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rack boot logic

"Lewis Schnaper." <lewis@ukpik.com> wrote:

>The steering rack boot is torn
>on one side near the bolts, the bolt-tabs show that they've been bent
>back, and one cover where the steering arm goes through the chassis
>(you can probably tell that I'm describing this second-hand) is
>So I ordered up a new boot for all of $32, but now I'm having second
>thoughts about paying for almost a day of shop time (maybe 7 hours at
>$65 -- $455)  to replace it.
I did this three years ago. First I pulled the rack out and
rebuilt it
with a $50 original ZF kit. The boot was OK so I cheapened out
and washed it and put it back on. (It was dumb with a capitol
"D"!) Installed the rack back in the car. Two mos later the boot
broke exactly the way you describe. Here's what I've done then:
1. Drain the fluid from reservoir through the bottom return hose.
2. Loosen the 12mm bolt on the clamp that secures the steering
column to the splines of the steering gear and disconnect them.
3. Disconnect both tie rod assemblies at the centre of the rack.
The tabs, as you state, are already unbent.
4. Jack up the front of the car.
5. Pull the front wheels off.
6. Take the RH tie rod out completely.
7. Take out the 10mm bolts that secure the ends of the rack to
the chassis.

the return)

8. Pull the RH end of the rack out of the opening in the RH wheel
well as far as the hydro hoses will let you. About 10 to 15 cm if
memory serves me right.
9. With a 5mm Allen key unscrew both banjo bolts for two steel
hydraulic lines at the rightmost end of the rack. Note that one
has rubber O-rings and the other one has that fancy English
washer w/inner rubber grommet. Save them.

-DO NOT INTERCHANGE THE BOLTS!!- (they have different diameter
holes in them for different flow volumes)

10. Undo the clamps on both ends of the boot.
11. Slide the boot off the rack out in the RH wheel well opening.

Reverse the procedure for reassembling.
The whole deal was over in less than two hours.

>Here's the logic the way I see it:
>- --First, there's no way to know whether this is the original or a
>replacement (new or rebuilt) rack.  It's not leaking

It will soon with the torn boot. You have the inner componentry
of the rack (mostly polished Al and the tender rubber seals)
to road dirt.

>and my impression
>from the list is that this isn't an item that should need replacement >at this mileage.

Not always. I had the leaking rack at about the same mileage as

>I can't come up with a reason that it should have been
>removed unless it was replaced, but it makes no sense that anyone who
>would remove it would leave a torn boot.

Not if the person was dumb enough to do it like I was in my case
(see above). OTOH, the rebuilt racks _always_ come with new
boots. Hmmm....

>I'd appreciate your thoughts on what to do.

I would do the boot right away and forget about the problem

Igor Kessel
'89 200TQ -- 18psi (TAP)
'98 A4TQ -- mostly stock
Philadelphia, PA