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Miata Tie Rod Issues

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  • Miata Tie Rod Issues

    Hi All,

    I know that the miata is a very popular car for rallycross, with entries in SR, PR, MR all across the country. I am wondering if anyone else is experiencing an issue with the inner tie rods bending under rallycross conditions?

    I have been racing a '90 miata in MR for about 3 years now, and have had to replace the passenger inner tie rod two times now. I'm not exactly sure what sort of maneuver is causing the issue, as I haven't noticed a discrete "Hey, I just bent my tie rod!" during an event. I simply noticed that the steering wheel was off center on my drive home. Further investigation revealed the inner tie rod being no longer straight. It's not bent into a U shape or anything, more like a warped pool cue. Enough to throw the alignment off. Since the miata has the steering rack in front, this results in toe-in. I am starting to get annoyed.

    Anyone else have this issue? I have looked to see if there are better/worse parts mix/match options throughout the range of model years, but it appears they are all effectively the same.

    I was thinking about making a custom inner tie rod by welding some beefy tube to it, but then I would need to figure out a new outer tie rod. And, then would need to optimize to reduce bump steer. A bunch of work no matter how you look at it.

  • #2
    Is it bending up, down, fore, or aft? Or no preference?

    I haven't got any good Miata front-end pics besides the one where the skidplate justified its existence in Frostburg. It may be apples and potatoes but I had to do some significant clearancing on the RX-7 to keep the tie rod from hitting the body at full lock and compression. Any chance that your tie-rod is suffering a similar fate? The fact that it happened to the right side both times is a clue.


    • #3
      The direction of bend is unknown, 'cause I didn't pay attention before pulling it apart.

      Here is a pic at full lock.

      It looks like you might be on to something...

      The lower swaybar end link bolt is longer than it needs to be, and it does show some small witness marks on the end of the bolt. The tie rod also shows some paint missing right there too (I just adjusted the alignment, so the missing paint could have been 180 degrees inward and pointed right at the bolt).

      So, I will cut the swaybar end link bolt shorter. Or, just flip it around so the long side is facing the rear of the car.

      I'm not 100% sure this is the cause, but it does seem like a possibility. Thanks Pete - I owe you a beer.


      • #4
        Were you able to fix the problem?


        • #5
          The answer is......


          In a strange turn of events, my car died at the rallycross just after this was posted. Died as in - the engine seized solid after bouncing off the rev limiter for a very long and muddy straight. In the meantime, I have been using my other Miata for rallycross. So, I don't know for sure if the problem is fixed, but at this point it probably doesn't matter...

          Literally seconds before complete engine failure:


          • #6
            Oh I see, thanks for the update. BTW, that's one cool photo you got there.