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Old 03-02-09, 05:34 PM   #1
RubenX 
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The Rack and Pinion Adventure BEGINS!

Following the successful drum brake overhauling performed on my Hyundai, I'm now adventuring into the power steering realm of the Ford. I started yesterday by lifting the car and replacing the hood struts (after the hood fell on my head, those struts had to be replaced).


Here's the victim (that's how my wife calls the car now) and my trusty assistant.


Here's a closer view with the driver's side of the R&P showing it's busted boot.

The instructions say that I need to unscrew a support beam thingy that's under the car. By doing this, the whole engine/transmission assembly is supposed to come down a bit, giving room to maneuver with the R&P. I spend some time under the car (few hours actually) just looking at it, trying to figure out if it could be done without that step. But seems unavoidable since I can barely even see the power steering hoses.


Here's the cross member support thingy that needs to be unscrewed.

I'm a bit reluctant to support the engine/transmission assembly with just a jack. The instructions say that the assembly wont fell all the way to the floor. But it looks kinda scary when you are under it so I'm gonna get another pair or jack stands (it's only $19.95) to support the beam thingy when I unscrew it. I also need to unscrew the exhaust or it's gonna break when the engine comes down.

Besides the extra set of jack stands, I'm also gonna need some tools. All my tools are metric and the adjustable wrenches are not gonna cut it. I tried for 30 minutes to unscrew the driver's side steering gear nut thingy with this small wrench... fail:



I also spent another half hour looking at the pins inside the car that hold the steering shaft to the other thingies. That also needs to be taken out before lowering the engine:



And of course, the thread would not be complete without a pic of the new (rebuilt actually) rack and pinion:



I can still put the wheels back and take it to the shop, bent over and pay the $1,200 they asked. But once start taking out bolts and pins, I'll be committed. If I fail, I have a mechanic friend standing by that could finish the jobs for about $300 bucks. But if I have to call him, I'll have to wait a few weeks till he can make some time to come over and do the job.

That's all so far, day #2 into the Rack and Pinion Adventure... so help me God.

PS: Please take into consideration that RubenX IS NOT a mechanic and has no effing idea what he's doing. Comments, helping tips, mindless criticism or just moral support... they are all welcomed.
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Old 03-02-09, 05:48 PM   #2
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Looks good! Keep it up!

1. One handy thing I do is photocopy off the pages from the manual to keep the grease and grime off the book itself. Keep those pages handy by the car.

2. impact-gun makes for quick & speedy removal of nuts & bolts. Don't use to re-install.

3. big floor-jack should be able to support crossmember+engine.


Who in the #$)(!#@ designs a car that requires lowering the engine to remove the R&P???? Simply ridiculous!!!
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Old 03-02-09, 06:02 PM   #3
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Looks good! Keep it up!

1. One handy thing I do is photocopy off the pages from the manual to keep the grease and grime off the book itself. Keep those pages handy by the car.

2. impact-gun makes for quick & speedy removal of nuts & bolts. Don't use to re-install.

3. big floor-jack should be able to support crossmember+engine.


Who in the #$)(!#@ designs a car that requires lowering the engine to remove the R&P???? Simply ridiculous!!!
I thought the same thing... and even worst, some want to bail them out...
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Old 03-02-09, 06:04 PM   #4
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Wait til you need to change the spark plugs on the back side of a Lumina Van's V6........
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Old 03-03-09, 12:06 AM   #5
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Update

Day #2 has ended without much progress.

I overslept and woke up by 2pm. Had to run some errands and when I came back home it was already night time. I did got the 2nd set of jack stands required to lower the engine cradle without fear of being squashed. I also got a set of SAE sockets. But seems I'll need metric as well, will buy them tomorrow.

In short, I only removed 2 bolts of the boot that covers the steering shaft. Not a very productive day. I did spent some time looking at the connection between the R&P and the Tie Rod End. Now it's clear that the nut on the R&P at that point is only there for adjustment. To remove the Tie Rod End I need to take out a locking pin that's under it and force it upwards (with hands, hammer or maybe the hydraulic jack).

It's frustrating being a night shifter tho... it's 1:00am ATM and I wanna work on the darn thing but the noise will make my neighbors complain for sure. Will have to wait till the morning... I'll probably be sleepy by then.
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Old 03-03-09, 12:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Looks good! Keep it up!

1. One handy thing I do is photocopy off the pages from the manual to keep the grease and grime off the book itself. Keep those pages handy by the car.

2. impact-gun makes for quick & speedy removal of nuts & bolts. Don't use to re-install.

3. big floor-jack should be able to support crossmember+engine.


Who in the #$)(!#@ designs a car that requires lowering the engine to remove the R&P???? Simply ridiculous!!!
Someone needs to make a ruggedized Kindle-like thingy with all the Chilton servicing pages for mechanics. Something that can get grease or other stuff on it and easily cleaned off. Kudos if it uses a Whispernet-like network to keep service guides for the latest year models.
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Old 03-03-09, 12:57 AM   #7
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If I had a trusty assistant as cute as yours, my mechanic days would have gone by a lot quicker.

Good for you for giving this a try. Sounds like everything is going well so far.
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Old 03-03-09, 08:22 AM   #8
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I helped my FIL do one on a crysler once, they got the K car name from the K shaped subframe supporting the engine and rack. We propped the engine up on some wood blocks and lowered the K frame with a floor jack. We did have to buy some new bolts, 150,000 miles in ohio salt caused several to rust and a couple broke which meant drilling them out and replacing, if yur in the rust belt be prepared for that too.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
Someone needs to make a ruggedized Kindle-like thingy with all the Chilton servicing pages for mechanics. Something that can get grease or other stuff on it and easily cleaned off. Kudos if it uses a Whispernet-like network to keep service guides for the latest year models.
The answer will be a projection system that superimposes images directly in your eye. You wear it like eyeglasses. Hands free, which is important to a mechanic.

About 6 years ago, Microvision introduced such a system. Rather than a network, it used a portable computer (maybe about the size of an iPhone but much thicker) that had the repair manual. It was voice activated to jump to different sections. You can see schematics or text.

Honda was testing it. I think the cost and the fact it was a bulky display module are the reasons it didn't take

The display module has advanced quite a bit, down to eyeglass size. I would expect to see these pretty common in a few years.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:17 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Looks good! Keep it up!

1. One handy thing I do is photocopy off the pages from the manual to keep the grease and grime off the book itself. Keep those pages handy by the car.

2. impact-gun makes for quick & speedy removal of nuts & bolts. Don't use to re-install.

3. big floor-jack should be able to support crossmember+engine.


Who in the #$)(!#@ designs a car that requires lowering the engine to remove the R&P???? Simply ridiculous!!!
Good advice, I like Chilton's manuals, go to the library, you should find one there for your car, make two copies of the pages you need.
Get a floor jack to support the engine, you won't be sorry and you'll find lots of uses for it.
Block both back wheels. Jacking a car on an angle isn't the best way to work under it.

Good Luck, work slow and carefully.

I had a '78 Subaru, to change the rack, you had to remove the engine. f'n dumb if you ask me. Even dumber still, why do they make timing belts so hard to change, and then make them so they wear out so quick?
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Old 03-03-09, 01:30 PM   #11
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Update.... Day #3

With the right tools now I removed all bolts from the boot that covers the steering column:



Then removed the boot and the locking screw that attaches this to the rack:



Both tie rod ends have also been removed:



I'm now committed.
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Old 03-03-09, 03:05 PM   #12
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Get that car jacked up on a level surface on ramps or wooden blocks with the jacks or jacks still in place as a second safety and shim/block the rear wheels on both the front and rear sides! (safety first) Then enjoy your project.
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Old 03-03-09, 03:21 PM   #13
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Wait til you need to change the spark plugs on the back side of a Lumina Van's V6........
If that's the same huge PITA like changing the plugs on a Pontiac Minivan then yes, incredible how an engineer could have designed such a piece of sheet.
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Old 03-03-09, 04:12 PM   #14
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Yeah, I had a front wheel drive car like that when I was a bit younger, the V-6 sat in there sideways so I had to remove the motor mount that went from the engine to the firewall, then use a come along to pull the engine foward, remove/replace the plugs and wires, then replce the mount! What a pain in the ass that was!
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Old 03-03-09, 04:29 PM   #15
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Update: End of Day #3 and I effing give up

I unscrewed the sub frame and lowered the darn engine with the jack, letting it rest on jack stands. I can now see the R&P but there are a couple of issues...

1) There some cables going through the pipes of the R&P. Need to disconnect those to get the R&P out but can't locate the connectors.

2) One of the bolts holding the R&P to the sub frame is blocked by the exhaust. The exhaust needs to to be taken out but the bolts holding it are darn rusted and won't move.

3) The R&P hoses, I can see them but there's so little space that I doubt I could take them off with the tools I have. I already spent some bucks in tools and I don't wanna keep spending.

So, I called the mechanic and scheduled a visit. He will finish the job. I hate darn Fords and I hope Ford engineers get thrown in jail for incompetence and be brutally raped.

Here some pics of how close I got to remove the darn R&P:



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Old 03-03-09, 09:17 PM   #16
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You'll find any other brand is just as bad. To squeeze everything into a front wheel drive some compromises have to be made. Thats why garages have lifts and air tools. You'll find many bolts that can't even be turned with a wrench because there isn't room to move the handle and not enough room to move a ratchet handle, you have to have an air ratchet to get them. I finally bought one myself though my compressor is too small to make it work well but those one or two hard to get to bolts it saves me.
You should try the rack or timing belt on a mitsubishi, I'll never own a vehicle with a timing belt.
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