Replaced my Fox steering rack, not happy

Mantoga320

Member
Sep 13, 2017
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Amberg, Germany
The short version: I replaced my leaking stock '90 Fox steering rack with a CARDONE 97203F newly manufactured rack from RockAuto. I'm not happy with the new one's performance.
The longer version: 1990 Convertible GT with lots of miles. It's just a fun hobby car for my son and I. We replaced the shot rag joint with a Borgeson steering shaft. Very, very happy with that. Then the original rack developed an internal leak that required constant topping off. So I shopped around, heard too many bad stories about re-manufactured racks, and ordered this one, plus new tie rod ends and power steering hoses. I read discussions about the SN95 rack conversion, but didn't want to replace the intermediate shaft again, and a magazine article said if you just do casual driving stay with stock. I'd read the complaints about Foxbody steering, but had been satisfied with mine, especially with the rag joint gone. We installed all the parts and got it professionally aligned and checked.

The new rack is quiet and smooth, but it's performance and feedback are now more like the complaints I read sometimes about Foxbody steering. There's a zone in the middle where it just doesn't feel very responsive. Especially when reversing turn direction on a curving road, it feels like you're getting nothing, slight panic, than it kicks in and you have to be careful not to oversteer. We won't be able to really enjoy the car again unless we do something. So just looking for some advice.

Bite the bullet and go with an SN95 kit? Get the other rack from RockAuto, a pricier AAE rack? Other options? I've got it with me in Germany, so everything is international shipping, no junkyards.
 
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2000xp8

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Aug 8, 2003
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You could use an AGR rack, but it's not going to come cheap.
I've used one for like 20 years.
12:1 (which they don't make anymore). You could do 15:1 or 20:1.

Assuming they are working, you could call them or email them. (they always answered my calls)
They have a bunch of models and some people may be put off by how light the feeling is on some of the racks.

I feel like any ford rack not directly off the original car is a crapshoot.
Yes, you pay up but there is no worry about what rack it really is, because they modify all of them to their specs.
2 installations and 2 alignments will probably exceed the cost anyway for most people.
 

deathb4dismount

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I'm sure you'll get the same answer from everyone, go with the SN95 rack. Any remanned fox rack will for sure have that deadzone. I'm replacing mine now with a remanned 2003 Cobra rack from Cardone. Cardone 22-2000. Here's the issue though, it's not a cobra rack. The casting number is from a 2002-2004 V6. Other people are ordering this rack and getting the same thing. Cardone says they are rebuilt to the Cobra specs, but pretty sure they just replace the wear items and add rack limiters, and they can't make a non cobra rack a cobra one. You can still order the 2002-04 GT remanned rack if you want to try your luck on that. It is actually more expensive than the cobra rack. Regardless any SN95 rack will be superior to the fox one. Im going to run the one they shipped me and go from there.
 

7991LXnSHO

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The first problem was using Rock Auto, the second was using (M-1) Cardone. Cardone is the remanufacturer I recommend when your car is done for. Who knows what parts they threw together in it.
A TRW rack in the right ratio or model will make you much happier.
 

Mustang5L5

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You can still get a Cobra reman from your local ford dealer.

Part number is 2R3Z-3504-AARM (SPR-ZM) and pricing will depend on availability. Just they still show up.

For example

Same 2.5 turn rack as the fox, except the cobra rack actually has rack limiters (that can be removed) that would limit travel to roughly 2.3 turns. The main difference is the valving and torsion rod provide a firmer feel off center giving you as close to manual steering feel as you can when at speed.


A rack from a 2002-2004 GT will be plenty adequate for 99% of driver's out there. I ust want to emphasize this because everyone tries very hard to find the cobra racks and overlook the much more plentiful, and nearly as good GT racks that are everywhere. Once in a while low mileage (50K) miles or so pop up on Ebay for sale for less than $100. I picked one up for $50 to throw in my parts pile.

I've been running a Cardone 22-2000 rack for almost 2 years now. If it fails on me, i'll send it to https://www.turnone-steering.com/pages/rebuilding-services
 

Mantoga320

Member
Sep 13, 2017
26
12
23
Amberg, Germany
The first problem was using Rock Auto, the second was using (M-1) Cardone. Cardone is the remanufacturer I recommend when your car is done for. Who knows what parts they threw together in it.
A TRW rack in the right ratio or model will make you much happier.
Why the dig on Rock Auto? Asking because I go to them now and then for fastest, cheapest shipping to Germany.
 

7991LXnSHO

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1. Their commercials offend me as a certified counterman. And I usually see humor in most things. I realize you can find similar dopes at the budget stores, but Napa and places that also serve shops should not be like that.
2. A lot of their stock is from store/chain buyouts. Who knows how old the rubber parts are and therefore are likely to leak, or how many times the electrical parts have been dropped.
There are places to get quality parts for a car you want to keep.
In your case, if there is a defect or you selected the wrong part or there was a catalog error, waiting for shipping twice is likely to be a real pain.

Why the dig on Rock Auto? Asking because I go to them now and then for fastest, cheapest shipping to Germany.
 

Mantoga320

Member
Sep 13, 2017
26
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Amberg, Germany
Okay, good to know. I’ve never seen the ads, and didn’t know anything about their business practices. I thought they were a supplier to the local parts stores. My options are limited where I am. I carry back what I can in a suitcase when I visit, but sometimes I need something fast.
 

MMC09

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Mar 2, 2020
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Glad to have noticed these posts. Im about to do my rack on my 87 gt and have a remanufactured sitting here that just came in.
 

MustangIIMatt

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The first problem was using Rock Auto, the second was using (M-1) Cardone. Cardone is the remanufacturer I recommend when your car is done for. Who knows what parts they threw together in it.
A TRW rack in the right ratio or model will make you much happier.
1. Their commercials offend me as a certified counterman. And I usually see humor in most things. I realize you can find similar dopes at the budget stores, but Napa and places that also serve shops should not be like that.
2. A lot of their stock is from store/chain buyouts. Who knows how old the rubber parts are and therefore are likely to leak, or how many times the electrical parts have been dropped.
There are places to get quality parts for a car you want to keep.
In your case, if there is a defect or you selected the wrong part or there was a catalog error, waiting for shipping twice is likely to be a real pain.

I have had mostly good experiences with Rock Auto, but I've had two bad ones as well.

Cardone on the other hand...

There's a reason that I have an exception to my "no snake oils" stance when it comes to vehicle repairs, and that exception is 100% because of Cardone's steering products. You know how to shut up a Cardone pump or make a Cardone rack feel less like a dead fish?

Option A: Replace it with something else. (Among remanufactured brands, I recommend Maval. They're the only ones that can make a remanufactured Honda or Ford steering pump that isn't hot garbage...)

Option B: https://lucasoil.com/products/problem-solvers-utility/lucas-power-steering-stop-leak Cardone should put a bottle in the box with every Ford steering component they sell, it'd be cheaper than the warranty and labor claims.


Don't get me started on Cardone's steering parts for Hondas... Those make Cardone's Ford steering parts look good.
 

7991LXnSHO

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TRW made many factory suspension parts and ps racks. So “like new” is a real possibility there, as is actually getting what ratio you want. Lucas additives will not fix Cardone putting in mixed parts in any Ford or GM system, but I will try it on a different Ford that’s starting to get stiff steering start up on cold days.

Does Maval also make good VW/Beetle parts? That’s not a brand I have sold or bought at a FLAPS. It is hard to keep track of all the buyouts and the new brand names. I think that name has been around, but I do not know the history.

I have had mostly good experiences with Rock Auto, but I've had two bad ones as well.

Cardone on the other hand...

There's a reason that I have an exception to my "no snake oils" stance when it comes to vehicle repairs, and that exception is 100% because of Cardone's steering products. You know how to shut up a Cardone pump or make a Cardone rack feel less like a dead fish?

Option A: Replace it with something else. (Among remanufactured brands, I recommend Maval. They're the only ones that can make a remanufactured Honda or Ford steering pump that isn't hot garbage...)

Option B: https://lucasoil.com/products/problem-solvers-utility/lucas-power-steering-stop-leak Cardone should put a bottle in the box with every Ford steering component they sell, it'd be cheaper than the warranty and labor claims.


Don't get me started on Cardone's steering parts for Hondas... Those make Cardone's Ford steering parts look good.
 

MustangIIMatt

I need something stupid to play with
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TRW made many factory suspension parts and ps racks. So “like new” is a real possibility there, as is actually getting what ratio you want. Lucas additives will not fix Cardone putting in mixed parts in any Ford or GM system, but I will try it on a different Ford that’s starting to get stiff steering start up on cold days.

Does Maval also make good VW/Beetle parts? That’s not a brand I have sold or bought at a FLAPS. It is hard to keep track of all the buyouts and the new brand names. I think that name has been around, but I do not know the history.
I'm not sure what all applications Maval covers, I just know that they do what Cardone is apparently incapable of when it comes to Ford and Honda steering parts. In the shop environment, as well as on my personal cars, I have had a 100% failure rate with Cardone pumps and racks on Honda applications, and about 50% on Fords (also had a single bad Toyota rack from them).

I got the parts department at my last shop to order Maval just to try something different since we were contractually obligated to order our parts from Advance, and those were our two choices, and to my surprise, the Maval pump worked flawlessly on the Honda I was working on. We had the same success with them over and over on Honda and started using them when available for other applications too.

 
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7991LXnSHO

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For others’ general knowledge, the “Jobber” shops (NAPA like places) usually carry a premium line for shops and a budget line for walk ins, and have other lines available for order. I have seen at o’Reilly’s and Advance Auto type walk in chains that they try to carry the most budget line and sometimes have another mid line on the shelves. But most often they can get a premium, more quality part more quickly than Rock Auto etc.
Remember at Rock Auto, YOU are the employee tapping on the computer and ordering from the warehouse. They are trying to eliminate all phone operators. If you are a certified parts pro or mechanic, that’s not a always bad thing, but for most DIY mechanics, supporting our sponsors is likely to get you better parts and service.

I'm not sure what all applications Maval covers, I just know that they do what Cardone is apparently incapable of when it comes to Ford and Honda steering parts. In the shop environment, as well as on my personal cars, I have had a 100% failure rate with Cardone pumps and racks on Honda applications, and about 50% on Fords (also had a single bad Toyota rack from them).

I got the parts department at my last shop to order Maval just to try something different since we were contractually obligated to order our parts from Advance, and those were our two choices, and to my surprise, the Maval pump worked flawlessly on the Honda I was working on. We had the same success with them over and over on Honda and started using them when available for other applications too.

 

MustangIIMatt

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For others’ general knowledge, the “Jobber” shops (NAPA like places) usually carry a premium line for shops and a budget line for walk ins, and have other lines available for order. I have seen at o’Reilly’s and Advance Auto type walk in chains that they try to carry the most budget line and sometimes have another mid line on the shelves. But most often they can get a premium, more quality part more quickly than Rock Auto etc.
Remember at Rock Auto, YOU are the employee tapping on the computer and ordering from the warehouse. They are trying to eliminate all phone operators. If you are a certified parts pro or mechanic, that’s not a always bad thing, but for most DIY mechanics, supporting our sponsors is likely to get you better parts and service.
RockAuto is a Stangnet sponsor.


I use my local Napa and O'Reilly for everything but oil change stuff (Walmart or Amazon is way cheaper), for the dailies, but for the oddballs in my garage/driveway, I like Rock Auto a lot.

Just don't use their site to try to find 4L60e internal parts, both listings I ordered were wrong.