[V8] I'm so sick of fixing things I paid others to fix

Ed Kellock ed.kellock at msn.com
Thu Nov 12 16:57:53 PST 2009

My black 93 had issues with it's steering rack.  The mounting spot on the
driver's side was cracked.  I had a shop weld it.  It cracked again.  They
welded it again.  
It's been about a year and the steering was feeling loose again.  The
steering started loosening up again and the steering wheel wouldn't always
be straight after a turn.  This was happening to either side.  I realized it
wasn't renewed cracking recently when I was in a gentle curve and went over
a pavement seam and the steering wheel readjust itself in my hands by about
an eighth of a turn.  I was pretty sure that was a loose rack mount or
So I went in today and found loose rack mount bolts, all 3 of them.  I
started to tighten one of the pair on the driver's side and it wouldn't
torque to the proper spec but didn't feel stripped.  I backed it all the way
out and found that someone had used a bolt without a shouldered head and a
split washer.  As I "torqued" the bolt I was actually drilling into the rack
material with the split washer.
I started looking for a flat washer and magically found that I just happened
to have a pair of brand new shouldered bolts of the exact dimension, though
a little longer than necessary.  The only thing they didn't have was the
ribs on the washer surface to keep it from backing out.  I used blue loctite
and torqued then to 40 (spec is 37).  
Prior to doing this I had loosened the passenger side mount to allow the
rack to be torqued down on the driver's side without trying to narrow the
bodywork.  I torqued it down at the end and all was well.  
I had a helper at just the right moment and found that there is still some
looseness in the steering system. The rack end of the driver's side tie rod
has almost no bushing left in it.  However, the steering feels tighter than
it ever has.  I do need to recenter the steering wheel now which leads me to
believe that previously the driver's side rack mounts were most likely
torqued with the passenger side tight, which may very well have caused the
cracking in the first place.
I also found a big silicone blob around the hall sensor on the passenger
side distributor.  It's running fine, so I'll tackle that another day with
some JB Weld.
Of all the V8's I've owned, this one contains the most evidence of monkey
lad attention, by far.  

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