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Procedure for installing/centering steering rack and steering wheel.

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Just installed a used rack to replace a clunky one out of my 2K OBW (used rack came complete w/ tie rods). I did my best to ‘center’ the rack with respect to itself, and installed the steering coupler so the steering wheel is centered. Once I had it all together and the steering wheel centered the drivers side wheel was pointing slightly ‘left’.

Realizing that I’ll need an alignment anyway, I adjusted the tie rod so the drivers’ side wheel pointed straight.

So now the steering wheel is centered, and both wheels are pointing straight; HOWEVER, when I turn lock-to-lock the passenger tire rubs on the wheel well. I think it turns sharper one way than the other.

Driving down the road it doesn’t pull and the steering wheel is maybe one spline off center; not bad at all.

I’m a little concerned now because I called Les Schwab to get a quote on an alignment and asked if they are able to center the rack and wheel as part of the alignment procedure if necessary and he said ‘no’. So now I’m wondering if I should try and start over, get the rack and wheel centered PERFECTLY before I take it in? I’d hate to pay 80$ to align it only to find I have to drop the rack again. Then again maybe this is something the alignment will take care of?

I guess my main question is, is there a solid procedure that makes this installation easier in the event that I should have to start over?

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i would let them do the alignment and then center the steering wheel yourself. once the alignment is set, the rack and wheels should be doing what they're supposed to do, then you'll set the steering wheel to match.

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i would let them do the alignment and then center the steering wheel yourself. once the alignment is set, the rack and wheels should be doing what they're supposed to do, then you'll set the steering wheel to match.

 

It seems it would be possible to have the rack slider off to one side with the wheels straight and the steering wheel straight, if one tie rod end is adjusted in far enough, and the other out far enough.

 

That is, the rack slider could be off to the 'left' with the wheels pointing straight ahead, you'd have too little steering in one direction, and too much in the other.

 

I would suggest an easy check to put your mind at ease-

Turn the steering wheel to the far left lock position, count turns to the far right position, turn the wheel back half that amount, mark the steering wheel with a piece of tape and then verify it's the exact amount of turns from center to left-lock and center to right-lock.

Adjust the tape as necessary until the tape is at the 12-oclock position and it's the exact same number of turns (and fractions of a turn) to left-lock and to right-lock from center.

 

That tells you where the steering wheel should be set to put the rack in it's center of travel.

 

Put the steering wheel in that rack-center position, and now go look at the wheels- they should be pretty much straight. If they're off by a little, the tie-rod ends can probably be adjusted to make up the difference (alignment guys'll do it), off by more than a little and the steering shaft position may have to be tweaked to set wheels-straight-ahead with the rack in its center of travel.

 

 

Dave

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