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How does one replace a power steering rack?
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SCM
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:36 pm    Post subject: How does one replace a power steering rack? Reply with quote

Deciding whether I want to take this on myself. I've successfully replaced the propane tank (including cut/flaring copper pipe ends), gas tank, fuel lines and rails. I've never messed with steering stuff before though.

Thanks
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thummmper
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2 tie rods, [if wet inside the boots, the rack is bad]
2 hydro fittings--[remove the adapters or you wont get them back]
4 mount bolts and try to not let it hit the ground-- they make a rebuild kit for 150.00 or gowesty+10% hasem for low 200.00s [245 or so]
2 hours if you are putzing
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SCM
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I assume you need to bleed air out of the PS fluid lines when you're done? How do you do that? Anything to look out for when you unhook/reinstall the steering wheel linkage?
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Steelhead
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thummmper wrote:
2 hours if you are putzing

I must've been really putzing cause it took me almost twice that on my first try. I did have trouble getting the tie-rods out.

w/r/t bleeding. I just drained the system, put the new rack on, refilled, turned slowly both directions a few times and was done. Didn't need to bleed, but maybe I did it wrong and just got lucky. I think I followed the Bentley instructions. I'm sure someone more experienced will chime in.
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Syncroincity
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelhead's right, no bleeding required, but if you're like me and need to replace the fluid lines as well due to rust, you will need to make sure you top off the resevoir on first start-up to avoid running the pump dry as it fills the system. Start the motor and be ready to add fluid. Work the steering a few times lock-to-lock.. that's it.

Count the threads showing on your tie rod ends, and duplicate that when re-installing to avoid disturbing the toe alignment. New tie rod ends are a good idea if not recently done. A torch is handy to heat the old ones if they're stuck.

Now's also a good time to get the Powerflex bushings from Loogy;

http://t3technique.com/powerflex-bushings/steering-rack-bushing-set.html


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shadetreetim
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As everyone has implied, this isn't too hard of a job. Just take it easy, don't get in a hurry, take note of how everything is connected before you start. Before you know it you'll be tightening that last fitting.

Syncroincity's advise regarding counting the threads is good. Although when your done it's very easy to check your toe-in and get the alignment where it needs to be. I like to use two yardsticks to measure the toe.

X2 on those Powerflex bushings.

Good luck. Post pictures. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Syncroincity wrote:
but if you're like me and need to replace the fluid lines as well due to rust


Where did you get the new steel power steering lines from?


Last edited by Fritz on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Syncroincity
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fritz wrote:
Syncroincity wrote:
but if you're like me and need to replace the fluid lines as well due to rust


Where did you get the new steel power steering lines from?


I didn't, I used Frank Condelli's hi-pressure hose replacement set. Easy job.


http://www.frankcondelli.com/hose.htm


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Syncroincity wrote:
I didn't, I used Frank Condelli's hi-pressure hose replacement set. Easy job.



Thanks
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelhead wrote:
I did have trouble getting the tie-rods out.


Difficulty separating them from the wheel? Did you pound them down, use a pickle fork, or a puller?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zippyslug31 wrote:
Steelhead wrote:
I did have trouble getting the tie-rods out.


Difficulty separating them from the wheel? Did you pound them down, use a pickle fork, or a puller?


You're thinking of 'tie rod ends' - the tie rods just unscrew.
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bluebus86
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One VERY important thing to remember is you should flush out the entire system of the old steering fluid, including hoses, pump and resevoir. When my rack failed, it was dripping fluid (seals failed) Not sure if it is cause or effect, but metal bits were in the system. If i only replaced the rack, the metal bits would remain in the system and cause failure of the seals again. (also the high pressure pump dont like the metal bits either, the resevoir filter wont catch every thing!!! fact is when i pulled my filter out I could see little metal bits stuck in it!

I examined the pump and found the shaft to be a bit wobbly, so i got a new pump at the same time and replaced the resevoir filter.

Note that on my new steering rack instructions it said that warrentee is void if metal bits cause rack to fail if I failed to flush the system before install!

how to flush??? with the rack removed, I took some spare hose I had (forget the diameter, but it was fuel hose or maybe heater hose from one of my cars) any way I connected the steering racks input and outlet hoses together by slipping my spare hoses onto them with hose clamps. no need for a super high pressure seal here.
Back in the engine bay I removed the input to the resevoir clamped a length of hose to that hose to extend its length and had this hose discharge into a waste bottle. then while keeping the resevoir filled constantly I idled the engine to spin the pump, I kept pouring new fresh fluid into the resevoir to feed the new pump ( Never let the pump run dry , have an assistant or engine kill switch handy incase you cant keep resevoir filled while flushing)

I ran about a gallon and a half of fluid thru, which was enough to get the fluid discharged to appear new and clean. Note the resevoir and filter were cleaned prior to the flushing.


So dont forget to flush the system and replace the filter. this will assure that your new rack wont start to fail because of contaminated fluid.


From what i have been told it is often a failed pump, discharging metal bits into the fluid that cause leaks in the rack seals. If you have a high milage pump, and are installing a new rack, it might be wise to replace the pump while your at it, this will protect your new steering rack, and will save the hassle of flushing the whole system again when the pump does fail.


many vendors carry the rack, pump and filter. Car quest had a good deal on a rebuilt pump when i did mine.


Last edited by bluebus86 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SCM
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bluebus86 wrote:
One VERY....

From what i have been told it is often a failed pump, discharging metal bits into the fluid that cause leaks in the rack seals...


THANKS!! This was most useful.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When removing the old tie rods counting the turns is one
way to get an aproximate toe setting but a more accurate
way is to measure from the start of the threads to the center
of the tie rod end. It's worth the extra little effort.
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zippyslug31
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jake de Villiers wrote:
zippyslug31 wrote:
Steelhead wrote:
I did have trouble getting the tie-rods out.


Difficulty separating them from the wheel? Did you pound them down, use a pickle fork, or a puller?


You're thinking of 'tie rod ends' - the tie rods just unscrew.


Embarassed *palm smacks forehead*
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SCM
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zippyslug31 wrote:
Embarassed *palm smacks forehead*


This brings up another question I have.I was looking over my Haynes manual this morning (it's more bathroom friendly than the Bentley) and it describes removing the tie rod ends from the steering knuckles prior to removing the steering rack. But the posts above suggest that you don't need to do this and instead can just unscrew the tie rods. Is that correct?

Also, do new racks come with tie rods installed in them already (like shown in lots of vendor photos) or do you need to fit the old rods into the new rack?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SCM most rebuilt racks come with the inner tie rods on it.
Their usually used inners though that have been cleaned and
greased. The couple racks I bought the inners didn't have
any play but they also were not as tight as new ones.
You will need to re-use your old outer tie rod ends or get
new ones. If they were in good shape there is no reason
to replace them. Make sure you don't destroy the boot
with a pickle fork or hammer the threaded stud over
if you plan to re-use. You can borrow the right tie
rod separator tool from most FLAPs. Just borrow their
front end service kit and it will have all the pullers
you'll need.
I buy a lot of tools from pawnshops and got a good deal on
a quality front end tool set for the same price as the ones sold
at autozone. Worth stopping by one of them if you plan on
doing more work of this type.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reused my hose ends and had new parkers made--but that was a few weeks later to simplify things
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thummmper wrote:
I reused my hose ends and had new parkers made--but that was a few weeks later


Was that before or after you waxed the bottom of your van? Laughing

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'll post some pictures of my job since it looks like there may be a lack of them on this subject.

One more thing, the connection between my rack and the rod coming from the steering junction box is the same as shown in thummper's photo - two U-joints that clamp onto the spined ends of the two rods that it connects. How do you deal with that? I assume you loosen bolts and slide it up the rod towards the front of the van until it clears the PS rack rod? How can you be sure that the splined shaft on the new rack is oriented correctly when you hook it all back up? Does measuring/counting exposed threads on the tie rod ensure that the rack is in "straight ahead" orientation, then make sure the steering wheel is also pointed that way?

THanks again
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euro911
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm ...

All of my cars have manual steering. I have two trucks that have power steering, but they're Toyotas and never had any issues to look into.

Now, I'm a total noob when it comes to Vanagons, so don't laugh (too hard) ... do all Vanagons have power [assist] steering? I had a '67 bus back in the 70's and I know it had manual steering.

The steering is OK when driving down the road, but hard to turn the wheel when stopped or when parallel parking. I just thought it had manual steering too.

I put it up on the lift and did a cursory inspection of the undercarriage, but have spent most of the time at the rear end checking the engine and transaxle so far (I've only had it a week).

I did inspect some of the front end components: brake pads, ball joints and shocks, and noticed that the boot on the passenger side tie rod needs replaced, but didn't look closely at the steering rack to see if it has any hoses attached to it.

What would be the most common cause for the power steering going out?
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