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Discussion Starter #1
So, I've been having this ongoing issue where the steering wheel has a little bit of play in it. It's not much, maybe a couple of degrees at most, but still kinda bugs me that the problem is still there. I have replaced power steering rack twice (rebuilt 94 spec, currently used 03 Cobra rack), I have solid rack bushings, GR bumpsteer kit, and urethane control arm bushings in the MM control arms. When I get under the car, I can rotate the steering shaft side to side, and I can see that the rack input shaft (pinion) turns just ever so slightly. This has been the case with every single rack that I have owned. Is this just something I will have to give up on? Is this as good as it gets for OEM rack?
 

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There is an adjustment you can make to the rack preload, but you run the risk that if you tighten it when it's on-center, it'll bind when it's off center. So, turn the wheel half a turn off center and see if it still has the play. If not, don't make any adjustments, you're going to have to live with it until you replace the rack. If there is still slack, look on the front of the rack, opposite the input shaft, and you'll see a big nut and locking ring nut. It might have a cover over it, if so, remove the cover. Loosen the locking ring, and then tighten the big preload nut slightly. Check how much play is left. Frankly, I'd leave a very slight amount to try to ensure it isn't too tight anywhere in its travel. When you think you have it right, turn the wheels lock to lock a few times and see if you feel any tight spots. If so, loosen it back up a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you have a how to? I know what you are talking about, but I think I've been doing it wrong (just turning the plastic nut as tight as I can).
 

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edit: see below
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I've just checked and I have the same amount of play regardless of which position the steering wheel is in. What do I have to do once I take off the plastic nut? Any pictures?

Here is the picture of the rack that I recently installed.



You are saying that I have to remove the plastic nut that's on the bottom of the rack, and not right under that rusted nut, right?
 

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I was mistaken, it's not the plastic nut, the assembly in question is the rusty-looking nut on the right side between the fluid lines. It needs to be loosened, then the bolt inside needs to be tightened to remove slop, then the outer nut needs to be retightened.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, here is something interesting. I've played with the adjuster on the top, and as it turns out, it does not remove the slop from the steering. What it does instead is adjusts how freely the pinion shaft moves in the rack. What that means basically is that you can tighten it up to make the steering heavier, or loosen it up for less effort. There is however such a thing as too tight, at the point where the steering wheel no longer centers itself. That's when you know you went too far.
 

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I'm really surprised that didn't lose any of the slop.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think this is just as good as it will ever get with factory Ford rack. Seems to be about the same amount of play through out all the racks I've had on the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'll try it. I did mention earlier that I checked by turning the rack by the steering shaft itself past the rubber bushing, and it seemed like the rack had the play in it, not the steering shaft. I'll give it a shot pretty soon. Car is for the most part a full MM package, so it's just a shaft and adjustable rear bar away from being complete.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, #### me sideways, looks like it was the steering shaft. I was changing the motor mount today, and thought to myself, you know, I've got a couple of spares sitting on the shelf, lets try and change it, see what happens. Sure enough, the slop has disappeared, or should I say, became with in spec. Once I've examined the steering shaft I took off, I discovered a pretty nasty crack which I could never see while it was on the car. Mystery solved I guess.
 

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Crack in the steering shaft? That's scary.
 

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I have the same kind of knock, I jacked up the left wheel and turned it side by side. I think you can hear the knock in the steering gear box of the rack and pinion.Is this common? THe car has 121 k on it. Do you guys know of a good replacement rack and pinion?
 
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