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Discussion Starter #1
I suddenly developed some play in the steering, and of course, a clunk! I could feel the clunk in the steering rack where the shaft attaches - while under the car.

Replaced the rack and tie rods from a lower mileage car. Did not fix anything, and I can still feel a clunk in the "new" steering rack while under the car.

Is there any adjustment on the rack to tighten the steering, or is there another part I am overlooking?

Thanks!
Al
 

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I think there is some sort of preload adjustment. I am not 100% sure of how it works, but I think it is done with the rack out of the car.
 

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there is a problem with that, besides taking it out of the car, which I'm not sure you have to do, but you might, I dont remember. anyway, when you drive, most of your steering is done in the middle teeth of the gear on the rack. this causes the middle to wear more, which is why it needs adjustment in the first place. well, the outer teeth are less worn, because you dont turn the wheel as much hard left or right to use them. so, if you adjust it closer, the middle will be at the correct tolerance, but the ends will be very tight. it is possible that after doing this, the first hard left or right turn you make, the rack will stick, and you will have no steering. just food for thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am just trying to figure how I can replace a rack that had play in it, and I could feel a clunk in the actual rack, with a newer one that feels EXACTLY the same?

I can actually still feel a clunk in the newer rack when someone turns the wheel. Nothing appears to be wrong with the steering shaft or the joint.:confused:

And as an added bonus, the steering wheel is now cocked to the right! These cars are killing me!

Al
 

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I am just trying to figure how I can replace a rack that had play in it, and I could feel a clunk in the actual rack, with a newer one that feels EXACTLY the same?

I can actually still feel a clunk in the newer rack when someone turns the wheel. Nothing appears to be wrong with the steering shaft or the joint.:confused:

And as an added bonus, the steering wheel is now cocked to the right! These cars are killing me!

Al
The steering wheel is cocked because you didn't get it aligned after replacing the rack.

Did you google "steering rack preload"? I did, and found several discussions on how to do it. They were universal-type writeups, so I don't know if they apply to the Ford rack, but give it shot if you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The steering wheel is cocked because you didn't get it aligned after replacing the rack.

Did you google "steering rack preload"? I did, and found several discussions on how to do it. They were universal-type writeups, so I don't know if they apply to the Ford rack, but give it shot if you want.
Did not find anything regarding tightening the rack applicable to the MN12.

I dont plan on getting it aligned. I measured from the rack body to the outside of the tie rod end, and made the new one match the length exactly, had to adjust one end 2 turns. It drives fine and doesnt pull.

I will just adjust the tie rod ends one turn at a time each until the steering wheel is straight. Isnt that what an alignment shop would do?

Thanks,
Al
 

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You can adjust the toe perfectly with a tape measure. Just need straight wheels and good tires. You are correct on the steering wheel adjustment.

The correct preload is acheived by centering the rack then torquing the yoke plug to 7-18 in lbs. Back off the plug [about 1/8 turn] until it takes 7-18 in lbs. to turn the pinion shaft. This is all done with the rack on a bench and completely drained of fluid.

If you need adjustment a reman rack is a way better idea.
 

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Does this preload procedure need to be done on a new or reman unit?
 

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No don't ever adjust it. If you try something else might mess up. If the rack is worn it could even lead to a locked up steering wheel. Make a sharp turn and the wheel will stay turned.
 

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Now that you've adjusted the tie rod ends to straighten the wheel,
does it turn as sharply one way as the other?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Now that you've adjusted the tie rod ends to straighten the wheel,
does it turn as sharply one way as the other?
I have not adjusted them yet, other obligations, I will very soon. Have you seen an issue with this before?

Al
 

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i had a problem with my 96 LX after it was in an accident, this caused a lot of problems to flare up....when i turned the steering wheel it would clunk, and it almost felt like the rack was skipping a tooth. i took it in to the guy who helps me out, he had put in a remanufactured rack after the accident, so that eliminated that...it turned out to be the steering rack bushings, the problem was almost completely eliminated. he told me that the entire steering rack/box (he's kind of a redneck guy so sometimes he isnt exactly clear...:confused: ) was skipping on its mounts, which makes sense considering the torque from the steering column being turned was enough to put some of that stuff into motion.

take a look at those bushings, it might be worth a look if you really cant find the problem...
 
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