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How difficult is it to replace the steering rack?

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How difficult is it to replace the steering rack?

Old 01-01-2019, 04:19 PM
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Default How difficult is it to replace the steering rack?

I'm about 95% sure my rack is bad, the truck wanders on the highway and I have to correct wheel often, there's a clunk when turning the wheel in the driveway or at very low speeds when making a turn, shake when I get up to 55 mpg (I thought this was a tire balance issue, but now I think otherwise), and between 11 and 1 o'clock the wheel isn't responsive.

So, I'm sure all here would agree it's the rack. I can't imagine it could be anything else.

Which is why I'm asking if it's difficult to replace. I have a jack, stands, a complete 1/4" and 3/8" socket set, and a brake/power steering bleeder kit. As noted in my sig, truck is a 4x2 Supercab 145" WB. As it's 4x2, I'm more confident in being able to do this and not have to deal with the CV joints in the way. How many hours from start to finish?

Also, I would prefer an OEM rack, but I look at Rock auto and they mostly have remans and the only "new" one they have for a RWD is a lot of money at $440. Can I use racks advertised as for 4x4, or do I have to go with RWD racks? I thought there was no difference between racks for 4x2 an 4x4 trucks.
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Old 01-01-2019, 05:54 PM
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since your truck is RWD, that makes it much easier. i'm not quite sure how 4wd affects it.
How many hours from start to finish?
that really depends on you. for a certified mechanic probably 2-4 hours.
I would prefer an OEM rack
i understand that. they tend to be better quality
I look at Rock auto and they mostly have remans and the only "new" one they have for a RWD is a lot of money at $440
that is not a bad price at all being OEM
Can I use racks advertised as for 4x4
i couldn't verify that one not sure
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:03 PM
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before you replace the rack like i did check the intermediate steering column shaft. i replaced my rack tie rod ends power steering pump and lines to find out that wasnt my problem...
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by DarrinT04 View Post
since your truck is RWD, that makes it much easier.

that really depends on you. for a certified mechanic probably 2-4 hours.
So 250 to 500 in labor. That's a week's pay for me, even if it takes me 20 hours to do it, I come out saving money.

I started doing my own car work the past couple months and all it is is taking stuff off loosening bolts and whacking a hammer. Have a good friend who's done good work on my vehicles in the past and I watch car repair videos on youtube all the time. I'm quite confident doing work on steering and suspensions systems.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:21 AM
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I would take it somewhere to get it looked at first. There are other cheaper suspension parts that could be the problem. I don't think the steering racks on our trucks is a big issue.
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:03 AM
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i had the same issue check the intermediate steering column shaft. i found it after i changed my rack and power steering pump out.
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Old 01-08-2019, 04:10 AM
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For the symptoms I've noticed, is it possible the steering shaft could need replacing? The shaft does have a lot of rust on it, definitely the original shaft and it's seen 13 years worth of New England winter road salt.
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:35 AM
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The U-joints on the steering shaft were replaced on my '04 after it froze up and the wheel wouldn't return to center, after many years towing a camper on the LI ocean beaches.

Before investing in parts, have someone shake the wheel while you examine all parts of the steering system, and you'll probably find a little play at each location (shaft, tie rods, etc) adding up to a lot of play at the tires.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:43 PM
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I just replaced my steering rack due to my rusted out high pressure line from the pump being stuck in it. It was surprisingly easy to do, worst part was removing the fan shroud and fan to make space to work in but even then that's not necessary with the right tools. Follow this diy guide (long but super detailed and easy to follow) from youtube: https://youtu.be/F4NJl2jFwiw and rent a pulley removal tool and fan removal tool from AutoZone and you'll be golden. I also recommend disconnecting your battery as I had some weird draining issues caused by turning the car on during the repair and also lock your steering wheel when you remove the steering column bolt. Last point is that I used a remanufactured rack from Detroit Axle that I purchased from amazon, came in great shape and have had no issues. best part is that when you send your core back you get a free lifetime warranty...can't beat that! Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try to help!
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:45 AM
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Spray the lower u-joint on the steering shaft with some type of penetrant first and see if that helps. The lower u-joint is subject to dang near everything and ends up crusty.
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