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steering rack lessons learned
I replaced the steering rack on my 86 5000S about a month ago. My original
post died (if not, my apologies). Here are the main lessons learned.
1. Preparations You will need a little more than a liter of hydraulic fluid
(have at least 2 on hand). You will need an assortment of wrenches including
an open end 19 mm. You will also need an assistant for about 10 minutes at the
very end to finish up completely. The car can be driven without this help. Of
course you also need 4 of those compression washers. Bentley specifies
replacement of the tie-rod lock plate. It seems nobody does this and the part
is a special order item at the dealerships. You don't need one.
2. Time. Book time is 6.5 hours, it took me about 8 (breaks not included. Its
not a hard job, except for loosening the lines on the rack and that takes time
and muscle, not brains.
3. Short cuts. Bentley is wrong and Haynes is right (amazing!). You don't need
to remove the right tie rod end. The rack will come out if the car is jacked up
(after everything is disconnected).
4. Undocumented part of procedure. You will have to remove parcel tray and
heater vent on driver side to connect steering column to new rack. The column
is spring loaded. If you just hook it up, the column will be noisy. To fix,
get assistant to push column in (as far as it will go, then back up 3mm) and
hold in place while you tighten clamp holding column to rack. BTW, connection
between rack and column is inside passenger compartment (at firewall). You
may also need to remove and center steering wheel.
5. Stupid tip. If you want to keep garage/driveway clean, oil will drip from
rack connections at 3 points. Have those coffee cans ready!
Otherwise, its exactly Bentley and Haynes describe.
BTW, a good mech told me that failing racks usually seem to get better and
worse several times before failing. The key, it seems, is temperature. They
leak more when its cold, and may fail outright (i.e., gush) in severe cold.
Moral -- winter approaches, plan your work now.