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Been reading alot about people who've experienced a knocking or clunking noise when braking or making a right/left turn. Well, I just experienced a scary moment this last Wednesday evening while returning from the local Lowe's store.

Before I go into what happened, understand I've nearly replaced the entire front end suspension, including: Both upper and lower control arms, both springs, strut rod bushings, outer tie rods, front stabilizer bar endlinks. The car has been aligned twice in the last year. Now this is something that I completely ignored and yes, my own darn fault: I felt a slight shudder and knocking noise coming from the right passenger side about a week and half ago. I've had the car up twice looking around for the culprit and found everything tight and solid. I LET IT GO, IGNORING THE SYMPTOMS. Wednesday evening upon leaving my local Lowe's and making a right turn onto a parkway I heard and felt a loud pop and crunching and the steering wheel shot completely to the right. I was unable to straighten the car and she continued making a right turn until I stopped her in a ditch. (Thankfully nothing was hit.) Upon inspecting her, I found: The right front wheel in a full right hand turn, the left front wheel was just slightly, if at all, slightly pointing inward.

I've since gotten the car towed out to Ford and yesterday was confirmed the steering rack 'dropped' (their words) and required complete replacement w/ inner tie rods. The hand-written estimate was 437.79 for the entire job including labor. I said do it.

As a friendly advice to any of you who've experienced a front end knocking or clunking in your suspension; don't ignore the possibility of the steering rack heading south. :cool:
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Good to hear you and the car are all right!

That's what you get for going to Lowe's. :D

Sorry, couldn't resist. I work at Home Depot.
 

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That's why as soon as my money from school comes in, I'm taking my car to the dealership and having the whole suspension checked out. How many miles on the car when this happened?
 

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Car was at 170,598miles at time this happened. ;)
Okay, that makes me feel a little bit better. I only have 92,xxx on mine, but I'm getting it checked out anyways. It's doing something similar only with out the shudder.
 

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it's so hard to tell though. I've got a bunch of knocking and occasional creaking.... so Ive got new wheel bearings, and will be getting a new LCA, but god only knows how much of the knocking it will fix.
 

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One time i absolutely could not find out why my friend's ES300 was popping on on turns only when you turned the wheels certain ways. Turned out the autozone rack we installed had a "noisy" spot in it. We replaced that and all was well, fortunately we didnt ever get stranded.

You are in for it buddy, the 4.6 rack sucks to do! I have to do one on a 92 model 3.8 cougar in the morning, which is a little easier than 4.6.
-Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One time i absolutely could not find out why my friend's ES300 was popping on on turns only when you turned the wheels certain ways. Turned out the autozone rack we installed had a "noisy" spot in it. We replaced that and all was well, fortunately we didnt ever get stranded.

You are in for it buddy, the 4.6 rack sucks to do! I have to do one on a 92 model 3.8 cougar in the morning, which is a little easier than 4.6.
-Rob

I read about some of the pains involved with the 4.6 rack, that and my work schedule just doesn't give me time to attempt to tackle this on my own - not too mention I've never changed out a steering rack ever. So; yeah, let some 'professionals' do it. Now I get to enjoy driving around a Ford Focus loaner until i get my girl back.

Could be a lot worse though... :rolleyes:
 

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I read about some of the pains involved with the 4.6 rack, that and my work schedule just doesn't give me time to attempt to tackle this on my own - not too mention I've never changed out a steering rack ever. So; yeah, let some 'professionals' do it. Now I get to enjoy driving around a Ford Focus loaner until i get my girl back.

Could be a lot worse though... :rolleyes:
It's okay. I always have the dealership do that kind of work. Less head aches for me.
 

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Sounds like the same thing my '93 is doing...and I got some play in the rack on the right hand side...oh and 154,000 miles on her.

I'll be calling the dealership and getting a quote to see if it's worth doing myself.
I spent 10 hours last weekend replacing a heater core and I'm really not looking forward to another 10-12 hour job...but at least with the rack and pinion I won't have to remove the dash...or will I? :D
 

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Sounds like the same thing my '93 is doing...and I got some play in the rack on the right hand side...oh and 154,000 miles on her.

I'll be calling the dealership and getting a quote to see if it's worth doing myself.
I spent 10 hours last weekend replacing a heater core and I'm really not looking forward to another 10-12 hour job...but at least with the rack and pinion I won't have to remove the dash...or will I? :D
No - just the engine!! :D

Seriously, I've heard that it's REALLY difficult to replace the steering racks on T-Birds/Cougars with the engine in the car, although not impossible.

You thought your heater core was a P.I T.A.?!! By the way, I did my heater core back in June; I know just what a b**ch that job is!

Dennis
 

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No - just the engine!! :D

Seriously, I've heard that it's REALLY difficult to replace the steering racks on T-Birds/Cougars with the engine in the car, although not impossible.

You thought your heater core was a P.I T.A.?!! By the way, I did my heater core back in June; I know just what a b**ch that job is!

Dennis
Oh look, did a rack and pinion search and found I post I made 3 yrs ago.
http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.php?t=80741
it's either for the other 'bird I had or it's for my current one when I replaced the right side tie rod on the rack.
Must be for this one 'cause I didn't replace the rack in the other one.

Just checked that tie rod again and it looks good so my play is more in the rack itself.
 
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