Replacing the Saab 9000 track rod ends


The Saab 9000 steering rack controls the front wheels by means of two track rods, terminated by replaceable joints - the "track rod ends", attached to the swivel hubs. These will eventually wear, leading to problems with steering and handling, as well as being a failure point on the UK MOT and presumably on the statutory inspections in other countries. This procedure describes how I changed the track rod ends on my '96 Aero.

Time required

Naturally, this will vary with both the individual and what they find when they get there. However, this took me about twenty minutes per side.

Tools required

I assume some basic tools, such as a jack, axle stands, socket set, etc. However I do not assume you will already have all the necessary metric socket and spanner sizes, especially if you are in the USA. Here is a list so you can make sure you have all the necessary sizes before you start.

  • 22mm
  • 18mm
  • Pair of grips
  • Ball joint splitter. I much prefer the scissor type to the "pickle-fork" type. I have used both, and much prefer the scissor type as it is both easier to use and causes less damage, which is important if the joint is to be re-used.


  1. Jack up the front of the car and place it on axle stands. If you are not sure where you can safely place the jack and axle stands on a 9000, go here for more information.

  2. Remove the roadwheel.

  3. Using a 22mm spanner, slacken the locknut on the track rod end. Mine slackened easily, but if it doesn't, apply dismantling lubricant.

  4. Detach the track rod end from the swivel hub by undoing the nut with an 18mm spanner or socket until it is flush with the end of the thread (to protect the thread) and separating it using a ball-joint splitter. The photograph shows the scissor-type splitter I used. If you have the "pickle-fork" type, get a big hammer and smash your way to success - you will almost certainly damage the rubber boot so the joint cannot be re-used. With the scissor type (or the direct-action screw-operated type), if the joint doesn't free with some tension on it, tap it firmly with a hammer and it should spring free.

  5. If the track rod end is tight on the threads of the track rod, apply dismantling lubricant and hold the track rod with a pair of grips to stop it from rotating. Mine rotated very freely on its threads.

  6. Making a note of the number of turns, unscrew the track rod end from the track rod.

  7. Fit the new track rod end by screwing it onto the track rod by the same number of turns as were necessary to remove the old one, then tighten the locknut.

  8. Fit the new track rod end to the hub using an 18mm socket. If the swivel turns with the nut, tap the top of the joint lightly with a hammer to seat it, then apply hand pressure to the joint to hold it in its seat while slowly tightening the nut. Torque the nut to 55Nm (41lbft).

  9. Refit the roadwheel.

  10. Lower the car.

  11. Torque the roadwheel bolts to 115Nm (85lbft).

  12. Have the wheel alignment checked, and adjusted if necessary.