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Replacing rack ends - Can I do it myself?

Discussion in 'VN - VP Holden Commodore (1988 - 1993)' started by SweetWagon, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. SweetWagon

    SweetWagon booosted

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    Wagon recently developed a bad knocking in the front suspension/steering, I knew one ball joint was shagged (thinking that was causing the knock) and a few other things needed doing so I replaced

    Control arm bushes
    Lower ball joints
    Wheel bearings
    Swaybar links
    Tie rod ends
    Strut tops
    Shocks

    Took the car for a drive and im still getting a bad knocking sound, When the car is stationary and I move the steering wheel from side to side quickly the sound can be heard. Im thinking Steering rack ends? My question is are they hard to replace myself? I replaced everthing else so thats all I can think of

    Cheers
     
  2. Morton

    Morton For external use only

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    I can't see how the rack ends would be causing a knock. I think you have to look elsewhere. Here's a simple test:

    Knock out both your tie rod end ball joints, and grab the sleeve of the rack end in a spanner. Twist and turn and pull. If you can't make the rack ends shift about, then they're fine. They're screwed tightly into place and held in by lock washers, so I find it hard to imagine how they could ever come loose when the balls in the end of them turn freely :)

    But if you have to change them, you will need:

    Cable ties
    New boots (worth doing for $10)
    Rack ends
    Lock washers
    HUGE + NARROW shifter
    Stillson wrench
     
  3. SweetWagon

    SweetWagon booosted

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    Thanks Morton, I knocked out the tie rod end and pulled back the boot, when i pull on arm there is a little play in the ball joint, which makes a knocking noise similar to what i've been experiencing, so hopefully I have found the problem. I have ordered a pair of brand new rack ends which should be here in the next few days.
    Will the new rack ends come with new lock washers? and is it as simple as bending back the lock washer and unscrewing the rack end with a shifter? I already have new boots on there so dont have to worry about replacing those.

    Cheers
     
  4. SweetWagon

    SweetWagon booosted

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    Hmmm well i left the culprit rack end disconnected (other side is fine) and jiggled the steering wheel again and I am still getting a knocking sound coming from the rack itself it seems, but i don't see how that would cause the knocking sound going in a straight line like it was so I will still wait till i replace the rack end and see if the problem persists. Hoping I am not up for a new steering rack, although would be a good opportunity to go manual steering :)
     
  5. rob drag racer

    rob drag racer vn vp drag nut

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    i had this issue it turned out to be a lose wheel bearing on the passenger side front just gos to show just because someone calls them self a mechanic dont meen that they do there job properly (i ended up fixing it my self )
     
  6. faroogoo

    faroogoo SENTINEL

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    Maybe check the joint between the column & the rack.
     
  7. rob drag racer

    rob drag racer vn vp drag nut

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    that's possible to mine was worn on the race car and would clunk every time i put any movement to the wheels but the hole straight line issues sounds like a wheel bearing
     
  8. SweetWagon

    SweetWagon booosted

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    Thanks for the input, nah not wheel bearings they are brand new, and adjusted correctly. I checked the uni joint going to the rack, all seems fine there, and since it is only a straight line problem im leaning towards the rack end, it had enough play to cause the knock and I dont think the rack itself or uni joint would cause the knock driving straight. Has anyone changed one before? im a bit unsure about the lock washer, do i just bend it out and can I reuse it?

    Cheers
     
  9. rob drag racer

    rob drag racer vn vp drag nut

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    are the bolts in the rack tight ? they can become lose
     
  10. SweetWagon

    SweetWagon booosted

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    which bolts would they be?
     
  11. azkwazere

    azkwazere Ahhh Yes, Ahhh Yes....

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    Two bolts which run through the rack and K-Frame.

    aZk.
     
  12. rob drag racer

    rob drag racer vn vp drag nut

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    there the ones :thumbsup: even if they seem tight if there worn it will cause movement
     
  13. SweetWagon

    SweetWagon booosted

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    Yep they are nice and tight
     
  14. rob drag racer

    rob drag racer vn vp drag nut

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    and your sure that its not worn ive seen the have to be shimmed before
     
  15. SweetWagon

    SweetWagon booosted

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    The rack itself, who knows its probably the original one on its way out but still it shouldn't cause noises driving straight, pretty certain the new rack end will fix the knocking issue. If not.. well ill worry about that :p
     
  16. Morton

    Morton For external use only

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    Just pull everything out and wiggle it all :p
     
  17. SweetWagon

    SweetWagon booosted

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    haha trust me it has crossed my mind. Even if the new rack ends fix the problem ill be looking into a manual steering rack in future. Just unsure what do do with the P/S pump, cant run the belt without it. Do you know what to do with those lock washers Morton?
     
  18. vn calais manual

    vn calais manual New Member

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    just make a bracket to accept the ps pump pulley as another idler. ;)
     
  19. SweetWagon

    SweetWagon booosted

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    I was thinkin something along those lines or gutting the pump and just running the pulley. Would prefer to have no pulley but looks a bit difficult to get around that
     
  20. Morton

    Morton For external use only

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    Pretty sure you have to run a dummy idler without power steering on the old buick.

    The lock washers you can grab from any steering specialist, my bloke gave me a handfull for free. Take note of how they sit on your current rack ends. The new ones will be flat. Once they're in there (they lock into the rack end), and the rack end is tightened up to about 80nm (or just as tight as you can bloody well get them), then smash the ends of the washers down with a small hammer, so they "lock" around the flat parts of the rack :)

    And you're done!

    Keep in mind you have to pry back the old lock washers before you can remove the rack ends :)
     

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