How to Install a New Steering Rack in a Nissan Altima

by ContributorUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Mechanic's toolset, including a full socket set, wrenches and screwdrivers

  • Torque wrench

  • Ball joint separator

  • Replacement parts

How to Install a New Steering Rack in a Nissan Altima. The Nissan Altima gained distinction as a practical family sedan while offering handling and performance that appeals to the driving enthusiast. The Altima sets itself apart from the pack by offering sporty handling with ample, refined power as well as a comfortable, pleasant interior. The third generation Altima (2002 to 2006) is in demand by used-vehicle buyers. The following steps detail the installation of a new steering rack in the third generation Altima.

Remove the Old Steering Rack

Disconnect the battery ground and then disarm the air bag system. Remove the bolt that secures the lower steering column to the power steering gear assembly. Matchmark the shaft from the steering gear to the steering column joint to assure proper installation.

Remove the hoses from the power steering gear. Plug the hoses with gold gees to prevent leakage. Disconnect the cotter pins and the castle nuts from the tie rod ends.

Use a ball joint separating tool to take the tie rod ends from the steering knuckle. Remove the mounting nuts and bolts from the front exhaust pipe.

Take the front exhaust pipe from the car. Remove the control cable or the linkage from the transmission. Position it out of the way as needed.

Loosen and remove the mounting nuts and bolts from the power steering gear. Remove the steering gear. Take care when separating the steering column joint.

Inspect the steering gear mount bushings. Replace the bushings as needed.

Install the New Steering Rack

Align the steering column-to-steering gear matchmark; then install the steering gear to the car make sure the mounting bushings are properly installed.

Finger-tighten the mounting bolts. Torque the steering gear mounts to 54 to 72 foot pounds working right to left on one side and then right to left on the other side.

Install the pinch bolt to secure the lower steering column shaft to the power steering gear assembly. Tighten the pinch bolt to 17 to 22 foot pounds.

Connect the tie rod end to the steering knuckle. Torque the castle nut to 22 to 29 foot pounds. Tighten the nut further to align the slot in the castle nut with the cotter pin hole. Install a new cotter pin.

Reconnect the control cable or linkage to the transmission. Replace the front exhaust pipe assembly with a new gasket. Connect the steering hoses to the steering gear.

Reconnect the negative battery cable. Start the engine and then fill the power steering reservoir.

Perform a front end alignment. Enable the air bag system.


Make sure that the vehicle's wheels are aligned straight and that the steering joint slot is aligned when installing the lower steering joint to the steering gear.

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