How to Install Seals in a Rack & Pinon

by Bronwyn White
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The rack and pinion are essential components of a power steering system. The seals around the rack and pinion are responsible for keeping the power steering fluid inside the mechanism. If the seals begin to wear out, fluid can seep into the bellows that encompass both ends of the rack. If the seals are not replaced, the bellows will continue to swell with fluid until they burst. Replacing these seals is a meticulous task but costs less than completely replacing the rack and pinion.

Step 1

Remove the dust cap from the pinion by unscrewing it. Remove the nut underneath it by using a crescent wrench. The steering shaft is now exposed. Pry the off the circular dust seal and slender open-circle snap ring with a needle-nose pliers. Separate the pinion from the rack with the punch tool. Apply the tip of the punch to the other end of the pinion. Gently tap the end of the punch with a hammer until the pinion slides out. Remove the seals with the pliers.

Step 2

Replace the seals on the pinion using the corresponding seals from the rack and seal kit. Use pliers, if necessary, to fit each seal securely to the shaft of the pinion.

Step 3

Pry the thin, open-circle snap ring off the passenger side end of the rack. Pull the rack out from the passenger side end of the housing using needle-nose pliers. The seal on the passenger side end of the rack will come out with the rack. Pry the passenger side seal out with needle-nose pliers. Push the driver's side seal out.

Step 4

Slide the new seals on both sides of the rack using the corresponding seals from the rack and pinion seal kit. Use pliers if necessary so that the seals fits securely.

Step 5

Insert the rack back into the housing. Apply gentle pressure so as not to damage the housing. Place the snap ring onto the passenger side end of the rack.

Step 6

Insert the pinion into the housing. Gently tap it with the punch. Place the snap ring around the exposed shaft of the pinion. Slide a new dust seal from the kit onto the pinion, covering the snap ring. Screw the nut back onto the shaft of the pinion with the wrench. Attach the dust cap to the end of the shaft.

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