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88 Horizon PS Rack

Discussion in 'L: Horizon/Omni, Rampage, etc' started by cadman777, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. cadman777

    cadman777 Active Member

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    Back at it.
    This car is a mechanic's special.
    Experienced help is appreciated.
    Here's the issues:
    1. PS rack play is about 25° each way when you turn the steering wheel.
    Any way to adjust the PS rack?
    FSM doesn't show any way.
    2. The PS fluid is ugly.
    Is there a specified PS fluid flush method?
    Didn't find one in the FSM.
    3. What is suitable aftermarket PS fluid?
    FSM says not to use ATF.
    Thanx ... Chris
     
  2. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    There is no gear adjustment in the field. It is replacement (with a reman gear) only.
    Make sure that the play isn't in the lower column where it exits the floor. I have had pinch bolts loose and shims missing. Looseness/wear in steering linkage and suspension joints will also translate into steering play.
    Have a helper rock the steering wheel back and forth while you look for the 'slop'.
    I usually use gravity to drain most of the old fluid out. Then leaving the lower return hose out of the rack disconnected and placed in a drain pan, start the car and with fresh fluid being fed to the pump, turn the rack lock-to-lock a couple of times until the exiting fluid runs clear.
    You want a P/S fluid that meets Chrysler MS-5931 (ms=material standard). It is the conventional amber fluid. Using ATF+4 may harm rubber seals in older vehicles. P/S fluid additives are not recommended.
     
  3. cadman777

    cadman777 Active Member

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    Thanx Imperial.
    Excellent info.
    Most of it was in my mind, b/c that's the way I used to do it.
    But the PS spec and the column check is news to me.
    Here's how I found it:
    With one wheel off the ground, checking the outer tie rods by rocking the wheels side to side, the slack is about 3". It does this on both sides. At first I thought it was inner tie rods. But then I checked the steering wheel and thought better of it. Didn't open the rack boots to check the inner tie rods, but since it happens on both sides, I figured it was the rack/pinion gear connection. But now that you mention it, I had that same thing on VW Rabbits: Loose u-joint clamping on the pinion shaft.
    Much obliged!
     
    #3 cadman777, Aug 21, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  4. John Wood

    John Wood Well-Known Member

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    When you move the tire side to side slowly, do you see the tie rod move in and out of the rack? The boot will usually compress and decompress if the inner joint is bad and there is a lot of slop. You have to be sure that the steering wheel is not moving when performing this check.
    With movement of the tie rod and steering wheel stationary, the usual culprit is an inner tie rod joint.... and often both sides wear out about the same time. You can change the inner joints providing there is no evidence of seal leakage once you get the boot off. Otherwise, just replace the entire rack and flush the pump and lines with fresh fluid. That is probably the safest way for long term success, even though it is much messier than just changing the inner joints. What ever method you use, count the turns it takes to remove the outer joints (keeping the tie rod locked in-place). Re-install the outer joints on the new rod and thread those in the exact number of turns it took to remove them. You will still need to get an alignment, but hopefully won't drag the rubber on the tires while heading to the alignment shop.


    I've not had a steering shaft bad U-joint experience on a Chrysler vehicle, but it is certainly worth checking out.
     
  5. cadman777

    cadman777 Active Member

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    Thanx John.
    Will do.
    I think it's the pinion connection to the rack teeth.
    Reason: Both wheels on the ground and not moving, but steering wheel turns either way about 25°. Only checking w/boots pushed out will tell.
    Didn't have time the other day.
    This poor guy, he's had one thing after another.
    I'm the guy who recommended he buy it, so guess what?
    Good thing I'm not charging him.
    Otherwise, he may as well crush the damn thing!
     
  6. John Wood

    John Wood Well-Known Member

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    I remember at least one or two posts here over the years where people discovered loose rack bolts, and that caused substantial steering wheel play, similar to what you describe. Definitely check the 4 bolts that hold the rack down to the cross member. I even remember one lady who was scammed by a tire chain store that loosened those bolts and tried to tell her she needed a new rack. Fortunately she was savvy enough to figure out what they did and made them fix it under threat of reporting their scam activities.

    When the rack bolts are loose, the entire rack shifts the opposite direction that the wheel is turned. You need a helper to turn the steering wheel while you look under the car to look at the rack for any movement.
     
  7. cadman777

    cadman777 Active Member

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    Thanx John.
    I didn't notice any rack movement when I moved the wheels when it was jacked up.
    But I'll get a helper to turn the wheel to verify.
     
  8. cadman777

    cadman777 Active Member

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    Finally got the car back and checked for loose rack bolts and loose u-joint bolt.
    No probs there, so I got a helper, and discovered that both inner tie rods are very loose.
    Looking at the rack from underneath and the sides, appears like there's no room to get the inner rack boot clamp off.
    Do I have to remove the whole rack to replace the inner tie rods?
    How do I know the difference btw TRW & Saginaw rack?
    Does it matter when buying inner tie rods?
    Thanx ...
     
    #8 cadman777, Aug 23, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  9. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    If you disconnect the steering column shaft coupling, you can remove the 4 crossmember fasteners (if they aren't too badly rusted). This will drop the crossmember a couple of inches to service the rack on an automatic transaxle car. The shift linkage bracketry on a manual transaxle is attached to the crossmember.
    If it has a clockspring, have the wheels pointing straight ahead and lock the column before disconnecting the shaft coupling.
    It isn't a real good idea to have the crossmember hang by the P/S hoses so some support may be desirable.
    Sometimes a leak will start after replacing tie rods, so installing a reman gear that has fresh seals and tierods is still a better and more cost-effective idea at this age and mileage.
     
  10. cadman777

    cadman777 Active Member

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    Thanx, good advice.
    The rack's only 100 bux on RockAuto.
    2 inner tierods are around 50 bux, so the rack isn't much more.
    I really appreciate being able to tap-into you guys' knowledge base.
    Saves me a LOT of aggravation.
    At this point in life, that's the better part of living!
     
    #10 cadman777, Aug 23, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  11. cadman777

    cadman777 Active Member

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    Does it matter if I use TRW or Sagniaw rack?
    If so, how do I identify what's on it now?
     
  12. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    The 1988 Mopar parts catalog only shows TRW P/S gears being offered on the L-body.
    The Mopar part # was 4443424. You can use that number to locate equivalents: i.e.- Cardone 22303A.
     
  13. cadman777

    cadman777 Active Member

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    Thanx.
    Rock's got it.
    Guess I can use that Mopar parts catalog from now on to verify aftermarket parts?
     
  14. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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  15. cadman777

    cadman777 Active Member

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    Excellent.
    Thanx!
     

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