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How to Measure Tie Rods or Drag Links

9/19/2016
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How to Measure for a Tie Rod and Drag Link

Speedway Motors Tie Rod and Drag Link kits can be used on a wide variety of applications, but they are very common on hot rods and other straight axle equipped cars. They come in a long list of standard lengths with tapered tie-rod ends or spherical heim joint ends and in plain as well as chrome and stainless. One thing that is common across all applications and varieties is the need to accurately measure before ordering your kit. In this article and the accompanying video, we will show you how to measure for your tie rod or drag link to ensure that your kit fits and functions as it should.

Measuring a Tie Rod or Drag Link: Step-by-Step
  1. Mockup your front axle; spindles with steering arms, steering box, and pitman arm.
  2. Align your spindles in a straight-ahead position and center the steering box midway between the left and right turn limits.
  3. Measure the eye-to-eye length between the steering arm holes and from the pitman arm hole to the steering arm hole. These will be the measurements we need to match or to build the correct tie rod or drag link for your car.
Tie Rod Measurements Diagram
Measuring and Modifying - a Few Notes

The above directions and diagram are pretty straightforward and will help you to arrive at the correct measurement. However, there are a few additional things to remember. First, it's important to note that the specified length will be the assembled, eye-to-eye length of the tie rod or drag link with the ends installed. The length of the tube itself will be 3" shorter than the assembled length. So, it's important not to confuse these lengths when placing your order.

Also, there is some adjustment built into these assemblies. They are threaded right-handed on one end and left-handed on the other, enabling you to loosen the jam nuts and adjust the overall length by turning the tube. You will be able to adjust the length approximately 1/2" shorter and 3/4" longer, allowing easy alignment and fine tuning.

Sometimes your application will require a length that is not available. We do offer custom length kits, but you may prefer to save some money by modifying a standard length. This process is shown in the above video. Make sure you have the correct tap available, and be sure to cut the end that corresponds with your tap. In other words, if you only have a right-hand tap, don't cut the left-handed side. And, as always, measure twice and cut once!

Updated by Joe McCollough.

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