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Location: Apex, North Carolina
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lucky mistake (Steering rack)

I'm using the snow as an excuse to not go to work for the last 2 days and I'm beginning to put my front end back together, slowly...
I mounted the steering rack on the aluminum support bar and got the rack all hooked up, then "brilliantly" started the tie rods. I realized as soon as I looked at the tie rods I should have put them on first. I figured I'd just do it under the car since the rack was already hooked up. After messing with the boot for a few minutes the rack was back out.
tie rods in, I started looking at the rack a little more closely. I had noticed when I first took it out there was a small amount of play in there and had meant to investigate it but with all the parts cleaning and painting I forgot. I figured it was the gear that was worn anyway and sort of assumed it was what it was.
I'm not springing for a new steering rack!
I took the shaft off and found the bracket under it leading into drive gear was the culprit. It's set up just like the torsion bar ends. I thought at first the splines were worn and put a good bit of lithium grease all over it to soften the play a little. When I tightened it back down.... It was as tight as the day it was born.
I hope I don't have to take the rack out again but I guess some other things might go in and out again. This is the fun part anyway. No rush.
I'm still waiting on the missing shock anyway. UPS is going to turn out to be the hero in that story. I'm sorry I bashed them.
Back down in the hole!

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1979 911 SC Targa
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Old 01-27-2004, 04:07 PM
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You don't have a pic of the area you adjusted do you? I'll be removing my rack shortly & think it might need some R & R.
Old 01-27-2004, 04:32 PM
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I didn't take a picture. It wasn't very deep into it though. I downloaded some blow ups of the rack thinking I might tear into the thing but after looking at all the pieces I decided against it. My project is too big already.
There are 2 bolts holding the shaft that runs up through the smugglers box. I removed them and the shaft and the big rubber bushing came off. Under that is a bracket that the two bolts and the bushing mounted to. The bracket is sitting on a splined spindle that may have a slight cone shape to it because when I tightened that nut all the play was gone.
Another little tip. I have always had a little clunk in the steering wheel. After I installed the bump steer I got in the car and started turning the wheel back and forth to make sure everything was clearing with the new rack height. The clunk thing seemed worse so I loosened the bolt that holds the shaft to the U joint in the smug box and pressed the shaft in as far as it would go. Problem solved. I have wondered about that extra 3/8ths inch of height pushing up on the whole mechanism and wondered if it wouldn't change things. I don't think it's mentioned in the 101 projects book. I think Wayne just says to loosen the clamp and raise the rack but the bar running through the dash to the steering wheel doesn't have enough room to move up 3/8ths of an inch and work properly. It's a ***** to tap the shaft into the u joint though. There is no room to woork and it in the back of the trunk. I think that's why mine was messed up to start with. Someone was messing with it and never set it back in far enough. I grabbed the u joint and the clamp with some channel locks and taped the top of the channel locks with a hammer, it slid right in.

Steering Rack "Rebuild" Procedure
#9 in the blow up picture is the nut that I tightened.
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Old 01-27-2004, 10:15 PM
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looking down at a old camaro or chevy steering box you will see a nut with a allen nut in the center it adjust the play, just dont over tighten as it will be stiff, Kevin
Old 01-27-2004, 10:52 PM
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You want to leave that clamp bolt for the U-joint loose until the full weight of the car is on the wheels and you have hand-rolled the car down the driveway, having a second person turn the steering wheel from lock to lock to remove inherent tension.

Also be sure to torque the crossbeam that the rack sits on to the full 66footpound spec.

Did you blue loctite the steer rack to the crossmember? That is good advice...

Finally, did you repack the steering rack?

John
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Old 01-28-2004, 08:12 AM
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I didn't locktite the rack. I was a little concerned about ever having to get it out again. It's not to late. I guess it's never to late but now would be the time. The locktite in the aluminum rack is not a problem if you ever have to get it out again?
I'm not doubting what your saying about the weight changing the connection height but I don't understand why. All of those components are fixed in the chassis aren't they? They shouldn't move right? The cross member doesn't flex when weight is on the car does it? If it did I would guess they would fail after some time. and our cars are all into the "some time" realm. Mine sure is
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Last edited by Mike Kast; 01-28-2004 at 08:29 AM..
Old 01-28-2004, 08:23 AM
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EDIT: See note below from BG - I got my Loctite colors wrong!

Red and Green: heat required
Blue, no heat required to remove.

Each holds the bolt in place, but can be broken with a stronger twist of the wrench. Idea is to hold the bolt in place regardless of forces that might loosen them.

Check out my thread on the front suspension at Front Suspension in: Post-install comments.

Best of luck!
John
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Last edited by Jdub; 01-28-2004 at 08:47 AM..
Old 01-28-2004, 08:37 AM
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Noooo....green loctite 680 is a close tolerance bonding adhesive that DOES require lots of heat to break free....
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Old 01-28-2004, 08:42 AM
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Mike,

You meant #8 nut in the diagram, right?

I think the grease is quite critical in the steering racks! The ZF factory apparently used a plain lithium grease on the production line. It has a bad tendency to stiffen up with age, and especially in cold weather! After discovering the type of grease used in my first ZF rack cleanup/discovery/exploration project in the mid-80s prior to installing Turbo tie-rods ... I decided that a synthetic moly grease was the best choice, so I used Amsoil GHB. Now that Valvoline SynPower Synthetic Grease with moly #985 & #986 is readily available, that is what I recommend.
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Old 01-28-2004, 09:00 AM
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I used the SynPower 985 as per Warren's advice. It is all of about $6.00 a greasegun tube at NAPA.

As an aside, one greasgun tube will handle four CV joints with a bit left over.

John
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Old 01-28-2004, 09:03 AM
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Kinda strange that #8 nut was loose. Pretty sure that's a deformed thread locknut.

What actually determines the drag on the rack (besides misaligned and dry (needing a bit of oil) u-joints) is the shimming of the pressure block. Described toward the bottom of the page in those steering rack assembly pictures.

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Old 01-28-2004, 10:36 AM
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