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Power steering rack disassembly questions
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campism
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:33 pm    Post subject: Power steering rack disassembly questions Reply with quote

I prepared for this job by reading every thread on "power steering rack" I could find and I really appreciate the posts by everyone who attempted this before. Perhaps I should have gone for a rebuilt unit instead of trying to reseal this one, but I can always go that route. I got the rack out after a couple of hours' struggle and am now trying to get it apart. Great fun.

1) Bentley 48.5 says to "unlock tie rod" and I am unable to do that, and
2) The plastic line that runs from one end section of the rack to the other also does not want to come loose so I can't separate the rack sections. I do not want to break the plastic pipe or its end pieces but can't figure out how they come out.

The internal threaded rings at each end I did manage to loosen, so that's a plus.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I'll tell you one thing. The last time I worked under the van in August in Virginia it was in a gravel driveway, and this time in an air conditioned garage is much, much better no matter how much trouble the steering rack is giving me. Thanks in advance.
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To unlock the tie rods, pull the boots off the steering rack and look at where the tie rods connect. You will see that a punch has been used to crimp or deform slightly the thin sheetmetal cover to prevent it from unscrewing. You unlock this by using a screwdriver or something else driven in to pry the sheetmetal out and allow the tie rod to be unscrewed. So it's locked simply by physically bending the part, often referred to as "staking" it.

I can't recall exactly how things are set up in there, as I did this a few years ago when I replaced my tie rods, but that should tell you what you are looking for. I recall needing to rotate the rack such that the tie rod was extended out of the rack first on one side to work on it, then the other side. And I recall not being able to fully pull the staked area out, but once partly unstaked, unscrewing the tie rod with force finished the job.

The tubes you refer to - are they the ones loosened with a 6mm allen wrench? If so, they are a very poor choice of fastener and the soft metal makes them likely to strip. If you trash the rack and give up on it, someone on here needs one of the tubes....

DougM


Also, FYI - Van Cafe has rebuilt racks for $325 or so which I found to be a good deal. After all, tie rods and boots are over $100. Don't forget tie rod ends which are a separate item.
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1987 2WD Wolfsburg Vanagon Weekender "Mango", two fully locked 80 Series LandCruisers. 2016 Subaru Outback boxer. 1990 Audi 90 Quattro 20V with rear locking differential. 1988 Mitsubishi Van w/ dual spinny seats, mid engine and solid axle.1990 burgundy parts Vanagon. 1984 Porsche 944, 1992 Lexus LS400, 1988 Toyota Supra 5 speed targa project in pieces, 2002 BMW 325iX
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morymob
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If yours is a 87, mine is a 88 so it looks like this was the transition yr on racks from plastic xfer line on top to metal, lucky me I guess its crappy metal as mine is rusted out and I''m looking 4 a line to replace it. Gonna have to pull the rack to do this to remove the banjo bolts holding ends on, kinda sucks.
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campism
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips. I'll try them.

There are three external lines on mine, two long and one short. One long and the short (these are the metal ones) use banjo connectors at each end and are held by 6mm Allen bolts that came loose with a little persuasion. I did have to use a pipe wrench on the last bolt on the short pipe.

The remaining long line is the plastic one and it appears to be a press fit at its ends and from those ends into the rack itself but I will look for hidden or gunked-over fasteners.
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campism
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I got the tie rods unlocked and removed but am still concerned about getting the plastic tube loose without damaging anything. I'll be trying a heat gun on it to see if it that lets me work it loose. I spent much of my time today rearranging the garage so I could get my worktable under adequate light, maybe one reason I could not spot the staked areas of the rack before this. Eventually this job will be done, one way or the other.
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campism
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought I'd post some pix I took on this job with some thoughts and hints to pass along. First involves keeping the steering wheel aligned. Rather than try to fix it after I wondered if tying it off before beginning would help so that is being tried. I'll let you know if this helped when I'm done.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Flare wrenches are handy to remove the power steering lines to the rack. Auto Zone had a set of three that topped out at 18mm, and Advance Auto and NAPA had the same sets, but we need 19mm for one line and 22mm for the other. I don't especially like shopping at Harbor Freight but they had sets in both Metric (up to 22mm) and SAE so I got one of each at 9.99 on sale.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


When loosening the tie rod ends at the steering knuckle you must knock them loose without damaging anything. After removing the cotter pin back off on the castle nut until its top is flush or a little proud of the ends of the threads on the end, then hammer away without damaging the threads to loosen. Another of those "just in case I need its," a spot of white paint on the threads to mark where the tie rod ends are now. Can't hurt and might help.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Several threads on the topic say you do not need to remove the spare carrier but I needed the space to work due to stuck hose fittings. Having the space helped a lot since I had to wedge wood blocks above one of the wrenches to immobilize it when double-nutting the fitting.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Once the frontmost (smaller) of the two hoses is loose, go ahead and remove the rest of its fitting to permit better access to the rear (larger) one. Makes life easier.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



My contribution to the Samba brain trust and tool resources. Many of these rack threads mention the "special tool" you need to find or make in order to unscrew the internally threaded lockrings at each end of the rack. The solution is as close as your nearest bicycle shop and its Park Tool display. I used the red SPA-2 but the older blue or yellow ones (which now appear to be out of production) might be better fits. You probably still need to use a hammer and drift punch with a small tip to do the preliminary loosening on these rings, but this tool speeds up the rest of the removal.
http://www.parktool.com/category/bottom-bracket?page=1

The black plastic tube in the same photo is the one I'm having trouble removing but rereading several threads indicates this is just a vent line so I plan to cut it away from its end fittings and replace it with a new run. Good luck when you try this job. It's not as messy and painful as exhaust work, but not by much.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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campism
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally got the thing rebuilt and back into the van in preparation for our upcoming trip. Be CERTAIN to keep track of how things come apart and which order. You'll save yourself a lot of grief and time redoing your reassembly. Take pictures. Take MORE pictures. Make notes, drawings, whatever it takes. Your next door neighbor will not be able to help you with this.

Seal kit from Bus Depot includes what you see here and a few more. The rack shaft should actually point the other way if this photo is to represent everything correctly. The teeth on the rack should be on the right in this photo, on the driver's side of the rack where the pinion housing is.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This is the center stop with its little labyrinth. Blue fiber washer fits into the groove around the outer edge of that metal washer, with the black O-ring inside it on the shaft. Interesting concentric arrangement. Good lockring pliers are must for this.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The right size socket can be very helpful when removing some of the seals if there is access from the back. A broomstick drift and socket combined does the trick.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



If you do not have a vise, one way to immobilize the rack while you tussle with it is to bolt it to something that gives you some leverage. This setup can work for loosening and tightening the tie rods to the rack, and for loosening and retightening the infamous internal lockrings.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This did not work. Great idea, but somehow something got moved so the wheel is now out by about 1/8 turn to the left. Functionally it's fine, but the wheel really needs to be aligned. I'll look for instructions on how to do this.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


That's about it. I've put about 80 miles on it since the reinstall and there are no leaks and no groans, so I think it worked. Nice to have the power back in the steering. I'm still mentally prepared to crank on it when turning and am always pleasantly surprised when that is not necessary. Now to go campin'!
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Syncromikey
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the breakout photos of the power steering rack!
I bought a remanufactured one from GW and only after about 1000 km it started leaking into the passenger side boot and then out of the boot onto the ground. Disappointing to say the least, it'll be interesting to get in there to see if it was caused by some sort of contaminants I may have inadvertently introduced. Confused I'm on holidays right now and have to keep filling the reservoir with fluid or it'll just run out. I would hate to have to buy another new rack so I'm looking at rebuilding the old one. Since it's remanifactured and I've already replaced the solid lines with hydraulic hoses I don't think I'll have as much issue removing it and taking it apart. I think I'll wait till I get back home before I start though. The wife would kill me if I couldn't get it back together before we were supposed to leave ... Me ... I would think of it as a great excuse to stay at the cabin for another week. Very Happy
Great recommendation on the bike tool for the locking nut removal. There are likely a couple other places that could be used as well.
Removing the wheel is really easy. All you basically have to do is pull the horn cover off, disconnect the wires for the horn (so they don't accidentally get yanked off), loosen the nut holding the wheel on, wiggle the wheel while pulling it away from the column so it comes off of the tapered, splined shaft end and adjust it to where you would like. Since this isn't a really precise job before you pull the steering wheel off, align the wheels so they are lined up to where you think you are headed straight forward, pull the steering wheel off and put it back on so it's centred.
I likely don't have to mention it here but for completeness and safety sake, don't drive the vehicle without putting the nut back on and tightening it down. It can be tempting to just see if it's straight with a quick drive cause the steering wheel can seem to be held on tight. I mention it only because when I was a kid a friend of mine used it as a parlour trick of sorts. He thought it was funny to be able to pull the wheel off while driving. Rolling Eyes Shocked . The things we do when we are kids and are still invincible.
Cheers,
Mike
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campism
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Syncromikey wrote:
I think I'll wait till I get back home before I start though. The wife would kill me if I couldn't get it back together before we were supposed to leave ...

Yeah, you really don't want to pull this thing apart unless and until you are safely back at home or in a fully equipped shop. The rack removal detailed elsewhere in the "power steering rack" threads tells you what tools you need and you might have them with you, but you just KNOW you're gonna wind up needing something that you did not bring or is too expensive, or whatever. For example, the drift and sockets to remove the seals? I used not a real broomstick but the handle from a toilet plunger. Hey, it worked! And the sockets were from the SAE toolbox in the garage left over from my old truck and not the metric toolbox. They were the only ones large enough.

I'd remove the PS belt and drive it as a manual until reaching home. It's not that tough to drive it that way and it won't pump out all the fluid continually.

Thanks for the tip on the steering wheel removal.
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yep drove mine w belt off for two months. not really an issue at all and i still would be were it not for the slack in the inner tie rods. on the road if a bad leak happened, i would literally cut the belt off and be moving again in 90 seconds. new $9 belt when you are working on it later at home, versus accidentally stripping a bolt and stranding the van taking old belt off intact.
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1987 2WD Wolfsburg Vanagon Weekender "Mango", two fully locked 80 Series LandCruisers. 2016 Subaru Outback boxer. 1990 Audi 90 Quattro 20V with rear locking differential. 1988 Mitsubishi Van w/ dual spinny seats, mid engine and solid axle.1990 burgundy parts Vanagon. 1984 Porsche 944, 1992 Lexus LS400, 1988 Toyota Supra 5 speed targa project in pieces, 2002 BMW 325iX
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campism
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IdahoDoug wrote:
yep drove mine w belt off for two months. not really an issue at all and i still would be were it not for the slack in the inner tie rods. on the road if a bad leak happened, i would literally cut the belt off and be moving again in 90 seconds. new $9 belt when you are working on it later at home, versus accidentally stripping a bolt and stranding the van taking old belt off intact.

Also, if you cut the belt you will not have to mess with disconnecting one of the little coolant lines that runs from the passenger side head to the overflow tank. The belt would go right on and off were it not for this tube.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finished the job last night by aligning the steering wheel that had gone crooked on me when I reinstalled the rack. After marking the wheel’s rim with tape during a test drive I pulled the horn cover easily (caution: this can be a nail-breaking activity) and Sharpie-marked the steering shaft for my alignment. Removed the nut and yanked the wheel, then reinstalled it in the right orientation. Ten minutes. The two wires for the horn can be tenacious on their spade connectors, so be careful removing them.

I also recharged the A/C in prep for the trip. Now to wash the van, load it up and skedaddle. Thanks for all who provided info, pix and suggestions. See you out there.

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