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Discussion Starter #1
Hi TCCA,

This post is a re-post from a thread I made last week (to an old 2008 post) that didn't attract any comments. Hope you don't mind if I re-post as a totally new post. Here's goes:

I have a 1993 Taurus GL with about 66,000 miles on it. It was alligned when new tires were put on at about 60,000. Until about a month ago, the steering wheel was in perfect center position and the car tracked straightly down the highway. Now, the steering wheel is about 15 degrees off center and the car pulls noticably to the right. I asked my "better half" if she hit something or fell in a pot hole, and she assures me that she didn't.

I found this post (here's the 2008 post with my thread from last week):
http://www.taurusclub.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=53967
and checked the "lower steering column pinch bolt" as SHOZ123 mentioned in his 1/14/08 post. It is not loose. So I next layed down under the front end and had an assistant joggle the steering wheel slightly back and forth and I didn't see any looseness in any of the front end joints, stabilizer joints, or tie rod ends. Next I jacked up the front passenger side. Grabbing hold of the tire with both hands, there was barely no top to bottom play, however there's almost 1/2" side to side play. As I push and pulled left to right on the tire, I could see the tie rod end moving in and out of the rack and pinion assembly. My assistant held the steering wheel to I would be assured I was not just turning the steering wheel with my side to side pushing on the tire. With the tire still off the ground, my assistant started the engine and the 1/2" play persisted.

I lower the car back down and raised the driver's side front end. Same exact situation: about 1/2" side to side play going all the way into the rack, but not up the steering column. Btw, the is no leakage of fluid from the rack and pinion assemlby and the power steering fluid was replaced last year during an AC Compressor job.

I've found the following reference to a "RACK YOKE PLUG CLEARANCE" and wonder if you think this could be the source of the play:

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Except 1990–92 Taurus and Sable LX with 3.8L Engine, 1993–95 Taurus GL (high series only), LX and SHO models, and Sables
RACK YOKE PLUG CLEARANCE
NOTE: The rack yolk clearance adjustment is not a normal service adjustment. It is only required when the input shaft and valve assembly is removed.
1. Remove the steering gear from the vehicle. Clean the exterior of the steering gear thoroughly.
2. Install the steering gear in a suitable holding fixture. Do not remove the external transfer tubes unless they are leaking or damaged. If these lines are removed, they must be replaced with new ones.
3. Drain the power steering fluid by rotating the input shaft lock-to-lock twice, using a suitable tool. Cover the ports on the valve housing with a shop cloth while draining the gear to avoid possible oil spray.
4. Insert an inch pound torque wrench with a maximum capacity of 60 inch lbs. (6.77 Nm) into the Pinion Shaft Torque Adapter T74P-3504-R or equivalent. Position the adapter and wrench on the input shaft splines.
5. Loosen the yoke plug locknut and then the yoke plug.
6. Clean the threads of the yoke plug before tightening, to prevent a false reading. With the rack at the center of travel, tighten the yoke plug to 45–50 inch lbs. (5.0–5.6 Nm).
7. Back off the yoke plug approximately 1⁄8 turn (44–54 degrees) until the torque required to initiate and sustain rotation of the input shaft is 7–18 inch lbs. (0.78–2.03 Nm).
8. Place a suitable wrench on the yoke plug locknut. While holding the yoke plug, tighten the locknut to 44–66 ft. lbs. (60–89 Nm). Do not allow the yoke plug to move while tightening or preload will be affected. Check the input shaft torque as in step 7 after tightening the locknut.
9. Install the steering gear.
**********

I look forward to your reply and appreciate any comments or suggestions you think might be helpful.

Regards,
Brcobrem
 

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How do you KNOW there is no leakage from the rack??? Have you pulled the bellows boots off, because that would be the ONLY way to see if the end seals are leaking. I suggest you reach in and physically feel the inner tie rod for movement. OR remove the bellows boots so you can see that the rack portion is indeed moving WITH the inner tierods. Then and ONLY then will you know if it's the more common failed inner tie rods, or a fubar'd rack.
 

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my sable was like that for over a month my steering rack ended up being the problem it didnt seem like anything was leaking no spots or anything but then all the sudden one day catastrophic failure and power steering fluid every place new rack solved the problem
 

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Discussion Starter #4
How do you KNOW there is no leakage from the rack??? Have you pulled the bellows boots off, because that would be the ONLY way to see if the end seals are leaking. I suggest you reach in and physically feel the inner tie rod for movement. OR remove the bellows boots so you can see that the rack portion is indeed moving WITH the inner tierods. Then and ONLY then will you know if it's the more common failed inner tie rods, or a fubar'd rack.
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Hi rudedog,

Only thing I do know is that there is no leakage that I can see on the boots or the white concrete where the car is parked. Perhaps it is leaking inside the boot(s). I'll see if I can feel inside them for leakage.

Let me clarify on the rack: the rack itself is not loose from the frame/subframe. The tie rods just move into the rack when I pull left and right on the tire, with no rotation of the the steering column. If all was well, I would not expect the tie rods to have movement in and out of the rack without turnng the steering column.

Thank you for your suggestions. I'll let you know what comes of this.

Regards,
Brcobrem
 

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Discussion Starter #5
my sable was like that for over a month my steering rack ended up being the problem it didnt seem like anything was leaking no spots or anything but then all the sudden one day catastrophic failure and power steering fluid every place new rack solved the problem
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Hi sable23,

Thank you for sharing your experience. Looks like I may get some of my own experience doing a rack replacement.

For other who may be interested, there's a pictorial link on TCCA here I found a couple days ago.
http://www.taurusclub.com/forum/index.php?...794&hl=rack

Not the easiest job when the rack is behind the engine I see. Oh well . . .

Regards,
Brcobrem
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi TCCA,

At Autozone, at
http://www.autozone.com/az/cds/en_us/09008...ges.htm#hd1-1-2
there's a how-to for the rack replacement.
(I googled for Taurus "high series" )

For these cars, you do not lower the subframe:
"Except 1990-92 Taurus and Sable LX with 3.8L Engine, 1993-95 Taurus GL (high series only), LX and SHO models, and Sables"

I do have a 1993 GL. Any way to know in advance if I have a "high series" GL?

Thanks agian,
Brcobrem
 

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OK, maybe you misunderstood my post. The inner tie rods are serviceable seperate from the rack. You pull the boots and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. If the inner tie rods are bad(very common) there WILL be "in and out" play between the RACK and the tie rod.




As for removal of the rack, it WILL be much MUCH easier to drop the REAR two subframe bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi rudedog,

Thank you for the clarification. I just ordered two inner tie rods from my local parts store. They were $17US each, which I thought was resonable. The counter man said they were easy enough to replace. I'll give it a go and let you know how it went.

Regards,
Brcobrem
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi TCCA,

I finished the job last week and thought I'd contribute some comments for the club:

First, my parts guy said I would not need any special tools to do this job. He was 100% wrong.

Second, I replaced the inner tie rods without dropping the subframe.

In rudedog's 2/11/09 thread, in the illustration, item #3 shows a ball that is outside of a socket. Just Fyi, that socket is formed over the ball permanently. The outside of the OEM socket was one straight piece of hex stock. I started on the passenger side, and it took me almost 2 hours to turn that socket off the rack (through the fender well) with a very large crescent wrench. Initially, I had to use a lever against the frame to get it to break that aluminum pin that ran through half of the socket. On the drivers side, you can't even get a crescent wrench on the socket, so the job stopped there.

The new tie rod ends are the "new style". That means only the end of the socket facing to wards the engine have a hex on the exterior, so you can't get any standard tool on the hex.

I found "Astro 7864" on Amazon for only $28US (including shipping). See pic attached. With that tool, it took less than three minutes to remove the remaining rod on the driver's side. Installing the new rods took almost as little time. Since there is no aluminum pin on the new style rod, they supply some thread locker. Since there were no instructions supplied about how much to use, I just smeared the stuff around the threads on the rack using my finger. I called the local Ford garage and their parts guy was kind enough to help me out with Ford TSB-96-1-1, which are the new torque specs for installing these new design tie rods. Fyi, it is 65-85 ft/lbs. You will find that when you use the Astro tool (which has a nice 1/2" female square on the end for inserting your torch wrench [or air gun]), that the tie rod seats down completely at about at 65 ft/lbs.

For the record, as suggested elsewhere, I found no way to hold the rack teeth with vice grips while torquing down the new inner tie rods. Perhaps that is possible with the frame lowered. It didn't seem to matter: nothing appeared to break. Fyi, when doing the drivers side, the rack's teeth are mostly outside the rack. While visible, I carefully smeared a little synthetic grease over the teeth, reaching in with a Popsicle stick (there was remnants of a yellow OEM grease on the teeth.

Just a note for clean freaks: You may want to put an old towel or such around the power steering pump filler riser before starting this job. When you are using the steering wheel to move the rack left or right to get at the sockets, the fluid rises in the pump well and overflowed out the vent hole a little bit, down onto the AC compressor.

As mentioned in some other post, be careful to get the "breather" tube that goes across the rack back into the little holes int the boots before you strap last boot down with nylon tie straps. (I had a pair of 12" needle nose pliers that made affixing the tie straps somewhat easier).

Also, you can forget about accuracy when counting the amount of turns it takes to screw off the OEM tie rod ends. The new inner tie rod and new tie rod ends (don't get cheap, do the ends too), are somewhat shorter than the OEM parts. When I put the ends back on the same number of turns and backed out the driveway, it left black rubber down the concrete. They were ~1" toe out (ie 2" difference between the back and the front of the tire). I backed the tie rod end nut off 1/4" on each side and taped them to the rod with electrical tape. I then backed the tie rod out of the end until it met the nut, removed the tape from the nut and tightened it down firmly (~45 ft/lb). A helper and I held a ~3' piece of flat 1"X3" wood across the outside of the tire and measured the distance across the underneath of the car for the front of the tires and the back of the tires. It was good enough: about 0" to 1/8" toe in. Test drove it, the steering wheel is straight and it tracks dead straight down the road.

Btw, I read a trick on some other post that said the tie rod end can be popped out of its socket with out using a "hogs fork" to force them out. On steel (not aluminum ! ), take two hammers and simultaneously whack opposite sides of the steel arm that the tie rod end slides down into. After a couple of good horizontal whacks, I screwed the nut back on the tie rod end, whacked it a couple times upwards, and the end popped out. Good trick. Thanks to whoever for that.

Btw, the OEM inner tie rod socket ball ends had almost ***1/8" play***. Totally worn out, the grease had turned to yellow powder. Possibly an accident waiting to happen. No more wheel wobble when coasting to a stop after the repair either (that's what prompted me to start this job in the first place).

Also, the vertical rods on the stabilizer bar (which are sort of in your way when doing the tie rods) were shot too. They're called "Sway Bar Repair Kit at Autozone. I suggest replacing them while you have easy access to them. They're cheap enough at $23US each. The (better quality) tie rod ends were $23 each. Btw, the inner tie rods were $18 each. So total parts cost, including the Astro wrench was ~$161.00 . I have no idea what a garage would charge for this job. Perhaps some one could chime in on that.

In closing, just get the special tool before starting this job. It will save you much grief and aggravation. Only issue I had with the tool was that I had to use a drimmel with a grinding cylinder do remove some casting mold flash inside the socket so that it would fit over the inner tie rods' hex.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Regards,
Brcobrem
 

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