Replacement Power Rack And Pinion For My '89 Gt

Discussion in '1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk-' started by VirginMuscleMan, Mar 4, 2014.


  1. VirginMuscleMan

    VirginMuscleMan New Member

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    I am looking for a replacement power steering rack and pinion for my 89 GT, where can I get one for a good price, and anything I should know about the install ?
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  2. John Dirks Jr

    John Dirks Jr Active Member

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    Most parts stores like Autozone carry them. They are not too expensive. Mine was about $80.

    The lines are not easy to get to while the rack is bolted in place. Remove the two big mounting bolts first and pull down on the rack. This should give you much better clearance to get to the line fittings. Also, make sure you flush all the old fluid out of your PS pump. If you dont, the old contaminated fluid will mess up the new rack and you'll be right back where you started.

    Following the instructions that came with the rack helps too. But plan on getting a professional alignment when you are done installing.

    There are two types of racks available. The difference is the ratio, or, number of turns from stop to stop. I believe the GT has 2.25 turns from stop to stop. The other rack might be something like 3 turns.
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  3. John Dirks Jr

    John Dirks Jr Active Member

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  4. MFE92

    MFE92 Active Member

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    The listings can be confusing. You want the "sport" "15:1" "2.5 turns lock to lock" rack. But here's the catch: Even if you get the right ratio and the right number of turns lock-to-lock, there are two components inside the rack that determine its "feel": The spool valve, and the torsion bar, or T-bar. The 5.0 parts are very specific, and generate a very specific feel compared to the less performance-oriented version, but they all fit inside the same housing, and they almost never wear out. Mass remanufacturers take the racks apart and throw the internals into bins, and basically give about 1/1oth of a **** which ones they put in the rack when they assemble it, so the chances are really good that the rack you put in it will have very light, numb steering compared to what you have. On the other hand, if you live near any decent sized metro area, chances are really good you have a local rack/driveshaft/CV joint rebuilder who will rebuild your rack with new seals etc and not change the heart of it, the spool valve and T-bar. They'll do it for close to the cost of a parts-store reman, and they'll turn it around same day or within a day or two. Do a little digging and your driving experience will thank you.
    #4
  5. 84Ttop

    84Ttop They make new pistons every day, so why worry? SN Certified Technician Mod Dude

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    I learned something new today, Thanks! @ MFE92
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  6. VirginMuscleMan

    VirginMuscleMan New Member

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    That is really good to know. What about getting one of these new ? Are they exceptionally expensive ? Or really hard to find ? Or are they simply more difficult to find/expensive, enough that it is not really worth getting a new one ? I am right outside of DC so I should be able to find someone for whatever I need.
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  7. VirginMuscleMan

    VirginMuscleMan New Member

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    And yah I am definitely getting a professional alignment after the install.
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  8. Chuckman

    Chuckman Active Member

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    any new ones you'll find are new-old-stock, and you probably have more chance of winning the lottery than finding one since its kind of a commonly replaced part. rebuilds are the norm for this. manual racks though are available from the aftermarket new. sn95 racks will also bolt up with a few mods (tie rods need changing, different steering shaft, what else i dont remember), and may be slightly easier to find either new or in a better used state.
    #8
  9. 89stang1

    89stang1 Stroked and Juiced

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  10. MFE92

    MFE92 Active Member

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    After all the troubles I've heard with people trying to get the correct guts in AGR racks, I wouldn't gamble it. "Incompetent" comes to mind.
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  11. VirginMuscleMan

    VirginMuscleMan New Member

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    So . . . Anyone know someone in the DC area that could rebuild my rack and pinion for me ?
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  12. VirginMuscleMan

    VirginMuscleMan New Member

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    I love the idea of a rebuild to preserve the handling, but this car is my only car, and I usually need it to get around, so how feasible would it be to take out the rack, take it somewhere to get it rebuilt, and get it back in my car in, say, a weekend ?
    Also, this is my only car and I usually
    Also, this is my only car and I usually
    Also, this is my only car and I usually
    #12
  13. 91TwighlightGT

    91TwighlightGT Active Member

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  14. 2000xp8

    2000xp8 Mustang Master

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    I use an AGR and have for years, it's a 12:1 (which they told me they don't make the 12:1 anymore). Never given me an ounce of trouble.
    It's extremely fast and light feeling.

    I too would say it's worth the money.

    I just wish the steering racks on everything else i own felt the same way. Little bit of shock factor going from another vehicle into my mustang when i haven't driven it in a while.
    #14
    89stang1 likes this.
  15. gearheadboy

    gearheadboy Mod Dude

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    I bought mine from Auto Zone. I picked the quick ratio one and I LOVE IT. Nice quick easy turning. Would it be good for road racing? I dunno but I like it for the street.
    #15
  16. VirginMuscleMan

    VirginMuscleMan New Member

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    I uh, I uh, I uh, I uh, apparently cannot talk right lol. I dunno that I want something "Light feeling" -- I like feedback when I turn. When I saw "The 5.0 parts are very specific, and generate a very specific feel" and " so the chances are really good that the rack you put in it will have very light, numb steering compared to what you have." I took that to mean that other components besides the original were likely to give less feedback, and a less complete feel while driving. Not the end of the world, but . . . inoptimal.
    #16
  17. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    Steering rack replacement
    The two inner tie rod ends are usually what wears out, and at $45 each, it's better to get a replacement rack assembly since they are part of the package. The rack is about $100 + a $40 refundable core charge, which you get back when you return the old rack. Be sure to ask for the GT or high performance rack, it has fewer turns lock to lock than the standard rack.

    The flex coupling for the steering shaft needs to be disconnected before you can get the rack out. You should disassemble the coupling by removing the 2 bolts that hold it together. The lower part of the coupling will then come out with the rack, and can easily be removed.

    The tie rod ends can be removed with a tool that looks like a giant "pickle fork", it's less than $8, or some stores will rent/loan one. Remove the cotter pin & nut on the tie end, stick the tool between the rod end and the arm it connects and hammer away. The bigger the hammer, the easier it comes apart.

    Remove the two bolts that bolt the rack assembly to the frame and then pull the rack down. Dropping the rack before attempting to remove the hydraulic lines will save you 30-45 minutes of fussing and sweating, and you’re going to have to remove them anyway. Get a catch pan to dump the fluid in when you disconnect the hydraulic lines. I replaced the rack mount bushings with some Energy Suspension urethane ones. When you re-install the rack assembly, put the rear bushings in the rack assembly and lift it into place. Then install the hydraulic lines, front bushings & washers and tighten down the nuts. Doing it this way makes room for the hydraulic lines without having them bind against the frame.

    To change the tie rod ends, do them one at a time. Loosen the jam nut 1/4 turn, then unscrew the tie rod end from the rack. Turn the jam nut back 1/4 turn to return it to its original position. With the tie rod end removed, use a machinist square to measure the distance between the end of the threaded rod and the jam nut. Sit the bottom of the square against the end of the threaded rod, and the end of the blade of the square against the jam nut. Duplicate the measurement on the new rack and then install the tie rod end and tighten the jam nut. Then do the other side: the front end will need aligning, but the toe in will be close enough to the setting of the original rack to drive to the alignment shop.

    Buy several extra quarts of fluid to run through the system to flush it when you change the rack. The car needs to be up on jackstands for the next step. Fill the pump up, start the car, and turn the wheels lock to lock to bleed the air out. Then stop the engine, disconnect the low pressure hose (the one that is secured with a hose clamp) and drain the pump. Re-connect, refill and do it several more times or until the fluid looks clear and not burnt or black.

    Power steering pressure lines:
    Each hose uses an O ring on each end to seal them. The hoses will swivel when they are installed and tightened into place. That is why there are O rings on the fittings. The O ring is the part that actually makes the pressure seal. If you slide the nut all the way back as far as it will go, you will see the O ring and the groove cut into the center section of the fitting.

    [​IMG]

    Sometimes you will get some white Teflon rings with the pump or rack. The rings go on the threaded part of the fitting to reduce or prevent small leaks. They are not meant to seal the pressure part of the line or substitute for the rubber O ring. Heat the white Teflon seals in hot water and they will be easier to install. You can install the fittings without them and not have any leaks if the O rings seal good.
    #17

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