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Thread: How To: Remove the steering rack

  1. #1
    Senior Member rickjames8's Avatar
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    How To: Remove the steering rack

    So all I could find on this topic was this PDF, with no photos.

    Seeing as I had to do the job, I figured I'd document the process. For the record, this is my first attempt at taking out any steering rack on any car, and I did not find the job too difficult. I would say the 2 most important tools I used were a good flashlight and strong crowbar. In addition to the usual assortment of sockets and wrenches, I couldn't have done the job without those.

    First thing you need to do is chock your rear wheels, apply the parking brake, and set the car on jackstands.
    20161219_120135.jpg

    Next, you need to loosen the nuts on top of the tie rod ends. In hindsight, I wished I'd removed them completely to get them fully unstuck, then put them back on a few turns. The reason for leaving them on there is just so the tie rod doesn't come shooting off, but you're free to remove the nut completely if you choose.
    20161219_120114.jpg

    Next, get your $15 tie rod removal tool and push out the tie rods.
    20161219_125006.jpg

    Next, remove the steering shaft (this is the bit that goes to your steering wheel). The PDF guy said he needed to remove the lower bolt and loosen the upper bolt, but I found I had enough play simply by removing the lower bolt. You'll need a 1/2" socket, and a 1/2 open ended wrench to grab the nut. I guess it depends on where your wheel is at the time of the job, and you could move it around, but I found that this angle was the best for me. A better photo of this part can be seen here.
    20161219_130757.jpg

    Then, I needed to use my crowbar to open the joint slightly. I inserted it in to the gap, and gave a few taps with a hammer. Then I pried upwards using the frame for leverage. This, plus a lot of PB Blaster and a few choice words, and it came right out.
    20161219_134840.jpg

    Then I removed the 4 bolts that actually hold the rack in place. I used a breaker bar, but they were surprisingly easy to turn.
    20161219_125824.jpg
    (interesting note, for the photo, I held the breaker bar in my right hand, camera in my left, and pushed the shutter with my nose.)

    Then, the metal brackets should each lift off with a little persuasion. I used the trusty crowbar once again. (Photos: driver, then passenger)
    20161219_135256.jpg20161219_135105.jpg

    Once the brackets are off, you need to remove the rubber bushings, or the rack can not slide out. On the passenger side, you can remove this rubber bushing quite easily, and then there is a small metal plate beneath it. On the drivers side, there seems to not be enough space to get the bushing out. The guy who wrote the PDF was able to turn his 90* counter clockwise so it could lift up. The image below shows the bushing, and the direction you need to turn it.
    20161219_142234.jpg
    This is much easier said than done. What I ended up doing was wedging a scrap of 2x4 between the rack and the back of the frame so that the rack could not move all the way back. Then, I got the crowbar and pushed on the bottom of the bushing until it rotated around.
    20161219_141740.jpg
    Ever hear someone refer to a job as 'knuckle busting', well the little spots on the sway bar there are from my knuckles....

    Once that bushing is out, the rack slides nicely out from the car. I pulled it out the drivers side, but have no reason to doubt it would come out the other side just as easy.
    20161219_141851.jpg

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Good posting on steering rack

    Thanks for posting this. I plan on doing this job in Feb. The time for this is, what 6 hours?

  3. #3
    Senior Member rickjames8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNY1983 View Post
    Thanks for posting this. I plan on doing this job in Feb. The time for this is, what 6 hours?
    Up to the drivers side bushing took me about an hour. Getting that last bushing out was 30 mins.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Dangermouse's Avatar
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    Excellent post
    Dermot
    VIN 2743, B/A, Frame 2227, engine 2320

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Trstno1's Avatar
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    I am in the middle of re-building my front end as well, and just put a new steering rack in. Not super difficult, but definitely frustrating at times.....

    Though I do have a quick question. Nobody really tells you how to re-connect the lower steering u-joint back on the steering rack pinion once the new steering rack has been installed. Do I just need to disconnect the lower u-joint from the intermediate rod or just loosen the bolt in order to push it up on the rod so that I can get the u-joint back on the pinion gear?

    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
    You can't buy happiness, but you can buy a DeLorean and that's sort of the same thing....

  6. #6
    Senior Member rickjames8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trstno1 View Post
    I am in the middle of re-building my front end as well, and just put a new steering rack in. Not super difficult, but definitely frustrating at times.....

    Though I do have a quick question. Nobody really tells you how to re-connect the lower steering u-joint back on the steering rack pinion once the new steering rack has been installed. Do I just need to disconnect the lower u-joint from the intermediate rod or just loosen the bolt in order to push it up on the rod so that I can get the u-joint back on the pinion gear?

    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
    My new rack has not arrived yet, so hopefully someone else will chime in with the right answer.

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