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Date:         Sat, 15 Nov 2003 19:48:00 -0600
Reply-To:     zaranski <zaranski@NETNITCO.NET>
Sender:       Vanagon Mailing List <>
From:         zaranski <zaranski@NETNITCO.NET>
Subject:      Re: Steering rack replacement question
Comments: To: Felder <felder@KNOLOGY.NET>
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 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 ends, too.

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 at very good prices (all for about $40 inc shipping!).

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 old rack.

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 respectively.

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

-----Original Message----- 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? > >Thanks, > >Jim

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