Replacing rack and pinion

Discussion in 'SN95 4.6L Mustang Tech' started by 87lc2, Oct 5, 2009.


  1. 87lc2

    87lc2 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    17
    Going to replace my rack and pinion, outer tie rods, and steering shaft in a few days. Does anyone have a write-up or any tips for the install? Looks pretty straightforward, just want to make sure im not missing anything. TIA
    #1
  2. wmburns

    wmburns SN Certified Technician

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,120
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    69
    Gosh it is straight forward.

    Remember to measure the wheel center/center before starting. This will help you to get in the ball park alignment for the drive to the shop.

    IMO, the hardest part of the job is getting the Teflon seals on the power steering connections. What I found works is to heat a small bowl of water with the Teflon seals in the water. Use a 3/8" socket extension to stretch out the seal. Do it slow. You are trying to stretch it, not break it (buy extras just in case). Slide the seal over the connector. The seal will shrink back after it is cool.

    The next hardest part of the job getting the air out of the power steering fluid. Try this. There is an Allen in the center of the power steering pump. Use a power drill or an air powered socket wrench to turn the pump. Stop once you see bubbles in the reservoir. Keep topped up. It will take much longer to purge the air if the car is started (will spread bubbles through out the entire system).

    Remember to take it to the alignment shop.
    #2
  3. 87lc2

    87lc2 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    17
    Thanks, not sure what you mean about the teflon seals for the connections. I figured I could just use some teflon tape / pipe sealer. Also, I assume you disconnect them at the rack before you take it off of the subframe, correct?
    #3
  4. Dark_Horse

    Dark_Horse Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Replacing the rack is tricky so I'll add to the advice by wmburns. What I did first was unbolt the tie rod ends then unbolt the rack from the subframe. Then remove the bolts and lower the rack with the power steering lines still attached, then unhook the lines with a wrench. If you try to remove the lines with the rack still bolted up, it will be damn near impossible to get a wrench up there in that tight spot. Make sure not to bend the lines too much (they will flex enough to lower the rack where you can get to them).

    Now the teflon seals are also critical to sealing up the power steering lines. When you go to reinstall the new rack, the install is reverse of the removal. You need the two small teflon seals (they look like two rubber rings) for both the p/s lines. They should come with your replacement rack and if not autozone will have them. Make sure to get them on and the p/s lines reinstalled then just bolt up the rack.

    I just filled up the p/s reservoir and started the car. It will take about 15min of the engine idling and working the wheel back and forth ocassionally for the air bubbles to work their way out, they will eventually all get worked out. Upon startup, the pump will squeal and make noise but this will go away when the air bubbles are worked out of the system. When the p/s pump quits making noise you will know the install is complete.

    Hope that helps!
    #4
  5. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Fried or Broiled ?

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    255
    Trophy Points:
    124
    Be careful with the bolt that compresses the clamp that attaches the steering shaft to the rack. You are dealing with soft metal there do not **** or crossthread the bolt.

    Also, when the steering shaft is disconnected, if you move the steering wheel at all you will destroy the clock spring. Try to avoid this.

    Getting the air out is easy just turn the wheel from side to side.
    #5
  6. wmburns

    wmburns SN Certified Technician

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,120
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    69
    Good reminder about not turning the steering wheel after the steering shaft is disconnected. Forgot about that one.

    Remember that the power steering connections are under high pressure. Further, the connections are designed to rotate/flex without leaking. The connection is designed with a special Teflon gasket/seal. It looks like a square O-ring. If you were to use pipe seal or regular thread sealant, it will leak.

    Interesting to note about the air purging. I was always taught that continued running of the pump once air is trapped would create ever smaller air bubbles. This would continue until the air was almost homogenized into the fluid. Hence the reason I would shut off the pump once I saw air bubbles in the reservoir.

    Would wait a minute of two for the bubbles to settle out and then repeat. In this way, the pump does not make noise during the purging process.

    Obviously once there are no bubbles in the reservoir, the steering wheel will need to be exercised back and forth across its full travel. This should be done with the wheels off the ground.

    An alternative method I have read about is to pull a vacuum on the system. Use the vacuum to pull fresh fluid into the reservoir. The vacuum will distribute the fluid throughout the system without trapping air. Personally I have never tried it. Not sure if it is worth the trouble.
    #6
  7. 87lc2

    87lc2 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    17
    Does anyone know about how much fluid I should buy to replace what comes out? Im assuming I just use regular Dexron III ATF, correct?
    #7
  8. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Fried or Broiled ?

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    255
    Trophy Points:
    124
    No you use automatic transmission fluid. For some laughs go into autozone and declare to the counter monkeys that you need some ATF to dump in your PS reservoir and watch their heads spin, its great :rlaugh:
    #8
  9. wmburns

    wmburns SN Certified Technician

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,120
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    69
    Steering - Mercon V(R) Fluid Usage

    Ford has a TSB to update the allowed power steering fluid. So you could use Mercon V if you want.

    >>
    TSB 07-1-7

    01/22/07

    MERCON(R) ATF REPLACED BY MERCON(R) V AS A
    SERVICE FLUID FOR SOME POWER STEERING
    SYSTEMS

    FORD:
    1996-1997 Thunderbird
    1996-2007 Crown Victoria, Mustang, Taurus
    1998-2003 Escort
    2000-2007 Focus
    2002-2005 Thunderbird
    2005-2006 Ford GT
    2005-2007 Five Hundred, Freestyle
    2006-2007 Fusion
    1996-1997 Aerostar
    1996-2007 E-Series, Explorer, Ranger
    1997-2004 F-53 Motorhome Chassis
    1997-2007 Expedition, F-150, F-Super Duty
    1998-2003 Windstar
    2000-2005 Excursion
    2001-2003 Explorer Sport
    2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac
    2001-2007 Escape
    2004-2007 Freestar
    2005-2007 Escape Hybrid
    1996-1997 Cargo
    1996-1998 L-Series
    1996-1999 F- B-Series
    2000-2007 F-650, F-750
    2006-2007 Low Cab Forward

    LINCOLN:
    1996-1998 Mark VIII
    1996-1999 Continental
    1996-2007 Town Car
    2000-2006 Lincoln LS
    2006 Zephyr
    2007 MKZ
    1998-2007 Navigator
    2002-2003 Blackwood
    2003-2005 Aviator
    2006-2007 Mark LT
    2007 MKX

    MERCURY:
    1996-1997 Cougar
    1996-2005 Sable
    1996-2007 Grand Marquis
    1999-2002 Cougar
    2003-2004 Marauder
    2005-2007 Montego
    2006-2007 Milan
    1997-2007 Mountaineer
    1998-2002 Villager
    2004-2007 Monterey
    2005-2007 Mariner Hybrid, Mariner

    ISSUE
    MERCON(R) Automatic Transmission Fluid is being replaced by MERCON(R) V as a service fluid for power steering systems originally requiring MERCON(R).

    ACTION
    Beginning immediately all power steering applications requiring MERCON(R) can now be serviced using MERCON(R) V or MERCON(R) Automatic Transmission Fluid or dual usage fluids labeled MERCON(R) / MERCON(R) V. After July 1, 2007, MERCON(R) Automatic Transmission Fluid will no longer be manufactured, therefore, availability of this fluid will continue until remaining inventory has been depleted.

    SERVICE PROCEDURE

    Service power steering Systems requiring MERCON(R) with MERCON(R) V or MERCON(R) Automatic Transmission Fluid or dual usage fluids labeled MERCON(R) / MERCON(R) V.

    CAUTION APPLICATIONS RECOMMENDING TYPE F AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION AND POWER STEERING FLUID MUST CONTINUE TO USE THAT PARTICULAR FLUID. USE OF ANY OTHER FLUID MAY CAUSE REDUCED FUNCTIONALITY OR DAMAGE
    #9
  10. 87lc2

    87lc2 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    17
    Thanks wmburns. Dexron III and Mercon V are one in the same, guess Ill just us that. Anyone know how much I might need after taking the rack down?
    #10
  11. wmburns

    wmburns SN Certified Technician

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,120
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    69
    The Ford service manual does not say how much the power steering system holds. It simply says to fill until between the lines.

    I would say, get two quarts.

    With regards to the differences between Mecron and Mecron V, that depends upon the application. If you didn't put Mecron V in an automatic transsmission that called for it, there will be problems. Mecron V has friction modifiers that the lock up torque converters need to work correctly (shudder will occur).

    So for manual transmissions and power steering, Mecron and Mecron V work.

    Of course things are even more confusing. Try to buy good ole Dexron III lately? Good luck. Dexron IV is what you will find.
    #11
  12. stangman11

    stangman11 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    19
    I would buy 4 just to be safe I have never done one on a mustang but you would be suprised how much fluid a system can take. You simply want to fill up the reservoir with the engine turned off. Once that is filled turn on the engine which the front wheels off the ground on jack stands start to turn the steering wheel from lock to lock bleeding any air out of the system while filling. The fluid will drop alot intially but when the system is filled and air is bled it will come back up, at that point just top off at the normal level and your good to go.
    #12
  13. 87lc2

    87lc2 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    17
    Thanks guys....guess its been a while since Ive changed tranny fluid in one of my GM's. I didnt even know they got past Dexron III, haha thanks for the heads up.
    #13

Share This Page