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Thread: Replacing rack ends - Can I do it myself?

  1. #1
    SweetWagon's Avatar
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    Default Replacing rack ends - Can I do it myself?

    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

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    Morton's Avatar
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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
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morton View Post
    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
    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.

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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
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  5. #5
    rob drag racer's Avatar
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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 )
    i wont tolerate cretins aiming to cause problems here at jc and nor will i hesitate to let the moderators know
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  6. #6
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    Maybe check the joint between the column & the rack.
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    Quote Originally Posted by faroogoo View Post
    Maybe check the joint between the column & the rack.

    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
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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?

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  9. #9
    rob drag racer's Avatar
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    are the bolts in the rack tight ? they can become lose
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob drag racer View Post
    are the bolts in the rack tight ? they can become lose
    which bolts would they be?
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