Steering Rack Leak - Options?

03blackvert

Member
Established Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2002
Messages
306
Location
Virginia
The power steering rack on my 1992 has developed a pretty good leak recently. Not a bad run if it lasted 30 years! I was looking into options though, and quickly my head spun. Hoping to get some advice.

I know many people replace these with newer SN95 racks or other "upgrade" options. I want to keep mine as 1992 as possible, so I'm not interested in those options. I'm not a "every part has to be from 1992" type person, but I don't want anything that would quickly tip off someone that it's been replaced/upgraded.

In the keeping it stock category, I've found the following possibilities:

- Buy a reman rack. It appears both Cardone and BBB sell remanufactured racks. The prices are cheap, ~$140 for the rack and a ~$120 core. It's probably the cheapest/fastest option, I suspect this is what most shops would recommend. Drawbacks? While I'll get an old rack remade it may not be the exact same as the one I have on there now. Also, the Cardone ones seem to have a bad rep online, lots of forum posts from people who put one in only to have it leak a month later.

- Buy a new rack. There are some highly rated units for around $300 and a range of options from $225 - $550, but they seem to all be "silver" where as my stock rack is painted black. I suspect these are the most likely to just work out of the box and last, but the drawback is the cheap options look real different so it costs more money to keep the looks the same. I'd probably consider this option more if I could get one in black that looked real close to to the existing. They seem to come from SKP, BBB Industries, Lares, Cardone, Ultra-Power and AAE. I don't know the reputation of any of those names.

- Rebuild the rack. I can get a seal kit to rebuild the existing rack for $30. It would also need new inner tie rods (there is a bit of play in the existing) so I'd have to source those. Apparently this is slightly difficult as different racks used different size threads over the years. Still, should be less than $75 in parts, but it's the labor. It still has to be removed from the car, then completely disassembled, cleaned, reassembled and reinstalled. Part of me wants to do it myself, but I really don't have the right work space nor have I ever done one before so I'm thinking I would pay a shop. I figure it's at least 2 hours of labor total so maybe $400 more in labor. Main advantage here is the rack is the same, disadvantage is car is down more (need to pull the current rack and measure the threads on the inners before ordering, then wait for it to come in) and that the person doing the rebuild does a good job on something they likely haven't ever done before.

I'd welcome any thoughts or other suggestions.
 

Mustang5L5

Well-Known Member
Established Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
613
Location
Boston, MA
Turn One does rebuilds on Mustang racks. A little spendy though




Fox racks used SAE threads. In 1994 Ford went to Metric threads for the SN95 cars. All the 87-93 inner tie rods in my experience have been the same.


I have a Cardone 2004 Cobra rack in my car. I like it, but for the total cost of the upgrade, not sure it's worth it, especially with the addition of the aftermarket MM steering shaft.


If it was me, i'd grab a cardone from a local auto parts store with the best warranty and not return the core. Grab a junk rack locally or on ebay for cheap, and keep your original rack (because you know it's problems and could rebuild it later if you choose). Or turn in the rack. Up to you. It's a roll of the dice yes, but the cheapest option.
 
Last edited:

03blackvert

Member
Established Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2002
Messages
306
Location
Virginia
I think I'm likely going to buy a cheap reman rack and then try and get the original rebuilt. I really appreciate the pointer to Turn One, the price really isn't that bad. Cheaper than a brand new high quality rack.
 

dan1982

Well-Known Member
Established Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
493
Location
New York
Nobody ever regretted using really good parts with a warranty. just sayin. Be a shame to spend more than one afternoon working on it.
 

03blackvert

Member
Established Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2002
Messages
306
Location
Virginia
I went through a lot of options, made a bunch of phone calls. What I came to find out is no one could promise me a black painted rack like is on the car, and in fact several people told me they haven't seen one in a while in a reman. Most of the new ones are a newer silver design. I'd really like to keep it a black rack like came on the car, and this one is in great shape (only 17k miles!) but it's leaking because the seals are no good after 30 years and one of the inner tie rods has just enough play to be problematic.

So....I bought the cheapest Cardone reman I could find. It came as one of the newer silver tube styles and looks brand new. It was only $180. I plan to swap it in next week, I have a buddy with a lift in his garage so it shouldn't be too big of a job. In the process I'm doing all new hoses, adding a filter on the return line, and doing new Moog tie rod ends. It should drive like a new car.

Then I'm going to see about fixing up the old rack. I can buy a seal kit for $30 to rebuild the rack myself. I have no idea how hard that is to do, as I haven't found a good how-to online yet. If it's not that hard I might just do it myself. But if I can't figure that out I'll find somewhere I can ship it off to that will rebuild my rack and ship it back to me. Either way I'll be able to go back to the exact rack that came on this car. I can take my time as well, since we can drive it in the mean time.

Yes, that will mean another rack swap, but it's not too big of a job.
 

Mustang5L5

Well-Known Member
Established Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
613
Location
Boston, MA
Cardone must have switched. When i bought my 04 cobra cardone rack, it came painted black.


I cracked it (my mistake) and swapped on a '04 GT rack and painted that flat gray instead. Painting the racks wasn't too hard to do.
 

03blackvert

Member
Established Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2002
Messages
306
Location
Virginia
Good news, and a question.

I got the new rack in early this week, with all new hoses, tie rod ends, poly bushings, fluid flush and even added a power steering filter to the return line.

Today I got it aligned. Drives like a new car. Steering is tight and responsive.

However, I noticed when I turn full lock right or left the back part of the tire just rubs on part of the unibody. Below is a picture of it rubbing, and a picture of where it rubs. I don't think this happened with the old rack. I have stock size wheels and tires on it. Is this a common issue? Is there some other stop or adjustment that needs to be done? Or is the new rack just going a smidge further than the old rack?


IMG_0176.jpg

IMG_0177.jpg
 

Mustang5L5

Well-Known Member
Established Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
613
Location
Boston, MA
These racks have steering limiters designed to prevent rubbing. With Cardone, it's hit or miss if they put them in, or if they even put both in. My cardone rack only came with one installed. The stock 04GT rack i had had some as well.

I chucked the cardone ones and then I added these limiters to reduce how much i could turn to prevent rubbing the inner fenders. The cardone one was just a peice of tubing, and required taking the inner tie rods off to remove. The below ones snap over the rack, so you can remove or add as needed by just pulling the boot back

I think I only needed one per side
 

Users who are viewing this thread



Top