Bronco Tie Rod Failures: Rarity or Looming Problem?

Laura
Jul 01, 2022
Moderator Staff member

Administrator

Jul 01, 2022

2022 Bronco Wildtrak_optional HOSS 3.0_Fox Internal Bypass Dampers Package_07.jpg

Adding aftermarket performance parts without upgrading the surrounding vehicle underpinnings means risking failures at the weakest unchanged point. It’s basic reliability engineering. In the case of the Ford Bronco, some owners have upgraded to heavier wheels or larger tires without toughening up the stock steering system. That leaves the stock tie rods as the exposed element.

Result: We’ve seen some examples of tie rod failure when rock-stomping some difficult off-road trails or challenges.

Read the full article, and tell us what you think. Have you increased your tire size or wheel weight? Will you try to get the Ford Performance severe-duty steering rack and tie rods?

I'll say, that snapping of the tie rod in the video WILL make you wince.
2021 Oxford White 2-door non-Sas Mid package 2.7L/10-speed Badlands with MIC top
2021 Carbonized Gray 2-door Sas High package 2.7L/10-speed Badlands with MIC top
Keeping the Jeeps: stock '89 XJ and 3.5" lifted '00 XJ on 31s
extra toasty, BroncoFred
Last edited by a moderator: Jul 01, 2022

I want to go back!

Jul 01, 2022

#1
My wallet is ready to buy upgraded Ford Performance tie rods when they become available. For now, I purchased two replacement sets as a backup in case I snap one on the trail.
the poacher, OLD HOUND

Rank V

Jul 01, 2022

#2
Our mods (wheels, 37s, 3 inch coilover lift) were all installed August 2021 before tie rod breaking was a known issue. As a result + how hard it is to get parts we've kept our offroading very tame. For now. Either going to do full steering upgrade through Ford Performance or Broncbuster. Waiting to see what Ford Performance says then making our move to upgrade steering asap.
2021Bronco☆2.3☆BL☆7MT☆4D☆A51☆SoftT☆ARRIVED 9/9/21☆SOLD 1/21/23☆NT Supports▪Consults▪Supply's Car Dealers, Vehicle Distributors, and Retail Customers Since 1992
the poacher, CBWAR1

Rank III

Jul 01, 2022

#3
I bought my Bronco for primary off road use. I have upgraded suspension and to a heavy wheels and tires(35” Boggers) Upgrade the steering via aftermarket parts. Would love to buy the improved rack and tie rods. Current cary a spare rack ($1800) just in case, but haven’t broke a thing.
SlashRacer, Deano Bronc

Mud,Sweat and Gears

Jul 02, 2022

#4
View attachment 38915

Adding aftermarket performance parts without upgrading the surrounding vehicle underpinnings means risking failures at the weakest unchanged point. It’s basic reliability engineering. In the case of the Ford Bronco, some owners have upgraded to heavier wheels or larger tires without toughening up the stock steering system. That leaves the stock tie rods as the exposed element.

Result: We’ve seen some examples of tie rod failure when rock-stomping some difficult off-road trails or challenges.

Read the full article, and tell us what you think. Have you increased your tire size or wheel weight? Will you try to get the Ford Performance severe-duty steering rack and tie rods?

I'll say, that snapping of the tie rod in the video WILL make you wince.

You're asking me what I think? you know that can be dangerous. :p
Upgrading components is part of modifying a 4x4.People with experience know this, newbies are unaware that one change involves other changes.
I owned a machine shop for 30 years and was approached all the time by people looking to modify or repair some thing they screwed up, people create their own problems by being rough with their offroader.Seen some bizarre carnage.
I would look at the rack, tie rods , knuckles, bolts and gears if putting on bigger tires or doing serious offroad.
Joined May 29, 2020 Member 546
CBWAR1, D190065

Rank VI

Jul 02, 2022

#5
View attachment 38915

Adding aftermarket performance parts without upgrading the surrounding vehicle underpinnings means risking failures at the weakest unchanged point. It’s basic reliability engineering. In the case of the Ford Bronco, some owners have upgraded to heavier wheels or larger tires without toughening up the stock steering system. That leaves the stock tie rods as the exposed element.

Result: We’ve seen some examples of tie rod failure when rock-stomping some difficult off-road trails or challenges.

Read the full article, and tell us what you think. Have you increased your tire size or wheel weight? Will you try to get the Ford Performance severe-duty steering rack and tie rods?

I'll say, that snapping of the tie rod in the video WILL make you wince.

Most gear heads know this. They learned it the hard way.
JoergH, Laura

Accepts All Cookies

Jul 02, 2022

#6
I like the idea of getting a HOSS 3.0 equipped Wildtrak. It's a great package that inspires confidence. However, I prefer some of the features in the Badlands package that I ordered. I'll simply modify my Bronco to handle increased performance demands. I would perform these mods regardless of whether I increased tire size or ride height. I would rather be over prepared than under prepared. Given my circumstances, I'm going to have plenty of time to consider my upgrade options. Plenty of time...

And that one video of the tie rod snapping was painful to watch. Talk about instantaneous immobility! :cry:
2023 Ford Bronco Badlands Sasquatch • 2-Door • Velocity Blue • 2.7L V6 • 10-Speed • Lux • Various Mods...
"Everything hangs on one's thinking... A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is." - SENECA
CBWAR1

Rank VI

Jul 04, 2022

#7
Bronco Tie Rod Failures: People not knowing how to wheel or being too hard on their Bronco.......News at 11?!

Youtube is the way...... To see peeps doing some nonsense to their B's! Hey, not saying its bad but who's to blame.....or is the excuse to blame?! Hmmmm :unsure:
A big square Lightening Blue FE with puffy tires.....and a CB antenna for good measure! ;-)
Cornwelltoolman, okie4570

Rank IV

Jul 07, 2022

#8
I'm thinking Ford should offer the OG WT owners some love when the new upgraded Ford Performance parts become available, as we did not have the opportunity to upgrade to the HOSS 3.0 at the time.
Lnashsig

Trusted and Carefree

Jul 07, 2022

#9
Since no one asked for my opinion, I will provide it anyway. :)

Bronco Tie-Rods are adventure fuses. A lesson I learned the hard way with my old CJ, is to think about the weakest link in whatever system you are putting under stress and make sure it is one that is relatively cheap, easy to get to, and not a bear to fix. Things are going to break off-road, and no system is one hundred percent bullet proof. If you upgrade the cheap and easy parts, then maybe that weak link shifts to something that's expensive and had to repair. Given the choice, I would much rather swap out a broken tie rod than a busted steering rack. I am not saying that I wouldn't upgrade stuff (Far from it, busted gear is just the good Lord's way of saying its time to upgrade), but folks need to be smart about how they go about it and think about it as a total system. A stouter tie rod might shift that risk to something else. Might not too, but it could and I recommend you think about it before you start bolting on a bunch of stuff without a plan for the whole set up.

I also think its worthwhile to carry a couple extra "consumable" parts (and for the Bronco that probably includes tie rods) and figure out how to swap them out before I went out for a rough day in the dirt.
2023 Wildtrak. "Sometimes you got to get lost, to get found" -J Bronco
ChrisD, Big Papa

Mud,Sweat and Gears

Jul 07, 2022

#10
Since no one asked for my opinion, I will provide it anyway. :)

Bronco Tie-Rods are adventure fuses. A lesson I learned the hard way with my old CJ, is to think about the weakest link in whatever system you are putting under stress and make sure it is one that is relatively cheap, easy to get to, and not a bear to fix. Things are going to break off-road, and no system is one hundred percent bullet proof. If you upgrade the cheap and easy parts, then maybe that weak link shifts to something that's expensive and had to repair. Given the choice, I would much rather swap out a broken tie rod than a busted steering rack. I am not saying that I wouldn't upgrade stuff (Far from it, busted gear is just the good Lord's way of saying its time to upgrade), but folks need to be smart about how they go about it and think about it as a total system. A stouter tie rod might shift that risk to something else. Might not too, but it could and I recommend you think about it before you start bolting on a bunch of stuff without a plan for the whole set up.

I also think its worthwhile to carry a couple extra "consumable" parts (and for the Bronco that probably includes tie rods) and figure out how to swap them out before I went out for a rough day in the dirt.
It gets to a point where you might as well start with a tube frame and build a dedicated off road machine sometimes it's cheaper when you add up axles, steering, suspension, frame, body mods.this is all before engine and tranny
Joined May 29, 2020 Member 546
TK1215, Mal

Rank V

Jul 07, 2022

#11
From what I've seen and gathered, I've yet to see a stock bronco in any configuration break a tie rod or steering rack. Lifted and larger tires every time. I've also noticed that a lot of folks are "rock hopping and ramming" rather than rock crawling lol.
2D BL, Sas, 2.7l, High, Silver 10:22pm 7/13/20 Res, 1/31 2/7 2/14 2/28 3/7 build dates
built 3/11/22, delivered 4/16/22
Cornwelltoolman, Stone

Rank VI

Jul 07, 2022

#12
I dont plan on "Rock crawling" but having a tierod failure isnt just a problem for crawling. Wheel hop in general can expose a weakness in the system. To that end i started with tierod sleeves from brocbuster. Thier easy to install and should last for anything i get into. 20220423_182719.jpg
2021 4 door Badlands Sasquatch, Rapid red. 2.7, high package. Reserved on 07-19-2020, ordered 01-20-2021, delivered 12-05-2021
Broncofly, Darrel

Rank V

Jul 07, 2022

#13
Have the HOSS 3.0 equipped wildtrak. So already paid for the upgrade quite dearly. Not worried at this point. Only time will tell.
95 Eddie 5.8 Windsor 2021? nope, 2022?, wait 2022.5 HOSS3.0 equipped WildTrak/LUX/Leather/MIC. 7/14 RES
the poacher, TK1215
Moderator

RedNexican X Apalacian American: Goofyness!

Jul 08, 2022

#14
Good article Laura. However I've seen a video of a stock squatch truck doing a slow and controlled climb blow the steering rack/tierod. No mods. It was not "beating on the truck" nor overly complicated.

L.R.
okie4570, Deano Bronc
Moderator Staff member

Administrator

Jul 08, 2022

#15
Good article Laura. However I've seen a video of a stock squatch truck doing a slow and controlled climb blow the steering rack/tierod. No mods. It was not "beating on the truck" nor overly complicated.

L.R.
I do wish our author was able to touch on that situation a little more (straight stock, trained driver).
2021 Oxford White 2-door non-Sas Mid package 2.7L/10-speed Badlands with MIC top
2021 Carbonized Gray 2-door Sas High package 2.7L/10-speed Badlands with MIC top
Keeping the Jeeps: stock '89 XJ and 3.5" lifted '00 XJ on 31s
TK1215, JoergH

Rank VI

Jul 08, 2022

#16
Since no one asked for my opinion, I will provide it anyway. :)

Bronco Tie-Rods are adventure fuses. A lesson I learned the hard way with my old CJ, is to think about the weakest link in whatever system you are putting under stress and make sure it is one that is relatively cheap, easy to get to, and not a bear to fix. Things are going to break off-road, and no system is one hundred percent bullet proof. If you upgrade the cheap and easy parts, then maybe that weak link shifts to something that's expensive and had to repair. Given the choice, I would much rather swap out a broken tie rod than a busted steering rack. I am not saying that I wouldn't upgrade stuff (Far from it, busted gear is just the good Lord's way of saying its time to upgrade), but folks need to be smart about how they go about it and think about it as a total system. A stouter tie rod might shift that risk to something else. Might not too, but it could and I recommend you think about it before you start bolting on a bunch of stuff without a plan for the whole set up.

I also think its worthwhile to carry a couple extra "consumable" parts (and for the Bronco that probably includes tie rods) and figure out how to swap them out before I went out for a rough day in the dirt.

This is a very wise & logical way of looking at this. I appreciate this as a guy with 27 years in the construction, maintenance and mechanical trades. Over engineering can lead to some more serious problems if you don’t evaluate the entire system. The weakest link will usually break first. Many times these weak links are very difficult and expensive to repair due to over engineering and lack of thought in the design process. Excellent post.
ChrisD, Mal

I want to go back!

Jul 08, 2022

#17
Good article Laura. However I've seen a video of a stock squatch truck doing a slow and controlled climb blow the steering rack/tierod. No mods. It was not "beating on the truck" nor overly complicated.

L.R.
Do you have a link to the video? I have a theory about the forces of gyroscopic precedence on tie rods and I want to see if this incident fits the theory.
okie4570

Rank V

Jul 08, 2022

#18
Does anyone have an actual soup-to-nuts comparison of the wildtraks updated steering rack and tierods vs the rest of the model line? When looking at pictures online, they weren't obviously different
Moderator Staff member

Administrator

Jul 08, 2022

#19
Does anyone have an actual soup-to-nuts comparison of the wildtraks updated steering rack and tierods vs the rest of the model line? When looking at pictures online, they weren't obviously different
I haven't seen the components off the vehicle anywhere yet, so right now we're going off written word and those pics. Article here for those who want to look again.
2021 Oxford White 2-door non-Sas Mid package 2.7L/10-speed Badlands with MIC top
2021 Carbonized Gray 2-door Sas High package 2.7L/10-speed Badlands with MIC top
Keeping the Jeeps: stock '89 XJ and 3.5" lifted '00 XJ on 31s
ried, Broncofly

You must log in or register to post here.