replacing rack and pinion assembly, short cuts? | Page 4 | 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. jmczzz

    jmczzz FEOA Donator

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    oh i just noticed you are working on a 96, the body changed somewhat on them, but i don't know about this pinch bolt. i will try to get a pic from my Pony. jmczzz
  2. jmczzz

    jmczzz FEOA Donator

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    I looked at it and think i remember unbolting the metal plate and moving it out of the way to get to the pinch bolt. I did n't have time to do that today. suggest you check yours out.
    jmczzz
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  3. drewskie

    drewskie FEOA Member

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    Thank you very much. It was a pain but I got it out, it was behind the metal plate, and behind the rubber/plastic boot piece which made it a biatch to get out.
  4. drewskie

    drewskie FEOA Member

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    Wow, that's an amazing detailed reply. My escort actually belongs to my GF, but I do most of the repairs on it of course. It is an automatic. I have a really good mechanic friend help me with most of the projects but he rarely has time. He was the one who got out the pinch bolt today, and the only thing left to take out the rack and pinion are those 2 hydraulic lines, which are proving to be a huge pain in the ass. Do you remember the size? Were they hard to remove for you also? I remembered an old thread where you talked about removing the battery and tray, which I did, and it made a world of difference. I think I may have screwed up the clock spring as you said, since the steering wheel moved a lot after I had to wiggle the shaft to get to the bolt. What is the clock spring and how bad is it if it moved?
  5. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Last issue first. I dont know how bad it is if the clock spring got wound too far one way or the other, or if it even works that way. On old cars, the horn contact was in the form of a slip ring with a phosfor-bronze button that contacted it. But our cars with air-bags are different. With the steering not reconnected to the rack assembly, I would VERY gently turn the wheel all the way left or right, and see if you can tell when it gets slightly harder to turn, then turn it the other way until it gets slightly harder to turn in the other direction. The middle point of those two extremes is where I would want the wheel to be when I did the reassembly. I tied the rim of the wheel with a rope around the passenger door window frame to hold it.
    The two hydraulic lines take a 17mm or 18mm on mine. The upper one is an 18mm, the lower one might be a 17mm. And yes they are difficult. Working from the top, with an open end wrench, I got the upper flare nut loose, with the wrench on it, and using a long prybar (my 17" home depot screwdriver) to lever it to loosen initially. From then on it was a slow job, of turning the flare nut as far as I could, turning the wrench over so the open end was angled the other way and turning the flare nut another 1/2 of 1/6th of a turn, etc. There is a nylon seal around that upper fitting, at the top where the threads end. If its intact you may be okay. If not, a new ring is a Dorman 82540, available in most auto parts stores in a small bubble pack.** The larger of the two is the one to use, and even that has to be stretched gently (I used the taper of my needle nosed pliers) before I could get it started up the threads. Then its just sliding a thumbnail around to work the seal up past where the threads stop. The new rack assembly might come with a new nylon seal or a rubber "O" ring. This fitting has as much as 1000 psi on it when you are holding the steering wheel hard in a turn.
    When I replaced these fittings on my 93LX with its automatic transmission, I might have done the removal from below. Anyway, once you have one of the fittings off, you can get an open end wrench on the other one. Be sure to remember which one is the upper one. The flare nuts on mine were slightly different, and I looked at the fittings on my other Escort to make sure I got them back correctly. I think the threads are the same.
    I have spent maybe an hour or two on each of 5 or 6 afternoons working on this replacing. But Im also putting in a new radiator, and have checked the fluid level in the 5-speed. Luckily you have a dipstick to do that with the automatic transmission.

    ** The Escort power steering system has a total of 4 of the nylon seals. I once ordered ten of the Dorman 82540, but those are at our summer place in northern VA.!

    And getting the last part of the u-joint back onto the stub of the pinion on the rack takes patience too. Even after having done it the third time.
  6. drewskie

    drewskie FEOA Member

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    Thanks a million as usual, this is amazing information. One more question regarding the rack, since I finally got it out after cussing up a storm and almost crying, especially taking out those hydraulic lines. When I removed the rack from the car, there was this rubber gasket type thing left behind. I don't remember seeing it when removing the rack, but it fits almost perfectly around the coupling piece (where it goes inside the car) but do you know where it goes?. I snapped a picture of it but for some reason it won't send.
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  7. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    There is a thick rubber donut about 3" diameter, with a groove on one side, which fits between the plastic coupling piece that fits inside the car, and the top of the valve casting on the rack. That is probably what you mean. When you have the new rack in, just get it to fit back into its proper space. After some annoyance trying to get it to fit in, I cut a slot in it. so I could fit it onto place after I had the u-joint reattached to the stub shaft sticking up from the rack.

    And crying with frustration is probably a part of any good mechanic's education. Bleeding knuckles sometimes too.

    When I was putting the new rack back into the car, I fit the rubber bushings around the rack, and kept them there with a narrow piece of electrical tape. I cut the electrical tape to about half the normal width. This way I didnt have to argue the bushings into place with the rack already in its normal position.
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  8. drewskie

    drewskie FEOA Member

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    LOL, I am literally staring at bloody knuckles as I type this. The donut is exactly what I mean, and I figured that's where it goes since I can't see any other place for it. Those hydraulic lines were much much more difficult to remove than I would ever imagine. Tint little turns of the wrench, then switch, about a thousand times. Lastly, the little pinch bolt inside, should that go in first or last? It seemed much easier to remove once the rack was loose and I held it up while my buddy unscrewed it.
  9. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    At whatever stage of the installation and however you can get it done, is a good time for getting the bottom U-joint onto the mating stub shaft on the rack assembly, and the pinch bolt back in. I would at least tighten up the pinch bolt right away - before the U-joint end slips even partially off the stub shaft. Final torquing of the pinch bolt I did after I had the rack tightly clamped into place. I didnt try to get it as tight as it seemed upon removal. I figure they must have a medium thread locker at the factory.
    Yes, the need to turn the flare nuts 1/12th of a turn at a time. Frustrating! The only part of rebuilding one of the F4EAT automatic transmissions that is that frustrating, is final assembly of all the spinning components into the case, just before you bolt the oil pump casting back onto the side of the transmission.
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  10. drewskie

    drewskie FEOA Member

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    I really should have just taken this thing to a shop, at every turn (heh) there are more and more issues I can't seem to figure out. My mechanic buddy is MIA at the moment too, so I am on my own and clueless.

    That plastic zip tie thing underneath the car that holds the hydraulic lines to the rack, how does it close back up? I managed to get it off, but it will not go back on. Maybe it's a one time use thing?
  11. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    You should be able to bend it around the rack assembly and feed the tapered tip into the opening in the far end -- but its hard to get the hydraulic lines back to exactly where they were. I got one back on, encirling the two hydraulic lines and the black tube that runs between the two bellows. But with my 2nd and 3rd re-installs, I gave up and just left them hanging. Maybe at some future time, if Im under it and have nothing to do, I will try to squeee the the hydrauic hoses back to they fit into the slots on the circular zip-tie thing.
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  12. drewskie

    drewskie FEOA Member

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    Yeah, I was able to fit it back around the lines and the rack easily, but I just left it since it doesn't want to snap closed.
    On a side note (of course), the pinch bolt on the steering linkage refuses to go back in, it looks like a tint portion of the little steering nob piece is blocking it from it threading all the way through. Did this happen to you, or do I not have the linkage seated correctly? I was thinking of tapping the bolt lightly with a hammer but don't to mess anything up more than I have already.
  13. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    About the pinch bolt not wanting to go back in - that hasnt happened to me. It went back in with no force to speak of. I suppose I would try turning the steering wheel slightly, or grabbing the last part of the U-joint with pliers, and wiggling it around. One thing I did find was that the U-joint could be moved a little closer to the stub shaft it was on, and I did that when I put the pinch bolt back in.
    I dont remember how I did it the first two times, but this time I got the U-joint slipped over the stubshaft, then turned the steering wheel so I could insert the pinch bolt from under the hood. This also let me see that I could get the U-joint slightly further down on the stub shaft, by pushing up on the rack assembly - which I had not yet clamped into place using the two brackets that hold it. I used a wooden prop to hold the rack slightly up, closer to the U-joint, then put in the pinch bolt, and still working from the underhood side, got the pinch bolt tightened up. I had a 3/8" ratchet with a chunk of thin aluminum pipe about 15" long for a lever. My strength isnt what it was decades ago.
    Its possible there is a groove on the small 'nob', which i can look for on the rack I took out - as soon as it gets daylight here.
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  14. Vasam

    Vasam Member

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    I think you have to pull the ball joint apart. And pry the claw apart in the spindle knuckle

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