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Old 11-04-2011, 10:31 AM   #1
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2003 Steering Box Tie Rod & Boot source??

One of the attachment pictures reflects how the boot on this critical tie rod has disintegrated exposing the tie rod to damage. I have peeled away several layers of silicon I spread as my first stop gap measure. In our city of about 700K, I can't seem to find any company that I can buy any replacement all rubber boot this size period. Can anyone identify this tie rod and where I might get a replacement boot??
My temporary solution was to mic the tie rod body and go to a commercial truck bone yard and get a used tie rod boot I thought might work. With a lot of luck, I found one. I removed the old clearish-red all rubber boot and metal ring that held it onto the tie rod and installed the new one with channel locks to press the metal built into into the base of the used boot onto the tie rod lip the old ring-boot sat. I siliconed the trimmed center of the old boot into the used tie rod boot for a tighter fit around the tie rod stud and the final outcome should work until I can find the real deal.
Has the mystery of the tie rod source and where to buy replacements been solved?? (see attachment pictures) I understand from one of our ACA members our 2003 setup is metric....thanks Dave F.!
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Name:	Steering Box Tie Rod rear view#2.jpg
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Name:	Steering Box Tie Rod rear view#1.jpg
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
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If this is the "drag link" then please post the outside diameter of the tube. The drag link ties steering gear's Pitman arm to the DS wheel end steering pivot.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:54 PM   #3
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Engineer Mike,
Hoped I might see something from you.

The outside diameter of he tube is 1 13/16"
It is as you have written...the drag link that ties the steering gear's Pitman arm to the DS wheel end steering pivot (spindle).
Hope this helps in IDing our system and hoping you have a suggested source for parts!! Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2011, 01:26 PM   #4
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There is an original drag link design & a modified. The modified has a larger tube diameter, thicker steel, to make up for a larger angled kink that places the tube out of the way for a larger wheel cut. This larger angle and heavier tube moves the center of gravity for the tube well off the center-to-center of ball joints where the tube can pivot, so there is constant gravity stress on the tube causing it to push on the rubber ball joint boots & pinch. Eventually the boots crack & fail.

One work-around is to use a trucker's bungee wrapped around the tube ~8" behind the forward DS tire bulkhead and hooked up to the 1/2" bolt at top of bulkhead. This counterbalances the off-center gravity load, which is exacerbated by rattling down our nation's crumbling highways. If your existing boots are cracked but ball joints are still good, another work-around is to wrap a width of rubber sheet around the grease boot area & retain w/safety wire or a large hose clamp; this won't be as sanitary as the OEM boot but will keep grease on the joint.

The OEM ball joint on the later drag links is a ZF part# 038.160.003.000, and I contacted ZF to try to stock this part. My request was met w/initial enthusiasm but later died a death of a thousand procrastinations. Here is what the part looks like (sorry I scanned it upside down):
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BallJointDetail 38.160.003.000.pdf (307.6 KB, 186 views)
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Old 11-04-2011, 01:30 PM   #5
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Here is another possibility. Received this from an Alpiner who followed the rubber-sheet-wrap/hose-clamp method, and I believe finally replaced his; the supplier gave this info:

Dayton Part Number: 310-444 (right hand threads), 310-443 (left hand threads). The box also had a industry standard number: ES9601R

I haven't been able to verify that part#, and the "left hand threads" bit is a little spooky as the modified OEM drag link has two right-hand-thread ball joint ends that are the same part, but hopefully someone can chime in and verify that the RH unit is correct or not. Also, I have no idea what the "box" refers to, might be shop slang.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:54 PM   #6
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Engineer Mike,
Thanks for the information and suggestions. Your description of what happens to damage the boots with the design solution used by WRV appears to be "spot on". To avoid damage to my new / used boot, I plan to put your drag link support idea into action. The drawing looks exactly like the tie rods on the drag link in our coach and the tie rods boots. Will be in communcation with ZF to see if they will put action in the place of good intentions.
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Old 11-05-2011, 02:01 AM   #7
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I was fishing around for the Dayton 310-444 part#. See this page and compare the specs vs the PDF above. The large thread is end ~0.72" shorter but that shouldn't matter. The taper length is slightly longer (1.10 Dayton vs 1.04 ZF) which also shouldn't matter. Only differing spec is the taper which I calculate (C-D)/E, at 1:5.92 Dayton vs 1:8 called out on the ZF drawing vs (C-D)/E = 1:6.26 ZF if I calculate it off the given dimensions. Also the thread receiving the castle nut is metric M20 Dayton vs 7/8-14 UNF on the ZF which shouldn't make any difference using a new nut (looks on the linked page like they sell w/nut & cotter pin).

IIWMI'd order the Dayton unit and try it out. That small difference in taper isn't worth the agony of climbing the ZF hierarchy. Again, both ends on the late model drag link per ZF drawings are RH thread so if replacing both it takes two RH tie rod ends for the later modified (larger diameter) drag link. Earlier, thinner tube drag links have one RH & one LH threaded tie rod end as it is conceivable you could spin the tube w/ends still nutted in to adjust length, whereas the larger angle on later model links fairly precludes adjustment w/out removing at least one end from its pinned joint.

I also found this cross reference: Euclid E-10163 here along w/the "FLAGG" number ES9601R which matches the reference we received above. There is a picture of the ES9601R further down the PDF and it doesn't have a zirc I can see. Don't know if the Dayton does.
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:09 AM   #8
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I've studied the information in your ZF drawing, you indicate is the OEM metric tie rod, and the metric Volvo truck Dayton tie rod information in the sources in your post. The Dayton tie rod appears to be a tie rod that an Alpine Coach owner with metric tie rods can install as a replacement if or when a tie rod goes bad on this drag line. The ZF website is not user friendly and your experience calling them on the phone was no better. You have solved a mystery and given all of us with this metric tie rod in our coaches a course of action by installing the Dayton tie rod. On behalf of all of us owning an Alpine Coach with metric tie rods.... Thank You!!
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