How to replace a steering rack on a 04 RA rodeo 4x4

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How to replace a steering rack on a 04 RA rodeo 4x4

Unread post by itchyback » May 26th, 2013, 10:06 pm

As a result of three screw ups on behalf of a 4x4 place, I’ve had to replace by steering rack three times. I got $50 off for paying cash but then couldn’t get a receipt. After getting two leaking ones and one wrong one I gave up and bought a new one. Lesson learned – get a receipt, and buy new.
To soften the blow I've decided to write a 'how to' for changing a steering rack in an RA rodeo. I'm no mechanic so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of what I have done, it is only what I did. You should check with your local mechanic for advice about installing your steering rack.

Tools you will need: socket set, spanner set, phillips head screw driver, pliers, hammer, ratchet strap, large adjustable spanner (30mm), 24mm socket, ice cream container, rags, car jack, axle stands etc. Bonus points if you have a 15cm extension for your 24mm socket, ratchet style open ended spanners and 22mm socket.

1. Before you start. buy 1L of power steering fluid. I also suggest getting two split pins to fit in a hole about 2-3mm in diameter. Book a wheel alignment the next day and set aside 2-3hrs.

2. Loosen the front wheel bolts and jack the car off the ground then remove both front tyres.

3. The most annoying part of this job is undoing the power steering lines (17mm spanner, photo one) from the rack itself, best access I think is through the right hand wheel well. Start with the top one, you get about ¼ turn per move and I found rotating the spanner 180degrees after each turn lets get a larger move on the bolt itself. You may find it useful to undo the bracket holding the lines to the front cross member. Leave these to drain. Be mindful the power steering lines have two rubber o-rings on, make sure they don’t come off otherwise they will leak.
4. Whilst you're in the RH wheel well use a 12mm socket to undo the steering uni joints (photo 2). I found it easiest to start with the top one and used a ratchet strap to apply pressure for it to come off the spline. The occasional tap with a hammer helped it slide off then I could pull the bottom one off the spline by hand. Take note of which end is up. One end is fatter than the other.
5. Again whilst you’re in the RH wheel well. Remove the split pin from the steering rod end and undo the castellated nut (22mm socket or shifting spanner, photo 3). Put the castellated nut back on a few turns upside down to protect the thread then hit the taper joint in the wheel hub really hard with a hammer. This will break the taper and the rod end will drop out. (I tried using a rod end puller thing but two broke before the rod end came out, hammer worked first time but messier). Before you take the rod end out loosen the locking nut (behind the rod end) either by holding the rod end (shifting spanner) or steering arm (14mm) and undoing the locking nut (17mm). Do the same on the other side. This step is also desirable to give you more room to get the thing out. If you’re new steering rack doesn’t come with rod ends then count the number of turns it takes to undo it so when you put it back on the new rack you have a better chance of getting the steering about right.
6. Next starting on the left hand side of the rack is a bracket with two 17mm bolts undo both of those. The top one was tricky but access isn’t too bad (photo 4).
7. Next remove the 24mm vertical bolt on the right hand side (leaving the middle bolt till last). This is where your 15cm extender is desirable, but not essential. Now undo the horizontal bolt that is offset to the right of the middle. It holds the rack roughly in place until the end, save it dropping onto your face. Remove the horizontal bolt leaving it in its hole but allowing the rack to be removed.

8. The best method to remove your rack is taking it all the way to the left until the right hand steering rod comes out of the lower suspension arm. It may take some twisting and manoeuvring.

9. Putting the new rack in is pretty much the reverse of what you have just done. If your new rack doesn’t come with the rubber mount you'll need to attach it before the rack goes back in. I jammed the new rack in place to be held by the vertical bolt then did the rest up. The rod end bolts wont do up unless the rod end is jammed in the taper, use a hammer if necessary (insert new split pins here).

10. Your wheel alignment may require some adjustment, refer to step 5 for basic instructions on how to do so. Undoing the locking nut and rotating the steering arm clockwise or counter-clockwise will adjust the tyres in or out.

11. Before you put the car back on the ground fill the power steering reservoir and start the car, top up again and then turn the wheel lock to lock a few times then top up again. Please observe the 'maximum' line. If you fill past it, it will overflow and you will freak out looking for the leak of power steering fluid causing the puddle behind your left front wheel (or that could just be me).

12. The hammer and a piece of wood could be useful for getting the steering uni joints over the splines, WD40 is your friend.

13. Take the car for a quick spin. As long as the wheels look roughly straight and drive roughly straight you should be fine to get to your nearest wheel alignment store. If you delay you'll chew out your tyres and your new rack will cost you a new set of tyres as well.

14. You may also notice your steering wheel isn't straight. You can try and set it straight whilst attaching the uni's but it was never good enough when I did it so I leave it to the end. Use your phillips head screw driver and undo the screw at the bottom of the steering wheel. Pull off the horn button and undo the wire. Undo the centre bolt (17mm I think) and pull the steering wheel really hard so you nearly whack yourself in the face (maybe just me again). If you have parked in the driveway with straight wheels reset the steering wheel to the correct position. Take the car for another spin and re-adjust (whilst stopped) until the you're happy with the position of the steering wheel. Do up the centre bolt, reconnect the horn wire and loosely position the horn button roughly correctly then with both hands with flat palms on each side push it on quickly. Doing so quickly and correctly should hopefully minimise the repetitive honking of your horn. You could also disconnect the battery.

Presto, done. I was quoted $850 to replace my steering rack minus the $550 I paid for the rack on ebay I just saved $300 for 2-3hrs work. I have done it in 1 hour before but I tend to dawdle. The shop I was quoted from said they remove the radiator, stuffed if I know why.
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