Installing Rack and Pinion Question?? centering steering

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Thread: Installing Rack and Pinion Question?? centering steering

  1. #1
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    Installing Rack and Pinion Question?? centering steering

    I pulled my rack out and I had to take out that bar that connects the steering wheel to the rack. It shouldn't be a problem installing everything, but I was wondering when I put back my rack, what do I have to do to make sure everything is centered?

    I think I will just center my steering wheel, and then center the rack and pinion and just connect it. I can't see any other way to go about it. I just want to ask to make sure there is not a better way or some other way that I may be missing.

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  3. #2
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    Yes, make sure you get an alignment after you're done.

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    NO SOUP 4 U IamWedge's Avatar
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    On racks you can take a white metal marking pen and mark the threads on the inner tie rod, where it connect to the outer tie rod. Do both sides.
    Now go inside you car and make sure your steering wheel is straight. I have a steering wheel bar to lock it in to place. (use to do lots of front end work)
    Now go loosen the nut on the intermediate shaft. (where i connects to the rack.)
    Racks ussually are set for a nuetral position (for straight steering)
    The intermediate shaft will only go on to the rack in one position the bolt rest in a cut out on the rack input.

    Now go under the car. Remember those marks you put on the outer tie rods? Another thing you can do before you drop the rack out is count the threads exposed. Write it down some where.. Left and right.

    No remove the cotter pin on the tie rod at the spindle. If you have access to air tools this next part will go faster. Loosen the nut on the end at the spindle. If you are reusing the the old tie rod ends.. ( they might be in good shape yet) Loosen the nut untill its flush with the top of the threads dont leave the threads exposed. Do the other side now. same way. If you have a pickle fork... seperate the tie rod from the spindle. Or if you are gonna use brute force.... take a large brass drift, or just a little 3lbs hammer and 1 maybe 2 wacks on top of the nut at the spindle and the tie rod should drop down. Now remove the nut. It should come off pretty easy. Do the other side. Undo the power steering lines. Measure from the housing of the rack, where the boot is. To the center point of the bolt hole on the spindle. Yes, i know you marked the threads with a white marker, I always measure it twice. Dont clean up the threads on the old rack. Loosen lock sleeve for the outer tie rod. I use a tie rod socket the fits over the end of the tie rod and remove it. Where you screwed off the outer tie rods.... count the dirty threads, count the same thread number on your new rack. Put a mark around it. ( I steal my wife's nail polish and do the threads like this on some cars... the other stops where cant get past the threads. Remove the tie rod from the other side. Count em up again and transfer your mark. Unbolt and remove the rack. Install and bolt in your new rack. Check the cut out on the rack to where it meet the intermediate shaft. Is it the same? Now...... Screw your outer on. Now measure it. You remember... from the rack housing to the center of the spindle? This time you measure to the center of the stud that goes into the spindle. You should be real close... you should be in the same position. Now go do the other side the same way. If you do this right... You might be able have it perfect. If you havent done this before... I would go get it aligned anyhow.

    Sorry about the crazy write up.

    Or.... go here.

    http://www.cygnusx1.net/Supra/Librar....aspx?S=SR&P=1

    Good luck
    Last edited by IamWedge; 06-07-2010 at 09:06 PM.
    Its not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with your stupidity and make it work for you. FZ

  5. #4
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    I am confused here. How do I make sure my rack is centered before I connect the intermediate shaft?

    When connecting the intermediate shaft to the steering rack, I did not make any marks, I just put the intermediate shaft right on the steering rack. SInce it is a new rack, does it matter where I install the intermediate shaft? Of course I had the steering wheel locked to center and had the rack as best center as I could get it.

    With how I centered my rack the best I could, when I drive, in order to go straight I Have to hold my steering wheel 45degrees off center. What are the draw backs if I go align my car being off centered like this, I assume there may be enough room in the tie-rods to center it.

    On my 89Turbo I spun the steering wheel around when the intermediate shaft was off the car. Spun it like 10x around. Did I screw anything up in the steering wheel, like any of the electronics. My car has no air-bag.

  6. #5
    NO SOUP 4 U IamWedge's Avatar
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    Most times the rack is center to be straight. I havent installed many that are off.

    Most of my front end work is done on a rack. If you are doing this on a flat driveway.... time to get on your belly. When i did alignments I would look down the outsides of the front tires at the bottom. Move a little left and right till the front doesnt block the rear of the front tire, and the rear isnt sticking out either. Think of it like holding a ruler vertical. You want to look perfectly down its side. So while looking down this tire.... you want to be able to view or try to view the rear tire. If you can see alot of rear tire on both sides you are toed in. If you can see the tires you are toed out. Yes you can see alot on tie on one side and none on the other. One tire would be toed in one would be toed out. Its sorta hard how to tell someone how to do this.

    If your steering wheel is off you more than likely didnt get the toe set right. (The outer tie rods didnt get screwed on in the same spot.) You said your steering wheel is off by 45 degrees. How does it steer? Does it want to go straight or does it feel like you have to hold the steering tight to keep a straight line? When you let go of the wheel... does the car go off in one direction or the other? If it goes straight.... park it with your wheels straight (steering wheel off the 45 degrees) Unbolt the intermediate shaft remove it from the rack then set the steering wheel to straight and put it back on the rack. Tighten the bolt and try driving it again. Lemme know what happens with the adjustment. If you are off a hair with the toe, its gonna eat up your tires. Get it aligned.

    As for you spinning the steering wheel 10x Im sure you could turn it forever in one direction. I dont know if there are any stops.

    If you want when you take the car in to get aligned just ask then to make sure you have a straight wheel. Explain you have just put a new rack in and the intermidiate shaft will come off easy.
    Last edited by IamWedge; 06-09-2010 at 09:22 PM.

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    Got it centered I think. I centered tires from how I had to hold the steering wheel while driving. They looked pretty straight at that point. I unscrewed disconnected the intermediate shaft and removed it with the tires still straight, centered the steering wheel, put the intermediate shaft back on, test drove the car. And it drives very straight now with the wheel centered.

    I need an aligment because I put new outer tie rods on and didn't really mark anything.

    I guess this is as straight as I will get the rack. The tie rods were set to factory default spacing of .567 inches of thread showing.

    This total job took me like 2 days to do or over 15 hours. I'm not sure if I should be happy that it is finally complete and done correctly, or pissed for taking that long to do a job that I think Toyota Service has it listed as taking under 3 hours of Service. Either way it was a sucky job to do as it is difficult to get to the screws, and to get the lines connected back on the rack.
    Last edited by DRED; 06-10-2010 at 01:34 PM.

  8. #7
    THE LAST NA SupraCooled's Avatar
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    its a pain. I put in a new rack and i messed with the intermediate shaft 3 times and finally got it where i wanted it. off course i had to test drive everytime, then take it apart and do it over again.

    /i finally got it straight then did a wheel alignment and now the wheel is off again. this is going to be the 4th time jacking up car and disconnecting intermediate shaft.


    will probable take 90 minutes. but its worth having the wheel straight, i feel like a redneck with it cockeyed
    WTB ASAP: ABS COWL/DASH harness, glove box striker, wheel bearing dust cover FL.
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  9. #8
    NO SOUP 4 U IamWedge's Avatar
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    Glad to hear it DRED. When you do a job the first time... it always takes a while. Once you do it again, your time gets better. Marking it might have helped install time. Ever heard the saying measure twice... cut once? Well the same goes for mechanical work. Once the job starts you can have a rack out of a car in about 20-30 minutes (depending on if you have to drop the sub frame). Adding the tie rod ends and setting them up, then throwing it back in. Book times are always over stated. Good job man.

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