How to Install a New Steering Rack in a Ford F-Seriesby Contributor; Updated November 07, 2017
How to Install a New Steering Rack in a Ford F-Series. The Ford F-Series full size pickups dominate domestic truck sales and generate more than half of Ford's revenues. Installing a new steering rack presents a few wrinkles because the F 150 series uses a rack and pinion gear and the Super Duty series don't. The steps outlined here cover the F 150 model from 2004 to 2008.
Set the transmission to neutral. Raise and support the truck. Remove the skid plate and front wheel assembly. Remove the bolt connecting the lower shaft to the steering gear.
Hold the clockspring housing still while you disconnect the lower shaft. Feel the ribbon wire as you turn the shaft rotor counterclockwise (when you feel the slightest resistance stop immediately). Turn the clockspring three turns clockwise to its center point. Use two pieces of tape to hold the clockspring in position until you reinstall.
Remove the bolt holding the clamp plate to the steering gear then disconnect the pressure and return hoses. Discard the O-ring seals.
Disconnect the tie rod nuts and outer tie rods. Hold the steering gear in place by pulling back the left inner tie rod boot. (Keep track of how many times you turn it because you will need to attach it with the same number of turns.) Find the tie rod end jam nut in the front wheel's spindle tie rod and remove it.
Unscrew the nuts and bolts connecting the bracket and steering gear to the crossmember then pull the bracket away. Pull the steering gear through the wheel opening on the left side of the truck.
Install the new rack and add new O-rings before reattaching the steering lines. Reconnect the steering system linkage and components. Make sure to use the same number of turns you used to remove them.
Check your Ford manual for the torque settings. These may include 111 foot pounds of torque for the two steering gear bracket-to-gear nuts and bolts; 76 foot pounds of torque for the two steering gear bracket-to-crossmember nuts and bolts; 111 foot pounds of torque for the two outer tie-rod end nuts; 76 foot pounds of for the two outer tie-rod end lock nuts; 17 foot pounds of torque for the clamp plate bolt holding the power steering high pressure line; 89 inch pounds of torque for the bolts on the oil drip shield; and 18 foot pounds of torque for the skip plate bolts.
Refill the power steering fluid and test for links. You should also check the front-end alignment.
The Super Duty F-Series Models don't have rack and pinion steering, which makes their racks easier to replace. The most important differences between the 150 and the 250 and 350 models are that you must remove the air cleaner and disconnect the steering gear coupling shields to access the gear assembly. You will also need to disconnect the drag link and sector shaft instead of the tie rod ends. Finally, the power steering lines use Teflon shields instead of o-rings (which you must also replace).
Keep the boot and clamp seals airtight to prevent contamination. Don't use zip ties. Don't let water mix with the inner ball joint grease. Note the current orientation of the vent tube so the tubes and boots can be restored to the correct location. Don't overturn the clockspring or you could break the internal ribbon.