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Old 09-17-2016, 10:36 PM   #1
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steering rack replacement how to

i didn't see one previously on this site (or anywhere) that had everything clearly laid out. figured i could do the job semi alright. Temporarily stickied until it gets moved to the big list of how to. useful pics will be added. THIS IS FOR THE MK1.

easiest step is #1: disconnect sway bar end links/tie rod ends. the sizes for both sway bar end link/tie rod ends depend if its been replaced or not but i assume the common sizes are 15 mm or 17 mm. i strongly suggest the bottom sway bar end link bolt and you only need to disconnect the tie rod at the hub. swivel/turn/tilt/whatever the sway bar up, its easier to work with it out of the way.


so step #2 (the most important one) will be to loosen, but not necessarily take out, all 6 of the sub frame bolts.
there are 4 that are the farthest back, and two in the front, the front should be directly above the hub/LCA's.
the four in the rear are 18 mm and two up front are 15 mm iirc.


front bolt is square in the middle^ pretty much right below the red sway bar in this image.
some of the back four were stuck so an impact and some pb blaster were required to take mine out.
hint: get a jack so if you screw up you don't squash your noggin if you eff up while doing this.

#3 once you've successfully lowered those, you'll want to loosen the two bolts holding the steering rack to the sub frame. those are 15's. again, mine were stuck so i had to play Jenga with a breaker bar to get them free.



now it gets easier from here

#4 there are two PS lines and a steering column that need to be disconnected before we can remove the rack. the PS lines are easy, a 10 mm and several extensions or obnoxious wrenching will remove the plate holding the two in. there is also a clip that's a 5.5 mm bolt iirc (however 7/32 works too) that holds the lines in place. remove the two bolts and you can pull up on the lines and be done with it. (a quick google of PS replacement line will help show what i'm talking about here, a helper is really nice for this part) careful, fluid will start spilling out as soon as you yank up and get those disconnected.

i got no pics for this one sorry, its easy though i swear :b

#5 disconnecting the column rack, LOL this sucked.
my opinion its easiest to start with disconnecting the column from inside the cabin. there is a 10 mm bolt by the gas pedal, take that out and disconnect the two rods.

then you get to fight with the plastic cup thingy. fight and get that thing off the rack, careful not to break it, its ~15 yr old plastic now. once you get it up off the rack you should spot another 10 mm bolt hiding underneath the cup. remove that, lift to separate the column piece from the rack.
finally you can wrestle gently with the rod and cup to get them out of the way.

i got no pics for this either, sorry. this the part that sucked

#6 remove the heat shield for ease of exit/install. they are something ridiculously small. like 7 mm iirc there are only two holding it on.

this is one hole where part of the heat shield is held in the middle of the image
the other one is on the part that connects to the column, you'll see it, hard to miss.

#7 remove rack, you twist and turn, fight and curse to get it out. finally, you conquer the beast, swear you never want to see it again and toss the thing.

FOR RE-INSTALLATION

basically put it all back together. my suggestion? get it in and bolt the thing down.
then put the cup/column rod thing on and tighten it down.
the rest you can fight with in any fashion, id personally leave the last two to be sway bar/tie rod end and finally tighten all 6 sub frame bolts.

HAVE FUN!

im gonna show off my nice aluminum bushings i got here. because i can :b
MY bushing
your lame bushings (that actually work just fine.)
if you do end up with a set or get a set machined.
i used a C clamp, a really big socket and a smaller one to push the bushing out. its basically a ghetto-fabulous at home press. once its half way out and i bottomed out the bigger socket i used a bench vice (forgot the name) to snag onto the half fallen out bushing and lifted/turned the rack up to wiggle it free.

got no pics for process.

PS: if anything isn't clear feel free to comment or correct me.
thank you,
@slow_solo_focus


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Last edited by slow_solo_focus; 09-18-2016 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 09-17-2016, 11:02 PM   #2
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Might as well undo the ball joints and just drop the whole sub frame down. Works great if you use a tranny jack from harbor freight. Super easy and all the room in the world to work with once it's on the ground. You can even clean it and make it look pretty lol
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Old 09-17-2016, 11:07 PM   #3
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Ball joints plus dog bone at that point. I hated the dog bone, figured I'd save another soul the trouble.

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Old 09-18-2016, 09:14 AM   #4
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Might as well undo the ball joints and just drop the whole sub frame down. Works great if you use a tranny jack from harbor freight. Super easy and all the room in the world to work with once it's on the ground. You can even clean it and make it look pretty lol
This^^^^+ it makes it so much easier if your upgrading your sway bar too.
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:21 AM   #5
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I don't remember the sway bar being all that bad?? Lol

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Old 09-18-2016, 09:30 AM   #6
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I don't remember the sway bar being all that bad?? Lol

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Its not like its bad, just a great time to upgrade the diameter if needed such as if you added a Steeda race bar or if you wanted to go w/ The Eibach sway bar kit.
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Old 01-19-2017, 09:52 PM   #7
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Cool write up! I'm likely doing my clutch in the spring, and to make dropping the trans easier, I might just go ahead and drop the dang subframe while I'm at it. I'll do rack bushings and sway bar bushings since it'll be out (I have all the stuff already, just no gumption to go out in the "cold" and do it!). I figure getting the subframe and LCA's out of the way would make a LOT more room to drop the trans out. Plus, like you said, our beloved cars aren't getting any younger, so refreshing things and cleaning them up couldn't hurt.
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