Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2003 19:48:00 -0600
Reply-To: zaranski <zaranski@NETNITCO.NET>
Sender: Vanagon Mailing List <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: zaranski <zaranski@NETNITCO.NET>
Subject: Re: Steering rack replacement question
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
Just (TODAY!) finished-up replacing the rack on my wife's 87 GL (I say
finished, but still need tires and alignment). Not a difficult job at all.
The driver's side seal was leaking BADLY.
I bought a rebuilt rack from Jeff at vanagonparts.com for about $180 ($100
core deposit), 6 month guarantee. He also sold me a wheel cover and a dash
light, took paypal and it all arrived on a Saturday after being sent the
preceeding Tuesday. I do not know who rebuilt the rack. The rack came with
new bushings installed.
The Bentley calls for replacement of any self-locking nuts removed (I
removed, discarded and replaced a total of six 8-mm x 1.25 pitch
slef-locking nuts), and replacement of the boots. I replaced the tie-rod
Got the nuts from the local guy. Got the OEM boots, tie-rod ends, and a
tube of molybdinum disulfide grease (CV joint grease) from Mark at Adirondak
Auto Parts (see germanautoparts.com) at very good prices (all for about $40
1) Got wheels straight, applied the parking brake, chocked the rear
wheels front and back, lifted each front side onto jackstands and removed
roadwheels. Found the center indicator on the rack which calmed my fears
about the whole centering thing.
2) Plugged the breather hole on the top-center of the resevoir cap with
chewing gum (dentyne).
3) Removed two bolts at the steering coupling way forward (under the
driver's left foot position?), loosened the collar that mates the shaft and
its U-joints to the rack, and then separated the shaft from the rack (you
could/should mark all these for reassembly). The front coupling is easier
to reach if the spare tire holder is open--it provides a nice inclined back
rest as a bonus. 13 mm all. I did have to turn the system some to decouple
the plates up front, and lowering the winshield washer fluid resevoir helped
me get my left hand in a good spot.
4) Removed the tie-rod end nuts (both were pinned-castle nuts) and used a
generic puller to push the ends up thru the ears (offered very little
resistance, could have gently tapped them out). castle nuts were 17 mm.
5) Removed the lower two and loosened the upper two fasteners holding the
rack to the frame. 13 mm all. Discarded old nuts.
6) Removed the feed and return lines from the pump (17 mm flarenut wrench
for the first/smaller one, adjustable wrench for the larger/second one),
caught what fluid drained out (in an empty plastic container), and then
wrapped/capped the lines with aluminum foil.
7) Removed the final two loosened fasteners and snaked-out the rack and
rods. Discarded old nuts.
8) Cut off the old boots and removed the tierods (label them) from the
9) Replaced the tierod ends, put the new boots on the rods, fastened the
tierods to the appropriate ends of the new rack. Greased the rack-to-rod
ball/socket joints and the rack teeth. Pulled the rack end of the boots on.
10) Mounted the new rack, attached the lines, connected the tie-rod ends
to ears, connected shaft/Ujoint collar to knurled pinion shaft on rack,
connected forward coupling plate, (w/all new self lock nuts) and put the
wheels back on...all in reverse order of removal. The Bently calls for
torqueing the coupler plate, rack mount and tierod nuts to 20, 25, and 30
11) Refilled the PS fluid resevoir, started the van and finished
refilling. Removed the chewing gum from cap.
12) I did then remove and reposition the steering wheel as it was not
"straight" before this.
A one-day job if you have all the tools and parts you need.
Glad to give something back to this awesome list,
Mark Zaranski, Porter, Indiana
87 GL weekender
86.5 qsw parts car
85 4-cyl 5spd quantum wagon
82 turbodiesel quantum wagon
From: Felder <felder@KNOLOGY.NET>
To: vanagon@GERRY.VANAGON.COM <vanagon@GERRY.VANAGON.COM>
Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 9:16 PM
Subject: Steering rack replacement question
>There is no clear-cut procedure in Bentley for removal and replacement
>of the PS steering rack in a late-model vanagon. Is anyone familiar
>with this procedure? Is this something I can accomplish, or are there
>reasons it's better left to a VW shop?