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Discussion Starter #1
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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Discussion Starter #2
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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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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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)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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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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
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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You gents that have done the SN95 rack swap, do you tend to use the ‘96-98 spindles and longer A arms also?

I am planning ahead and wondering if for a 99.9% street car that extra A arm and spindle effort is that noticeable. I have ‘94 spindles on mine currently. I am not bothered by swapping spindles but just wonder how far do I bother to go as I improve my front suspension. I am pretty good in the rear with MM PHB+TA, boy how transformative THAT was!! :)
 

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Rack has no bearing on spindles and a-arms. Treat the rack no differently than you would if you had a stock fox rack in the car.

Spindle selection is more dependent on Rack height relationship, and you would only swap the spindles for the 96+ spindles if you were running a 96+ k-member or an MM K-member that does shift the location of the steering rack.
 

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Thanks Mike. That is one thing I am considering, improving the front suspension while I am there. The question is only “how far do I take it” for an aggressive street car? I love the mountain road twists and turns here in E. TN. But this car is not a track car. Decisions decisions.
 

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I, too, have the MM hybrid shaft and had to clearance my BBK longtubes and even ground down the shaft a bit. No other problems tho :)
 

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My current 1 3/4” MAC LTHs have plenty of space around the stock unit. I’d think I should be fine here.....
 

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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.
Older thread but still relevant.
Going to have to try this out. I think I may be getting this same binding. Pretty sure it's preventing my driver side rack mounting bolt from going in all the way.
 
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