replacing rack and pinion assembly, short cuts? | Page 3 | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

replacing rack and pinion assembly, short cuts?

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.9L SOHC' started by jmczzz, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. Egnorant

    Egnorant FEOA Member

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    The pulley on mine came from an ex police car that I bought for $100.
    I suspect a junkyard run and 5 bucks might do.
    Sorry I don't have sizes.

    The bushings are Energy suspension 3rd gen kit...paid about $100 for it.
    While you can find a 3rd gen Escort to grab just the front sway bar (and brackets) at a junkyard too, mine was from a Mercury Tracer LTS that I snagged the front and rear suspension (rear disc...YEAH) for $150.
    2nd Gen Escort GT will work too.

    Poly bushing are hard. Everything is tight and perform wonderful, but they do tend to hammer the suspension. Make triple sure everything is tight and Loc-Tite everything as they will rattle loose. Don't use cheap wheels. I bent 3 in one year before I went to factory 15".

    Bruce
  2. jmczzz

    jmczzz FEOA Donator

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    don't mean to be jumping around... but back to the DIY front end alignment.
    I tried to follow the instructions given in this thread earlier and took some pics.
    escort alinement 001.JPG this is how i rigged up the string. nylon cord also used for trout line fishing. tied to the bottom holes in my license plate then down to the bumper to ga all the way around.
    escort alinement 002.JPG string pulled tight (not over powered just firm) then across lower part of front bumper to do the same on the PS. escort alinement 003.JPG second shot DS
    escort alinement 004.JPG across the front, string was run after car front end was jacked up in level part of drive and jack stands placed.
    escort alinement 005.JPG measure where string crosses both sides of tire, front and back. note difference.
    escort alinement 010.JPG then loosened jam nut and separated tie rod from steering arm.
    escort alinement 005.JPG back and forth, escort alinement 006.JPG measure both sides then move wheel to get the measurements equal. get under car and screwed tie rod in or out depending which side of tire was the largest measurement. reconnect, tie rod end, including hand tight crown nut ....up to remeasure and down disconnect tie rod end and re- adjust screw in or out, up and down several times disconnecting, adjusting tie end in or out reconnecting, remeasuring, it took me about 4-5 tries before I got it right on this first side DS. The second PS took less ups and downs cause I got better at it. escort alinement 007.JPG escort alinement 008.JPG
    finished up and TIGHTENED lock nuts, got both sides pretty close. took car down and road tested.
    Ugh! Crap! steering wheel did not stay in perfect neutral position I had it in when measuring and adjusting. but the approx 1 inch slant to the PS side can stay for another day.
    Road Test: Car tracked good down the highway, went straight with out any drift when i would take my hands off steering wheel. steering response was good and felt tight.
    EOJ.
    QUACK MAC....James
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  3. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I like the DIY alignment. However, when the wheels are in the air, it seems that some error could be introduced if the toe in is affected by how far the tire drops down on the suspension.
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  4. bent_rod

    bent_rod FEOA Donator

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    DIY alignment with a string, interesting. I guess if it works for you, better than nothing.
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  5. jmczzz

    jmczzz FEOA Donator

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    bent_ well it was posted here by the moderator earlier in this thread, I thought I would try it, seemed to work ok, but i'm not a mechanic just putter around. All that up and down was good exercise.
    joey_two... I don't have any idea about that, not an engineer seems plausible. but the suggester has lot of experience with that procedure and said the result were ok.
    I just like the idea of DIY with a string or whatever. maybe bent has a better way or has his own front end machine or is a napa dealer?
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  6. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    jmczzz: The difference between what is in your pictures and what I did is this: I let the string (or twine or light rope) come forward below the bumper, so it could lay flat against the sidewalls of the tires. Since the width of the 'track' of front and rear wheels is the same, the stretched string should just touch all four sidewalls. And of course it needs to do this on the other side of the car too.
    With the twine coming across -under- the bumper, it touches the sidewalls about halfway up the the tire, giving the best measure of being parallel. Someone could argue that tire sidewalls arent really even, and that is true. But it is also true that I do the check several times, including after having driven it around for a day. In the most recent check, the car had been jacked up with the wheels removed for several days, and I wanted to give the bushings (and strut tops) time to fully settle into their'loaded' position. The checking must be done after having driven the car forward and stopped - without backing up at all.

    My criteria is that I want the tread wear to be even all the way across the tread on both front tires. Sometimes I have to re-do the adjustments. Usually my tires wear down to the tread wear indicators evenly across the width of the tread. I rotate my tires front to back about each 5k to 6k miles, at which time I get a good look at tread wear, AND inspect the inner sidewalls.

    If the steering wheel is cocked to the right when the car is moving in a straight line, and the car starts a slow left turn if the steering wheel is 'centered', it means you need to shorten the tie rod on the passenger side (perhaps half a turn to start with), and lengthen the tie rod on the driver's side by the exact same amount.
    I presume this 'centering' adjustment would be needed after any rack-assembly removal/replacement.

    Im not encouraging anyone to use my method if they would feel more confident taking it to a shop with an alignment rack.
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  7. jmczzz

    jmczzz FEOA Donator

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    denison, I had to try it as best I understood . I do see the difference and will do it again now that I better understand your technique.Don't worry I take full responsibility for my actions and my car. I enjoy learning new stuff. I never did any thing like this to a front end. I was like others just took it to a shop and paid the fee. They could tell me anything, but now i know a little more and will do it over with this new understanding. The point of my pics was so you could see what i did and advise. Just like you have.
    thanks, James
  8. jmczzz

    jmczzz FEOA Donator

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    denison, I also wonder if I should put the car back down on off the jack to make the measurements of tire to thread as suggested above by joey_twowagons.
    I did drive the car forward and stop with no reverse. I did it in a level spot in my drive because not knowing what i was doing I imagined i would have put on a show in some business' parking lot. lol.
    ? what is the tread wear indicator? is that something i should see on the tires? duh....
    James
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  9. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    The measurements DO need to be made with the weight of the car on the tires, after having been driven forward in a straight line. I want at least 8 feet of forward distance but prefer a car length or two. Just jacking the tire off the ground will allow some changes in the tire's position. If the struts, control arm bushings and other suspension and steering parts are sound, it shouldnt be much though.

    Tread wear indicators are bars molded into the bottoms of the tread grooves; perpendicular to the grooves, and about 2/32" high; That is about 2/32" shallower than the rest of the groove. When the tread is worn down to being equal with the height of the bars, they shouldnt pass inspection & arent legal anymore.
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  10. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    A tight string is a very accurate measuring device. In this application the deviation will be in the vertical plane as the string droops, but this will not affect the measurements we are checking. Don't bother trying to leave a gap between the tire and string and measuring that gap, it is more accurate to just hold the string as close as possible to the tire without touching, since we are setting them parallel.

    I need to do this when I install my manual steering rack so am rather pleased to see this article. The only downside is that it only addresses the toe in, not camber or caster, but toe-in is the one most likely to get out of whack.

    I would suggest getting the tie rod ends loosened, oiled and snugged up. Now put the tools in the car before heading to a nice flat government parking lot on a Sunday to do the adjustments. If by chance some official comes around and complains, you can just pack up and drive away since the car is never really "down".

    If no government lot that's closed Sundays is convenient, try a church on any day but Sunday. Even if the clergy shows up, you will probably be forgiven.
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  11. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I take the car to a nearby convenience store that has a nice side area where the heavy trucks pull in for snacks and nature relief. Its busy enough that no one notices me. I only do the checking, not doing any adjusting; so Im only there about 5 minutes. If more adjustment is needed, I drive back home again - less than 2 miles- to do that. A couple of times gents have asked me what I was doing, and seemed interested in the technique.

    As for camber and caster - I regard those as being pretty stable on an Escort, if the car has not been in an accident or had its control arms replaced. After changing out old struts for new ones, I do the toe-in check, then drive the car to see if there is any 'pulling' to left or right, and if the steering returns to straight ahead after cornering; and doing this equally from a right hand or left hand turn.

    Once at the convenience store the guy who asked me what I was doing with my ball of twine was driving a Cherokee. He said his front tire wear was terrible, always worse on the outside of the tread. I took a look under his Jeep, and saw the cross steering tube was bent upward. That would increase the toe-in drastically, and was certainly the main reason his tires went bald on the outer sides of the tread.
    I had seen this happen before, from someone using a floor-jack, and jacking-up that cross steering itself instead of the axle tube which is another few inches further back.
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  12. jmczzz

    jmczzz FEOA Donator

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    thanks for this update, i posted a reply but i guess it was deleted. James
  13. jmczzz

    jmczzz FEOA Donator

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    Thanks, I asked about how to install an inner CV joint boat. The D S inner has come off the big end coupling. I wrestled it back on but couldn't get it to snap over the grove so just put a nylon wire tie around it.
  14. rlopezf

    rlopezf FEOA Member

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    You can rent the special tool from auto zone or any of the other big chains

    Sent from my Z813 using Tapatalk
  15. jmczzz

    jmczzz FEOA Donator

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    Sorry but my simple mind ask, what tool do I need?
  16. rlopezf

    rlopezf FEOA Member

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    Sorry I was thinking on inner tied tad not inner cv

    Sent from my Z813 using Tapatalk
  17. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe the tool was the one used with a slide hammer, to hopefully yank the inner CV joint out of the trans, or the "OTC-7140" that can be hammered into the passenger side of the transaxle after that P.S. CV axle is out. Or maybe the tool that is made for crimping the steel band around the boot, after replacing a rubber boot.

    if you didnt get the plastic item snapped back in place (which the boot is attached to and that snaps over the inner casing of the CV axle) - then I fear the grease inside will be getting out, spattering around the location in the engine bay. I have seen this lots of times, and it doesnt seem to cause a failure in the short term. You might get a few years out of it before it starts to get rusty inside that 'inner' CV casing.

    You will know by looking down below the battery tray (or up from below) to see if there is a spattering of grease on the firewall.

    Not being able to get those inner CV joint boots back together correctly (and grease tight) is why I now just buy complete replacement axle assemblies.
  18. drewskie

    drewskie FEOA Member

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    I know this is an ancient thread, but I am attempting to replace the rack on the 96 escort, and I am wondering where this pinch bolt is located. I removed the plastic boot part underneath the steering column, but can't find where the bolt is.
  19. jmczzz

    jmczzz FEOA Donator

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    it is under the sterring column near the floor. it has been a while but i will go look at it when the sun comes up and try to get a pic.
    jmc
  20. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Im currently replacing the rack/pinion on my 94LX: Am halfway done I think. The pinch bolt is on the last section of the little U-joint at the bottom of the steering column, tucked inside the plastic boot, and right at the stub shaft of the rack assembly. It might be hidden on the back side of that U-joint section, visible if you turn the steering wheel somewhat. And its a female T-45 Torx head bolt on my Escort.
    I took the driver's seat out so I could lie down there on a chunk of plywood, and with my back straight, be looking 'upward'. My IR electric impact wouldnt loosen it (extension cord too long?), and I was too lazy to hook up the hose and compressor and power cord for my air-impact. So I used a 1/2" ratchet, with about 2' of extensions, to where I could slide a 3' length of pipe over the ratchet handle - and unscrew the bolt. I have done this rack replacement three times, and each time I think the torx socket is going to twist off; but each time it came loose with a loud 'snap' for the initial turning. I made a point of buying a good set of the Torx head sockets, from an upscale industrial tool place, rather than something from Harbor Freight. I also push the torx socket into the head of the bolt as hard as I can; so it wont pop out.
    Is your Escort a 5-speed, or an automatic? The first two I did were on automatics; this one being a 5-speed. It was a little more difficult with the manual transmission, since the shifting rod and the stabilizer rod on the bottom-back of the trans are in the way of reaching the nuts for the rack bushing bracket on that side, and of reaching the flare nuts from below.
    To make bottom access better, I removed the stabilizer rod from the transmission, and the catalytic converter, just so I would have more room to get my 14mm deep socket on those bracket nuts and remove them. They were kind of stiff to loosen, even though I had taken them off before - when I had the engine/transmission out in 2008 or 2009.

    I worked from above to remove the flare nuts from/to the power steering pump on the old rack. I took out the battery and battery tray to be able to reach down there. I replaced the little white nylon sealing washing that fits up beyond the last thread on the flare nuts. They were hard to get started, till I stretched them a little bit, sliding them up the tapered sides of my needle nosed pliers.
    When I was ready to put the hydraulic line flare nuts back onto the new rack assembly, I had to look at my other Escort to see which line went to which port. The Service Manual didnt have a decent illustration.
    I have the front of the car supported on my stacks of timber and cement blocks, right at the back end of the control arm pivot point.
    I used a clothesline to tie the steering wheel in the 'straight ahead' position, to help make it easier to get the new rack fitted into the steering column correctly. The last thing I wanted was to have the steering wheel (and its clockspring) turned 360 one way or the other, relative to the straight-ahead orientation of the rack.
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