Top Rack and Pinion Questions
For the first few minutes of driving my car, the steering is hard. Is the rack and pinion bad or the power steering pump?
This symptom is classified as "morning sickness". This condition is caused by Teflon sealing rings on the spool valve wearing grooves in the aluminum housing of the rack and pinion resulting in an internal bypass of pressure. Once the housing warms up, the metal will expand and reduce the pressure loss. The rack and pinion must be replaced. Cardone Industries rack and pinions have steel sleeves installed that prevent morning sickness and are backed by a lifetime guarantee.
The original rack would not return to center after I made a turn. I put a replacement rack in and its the same. What else could it be?
The rack and pinion does not return to center by itself. Geometrically the front end will center the vehicle. If the vehicle will not return, first check the front end alignment then check for a restricted return line in the power steering system. If the return line is restricted/kinked, fluid pressure will build up and not return back to the pump.
I replaced my rack and pinion. Why is the new one leaking at the top seal?
If the return line is restricted/kinked, pressure will build up in the rack and leak at an area of the least amount of resistance which is usually the upper spool valve seal which is not a pressure seal.
My original rack had "morning sickness" then I put in a replacement and this one is binding and has an intermittent hard steering problem. What’s going on?
The steering system is most likely contaminated with particles from the original rack. Failure to flush the system properly will cause these particles to become lodged in the spool valve and cause the rack to bind. You can back flush the system to dislodge these particles. Using shop air pressure, blow air through the return line and place the pressure line in a container to catch the fluid, cycle the wheel left to right to clean both sides. Reinstall the lines and flush according to the instructions in the box.
Since I replaced the rack, the power steering is whining. What happened? It never did this before!
The most likely cause of power steering whine is air in the system. Follow the bleeding process in the instruction sheet. If the air returns after proper bleeding, it may be necessary to replace the pressure hose. A deteriorated pressure hose can cause air to enter the system. Also, make sure hoses do not touch frame or engine oil pan. As a general rule, replace hoses with every rack and pinion replacement.
I put a replacement rack and pinion in and the steering wheel has too much play. Should I adjust the rack?
No. The rack and pinion was already adjusted at the factory. No adjustment is necessary. Try isolating the rack to find out where the play is. If you hold the inner tie rod and have someone turn the wheel, is the play gone? If yes, problem is in the front-end; if not, remove the steering knuckle and lightly install vise grips on the sector shaft and check for play. If no play exists, check steering column or steering knuckle.
How can I tell if a rack and pinion is Performance or Standard?
Simply turn the wheel in one direction until it stops. Next turn it the opposite way and count the turns until it stops. 2-1/2 - 2-3/4 turns lock to lock is normally a Performance rack; 3 - 3-1/2 turns lock to lock is a Standard rack. The only major difference is a Corvette which is 2 turns for Performance and 2-1/2 turns for Standard.
The rack and pinion is leaking out the boots which happen to be twisted and torn. Why?
When the front end was aligned, the technician did not loosen the boot clamp when setting the toe. Failure to loosen the clamp twisted the boot which cracked during turns. Once the boot is torn, road debris and water was allowed to ruin the rack end seal.
Why is my car pulling to one side after I replaced the rack?
First check for proper alignment. Also check for proper tire inflation, worn or binding outer tie rods or a brake system failure. Also see Question #2.