Dino Rack and Pinion
With the suspension coming apart, it was time to take care of the steering on this car as well. With such low mileage, the tie rod ends were showing no play at all and could have probably been reused, but one of the rubber boots was torn and finding new boots was more challenging than simply replacing the whole tie rod end. It seemed more practical to replace these now, with everything else so an alignment would be done once and not again for a very long time.
I was surprised with only 17K miles on the odometer that the steering rack was showing wear, but I guess it’s a design flaw that wears a bushing inside the steering rack. When I disassembled the rack, I found the bushing completely gone, so a new piece was pressed into place and bored and honed so the shaft would move freely and yet show no play. I would imagine this replacement is an upgrade to what was originally inside.
There were some light marks on the rack from the missing bushing, but it was only superficial and polished out.
The rack itself was in perfect condition, so I was able to put everything back together and put this unit back into service. I had a couple of options repairing the steering, and one of them was to completely replace the rack with a new unit. The price was a little cheaper than the labor for me to disassemble the original rack and rebuild it, but the replacement would have not looked exactly like the original unit. I know it’s a component that can’t easily be seen, but it was nice to save the original unit and not throw it in the trash. I’ve been more conscious of our disposable society, and ease of ordering parts rather than fixing what’s broken. The replacement rack and pinion might have been cheaper, but at what cost? I think about the box, the fuel, the delivery guy, and the trash, all involved to save me the work of replacing a small plastic bushing. I know I’m in the wrong industry to try and save our planet, but I don’t have to subscribe to some of the things that seem wasteful!
Another example of saving shipping were these rubber insulators for the steering rack mounts. They looked like they were made out of natural rubber, and often deteriorated pretty quickly.
I keep some flat rubber sheets that I used to cut out gaskets instead of ordering new ones. I just needed new shaft gaiters and everything was ready to go back into the car!