sure to orient the TRE clamps accordingly again.
 
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Dig this response! Thx

1) Your balls are dry.

ball joints? Assume I can replace them with new greased ones- or better yet just upgrade tie rods since both sides are ground out

2) How much lift do you have?

3" (unsure of kit- bilstein shock/ unknown spring)

3) Your tie rod is already dragging and is heavily ground away on part of it.

Yes- noticed this on the way to mountains this past wknd which sparked my concern.

4) You need to re-orient your TRE clamps, as they WILL hit the arms as you steer lock to lock.

Good call- will flip em up

5) Since you seem to have a LOT of interference, I would evaluate the caster plates you have to determine if they are correct. Have an alignment check done and get a printout and paste here for us to armchair quarterback.

They are Ironman castor plates (sticker just fell off recently)and appear to only have one version for the 80- 5 degree up to 150mm lift. I can get an alignment scheduled soon.

6) Go with the correct Delta arms for your lift and get a new Tie Rod so you're not using a heavily damaged one, then be sure to orient the TRE clamps accordingly again.

Hoping there was a cheaper option- if not, then no big deal. Bought the rig as a beater for family beach and mountain travel only.

The problem is I've bought the vehicle with all the suspension on it already, and I have no idea what kit it is etc- I hate not knowing mods from stock. I determined lift height by hub to fender measurements.

It just surprises me that there's that much contact with only a 3'' lift- so I'm concerned. BUT the car drives smoothly, and has no crazy noises now after a new DC DS, Diff fluid change and Axle service.

Thx.
 
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Dig this response! Thx

1) Your balls are dry.

ball joints? Assume I can replace them with new greased ones- or better yet just upgrade tie rods since both sides are ground out

2) How much lift do you have?

3" (unsure of kit- bilstein shock/ unknown spring)

3) Your tie rod is already dragging and is heavily ground away on part of it.

Yes- noticed this on the way to mountains this past wknd which sparked my concern.

4) You need to re-orient your TRE clamps, as they WILL hit the arms as you steer lock to lock.

Good call- will flip em up

5) Since you seem to have a LOT of interference, I would evaluate the caster plates you have to determine if they are correct. Have an alignment check done and get a printout and paste here for us to armchair quarterback.

They are Ironman castor plates (sticker just fell off recently)and appear to only have one version for the 80- 5 degree up to 150mm lift. I can get an alignment scheduled soon.

6) Go with the correct Delta arms for your lift and get a new Tie Rod so you're not using a heavily damaged one, then be sure to orient the TRE clamps accordingly again.

Hoping there was a cheaper option- if not, then no big deal. Bought the rig as a beater for family beach and mountain travel only.

The problem is I've bought the vehicle with all the suspension on it already, and I have no idea what kit it is etc- I hate not knowing mods from stock. I determined lift height by hub to fender measurements.

It just surprises me that there's that much contact with only a 3'' lift- so I'm concerned. BUT the car drives smoothly, and has no crazy noises now after a new DC DS, Diff fluid change and Axle service.

Thx.
@Atomic City got it right!

I am wondering if the caster plates are too much for your combination. I don't know how it steers, but an alignment check will give you a better idea. With only a 3" lift, it is rare to see the tie rod rubbing to that extreme unless the caster has been over-corrected or there is more lift than you think. Look for tags / stickers on the springs and maybe the colors of the springs.

Get your center of hub to bottom of fender flare dimensions for all 4 corners. That will also give a reference for "actual lift" over stock height.
 
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I am wondering if the caster plates are too much for your combination.
My same thought too...it steers fine, a tad floaty with a little more than normal corrections (figured that was normal for 33s and lift on a '94)- was going to look into the steering box microadjustment until I saw this.

Get your center of hub to bottom of fender flare dimensions for all 4 corners. That will also give a reference for "actual lift" over stock height.
I did that and it came out just shy of 3''- so thought age may have sagged it a hair but hell, I'll do it again and calculate. I found a random site that had hub to fender measurements on stock. Any sure measurements I can come that you all trust?
 
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My same thought too...it steers fine, a tad floaty with a little more than normal corrections (figured that was normal for 33s and lift on a '94)- was going to look into the steering box microadjustment until I saw this.



I did that and it came out just shy of 3''- so thought age may have sagged it a hair but hell, I'll do it again and calculate. I found a random site that had hub to fender measurements on stock. Any sure measurements I can come that you all trust?
There's a suspension thread on here that defines those things. Otherwise, the guys at Delta, LCP, or Cruiser Outfitters could advise on actual amounts of lift based on you numbers.
 
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I don't see how lift height alone would affect tie rod contact, independent of caster correction or some other factor(s). The tie rod and radius arms move together as an assembly in an arc, pivoting off of the radius arm frame mount. Spring height alone should not affect the distance between the two. Most caster correction methods do affect the relationship between the radius arms and the tie rod, as can worn radius arm bushings or mounts, aftermarket tie rod ends that don't follow the OEM specs, bent tie rods or steering arms, bent axle housing, suspension mods, and so forth.

The most likely issue is the caster correction method, although it seems unlikely that a company would market a product that in and of itself causes that much interference, so I'd look for contributing factors (see next paragraph). I don't see any way for plates like that to work without reducing the clearance between the radius arms and steering rod, seems to me you would have to relocate both the front and rear bushing mounts to maintain the original distance between the arms and steering rod, or alter the arms to allow more room. Which is what aftermarket arms do. Or grinders. For what it's worth I have aftermarket arms, and due to other mods I made to the suspension to allow for more flex, I had to take a grinder to them to clear the steering rod. I'm aware that if anything goes wrong it's on me. I know that their strength is compromised, I just have to believe/hope the manufacturer overbuilt them enough to make up for the damage I've done.

The second most likely problem or contributing factor that I can think of is worn radius arm bushings. They maintain the relationship between the radius arms and the axle, and consequently the steering rod. If they're trashed, replacing them might give you enough room for the steering rod, or at least more than you have. Right now, from the pics, it looks like you're about to wear through the steering rod tube wall. If all of that wear is recent, you don't have much longer before that rod fails.
 
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I don't see how lift height alone would affect tie rod contact, independent of caster correction or some other factor(s). The tie rod and radius arms move together as an assembly in an arc, pivoting off of the radius arm frame mount. Spring height alone should not affect the distance between the two. Most caster correction methods do affect the relationship between the radius arms and the tie rod, as can worn radius arm bushings or mounts, aftermarket tie rod ends that don't follow the OEM specs, bent tie rods or steering arms, bent axle housing, suspension mods, and so forth.

The most likely issue is the caster correction method, although it seems unlikely that a company would market a product that in and of itself causes that much interference, so I'd look for contributing factors (see next paragraph). I don't see any way for plates like that to work without reducing the clearance between the radius arms and steering rod, seems to me you would have to relocate both the front and rear bushing mounts to maintain the original distance between the arms and steering rod, or alter the arms to allow more room. Which is what aftermarket arms do. Or grinders. For what it's worth I have aftermarket arms, and due to other mods I made to the suspension to allow for more flex, I had to take a grinder to them to clear the steering rod. I'm aware that if anything goes wrong it's on me. I know that their strength is compromised, I just have to believe/hope the manufacturer overbuilt them enough to make up for the damage I've done.

The second most likely problem or contributing factor that I can think of is worn radius arm bushings. They maintain the relationship between the radius arms and the axle, and consequently the steering rod. If they're trashed, replacing them might give you enough room for the steering rod, or at least more than you have. Right now, from the pics, it looks like you're about to wear through the steering rod tube wall. If all of that wear is recent, you don't have much longer before that rod fails.
I was actually wondering if he has both caster correction bushings as well as caster correction plates in place that may cause this.

Severely worn bushings on the arms could also cause this, or incorrectly installed caster plates.

That's why I suggested an alignment to get caster #s.
 
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I was actually wondering if he has both caster correction bushings as well as caster correction plates in place that may cause this.

Severely worn bushings on the arms could also cause this, or incorrectly installed caster plates.

That's why I suggested an alignment to get caster #s.
Correction bushings would be offset, right? I can check that- I'm going to try and check the age of the bushings too...I'm at a stand still right now due to getting a new roof on the house-I have no garage/ driveway access at the moment.

But the one thing is I'll definitely need a new relay tube due to the current wear and most likely new tre's.

I didn't put any of the corrections on, so it very well could be incorrect- it seems to look tidy but maybe a disassemble and reassemple is in order.
 

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