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MG MGB Technical - ball joint splitter

I'm taking my front suspension apart for painting. I've tried the two hammer method for breaking the tie rod joint with no success. I have seen three different types of tie rod splitters. One is a wedge that I pressume is hammered into the joint. Another appears to work inline with the joint and another works on a scissor action. What has been found to be the most effective?
Steve Church

I have broken the grip of the taper, once. Now I always unbolt the steering arm from the hub, it's so much easier and should give the access you need.
Stan Best

My preferred splitter for TREs and rear shock drop links is what I presume you refer to as the in-line version, where the body fits aroung the steering arm and a bolt is tightened against the TRE bolt.

I have used the scissor type on a TR6 top ball joint, to good effect.

I also have the wedge type, but have never had occasion to use it.

Dave O'Neill 2

Gear puller and propane torch. Sounded like a gun going off when it let loose.
William Bourne


When you used the two-hammer method, did you also have a good pry bar adding some separating force? If not, try that. It might require a second person or your foot and some contortionist action, and may require cranking the wheels to full lock.

Honestly, I've never used the two-hammer method. I always used one hammer and a pry bar. That always worked for me and doesn't require a second person. I've heard people praise the two-hammer method and thought I might try it sometime.

You are hitting the ring part and not the peg part aren't you? Sorry if that's an insulting question, but you never know for sure if you don't ask.

If you are just painting and not replacing the TREs, remember that the hammer method will leave the rubber intact, and the other methods may not.

C R Huff

Thanks for the replies. I was wondering about what happened to the rubber. Does this mean that if I use any of the 'mechanically assisted' methods, I will need new rubbers? Are they available?

Unbolting the steering arm sounds promising. I'd not thought about that.
Steve Church

I think the wedge type can cause damage to the rubber, but the in-line one is normally fine.

It is also possible to damage the rubber when using the hammer method, depending on how accurate you are!
Dave O'Neill 2


I have only used the hammer and occasionally the "pickle fork" so I can't say how the others treat the rubber. I have for some applications found the rubber to be available, but not very cost effective compared to the cost of a new joint. I have pulled the steering arms to get the rack out of the way of the engine mounts on a rubber bumper. That seems to work fine.

C R Huff

Peter Caldwell showed me the one-hammer method. One good smack from a 2 or 3 pound hammer in line with the steering arm distorts the taper of the hole just enough to allow the TRE to drop out.
David "Doesn't sound plausible, but it works on Spridgets" Lieb
David Lieb

After trying various wedges and 'pickle-forks' and hating the belt it approach I've had best results with the scissors type. However I had to modify mine slightly by building up the face the threaded end of the bolt bears on as it was originally at an angle (see attached). The Nyloc nuts used on these also mean that the stud turns in the track-rod end when the taper is loose, but replacing that temporarily with a plain nut, both to wind out to the end of the threads for breaking the taper, and to clamp up the taper on refitting solved that.

PaulH Solihull

Got the joints split using one hammer and a pry bar after first using the two hammer method. Worked suprisingly easily.

thanks for all your prompt replies.
Steve Church

This thread was discussed between 28/12/2010 and 29/12/2010

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