I've been slowly putting the steering rack back together over the last few days. A snow day for the kids and I (wife was out of town) today. As usual, the local school districts do a knee jerk and call school off rather than delaying it 2 hours. Most of the snow was melted by the end of that time. Back in my day! Anyway, this is a rather lengthy post so fair warning.
NOTE: If you decide to do this, I cannot stress enough to keep your parts separated by group (e.g., driver's side inner tie rod), bagged and labeled. There are items that are easily lost and several stacks of shims that make up required measurements, all of which I'm sure are not easily replaced.
Previously, I had gotten as much of the old grease and grime and rust and everything else that wasn't supposed to be there cleaned out. I soaked some of the rusty bits in vinegar overnight and wire brushed them. I took a wire wheel to everything (both using a drill and a Dremel Rotary Tool) and also some 220-grit sandpaper to some of the bearings, collars and washers to remove the surface corrosion that made taking the thing apart a bit of a chore. I also pushed a clean rag through the rack tube a few times using a wooden dowel that cleaned everything right up. A coat of Rustoleum Gloss Black was applied to the stuff that would take a painting.
|Inner tie rod ends with threaded and ball ends taped over.|
|Steering rack tube cleaned and painted. The pinion housing is aluminium so it's not painted.|
There is a brass bushing in the end of the steering rack tube, opposite the pinion housing. It's a combination of designs of the brass thrust washers and gear bushings I found in the transmission and I thought it was interesting to find it here.
|Bushing. SpitBits does sell them, but I'd hate to have to get one out and a new one in!|
You can clearly see the dimples and just barely see the dark groove towards the bottom center-left. This groove is spiral cut and runs the entire circumference of the bushing from bottom to top in this orientation. These types of bushings existed before technology came up with sintered, or oil-impregnated, bushings. The dimples hold the oil/grease when things are static so it is ready to provide lubrication when things start moving. The spiral promotes movement of the oil/grease up and down the bushing as, in this case, the steering rack moves along it. A thank-you to my brother for educating me.
Assembly was also a good excuse to take a trip to Harbor Freight to get some more stuff which I'll talk about as I go. As with my previous post, I'm including some exploded views of the whole process from the workshop manual and including these part numbers in parentheses after the part name, as applicable. Everything I'm doing follows the Workshop Manual unless stated otherwise. However, there are several measurement points with various specifications that I do not go into. Please, if you decide to tackle this, ensure you have a good reference. Besides brakes, this is probably the next most important safety-related item you've got.
Now, on to the show.
First portion of assembly was getting the pinion assembly end float measured and set. This required putting it together inside the pinion housing without any shims (12).
|Pinion Assembly after cleanup. I couldn't get the bottom bush (17) out of the pinion housing, so I left it.|
The rubber o-ring in the upper left of my photo is not identified in the manual figure. It fits inside the recess in the retaining ring (11). I was able to source a pair of these from my local True Value for about $1.50. I couldn't see a difference by comparison by eye between the new and old.
|These were identical as far as I could tell.|
To measure the end float, I purchased a Clamping Dial Indicator from Harbor Freight. Not the highest quality of stuff, but I bet it's as good as they had in the 60's. It did the trick.
|New Toy #1|
|Dial indicator set up. Not zero'ed out in this picture.|
The end float came out to be about 0.040" which, funny enough, was just about the exact thickness of the shims (12) that I pulled out. How do I know this? Well, I measured the shims with my other new toy, the Harbor Freight 6 in. Digital Caliper with SAE and Metric Fractional Readings. I had a coupon for this so it was like $11. A bit flimsy, but it works.
|Thickness of the three pinion assembly shims. And, new toy #2.|
|The dowel peg (5).|
|0.026" gap. Again, funny, almost perfectly accounted for by the shims.|
Next was putting the tie-rod inner ball joints (38) on. I followed the manual for measurements and assembly instructions and used the shims that were already there. I used new lock tabs (35) to make it all good.
|Locking down the lock tab (35). Squeezed in a vise vice using a hammer.|
Once done there, the next step was to put on the big rubber bellows or boots. Of course, I tore one as they are not that easy to deal with. I can't imagine how much money my impatience has cost me when I know better. Anyway, I kept going to try and learn more lessons but I have a set on the way from SpitBits.
I ordered new outer tie-rods from The Roadster Factory as part of their front suspension major rebuild kit a while ago. While they are nice, the threads were very dirty on the inside with machining residue. I figured this out when I tried to thread it up the inner tie-rod and it starting galling. Fortunately, I didn't strip any threads and used a brass round brush and some de-greaser to flush it out and clean it up.
|Red Sharpie mark. The outer tie rod lock nut came off before the boot when on so I didn't tear another one.|
|In all her glory.|