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Discussion Starter #1
First post on here, Hi everybody and thanks for all of the great info I've found on here over the years.

The other day I found a small leak on the driveway. Turns out it's coming from the passenger side tie rod boot. Since fluid shouldn't be in there, it seems that some seal has failed inside the rack. From what I can gather, this means the entire rack should be replaced. It's driving fine, but leaking steering fluid is not the kind of repair I want to hold off on.

I'll be swapping the rack myself with a friend who has a lift, and I just had a couple questions.

First off, has anyone done the replacement swap, and if so, any tips/tricks to make it easier?

Second, any opinions on the best place to buy a rack? Prices are all over the place.
Dealer wants $817 for the full kit which includes tie rod ends.
GMpartsdirect has the same thing for $425.08 (so no thanks dealership).
Autozone has a refurbished unit for $303, but I'd need to spend another $100 or so on tie rod ends (so the GMparts direct new unit is looking pretty good).
And of course ebay has plenty of racks from salvage G8's that are around $150 (but only limited descriptions/part numbers, etc)

I guess ebay is the big question mark...any opinions on going that route?

FYI the car only has 47K on it. No idea why this would fail.

Thanks guys
 

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While I don't have details on a G8-specific rack replacement, here's a video showing how to do it on a Honda Civic. He has other videos replacing racks on a 4Runner and Cavalier -->

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDhnrS1Y96w" title="View this video at YouTube in a new window or tab" target="_blank">YouTube Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDhnrS1Y96w"> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDhnrS1Y96w" /> ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


I'm sure many of the principles are the same. Disconnect steering shaft, disconnect tie rods, etc. I think the real difference between cars is how to get it out of the cradle. Some easy, some not so easy.
 

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Funny this should come up now... I seem to have a clunk coming from my steering rack. I may need to replace mine soon as well. Get some good pictures and details on how to do it.
 

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In the service manual R&R procedure, it looks an reads as very straight forward. Such as removing the air inlet ducting and splash shield etc, for required access. They also say to note and measure, or count the threads showing (beyond the lock nut) prior to disconnecting (as in being reused) tie rod ends. Also mark the relation of the steering gear shaft to the intermediate shaft prior to disconnecting. There is a step that says to disconnect the drivers side caster arm from the drivers side steering knuckle (maybe needed for movement of the arm to create removal clearance for the rack) as well as both front wheels.
I'm sure this is done with the wheels centered prior to start. New or refurbished racks must come in the centered (straight forward ) set position when boxed up. If the replacement rack assy is complete with tie rod ends, then I guess a very accurate end to end measurement of the existing and replacement assy. would be required, to have your best shot of having something resembling, steering wheel centered and car driving straight after installation. There are of course, other steps referring to hose clamp and bracket and insulator removals. For sure it says that the rack *IS* removed and installed from the drivers side.
Maybe pictures might help a little, but I'm incapable of posting that information.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. Ended up finding two salvage G8GT's in a local wrecking yard (Jantz in Kenosha WI), both with intact racks. Picked one up with about 30K less miles than I have on my car for $158. Heck of a lot better than the $800+ crazy dealer option.

Installing next week..if I see any quirks or tips to watch for during the install I'll let you know

Thanks for the help
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thought I'd close this thread out for anyone searching in the future.

Put the new (used) rack in last week and wanted to give an update.

First off, it's not too big of a job. Took us about 2.5 hours or so, I would say if we did it again knowing what we know now it would take half that.

Second, we used a lift to do the job, but technically you could pull this off with jackstands. It would be a bit of a pain, and you would risk getting steering fluid all over your garage (it's a bit messy), but it's possible.

Removal was fairly straightforward. Good news here is that you don't have to remove the subframe or lower it or anything like that. The rack slides out of the drivers side with a bit of wiggling. Two people make this much, much easier due to the floppy tie rod ends during install/removal.

For removal, you basically remove the tie rod ends using the magic combo of iquid wrench and some light banging on the spindle casting. Don't bang on the rod ends, bang on the heavy duty casting and the tie rods should fall out of the holes.

Then there are several fluid lines that are disconnected. The fluid will drain out a make a mess...have a bucket/tray handy. We found that the easiest way to remove the rack was to completely remove one of the fluid hard lines on the rack. It's the largest line on there, and hangs down on the back of the rack (closest to the ground and firewall), and it has a bracket on one end near the passenger side. You'll see it under there, it's probably slightly larger than 1/4 diameter and it's obvious that removing it completely makes the rack removal/install easier. Just remember to be really careful with the connections and the little brass washers on those lines, and for sure don't let any junk get in there.

Once the lines are removed, the tire rod ends are unbolted from the spindles, and the fluid is drained, go ahead the remove the four big bolts that hold the rack to the subframe. The next thing to disconnect is the actual steering shaft itself. It sort of fits onto the rack kind of like a socket fits on a ratchet, and is held on by a bolt that slides through the 'socket' and through a little groove in the 'ratchet'. This is so the steering shaft is locked in place on the rack. You'll need to line this bolt up with the slot when you reconnect, so take note.

Lastly, you'll quickly notice if you try to slide it out the drivers side that the lower suspension arm is in the way. Remove the arm bolt to the spindle (we used an air impact wrench), and push it as far up towards the spring as possible while you slide/wiggle the rack out.

Get the racks side by side on the ground and turn the new rack until the rod ends are sticking out of the sides of the rack more or less the same...make them look the same. You want the racks to match as close as possible so you don't have a straight wheel in the car and a turned rack, if you know what I mean. Of note here, you'll need to get it aligned after all of this, so don't worry too much about counting threads on the rod ends to get them exact.

Install is the opposite of removal. Hardest thing for us here was getting the steering shaft back on the rack with the little slot aligned enough for us to get the bolt through. We found it easier to bolt the rack to the frame first, then we pried/banged the shaft a bit until it was on far enough for the little bolt to slide through. We lubed it a bit too which helped. It will make sense when you get there.

Bolt it all up then fill it with fluid. Don't damage the electronic sensor on the brake when you're getting the suspension arm back in the hole! Start the car and start turning the wheel lock to lock back and fourth to work the bubbles out. It will feel like crap at first, don't worry thats just bubbles escaping. Have your friend top off the fluid as the bubbles come out. When the steering feels normal and the bubbles stop and the fluid level is right, you're done and ready to have the car aligned.

Thanks for the tips. Hope this helps someone else someday.
 

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While not having done this job on this car, I've done my share of steering gears. Take the outer tie rod ends off while the rack is still in the car. Count the turns of the end, write it down. Easier than measuring the distance to the nut. Once you've put the gear in and hooked all the lines back up, crank your steering wheel from lock to lock a few times BEFORE starting the car.
 

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I'm going to probably tackle this job this weekend and this thread should help a ton. My rack leaks around the input shaft... a lot. I ordered a new ACDelco rack from Rockauto. It appears they come with new tie rods already attached, so that's nice. It was about $300.

Has anyone come up with any other useful tips?
 

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Do you need to get under the vehicle to replace the steering rack?

Are there good aftermarket steering racks and what's the benefit of going with aftermarket?
 

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Yes, that is where the steering and suspension is. No such thing as an aftermarket rack, just rebuilt originals. Look at the Rock auto examples. 100% new for $308.79. (best choice) or next is rebuilt by GM for $273.79 new tie rods but rebuilt centre section, fairly well cleaned up. Or A1 Cardone. all aftermarket parts and painted black so they don't have to spend much time on cleaning the casting or lines, and the most expensive at $401.89.
 

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Yes, that is where the steering and suspension is. No such thing as an aftermarket rack, just rebuilt originals. Look at the Rock auto examples. 100% new for $308.79. (best choice) or next is rebuilt by GM for $273.79 new tie rods but rebuilt centre section, fairly well cleaned up. Or A1 Cardone. all aftermarket parts and painted black so they don't have to spend much time on cleaning the casting or lines, and the most expensive at $401.89.
Can you please provide a link for the $273.79? Couldn't find it on Rock Auto website.
 

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Replaced my steering rack a couple of weeks ago. It has been dripping a little here and there for probably a year, I just kept adding fluid about every other week. Well yesterday I decided to take a closer look at the old rack, I removed the inner tie rod boot clamps and both boots were completely full of fluid. I think the boots must have been the only think still holding in the fluid. I was surprised that it was leaking out of both ends. I have a 20 year old truck with twice the amount of miles, and the rack doesn't leak a drop. I digress

Trying to decide what to do with my old unit. I was going to try and rebuild in case the new one I installed goes bad, but cannot find anyone selling the parts. They must be available somewhere since companies are repairing them. Anybody know where I could find the seals?
 

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Replaced my steering rack a couple of weeks ago. It has been dripping a little here and there for probably a year, I just kept adding fluid about every other week. Well yesterday I decided to take a closer look at the old rack, I removed the inner tie rod boot clamps and both boots were completely full of fluid. I think the boots must have been the only think still holding in the fluid. I was surprised that it was leaking out of both ends. I have a 20 year old truck with twice the amount of miles, and the rack doesn't leak a drop. I digress



Trying to decide what to do with my old unit. I was going to try and rebuild in case the new one I installed goes bad, but cannot find anyone selling the parts. They must be available somewhere since companies are repairing them. Anybody know where I could find the seals?


Good luck sourcing parts to rebuild it. I was looking for the same thing a few months back, most of the stuff was so expensive, or not available. Was easier/cheaper to buy a new one on amazon for $325.

That being said, my old rack did not leak or anything, the lines on it were just rusty and didnt fit the theme of my completely rebuild front cradle/suspension so I bought the new one.

I have one available for parts if your local.
 

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I am tackling this in a few weeks. Reviving the dead here with this thread. It is great info here for doing this job.

Question....did you replace the copper/brass washers when re-installing the lines, or did you reuse the old ones? Hard to find parts for this thing sometimes.
 

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I am tackling this in a few weeks. Reviving the dead here with this thread. It is great info here for doing this job.

Question....did you replace the copper/brass washers when re-installing the lines, or did you reuse the old ones? Hard to find parts for this thing sometimes.
Wow it's been awhile. Honestly I don't remember off hand but my guess would be no, I don't think I did replace any copper washers. Can't say for sure, and can't say if that was a good or bad decision....fwiw, the rack has been fine since I did this write up. The car has 171,000 miles on it now so whatever I did seemed to work!
 

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Ideally, you'd replace the washers but not necessarily. Akin to replacing the oil drain plug washer/gasket after every oil change. Have reused many gaskets several times with zero issues i.e. leaks to date and anecdotally believe much of it is contingent on whether or not the bolts are over-tightened/torqued.
 
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