Anyone centered their steering rack before? - Ford Mustang Forums : Corral.net Mustang Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-06-2009, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone centered their steering rack before?

Hey guys,

I recently changed a bunch of items on my FOX, like struts, CC plates, steering rack bushings and while I was at it, an MM solid steering shaft.

Now, I have gone through the rack centering process a couple of times, but I think it's still not right. At first, the steering wheel, when pointed straight, would pull the car towards the right. Then I was advised to count the number of thread on each tie rod and get them even. I did that and it didn't really help. At this point I had the car steering a tad more when fully locked to the right (and rubbing), and about what looked normal when turning left (no rubbing).

Then I started screwing with the toe settings.

Pass side = + toe in
Driver side = + toe out

Things started to improve. At this point the car almost drives straight down the road (the wheel is slightly pointed towards counter clockwise) and I don't hear any more rubbing when locked to the right (and it seems the amount of turns lock to lock is about even). Can this be right?

I have decided I should save this grief for the alignment tech, but should I expect them to be willing to center my rack and steering wheel when proceeding with the vehicle's total alignment job?

As an observation (I know everything is off now) my steering wheel still jitters or shakes slightly when driving down the road. Bad rack (the inner tie rod is suspect here)? Ball joints (the wear indicators look good - sticking out and not flush)?

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance.

-Eric

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post #2 of 11 Old 04-06-2009, 02:31 PM
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Take it to get an alignment. Centering the steering wheel is part of an alignment. In a nut shell: the steering wheel is centered (pointed straight) then caster, camber, and finally toe is set.

post #3 of 11 Old 04-06-2009, 02:42 PM
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Your shimmy is probably a case of zero toe or extremely little toe-in and some bad tie rod ends.

I leave the rack centering last, becuase it's really a matter of adding toe-out to the side the steering wheel points to, and toeing the other side in the exact same amount, for no net change in total toe.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-06-2009, 03:02 PM
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There are two separate issues. 1)Getting the rack centered. 2) Getting the steering wheel straight. Just because the rack is centered and the toe is correct and equal on both sides does not guarantee that the steering wheel is "clocked" properly to the input shaft of the R&P.

To clock the wheel properly, I do the following: a) turn the wheel all the way left and note the steering wheel position. b) turn the wheel all the way right and note the steering wheel position. if the position of a) and b) are not mirror images, then the wheel is not clocked properly and must be removed at the R&P and repositioned. Rinse and repeat until a) and b) are mirror images.

Then and only then, position and lock down the steering wheel in the straight ahead position and set the toe equal on both left and right. Easiest to do this with the string method so that you are setting absolute toe vs relative toe.

Eric Anderson
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-06-2009, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like at the very least, I should get the steering wheel "clocked" absolutely straight and then have the alignment guy figure out the rest down below.

With only 57k miles I am hoping my outer tie rods are ok (boots are torn).

Thanks,

Eric
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-06-2009, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a79coupe View Post
There are two separate issues. 1)Getting the rack centered. 2) Getting the steering wheel straight. Just because the rack is centered and the toe is correct and equal on both sides does not guarantee that the steering wheel is "clocked" properly to the input shaft of the R&P.

To clock the wheel properly, I do the following: a) turn the wheel all the way left and note the steering wheel position. b) turn the wheel all the way right and note the steering wheel position. if the position of a) and b) are not mirror images, then the wheel is not clocked properly and must be removed at the R&P and repositioned. Rinse and repeat until a) and b) are mirror images.

Then and only then, position and lock down the steering wheel in the straight ahead position and set the toe equal on both left and right. Easiest to do this with the string method so that you are setting absolute toe vs relative toe.
Problem is, on a fox rack, the steering shaft will only engage the rack's input shaft one way and cannot be indexed to it. The only way I'm aware of to center the wheel if it's off-center on a fox rack that IS centered is to take the steering wheel off and re-install it straight, or possibly disassemble the rack and re-index the pinion.


Short of that, most of us deal with slightly less turn radius in one direction than the other if necessary to center the wheel.
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-06-2009, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MFE View Post
Problem is, on a fox rack, the steering shaft will only engage the rack's input shaft one way and cannot be indexed to it. The only way I'm aware of to center the wheel if it's off-center on a fox rack that IS centered is to take the steering wheel off and re-install it straight, or possibly disassemble the rack and re-index the pinion.


Short of that, most of us deal with slightly less turn radius in one direction than the other if necessary to center the wheel.

Doesn't the MM shaft allow it to be indexed in various positions?
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-06-2009, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastsvo View Post
Doesn't the MM shaft allow it to be indexed in various positions?

I forget what it's like to have stock parts on my car. :-) I have the Flaming River shaft to eliminate the rag joint. It does not have the flat spot that prohibits clocking at the rack.

Eric Anderson
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-06-2009, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastsvo View Post
Doesn't the MM shaft allow it to be indexed in various positions?
Yes, I suppose it does, and I scanned right over the part where he said he had one

Carry on...
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-07-2009, 08:08 AM
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Counting threads right and left is not the right way to center your wheel. There are always going to be tolerances between production, different racks, etc. As MFE said, you want to make sure your toe is set correctly, then adjust threads (more on one side, less on the other, equal amounts) til your wheel is centered while driving straight. That, or just take it to an alignment shop.

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post #11 of 11 Old 04-07-2009, 08:38 PM
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if you installed caster camber plates then a full alignment is in order.

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