How to Install a Rack-and-Pinion Steeringby Alec Cunningham
Removing and reinstalling a rack-and-pinion steering system is the same procedure for most vehicles. The only difference is the way it is removed from the frame. In some vehicles, you must lower the subframe to take the system out, while steering racks on other vehicles are located below the frame, and the subframe does not need to be altered. Follow these directions for cars with a steering rack located below the subframe.
Set the front tires forward using the steering wheel and lock the steering in place to keep the tires in alignment. Then remove both the positive and negative cables from the car battery.
Use a jack and jack stands to elevate the car and remove the front wheels. Drain the power steering fluid and detach the steering column lower joint.
Remove all nuts from the inner and outer tie rods, and disconnect the tie rod ends from the steering knuckles. Detach the front exhaust tube and place a support below the engine. Remove the center member and all nuts attached to the engine mounts.
Remove all nuts from the bulkhead hole cover and move the cover aside. Take the lower joint off the rack and pinion. Remember the steering neutral position by making a mark on the pinion housing and shaft. Detach the power steering fluid pipes and mounting bracket bolts, and then remove the rack and pinion altogether.
Guide the new rack and pinion into position and replace the mounting brackets. Tighten the nuts to 54-72 foot-pounds of torque.
Connect the power steering fluid pipes to the rack and pinion. The lower pressure line should be torqued to 20-29 foot-pounds and the higher pressure line should be torqued to 11-18 foot-pounds.
Align the lower steering joint and pinion shaft, and torque to 17-22 foot-pounds. Replace the bulkhead hole cover and tighten to 36-43 inch-pounds.
Replace the front stabilizer. Place the engine mounting center member back into position, tightening all bolts to 57-72 foot-pounds. Then take the support out from below the engine.
Tighten the nuts on the tie rod ends to 22-29 foot-pounds and secure a new cotter pin in place. Install all other objects in the opposite order of their removal.
Fill the power steering reservoir with fluid, and then bleed the system. Perform a four-wheel alignment if needed.
Things You'll Need
- Jack and jack stands
- Full socket, wrench and screwdriver set
- Ball joint separator
- Torque wrench
- Cotter pin
- Replacement rack and pinion system and parts
Alec Cunningham writes for the entertainment section of two newspapers located in Knoxville, Tenn. She also writes a biweekly photography column for a famous Australian photographer's website. Cunningham began writing professionally in 2010 and is currently working on her bachelor's degree in journalism at Tusculum College.