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Thread: power steering rack - I did it !!!

  1. #1
    LXi User AC439's Avatar
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    power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Well, I think I might just open another thread about the rack replacement.

    I started the job today 10:30am. Took me 3.5 hours to take the rack down. The most horrible part was to take down the center support beam and drop the exhaust pipe to get the rack out. Then I realized I have to move the steering rack tie rod all the way extended outwards to the right. I read from the forum to move to right and I was assuming right turn position so I was extending the left side tie rod end all the way out. Disconnect and reconnect hydraulic lines was relatively easy. The part that disconnect and reconnecting the steering column to the rack was sort of bad due to weird body posture.

    Alignment was spot on and front maintain parallel however steering wheel not pointing straight but an easy fix later. (too tired to continue)

    Before I started, I went to Honda dealer parts and got 4 bottles of PS fluid. Glad I got 4 and $5/each. When I disconnected the top hose and start the engine, it just spit out like a geyser. I did it twice with only momentary engine on then off. Just a split second and used up 2 bottles !

    Test driving: The car rolls fine (good alignment). The steering seems a little tight and I think its a new rack so may need some time to break in and loosen some up.

    After everything said and done, it was 5:45pm .....



  2. #2
    3Geez Veteran
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Nice! I think ill be swapping my racks out soon as i plan on depowering the new rack. Glad its all working out for ya man!

    Quote Originally Posted by CAH View Post
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  3. #3

    Dr_Snooz's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Good job!
    Dr_Snooz

    "I like to take hammers, and just break stuff, just break stuff." - Beavis


    1989 Honda Accord LX-i Coupe, 220k miles, MT swap, rear disc swap

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  4. #4
    LXi User AC439's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    It was a job I would not want to do it again !

  5. #5
    LXi User Shane86's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Nice work

  6. #6
    LXi User AC439's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Thanks man ! I was so tired and sore the next day I still felt like being run over by a truck !

  7. #7

    Dr_Snooz's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Yeah, that gets worse as you get older..........

    :-(
    Dr_Snooz

    "I like to take hammers, and just break stuff, just break stuff." - Beavis


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    3Geez Veteran MessyHonda's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    ive done it once with the engine out. at least the new one wont leak.

    1989 Honda Accord LX-i
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  9. #9
    LXi User AC439's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    So far been 3-4 days and my new one does not leak. Just overall the steering wheel is a little heavier compare to the old rack. I want to say this is due to the very tight new rack (the old one was kind of loose at all joints). But my sway bar to under body bushing is broken and I think the change in geometry from broken bushing may be part of the reason that making the new rack feels tight. So far, I have not been able to identify or find a sway bar bushing for the replacement. Its a 20.5mm bar and I think I can find some universal ones for 20mm. I think its close enough. Autozone doesn't carry it anymore so I think I would go to Oriley's to order it.
    Last edited by AC439; 01-26-2018 at 07:28 PM.

  10. #10
    LX User Honda#1's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Quote Originally Posted by AC439 View Post
    Well, I think I might just open another thread about the rack replacement.

    I started the job today 10:30am. Took me 3.5 hours to take the rack down. The most horrible part was to take down the center support beam and drop the exhaust pipe to get the rack out. Then I realized I have to move the steering rack tie rod all the way extended outwards to the right. I read from the forum to move to right and I was assuming right turn position so I was extending the left side tie rod end all the way out. Disconnect and reconnect hydraulic lines was relatively easy. The part that disconnect and reconnecting the steering column to the rack was sort of bad due to weird body posture.

    Alignment was spot on and front maintain parallel however steering wheel not pointing straight but an easy fix later. (too tired to continue)

    Before I started, I went to Honda dealer parts and got 4 bottles of PS fluid. Glad I got 4 and $5/each. When I disconnected the top hose and start the engine, it just spit out like a geyser. I did it twice with only momentary engine on then off. Just a split second and used up 2 bottles !

    Test driving: The car rolls fine (good alignment). The steering seems a little tight and I think its a new rack so may need some time to break in and loosen some up.

    After everything said and done, it was 5:45pm .....


    Great job!!

  11. #11
    LXi User AC439's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Resurrecting my own thread about this whole heavy steering new rack issue....

    I have bought the 40mm rack guide wrench cause I suspect the reman factory over tightened the new rack. I have since back the guide nut a bit at a time to a total of, I think, almost 2 turns.

    I then suspect a weak pump so I bought the rebuild kit and tear apart the pump. Although the pump is 33 years old, it looks very very good and clean inside. I cannot identify any visual wear from the gears or anything. The original seals are definitely bad and hardened. All of them become rectangular cross section. Rebuilding was a breeze.

    I put it all back, top off the steering fluid (Honda) but really only notice a little smoother and very little lighter steering. This is telling me the pump is good before rebuild. Anyway, I am a little disappointed it wasn't a weak pump. So next is to get back to the rack guide screw to loosen it a little more.

  12. #12

    carotman's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Sucks about the heavy steering. Those cars are notorious for having an ultra lightweight steering.

  13. #13
    3Geez Veteran BITESIZE's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Done before and it blows doing it!

  14. #14
    LXi User AC439's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Quote Originally Posted by BITESIZE View Post
    Done before and it blows doing it!
    Are you referring to the whole process or the rack guide screw adjustment ? I still want to make it more steer-able at lower speed by loosing the rack guide screw. The old leaking steering rack was very comfortable steering when parking but it leaked like crazy. The new rack is so heavy that I cannot use one hard for parking. Loosening the rack guide screw few times (little bit every time) helps but still heavy and parking is not fun.

  15. #15
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Quote Originally Posted by AC439 View Post
    Are you referring to the whole process or the rack guide screw adjustment ? I still want to make it more steer-able at lower speed by loosing the rack guide screw. The old leaking steering rack was very comfortable steering when parking but it leaked like crazy. The new rack is so heavy that I cannot use one hard for parking. Loosening the rack guide screw few times (little bit every time) helps but still heavy and parking is not fun.

    Wild guess do you have the speed spinner lines crossed?
    1988 Lxi owner since August 1995
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  16. #16
    LXi User AC439's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    What is speed spinner ? Are you talking about the vehicle speed sensor ? No, I have not touch the speed sensor and the lines are marked when I changed the rack.

    Right now, it does have some assist but definitely not as much as before. I can still use one hand to park but I would use both just to be on the safe side.

    When I googled something like "heavy steering after changing to reman rack" etc, it seems like its a common problem with all cars with reman rack.
    Last edited by AC439; 08-10-2019 at 05:10 AM.

  17. #17
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    The speed sensor has alot to do with the rack feel. I dont know how it works but If you every have it off you have very very heavy steering at slow speeds like you described.

    I cant see how the lines reversed would effect anything but its something I would try. I have a broken one I may take apart and see whats in there. it flows fluid some how.
    1988 Lxi owner since August 1995
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  18. #18
    LXi User AC439's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    I adjusted the rack guide screw 3/4 turn CCW and also adjusted the radius rod nuts half turn both sides to reduce caster (extending both radius rod just a little). The steering is definitely much better (lighter) at low speed. (Have not check toe yet but I doubt it will affect toe that much with such a small caster change)

    I miss the effortless steering of this car and I was very disappointed right after I swapped to the reman rack. Now the steering is getting closer to where it was.

  19. #19

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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Rebuilds are always a compromise. You give your old part a good cleaning, replace soft parts like gaskets and seals, maybe tweak some adjustments. The hard parts however, get re-used, regardless of their condition. When you rebuild parts this old, you're inevitably confronted by the reality that there isn't much left of the original component. Formerly polished surfaces are scored, tolerances are wide of the mark, gear teeth don't mate up well, and so forth. You do your best, but when it goes back together, problems often remain. There's very little you can do about this in your own garage. High volume rebuilders can scavenge parts from multiple cores and improve the final product somewhat, but in the end, entropy wins. The cores aren't getting newer and unless the rebuilder wants to commission custom machined parts (unlikely), the final product won't be getting better either.

    Case it point was my transmission. I went through no fewer than 5 different transmissions looking for a rebuildable core and found nothing. I exhausted every core in California and it was all garbage. I was amazed to get a working one from mantrans.com, but even that one has an occasional hang-up that makes me grind 3rd gear, and 1st gear takes some cajoling to engage now. It's far from perfect. Still, I'm glad it works at all. And the core I sent them was pretty much scrap metal. There'll be no way to turn it back into a transmission again unless their standards fall very far indeed.

    Anyway, I suspect you're bumping up against the functional limits of rebuilt parts. It's why classic car guys, and especially the restoration purists rarely drive their cars. Guys who do daily drive their classics almost always have an assemblage of newer components, modern engines, electronic controls, etc. replacing the OE stuff. All that to say, the problem might not be outside the rack and might not be correctable. You might have to live with it, or fab in a rack from a newer vehicle.
    Dr_Snooz

    "I like to take hammers, and just break stuff, just break stuff." - Beavis


    1989 Honda Accord LX-i Coupe, 220k miles, MT swap, rear disc swap

    Shop manual downloads available here: CLICK TO VIEW

  20. #20
    LXi User AC439's Avatar
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    Re: power steering rack - I did it !!!

    Snooz, you may be right on this. I had been daily on this car until 2 years ago when I changed the rack and the head gasket/head reinstall leading to the mysteries 2k vibration. These 2 problems make the car a lot less fun to drive. Now that I have finally gotten the steering feel close to the way it was, I started to think to re-visit the 2k vibration problem.

    My plan has been to fix the steering (so it is as light as it was) and eventually put a set of wider tires/rims on it. Currently using factory 185/70/13 which I think it is too weak especially in rainy Florida summer. I'd to have something like 195 wide and R15 eventually. Since the 2k vibration is a different thread, I am going to update the group there...

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