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Rack and pinion diagnosis


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10 replies to this topic

#1 ThosL

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 10:20 AM

I brought my '99 Subaru Outback to get an oil change and tire rotation at Monroe the other day.  They did a great job and no charge on the tire rotation and other diagnosis.  On the front end, they said driver's side tie rod end needed replacement with a follow up alignment for around $280.  I then took the car for an estimate on the front end to a local repair place that has done a lot of work on it.  They drove it for a good half hour, unreal, I have never had a repair place need that long for diagnosis.  They said it needed a rack and pinion which could be done used for around $600.  I'm thinking this could be a mis-diagnosis because Monroe did not report it.  The weird thing is that after the tire rotation of unevenly worn tires it runs weird down the road, tough to make the usual turns.  Could this be a result of unevenly worn tires, now with the best ones in front?



#2 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 11:48 AM

well, not sure what the complaint is. If the tires are the same model and close to each other in wear-level, maybe some rust or other debris is trapped betweein the wheel and the rotor whe they swapped them.

 

what kind of steering problem are you experiencing?



#3 Fairtax4me

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 12:29 PM

Are the tires inflated properly?

Even of the front tires are now the "better" set they could still be worn unevenly. Uneven wear can cause unusual handling, pulling, and wandering.

The second shop wants to replace the whole rack and pinion rather than just the inner tie rod end. This is not necessary unless the rack is leaking, or the end bushing is worn.
The end bushings can't be checked without removing the boots on the ends of the housing.

If you have jack stands or wheel ramps the inner tie rod ends are very easy to check on your own.

#4 ThosL

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 12:55 PM

OK, thanks for the feedback.  As far as I can see the less than great handling issue is due to a relatively new tire in front with a 3/4 worn tire also in the front.  I need to address the worn tire issue first probably.



#5 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 01:55 PM

if there are different model tires, or perhaps more than 3/32" difference in wear, you can experience torque bind. I don't htink that's an issue here, but as a test, see if you detect any 'jerking' in the car when doing tight, slow (at idle or just above) circles on dry flat pavement.



#6 ThosL

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 03:31 PM

Maybe that is what J and J picked up a couple of months ago.  But I took the car for a second opinion at F and S in Roxbury.  They got it up on the lift thankfully and found no rack issue.  How often do people give the go ahead on unnecessary mechanical work "just to be safe"?  



#7 upnorthguy

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 04:02 PM

First post says that Monroe said a tie rod end (outer) is "needed", not inner.  Although, who knows what is needed without feeling the play in the ends.

Replacing (outer) tie rod ends is pretty easy if you are so inclined.  The hardest part is usually getting the outer end unthreaded from the inner tie rod end (after you remove the jam nut).  I had good success using a pipe wrench on my last set.  I can give you more detail if you want/need it.

I haven't replaced inner tie rod ends yet, but I did clean and regrease mine when doing steering boots recently.  I didn't find any play in my inners so I left them alone.  MercedesDieselGuy has a good video on youtube about inner replacement (and quite a few other things he did on a '95 Legacy).

 

All that tie rod discussion aside, I agree with the above posts that worn ties can give you some funky handling/sound/vibration.  I wouldn't mess with any steering parts until you know you have smooth rubber on the front end.

 

People follow bad advice from shops all the time.  If you don't know or have experience with the car/issue, then you trust the "expert" to be right/honest/fair when giving you a diagnosis.  

I think someone could make a good living as a TV reporter by putting a known bad part/parts on a car and taking it to various shops to see what they come up as a recommended fix.  Especially if you had a woman doing it since shops seem to often prey on the ladies and their perceived lack of knowledge about all things mechanical (which is, of course, just a stereotypical view).



#8 WoodsWagon

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 12:16 AM

Racks rarely fail. The coupler between the column and the rack has U-joints that commonly rust up and bind. Spraying penetrating oil (not WD40) on the two joints will quickly tell you if they're the culprit if that frees the steering up.



#9 heartless

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 07:51 AM

People follow bad advice from shops all the time.  If you don't know or have experience with the car/issue, then you trust the "expert" to be right/honest/fair when giving you a diagnosis.  

I think someone could make a good living as a TV reporter by putting a known bad part/parts on a car and taking it to various shops to see what they come up as a recommended fix.  Especially if you had a woman doing it since shops seem to often prey on the ladies and their perceived lack of knowledge about all things mechanical (which is, of course, just a stereotypical view).

 

it has been done - several times.

 

I saw one not too long ago where they took the exact same car in twice - once with a woman driving, once with a guy - got two very different diagnoses...

 

to the OP - if your tires dont match - brand/size/wear - all the way around, you are asking for more troubles.

If they are wearing funny, you need to find out why they are wearing funny.

 

what kind of wear is showing up?

inner edge?

outer edge?

feathering/chopping?

the kind of wear will often point you to what the problem is.

 

tie rod ends, ball joints, worn out struts, & misalignment can all cause odd wear patterns.



#10 zombieforce

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 11:29 AM

Sounds like tires are causing the steeri g issues not the rack. Rotate them back and see how it drives. I have replaced a few racks but usually do it for leaks not steering issues. Did they say why it needs a rack? For leaks or to fix the steering issues? Tires make all the difference on awd or fwd cars. Thats why I hate rotation. Always worried after I rotate the tires on a car at work that there will be a pull or a vibration and then I have to do the same job twice for free. Get two similar tread depth tires on the front and see how the steering feels after you do that.

#11 ThosL

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 12:55 PM

Thanks for the feedback on this, I replaced the two rears tires, so now they are pretty close in matching.  Rotation is next as the tire place did not think that was necessary.  






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