STEERING RACK INSTALLATION
I installed a rebuilt rack in my 87 over the last weekend. I was dreading the job, but it turned out to be a very easy install, just a bit messy though. the old rack had blown seals at both ends of the rack body. Leaking very bad.
REMOVAL: To start the process, I had to remove the fluid from the power steering system. I did that by opening the low pressure return line (to the pump) and placing both ends of the break in a container to catch the fluid. I then took the drive belt off the pump and turned the pump by hand to assist in the removal of the fluid. this pushed the fluid out of the system into the catch container. then I rotated the pump backwards and it spit some out the other hose. After getting as much out as I could, I reconnected the hose. I then raised the front of the car up and placed it on stands, and removed the road wheels. I set the wheels straight ahead. Clean the steering box area of the rack, getting all the grit you can off of the hoses. I examined the tie rod ends to see where the threads were just so I could do a quick toe set when done. then I unthreaded the inner tie rods from the outer tie rods. an alternative would be to take the outer tie rods off of the spindle. I just unthreaded one from the other. Then I unbolted the two bolts that hold the rack to the front k-member/frame. then the steering column flex joint must be unbolted. this is easy to reach from below the car, just aft of the rack. A shot of WD-40 on the rack bushings should make it easier in getting them apart from the frame. let it set a bit, then pop the rack away from the frame. you can only go so far because the hoses are still attached to the rack. Get two plastic baggies and tie-wraps. Undo the two lines feeding to the rack and as you remove them, place the baggies over the hose ends. Keeps the fluid off of your hair. then you can yank the rack out of the car.
PRE-INSTALLATION: Clean the hose lines well. Replace the o-rings and the teflon seals on both ends. (these items are generally provided with the new rack.)
HINT #1: the teflon seals are smaller than the fittings they must go over. to expand them, take a tube of calk, or like material that has the long plastic tapered application tube on the end. Slide the teflon seals over the tapered tube, expanding them. then QUICKLY remove them from the tube, and put them over the fitting.
HINT #2: Mustang racks have limiters inside the rubber bellows to keep us from putting our tires/wheels into the lower control arm. New racks DO NOT have these limiters installed. You can use the ones from the old rack. Just slide the rubber bellows off the end of the rack body, and turn the steering so the rack moves the bellows away from the body, exposing the socket for the inner tie rod end. Right next to the socket, on the inner side, it is a large plastic c-clip snapped over the rack. Remove it and transfer it to the new rack. do the same for the other end.
HINT #3: flush the pump with clean fluid. Use the same process as used to empty it.
INSTALLATION: Just the reverse of removal. Just a couple of hints... --after you hook up the steering column, check to see that you have the same amount of rotations from the steering wheel dead center to the stops. adjust as necessary by disconnecting the rack from the steering column and repositioning and reattaching. --if you forgot the steering limiters, you can install them with the rack on the car. Just pull the boot back and turn the wheel till the socket is exposed. snap the clips on the rack.
Summary----took about 2 hours. Saved $170 in installation labor. the rack was only $142 for a rebuilt TRW unit from Pep Boys. Add some fluid, and several baggies, and it is not an expensive job at all.