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Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?


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audioresearch
Novice

Jun 17, 2016, 6:43 PM

Post #1 of 14 (487 views)
  post locked   Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

The car is a 1983 Mercury LN7. It is essentially the same as a Ford EXP which is better known.

It has a manual (not power steering) rack & pinion steering system. On the passenger side end, the rack has a lot of play in it, it will move up and down inside its outer tube until it hits the top or bottom of the outer tube.

Two mechanics acted like this problem was the end of the world. Just how serious is it really? I think the car has been driven with this problem for almost a year and until a mechanic found it while checking the car for other problems, we did not even know of the problem because when driving the car, the steering seemed to work fine.

If you guys think it really is serious, I am interested in any advice on how I can fix the this unit. I want to avoid replacing it, so please do not advise me to replace it. I have not yet
found any decent cut-away diagrams or photos of a typical unit, so I don't know what is inside it except for the joints at either end of the rack for the tie rods and the pinion/rack gears that mesh. In particular, I have no idea what bushing/bearings/whatever are supposed to be there to hold the rack from flopping around like mine is.

I hope the problem is just a bad bushing and that I can just replace it.

Please advise me on how to try to diagnose the specific cause of the loose rack and how to fix the rack.

Thanks very much.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 17, 2016, 6:53 PM

Post #2 of 14 (484 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

I don't think it's serious. The only thing that will happen is you could lose your steering. You don't need that, right

You need a new rack and pinion and probably a couple of tie rod ends, then a wheel alignment.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



audioresearch
Novice

Jun 17, 2016, 7:03 PM

Post #3 of 14 (481 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

Thanks for your reply but I'm looking for info on what is inside the rack/pinion that is supposed to stop the rack from having the play that mine has.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 17, 2016, 7:05 PM

Post #4 of 14 (479 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

The rack is not serviceable. there are no parts available, They sell remanufactured units.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



audioresearch
Novice

Jun 18, 2016, 11:37 AM

Post #5 of 14 (462 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

If someone else can rebuild/remanufacture these,then so can I if I really want to. I have a friend with a machine shop and can make any metal part that is inside these units.

The only question is do I really want to do this myself and that is why I'm trying to find out what internal parts there are that failed so I can scope out what will be involved in fixing or remaking the bad part(s).

I have no use for remanufacturers who sell junk that breaks and believe me if I find an opening, I will make parts available myself and will do everything in my power to put those 3rd-rate junk companies using junk foreign labor smack out of business.

If you or anyone else here can give me any tips about what's inside these units, please do. In the meanwhile, I'm going to take the original rack/pinion unit apart if I can and find out for myself.


(This post was edited by audioresearch on Jun 18, 2016, 11:39 AM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 18, 2016, 11:48 AM

Post #6 of 14 (455 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

OK, good luck with that.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



audioresearch
Novice

Jun 18, 2016, 12:21 PM

Post #7 of 14 (449 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

If I get anywhere pulling the unit apart, I'll post my findings.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 18, 2016, 1:05 PM

Post #8 of 14 (443 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

1983! Is that correct? You'll lose a friend in the machine shop trade over this most likely.


Can't believe and not hunting but don't know this car by name at all. Doesn't matter the unit should be sold already done to put on and should go that way only. When it works you give back the old one to be "rebuilt" again if there's any demand for them at all anymore.


The dinky little parts of rebuilding things are not sold easily to non rebuilders at all - forget it. Making your own parts, seals, bearings, bushings with known materials that can tolerate the forces upon it is a whole different world of the repair thing at all.


Yes - you see people make custom cars and things from scraps that make fun shows - even I like that stuff. Some are so targeted for custom work they really can do this stuff part to copy or not.


Find the right part already rebuilt. Machine work or not you will be lost to so much as seal it from water and be wrecked in no time. Just find the parts,


T



Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Jun 18, 2016, 1:29 PM

Post #9 of 14 (438 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

Why don't you take it apart to see what is worn out inside and to see if it something you can fix? There is service information available and parts to rebuild it. For $100 plus shipping you can get a rebuilt unit that is going to use the same parts you would use to rebuild it yourself.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Jun 18, 2016, 1:43 PM)


audioresearch
Novice

Jun 20, 2016, 11:34 PM

Post #10 of 14 (402 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

I looked through the Ford Master Parts Catalog that covers the car and found that there is one bushing used on the passenger side end of the outer tube of the rack/pinion unit. I found one for sale on ebay and am buying it. It is nothing more than a plastic ring that snaps into some slots on the end of the rack/pinion outer tube.

Even with the bushing missing on my unit right now, the inner rack shaft (the one that has a flat section with teeth cut into it) can only move around a little bit until it hits against the inside of the outer tube. It probably actually can't even move as much as a half inch off its correct centered position in any direction. I don't consider that to be dangerous at all, not even close, and it is typical over-reaction from mechanics trying to scare customers into parting with money they really don't have to part with. I'm going to replace the missing part because I think it might affect the alignment of the front wheels, not because I think it is anything that could ever be dangerous.

Not in a million years would I ever pay $100 or more for someone to rebuild the rack/pinion unit when all they have to do is spend less than 10 minutes to install a $12 plastic part.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 21, 2016, 2:19 AM

Post #11 of 14 (400 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

OK, it's pretty obvious that you think we are all just a bunch of incompetent fools that are just out to rip you off so you should find your help elsewhere.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 21, 2016, 4:58 AM

Post #12 of 14 (394 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

Yup - we're all just rip-off artists. Can fix anything for free or $12 bucks and charge anything we want. You'll find out when it doesn't work or last for a week,


T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 21, 2016, 5:08 AM

Post #13 of 14 (391 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

Just another moron. After all, what can go wrong when a steering gear gets wasted?

It's not like it could jam or break off a tie rod or anything like that.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 21, 2016, 5:31 AM

Post #14 of 14 (388 views)
  post locked   Re: Rack & Pinion-how bad is this problem & can I fix it?  

Perhaps this can use a new wiring harness! We can suggest someone with enough time on their hands to do thatCrazy


T


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