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need to replace a rack&pinion on a 4wd

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Old 07-23-2004, 11:53 PM
fordnut71 fordnut71 is offline
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need to replace a rack&pinion on a 4wd

i got a 93 aero with the 4.0 an awd an i now have a leaking rack an pinion an i need to know how do i replace it out . it dont look easy with the diff being in there to . so if some 1 has done it before an got some short cuts id sure would love to know how ????
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Old 07-24-2004, 02:15 AM
aerocolorado aerocolorado is offline
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Well, it isn't easy. You wind up removing almost all the front suspension pieces. The rack is encased within the front crossmember. To get the bottom of the crossmember off, you need to remove both lower control arms which means the springs come out also.

I've done this twice and my rack is leaking again. The first time doing it by the Ford manual and the second, my own way. I'll give you the later method.

Before jacking up the van, remove the battery, battery tray and combo coolant/washer reservoir. This will allow access to the pinch bolt holding the steering shaft to the rack and pinion as well as the fittings for the pressure/return lines. Put the steering wheel in the locked position then remove the pinch bolt. Clean the area around the fittings before removing. Remove the screws/clips securing the pressure lines to the frame, then unscrew and mark the lines. The fittings are different sizes but mark them to avoid confusion when re-installing and secure them out of the way.

Loosen wheel nuts and the CV axle nut, jack and secure the front end on jackstands on frame sections. You will need a good 8-10 inches of space below the lower control arms. Remove wheels and unscrew the axle nut (use a prybar or screwdriver inserted between the caliper slots to keep rotor from turning), disconnect tie rod ends, disconnect brake calipers and support calipers with wire. Remove the rotor. Remove the shock absorber and disconnect the sway bar link.

Loosen the pinch bolt at the upper ball joint but do not remove yet. Using wire, support each CV joint. Using a floor jack, support the lower control arm with the jack, applying enough upward pressure to take up slack but not enought to lift the front end off the jackstand. Remove the pinch bolt and push the upper ball joint clear of the spindle. Pull the spindle outward and see if the outer end of the axle is loose. If not, use a wooden block against the axle end and give it a whack to loosen. Once the axle is loose, SLOWLY lower the control arm assembly while working the CV joint/axle clear of the spindle and bearing hub. Don't let the spindle flop outward and yank on the CV joint either - use a helper at this stage. CAUTION, the coil spring tension will be released at the same time, keep hands and fingers clear. Don't let the axle hang up in the spindle/hub or the CV joint can be dislocated internally. Continue lowering the lower control arm until the coil spring is loose. Remove the spring and note there are upper and lower rubber isolators that must be accounted for.

Repeat for the other side. Remove the bolts holding the lower control arm to the cross members, remove the five bolts securing the lower crossmember. There are two large bolts holding the rack to the crossmember. The bolts go through nylon spacer bushings at the front of the rack. NOTE: You cannot see this, but the rear of the rack, on both sides is supported by small ledges. Withdraw the bolts, one at a time and then remove the nylon spacer. Allow the rack to tip down and forward then pull outward to clear the rear support ledges. Before pulling the rack down, remember the upper part of the rack is still mounted within the steering shaft. Go easy and slow. You may need to slightly spread the input shaft pinch clamp to allow it to release the rack.

Measure and mark the location of the tie rod ends and transfer them to the new rack or if using new ones, set them the same as on the old rack. The position of the tie rods relative to the body of the rack must be the same for the new rack as the old to keep the steering wheel in the proper place. Marking the tie rod locations is critical - just a few threads off one way or the other will greatly affect your toe in settings.

NOTE: NOTE: NOTE: There is an error in the Ford manual regarding the torque required on the two large bolts securing the rack to the crossmember. The manual lists something like 120 ft lbs, which is WAY too much and will snap off the sunken retaining nut. Trust me, you do NOT want this to happen, especially on the one next to the differential. Torque them to 40-45 lbs. only.

Reassemble in the reverse. It is much easier to remove and replace the coil springs this way than trying to use a spring compressor. There may be one or two things I may have missed but this details the main steps involved. You can also just remove the CV joints rather than supporting them with wire - just remember to loosen the halfshaft flange bolts before taking off the calipers and rotors. The tie rod replacement proceedure will get you an approximate toe in setting good enough to get to the alignment shop but you will need to have an alignment done afterwards.

Hope this is helpful.

Last edited by aerocolorado; 07-24-2004 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 07-24-2004, 09:54 AM
fordnut71 fordnut71 is offline
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thank you aerocolorado
i was dreading that was the idea on how to replace it . looks like i might as well rebuild the front end while im in there to then . i need a new set of springs an sway bar bushing to so ill be able to hack most of it out . looks like i got a few days work ahead of me then
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