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2011 Inner Tie rod end

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2011 Mazda2 Touring 5spd
Replacing inner tie rods is generally a fairly simple task. As long as you have the inner tie rod end tool. I have the tool, however the inner tie rod ends that are on the vehicle now do not have any flats for the tool to grab onto. It is completely round. My replacements, not OEM, have 2 flats to grab onto. A lot of other replacements have flats like a socket would fit over it. How does one remove the inner tie rod if there is nothing for the tool to grab onto? I can not find any info specific to the Mazda 2 anywhere. I can not find it in the service manual either.
 
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2011 Mazda2 Touring 5spd
Well...I couldn't find the inner tie rod end procedure on its own in the FSM because the steering rack needs to come out to perform the service. Unless you are lucky enough to have flats on the tie rod end. UGH! This was supposed to be a quick Friday evening project. I need to remove the steering rack, put it in a vise and use a pipe wrench to remove the inner tie rod. What a terrible design! It could only have been designed that way to force people to bring it to a shop. But I refuse, so I will suck it up and remove the steering rack.

InnerTieRodRemove.JPG
 
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2011 Mazda2 Touring 5spd
The procedure in the service manual states to drop the cross member to get the steering rack out. Does anyone know, from experience, if it is possible to get the steering rack out without dropping the cross member?
 
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