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does lift and no sway bar damaging steering rack ?

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when i bought my 01' outback steering rack was fine . that was about 3 yrs ago. since then i lifted car with strut spacers 5cm. and now not so long ago removed front sway bar as well. 

struts not changed dont know nothing about them maybe they not changed at all, could be still oems. 

so that steering rack started to feel some knocking looseness inside some time ago. back then i did had front sway bar in. its become more and more loose feeling till now. its not ends that loose. its inside steering rack. it making that knock knock sound when you drive it on some worse roads. wheel inside car handles ok still but if you lift car and move wheel to sides its knocking very clear now. its become worse last couple month.

some guy told me its becouse i lifted it and removed sway bars so now other parts have more preasure on them. not sure about that but steering rack loose its reality.

still thinking of maybe try that large bolt that have small bolt inside it . like try to tension it more. but i cant get to it as it is. guess i need to remove or at least lower steering rack down a little . 

so steering rack went bad in 3 years its normal ? i heard they pretty tuff.

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I could see the lift wearing some things out faster but not the rack and pinion gears.  If you have the car off the ground can you move the end of the rack up and down?  Mine was loose in the bushings and I replaced it to be safe.  My advice if you're going through the work of removing it, find a good used one to put in, preferably one that doesn't have rusty lines on it.  On that note, the first thing to try would be to make sure you can disconnect the lines above the crossmember on the passenger side.  If you can't do that don't bother.  Also start soaking the rack bolts and u-joint bolts with liquid wrench or some kind of penetrant now.

I think driving on rough roads will wear it out much faster than normal driving regardless of your lift or swaybars.  It has been in the car for 17 years, right?

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