MM Sn95 Steering rack swap questions (issues too) - Ford Mustang Forums : Corral.net Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-12-2018, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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MM Sn95 Steering rack swap questions (issues too)

Thanks to Mustang5L5 who posted a low mileage SPR ZK rack the other day, I embarked on the SN rack swap in my car.

I installed a low mileage 50k SPR ZK rack, reused my also new Solid Rack bushings, and bought the Maximum Motorsports swap shaft.

Prior to this, I was on the stock 4 cyl rack, solid bushings, and stock rebuilt steering shaft. The old setup had some chatter, and I found both inner tie rods died shortly after I started driving the car. Plenty of reason to make the swap.

When it came time to install the SN rack, everything went well except the swap shaft was a good deal too long for me to compress and slide in to align the splines. I had to loosen the rack, slide the shaft/rotate it/clock it, and then slide the rack back in.

Here's where it gets interesting. The new rack feels wonderful, but I have a few telling symptoms:

1) I still have steering chatter. I verified that the rack isn't touching anywhere aside from the beveled washers.
2) The upper joint on the shaft is lightly touching what is already a dented Pypes header.
3) I get a pop from the column like it gets bound up.
4) The rack struggles to bolt on, like its being held out.

Now I read the MM instructions a few times, but despite my experience I'm unfamiliar with the ways of stock steering columns. Is my issue that the steering column is extended to far out of the firewall, effectively binding everything since the shaft hits the header, won't fit without total removal of the rack, and I hear a binding pop?

If that's the case, what's the best way to compress the column? Sorry for the long winded post. Just trying to lay out facts.

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post #2 of 8 Old 10-12-2018, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Also, I have brand new ball joints (sn95), 95 spindles, Bilsteins w/ MMCO-1 kit, brand new poly front LCA bushings, and MM plates. Everything has maybe 500 miles on it.

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post #3 of 8 Old 10-12-2018, 12:04 PM
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Remove the rack from the k-member. Near the firewall, make two marks on the steering column tube. One where the tube goes into the firewall and another mark about 0.5" away from the firewall. Remove the steering shaft from the column. The stub shaft at the top can be left in the column. If you do this, make sure to mark the clocking of the steering shaft to stub shaft. Hit the end of the column/stub shaft with a large rubber hammer. Do this until the second mark (0.5") is now flush with the firewall. Reassemble everything. When tightening the steering rack bolts, do them in a progressive fashion. This will help ensure that there are no bending forces in the rack.

There should not be any popping in the steering column.

If the steering chatters when being turned at zero or very, very slow speeds, this may not be fixable. This is an oscillation of the mass and compliance of the parts in the steering system, which is excited by impulses in the hydraulic system. It is affected by many things in the steering system. In general as stiffer steering rack or FCA bushings are used it gets worse. Lower profile tires make it worse. Any play in the system makes it worse. The grip level between the tires and ground will affect it also. On some surfaces there will be no problem and on others, it will chatter.

Do not assemble the steering system if the shaft hits the header. This will destroy the steering rack. Clearance the header tube as needed with a large socket and hammer.
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-12-2018, 01:05 PM
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I also have steering chatter and I have grown to ignore it after double checking everything. I have the original SN95 rack and MM solid bushings. The front end is completely rebuilt and the original rag joint is still looking good and in use.
My front tires/wheels are wider and lower profile than stock. I can feel the tires resisting as I try to turn the steering wheel at very slow speeds, especially during tight turns. (Think parking lot manuevers)

CHP/CPR (Coast High Performance) / (Custom Performance Racing Engines)347 lasted a whopping 500 miles due to poor machining, metal debris in main bearings, damaged cam bearing and a balance job that was off 64ozs!
Buyer Beware.
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-12-2018, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Hidley View Post
Remove the rack from the k-member. Near the firewall, make two marks on the steering column tube. One where the tube goes into the firewall and another mark about 0.5" away from the firewall. Remove the steering shaft from the column. The stub shaft at the top can be left in the column. If you do this, make sure to mark the clocking of the steering shaft to stub shaft. Hit the end of the column/stub shaft with a large rubber hammer. Do this until the second mark (0.5") is now flush with the firewall. Reassemble everything. When tightening the steering rack bolts, do them in a progressive fashion. This will help ensure that there are no bending forces in the rack.

There should not be any popping in the steering column.

If the steering chatters when being turned at zero or very, very slow speeds, this may not be fixable. This is an oscillation of the mass and compliance of the parts in the steering system, which is excited by impulses in the hydraulic system. It is affected by many things in the steering system. In general as stiffer steering rack or FCA bushings are used it gets worse. Lower profile tires make it worse. Any play in the system makes it worse. The grip level between the tires and ground will affect it also. On some surfaces there will be no problem and on others, it will chatter.

Do not assemble the steering system if the shaft hits the header. This will destroy the steering rack. Clearance the header tube as needed with a large socket and hammer.
Thanks Jack. Exactly the type of response I expected from you. I'm fortunate that the shaft/header doesn't make contact, but boy is it close (and already dented too!). I think by moving the end of the column in, I will be able to move the joint away from the header a bit and give me some breathing room.

I'll try to compress the steering column and go from there.
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-14-2018, 10:45 AM
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i would pull a vac on the PS res, and bleed the air according to ford's procedure

air trapped in the system will quickly destroy the pump

89 GT gr-40, KB2200(10psi), tweecer R/T,LC-1, 22gal cell, w/tailpipes.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-15-2018, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Indy. I will try that too.

Did some work to the car over the weekend. For Posterity and searchers, this is what fixed it.

Turns out the shaft of the column was slide all of the way out. It was out so far that it created unneeded pressure at the lower joint/top of the rack, effectively keeping it from seating rearward. I did as Jack mentioned, pulled the shaft, left the spline portion in it, and tapped the bottom of the column up. What surprised me is it seemed stuck, so I gave it a bit more effort and I heard it "thunk" like it released, and then started to move with moderate effort and a rubber mallet.

After working the column up, it changed the angle of the steering shaft. This was good and bad. It allowed me to move the large knuckle up away from the header, but it brought the shaft over closer to the header. So I removed the header, clearanced it, and reclocked the entire steering system per MM directions.

No more pops, clicks, clunks, or thuds. Drives straight and is ready for an alignment. Very little chatter. I think it's mostly due to lack of deflection up front. All in all I'd say its fixed.
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-15-2018, 11:44 AM
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Nice work.

I also had to clearance my older BBK header for the steering shaft. Nothing I did created any space, so I took it off, got a big 36mm or so socket and dimpled it. I probably have 1/2" or so of clearance, but it's been fine every since the install.

Glad someone here snagged that rack I listed. That was a damn good price for the mileage and I doubt you'll ever be able to tell a difference between a GT and cobra rack on the street.
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--1988 Mustang LX 5.0--
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