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Thread: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

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    rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Digging in deep this week, really fuckered my power steering by taking someone's word that ATF = Power steering fluid... NOT THE CASE!
    Ordered a new one from Detroit Axle, took about a month to ship because they found something wrong with it and reremanufactured.
    Since I have to remove part of the exhaust pipe I figured I'd replace my oil pan gasket while I'm down there. Also got new brembo brake rotors cause I think my recent poor mileage was due to new pads rubbing on cementite build-up (hot wheels, feels like I'm driving against some resistance).

    So far, got the car up, wheels off, banged out the tie rod ends (probably gonna replace those too), removed the crossmember bar and exhaust from header to catalytic converter. Since my power steering system is contaminated, I ran 3 bottles of honda power steering fluid 1 at a time through the system, turning the engine on (before removing exhaust!) steering hard left to hard right, and catching the fluid out the return hose.
    Catching the fluid was a challenge, ended up cutting a hole in a bottle:-img_68871-jpg

    Came to a halt while getting the steering valve pipes loose. They're 12mm 14mm and 17mm. Had all of them except the 17. Got a 17mm flare nut wrench from autozone, duralast brand, it SUCKS! Do not ever get those! It's got a thin surface area to connect to the nut and is just rounding it off! ordered a craftsman, should be in tomorrow.

    So I moved on to the oil pan. Drained the oil, got most of the bolts off. Some are really tricky next to the transmission.. about to drop the oil pan, gonna clean it out with engine degreaser. Using a fel pro gasket cause I couldn't find an oem, read not to use silicone or sealant on it? Is there anything else cool to do with the exhaust pipe off?



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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    welp, already ran into some trouble.. got the pan loose and that hose disconnected after much grunting, but it's getting caught up over by the transmission. i got the flywheel plate loose, but can't take it off between the axle and a transmission mount. not sure which is a safer bet to take off, or if i even have to. no amount of wiggling is setting her free!

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    I think using that Craftsman is going to improve your opinion of the Duralast. Harbor Freight has been a much better option for me when I need obscure tools in a hurry, and they tend to work a lot better than Craftsman. Most everything does, really.

    Just a word of warning about those flare lines. They are really old and very persnickety. The nuts are of an unusually soft metal that loves to round over rather than come loose. You can power them off with a Vise-Grips, but that deforms the nut making for a leaky connection when you're done. The pipes have to be bent out of the way to lower the rack and were terrifically difficult for me to line back up with the new rack in a way that actually allowed for them to be tightened. There was a lot of swearing involved and the end result was a constant leaky mess ever after. You can just live with it, like I did back when I didn't know any better, or you can be ready to replace the lines if you're a cranky old man now. I bought a flaring tool set and I now replace those crappy lines with good ones when the opportunity arises.

    It's been awhile since I did the pan gasket, but it can be done. The trans mount bracket on the bottom has to be removed if you haven't already. Remember that those mounts are more than sufficient to keep the engine in the bay, even if you run into a concrete bridge support at top speed. One alone will be more than sufficient to hold it all up at rest. Just plan for the engine to shift a bit when you loosen them and don't be in a place where you can get hurt when that happens. You can support it with something if you want. Not from below because you'll be working there. It will be in the way and you'll be hitting it all the time. Lay a board across the engine bay and support it with a ratchet strap if you're worried, but you probably don't need to. Just keep working at it and removing stuff that's in the way until you get the pan out. It's probably not a bad idea to dab some RTV on the sharp corners of the gasket. Those areas can be tricky. The manual doesn't say to do it specifically, so it's your choice.

    When you do the brakes, be sure to grease and inspect your caliper guide pins. If you see any issues, just replace them altogether. I recommend replacing the guide bushings too, if that's possible.

    Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
    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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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Honestly, the steering rack as one thing I didn't want to screw with and paid the labor to have one I purchased put in. Such a pain in the ass to replace, was well worth the 200$ in labor.
    Originally posted by ShiRen:
    Nice car or not, nobody likes losing a race to an old 4 door Honda.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Thanks for the tips! Will let you know if it comes to replacing lines, I'm prepared for a day of cursing in the meantime.

    Ended up taking the trans mount off, and had a scissor jack underneath just in case. Old gasket was cracked and stuck. Scraped and rubbed the lip smooth with degreaser, then set the gasket up in the air, hanging from the down bolts. After cleaning them off, I worked the bolts in at random and torqued in the zig zag pattern. Had to recalculate torque for the 8" extension I was using, ended up being ~5ft lbs for the nuts and ~7ft lbs for the bolts. Retorqued the mount and flywheel cover etc, now I'm just waiting for that wrench. It can't be worse than duralast, but if it gets weird, what's the procedure? unflare the line, replace the nut and reflare it? obviously with some special tools?

    Get the feeling I'll need to replace those pins, cause I greased the heck out of them when I got new pads and it still felt like they're sticking closed sometimes.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Quote Originally Posted by InAccordance View Post
    Honestly, the steering rack as one thing I didn't want to screw with and paid the labor to have one I purchased put in. Such a pain in the ass to replace, was well worth the 200$ in labor.
    Totally agree ! I did mine with jack stands up the front and worked from below laying down. After the job, I was sore for 5 days. I'm still having some minor leaking from the connection fittings. Will get back there once I have a chance to torque all of them again. Besides, the reman unit I got has a very tight steering to begin with. I ended up buying the special rack tool for the lock nut so I can loosen up the center bolt to make steering lighter. I adjust a little at a time, it still tighter then it was but at least able to steer with one arm now. Those reman people don't know how to put it back with the proper steering effort. They just bolt everything back together tight....

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Guess I got lucky with mine. It turns great and haven't has any problems or leaks. Even survived a lower ball joint breaking whilst driving.
    Originally posted by ShiRen:
    Nice car or not, nobody likes losing a race to an old 4 door Honda.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Quote Originally Posted by AC439 View Post
    After the job, I was sore for 5 days.
    Same here. And I was a huge gym rat at that time. I was so dirty after the job that I had to throw my clothes away. The car leaked a lot of fluids and all the oil, crap and grime fell on me as I was working. I couldn't figure out the twist and turn secret that would actually allow the rack to come free, so I spent a good while fighting with that. The connection between the rack and the steering column kept jamming up on me. I had to get out from under the car to fight with the column, then get back under to fight with the rack over and over again. It was awful.

    @profquad: make sure the u-joint connecting the column to the rack is completely free before trying to drop the rack. That will save you my frustration.
    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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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Snooz View Post
    Same here. And I was a huge gym rat at that time. I was so dirty after the job that I had to throw my clothes away. The car leaked a lot of fluids and all the oil, crap and grime fell on me as I was working. I couldn't figure out the twist and turn secret that would actually allow the rack to come free, so I spent a good while fighting with that. The connection between the rack and the steering column kept jamming up on me. I had to get out from under the car to fight with the column, then get back under to fight with the rack over and over again. It was awful.
    I literally read all discussions here about the rack replacement and wrote notes before I started. But I still had a lot of struggling to get it out. It took me a whole day for that job.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Well, just to update, it's been insanely frustrating. I quit owning a car about 4 times a day.
    I got it loose and slid in the new one with a great deal of physical effort, eating gunk that fell into my face, getting soaked in fluids, and filling up the proverbial curse jar. Putting the new one in probably scared the neighbors with some of the shit I was saying. The brace by the valve wouldn't fit, and I kept swiveling that damn rubber bushing with the weird shape around to get it to sit right (piece of advice, remember which way it goes, it looks similar both ways but it is NOT). So then there's the air tube connecting both sides together. Really genius idea to keep dirt from being sucked onto the pistons of the gearbox every time you turn, but useless if pinched by the brace. Since I couldn't get the one side on, I just disconnected the air tube from that side, figuring I'd plug it in later once the brace was screwed in. But I just couldn't for the life of me raise the gearbox up high enough to get the brace bolts even close to threading. They were like a half inch away from their holes, and nothing could get them any closer. I wrestled with a scissor jack while under the car for about a day, then finally put a block of wood on top and fit it right on the brace. Then, after really cranking it, I pushed up with my thumb on one corner of the brace while screwing with my other fingers. I was able to get one thread of each bolt on, torqued everything up, and I was finally home free (or so I thought).
    The new 17mm flare nut wrench was working fine, but reattaching the 12mm nut next to it has proven impossible. I've asked friends for help and have spent hours spinning it around but it just. won't. catch.
    After a few days fruitless spinning, I decided to reattach that air hose and put the exhaust pipe back on, etc. But no! Detroit Axle made an air hose that fits end to end, but not enough slack to reach over the braces. So I decided to use the old air tube, seems to work fine. Just pop it on the little plastic nipples that are seated in the rubber cover and thread it through the zip ties. However, on the passenger side, the little plastic nipple popped inside the cover! and since the cover was clamped in some paranoid way, and with too little room to remove it, I had to take the whole rack and pinion out again, pry open the clamp with a blade, a flathead, and a needlenose, peel back the cover, retrieve and reseat the nipple, tidy up, somehow refasten their medieval metal clamp with a couple pliers and some leverage, and put the thing back in again. By then I was an expert and had no problems, except that I still can't get that nut on.
    I got a little aggressive, and tried hammering it a bit with a smaller wrench behind it. I got some temporary purchase, but lost a thread too. I just don't know what to do at this point. I cannot for the life of me get this one little nut to thread and I quit again.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Well, at least you didn't get stupid and ream out the threads real bad. I'm not sure what all you tried, but you have to bend the hard lines so they go perfectly perpendicular into the rack. You'd think they would already do this, but when you bend them out of the way to get the rack out, they bend back all squirrelly. It's difficult because the lines are pretty stout and you don't have a lot of leverage when you're under there on your back. BE VERY CAREFUL doing this!!! If you kink the hard lines, It will really suck for you. It's not insurmountable if you do, but you'll be learning how to custom bend and double-flare new lines and threading them into very tight places. This isn't really a job where you want to learn those skills for the first time.

    Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
    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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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Honestly, I'd say it's a best practice to replace all those hard lines at this point in the car's life. For some reason, flares this old like to seep no matter what you do.
    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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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Well, I did it.
    Just visualized doing it while going to sleep, had a couple dreams about it, and the next day my friend and I did it. Really highly suggest this method for any just about any problem.
    On to the brakes! Raining in SoCal a lot recently so I'm a bit stalled out. Gonna use a JIS screwdriver to get those rusted screws out, not trying to break out the drill.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Had to drill mine off unfortunately.
    Originally posted by ShiRen:
    Nice car or not, nobody likes losing a race to an old 4 door Honda.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    hooookay, just got the brakes on and putting on new tie rod ends, i was having trouble getting them to reach at center.. finally decided to check how far out the inner rods would go if i pulled them. They pull to the right 2 inches further than the left.
    Called Detroit Axle and they said "10 times out of 11 it's because you didn't center it before installing" he also said "it can only be one of two things. Either it's not centered, which is almost always the case, or the tie rods are different lengths." I told him the tie rods are the same length and it it isn't even attached to the steering column.
    Then he tried to worm his way out of getting me a refund by saying my 30 return window had closed. I said no it hasn't, it took an extra month to be delivered.
    Anyways, the only way out is remove it send it back in the box they sent it in with the core return sticker, and get my money back.
    Time tho? Down the memory hole.

    Any GOOD rack and pinions out there?

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    I bought mine of rockauto. It's the A-1 Cardone ( I KNOW, SCARY) one and is holding up pretty well.
    Like I said earlier though, I paid to have it installed but the guy who did it had it done in a few hours so there must not have been any issues with it.
    Originally posted by ShiRen:
    Nice car or not, nobody likes losing a race to an old 4 door Honda.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    I've been looking into making a NEW rack from a '96 Civic fit. Sadly, I haven't gotten very far. This is a booger of a system to retrofit. Our mechanically controlled hydraulic variable assist wasn't done for very long. The next gen was electronically controlled hydraulics. Now they're using electric power steering. It's not too hard to go fully electric, but you need vehicle speed sensors and a place to put the big electric motor (either under the car, or under the dash) and there isn't much room in our cars (none really). To use the older newer hydraulic system, you still need a vehicle speed sensor, plus some electronics and you need to figure out what to do with the two extra hydraulic lines that we have on our racks. Of course for any of these, you still need to figure out the spline connections between the steering column and rack as well as mounting to the underside of the car.

    There are very nice aftermarket electric steering kits available in the aftermarket, to the tune of $1400. Gulp.
    Dr_Snooz

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


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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    ended up going to a place that just rebuilds steering and brake components. They were very knowledgeable and showed me how even between 85 and 86 the gearbox is a slightly different size. It cost $150 with the core, found a place that cost $129 but I was already there. Was able to install this one in about an hour, wayyyyy easier than the first one. I think most places just think "good enough" and ship out whatever they have on hand, but nothing beats someone with years of experience!

    aligned and back on the road, but i'm still having stiff steering cause i didn't do the pump too. I just got one from pick-a-part & will do that once it stops raining.. Reseal kit didn't come with an oil seal plus I don't have special tool 07974-SA50500 so if that doesn't work i found a place that just does power steering to reseal mine.

    in other news, looks like replacing the brake rotors got my fuel efficiency back up! really relieved i don't have to go digging for a fuel leak.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Quote Originally Posted by profquad View Post
    .. i'm still having stiff steering cause i didn't do the pump too. I just got one from pick-a-part & will do that once it stops raining.. Reseal kit didn't come with an oil seal plus I don't have special tool 07974-SA50500 ...
    I also did not do the pump and had stiff steering after new rack installed. I do not believe its the pump getting weaker. I ended up getting 07974-SA50500 and loosen the rack guide nut a little at a time to lighten up the steering. I usually loosen 1/4 turn at a time. After few tries, the steering is almost back to the regular effort. I had done the pump before (a while ago) and remember it wasn't too difficult.

  20. #20
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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    When I had my rack replaced, it took a couple days to get the steering back in. Driving it out of the shop it was stiff as all hel but loosened up slowly. On the 3rd day I was leaving work and turned it fairly hard and felt a thump through the wheel. After that the steering was perfect. Assumed it was air trapped in the lines.
    Originally posted by ShiRen:
    Nice car or not, nobody likes losing a race to an old 4 door Honda.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Mine was never loosen up, that's why I got the tool to adjust it. I think they put it back too tight. I might have to do pump rebuild though. I did a shaft seal replacement 10 years ago but did not change out anything else in the pump so it may be time to do so.

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    Re: rack & pinion, oil pan gasket, brake rotors progress thread

    Just to follow up on my comment. I rebuilt the pump and it do not make the steering feel any lighter. So it wasn't a weak pump.

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