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1987 Crx Si Steering Rack And Tie Rod Rebuild


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#1
greasemonkeyreborne 5x1g's

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    • Group: 2018 Contributor
    • Location:Foreign national in TX
    • Drives: 9 crx's: #1 228k 87si beater, #2 concours 25K, #3 108K 87si, #4 98K parts car, #5 213K 87si parts car, #6 84 straman, #7 86si 150k #8 67k parts #9 129K si for straman conversion

Was getting some inner tire wear and noticeable clunks during lowspeed steering.  Car now had 254K.  Owned since 1993 w 78Kish miles at purchase

 

Pulled rack from 254K car and compared it to 4 other si racks I've had in storage ranging from 77K-150K miles to get a feel for wear.

 

Most noticeable difference between the racks was ease/difficulty of push/pulling rack through the housing.  Once I adjusted rack tensioner to Helms spec, they all felt about the same resistance.  

 

Next noticeable issue was wear on the pinion worm gear to the rack..   Apparently, the center position wears (polishes the mating teeth) at the center point of the steering travel from driving straight down the highway.  I could really feel the rack "catch" as I'd pull it through the housing while on the vise.  The pinion has 6 teeth.  The 254K rack had the worse "catch" through the travel.  It was worn so bad, I could even feel the "ecos" from the worn pinion at 6 tooth intervals (the ecos could be felt at least 2 times to both the left and right of the center point.  So I mothballed this rack.  Cant get NOS pinion/rack parts anymore to correct.

 

I picked a Junkyard rack I had w about 150K on it.  The "catch" during rack travel was only detectable at the center point - no ecos.  I disassembled the rack, clocked the pinion out of phase by 180 degrees to mismatch the wear spot between the pinion and rack.   I used 5% moly grease on the rack, pinion and housing, and both pinion bearings inside the housing.  The white nylon rack end bushing was very tight as compared to the rest, so I didn't replace.  I couldn't have anyway, no longer available.  Upon reassembly and guide tension adjustment, the rack traveled through the housing very smooth.

 

Now this part most of you would have used aftermarket inner/out rod ends.  I can't stand aftermarket crap made in china.  So I cherry picked the best used OEM inners/outers off the 4 remaining racks w lower mileage.  As it happens, they were all original OEM never having been replaced.  The 254K rack did have one loose inner.  The other three OEM joints did not have slop when tested on the car before removal.  So I figure the used cherry picked OEM joints will get another 100K before I have to worry about them.  What I found is best way to test a joint is pull back the boots.  Have the cars tires sitting on large wooden blocks or ramps.  place your fingers on the joints while someone wiggles the steering wheel back and forth.  That was how I found the bad inner.  The remaining 254K joints moved easily w little resistance when out of the car.  I used these as examples of "close to failing joints".

 

The rebuilt rack and used lower mileage inner/outer joints worked great.  I self aligned the car in the garage.  All clunks gone and joints tight.  I reused the old OEM rubber gearbox rubber bushings.  New NOS tie rod boots.  Reused the inner bellow boots replaced in 2004, NOS at the time.

 

The bellow band phillips screws suck.  So I picked up allen head metric replacements from home depot and reused the bands.  I think they were 3.5mm x 20mm in the grade 8 metric specialty bin.

 

Take away from this

 

1) 180 phase the pinion to the rack

2)  high moly grease on rack to increase service life (I used Pladium 5% moly from Carquest -- it took a while to find)

3) adjust rack tension to spec.  I used a pipe wrench on the lock nut.

4) if rack end bushing does have play, wrap a layer of aluminum foil tape between housing and the nylon guide bushing to tighten slop.  All 5 of my racks end bushings were pretty good.  I did find this part on ebay out of thialand, since my OEM racks felt good, I'd rather keep Honda nylon in there.

5) The large pinion gearing felt good in all five racks, so I don't really think they need to be replaced, but I'd replace the seal

6) there's a small 1/2" need bearing pressed in the housing that seats the pinion, mine felt fine.  I'm sure you could find a way to dig that out and press in a new one

7) lastly:  I offset the rack by about 3/4 of a tooth.  That equated to about 12-14 threads "into" one outer joint and "out of" the other.  The 180 phasing takes care of the center wear of the pinion.  By moving the rack 3/4 tooth, this moves the worn rack center out of position for future driving.  Yes, I know I've messed w my turn radius.   Driving the car, I can't really tell as a DD

 

So all five of my racks had orginal racks/inner/out tie joints/bollows/seals - bc they've been sitting for 20 years....  I could tell by the boots, geometry and manufacturing tooling numbers.  Someone did open one rack.  It appeared they changed the grease to a very thick, sticky grease.  Probably to dampen the steering??  This rack in question came from the 4th crx I bought sometime in 1998-1999 w 98K miles.   It was lowered w 17" rims.  I assume they had a performance purpose for doing this.

 

Cordone sells rebuilt racks for less than $150 on rock auto.  For that price, I'd hate to bet my life on the cheap inner/outer joints they sell w that rebuilt rack core.....

 

Another science project.   I'll post pix once i figure out a working photo account.

 

I'm happy, it not all NOS, but at least its Honda OEM.  I do have some sets of NOS inner/outer joints.  I used those to help evaluate worthy used cherry picked components


Keepin' it OEM