NEED HELP Trouble after replacing rack and pinion

KML

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I've been driving a 2004 Trailblazer LT for the past year. It's my first car and I am in no way a mechanic but I am ambitious and broke enough to attempt my own repairs. I've already done a lot to keep it going - struts & shocks, spark plugs, brake pads, outer tie rods, cleaned throttle body, had to replace the fuel filter, PS cooler and an ignition coil.

I've just followed a how-to thread here for replacing the rack and pinion after the driver side inner tie rod boot started to fill up and pour out PS fluid. All seemed well after working most of the air out of the system but the first sharp turn during the test ride didn't go so well. I heard a pop and felt it in the wheel and my alignment went off and lost power steering. I got back to my friend's place, lifted the car and moved the wheel around. My alignment seemed okay again :confused:. I did some 3 point turns and heard that pop a few times again (yes my arms are sore). The steering seems to be a bit easier when I raise the RPM even at idle. There hasn't been a drop of fluid dripping from anywhere. An after thought was I read it takes a little over 2 quarts to fill the system and I'm pretty darn sure I didn't/couldn't put that much in. I'm really not sure what happened but I have a few thoughts.

Could air be stuck in the system?
The pressure or return line may not be running through the rack properly?
The lower steering intermediate shaft is slipping? I had over torqued this but fixed it before installing the rack.
Power steering pump went bad?
The reman rack & pinion is busted?
All of the above?

I'm heading back to my friend's garage later to try to flush this system. This will hopefully rule out the pump and lines. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

-KML
 
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KML

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Maybe the popping is the pinion sliding over the groves on the rack/jumping teeth? That would explain why the alignment went off. Perhaps a bad remanufactured rack and pinion along with some sort of pressure issue?
 
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Mooseman

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Are all your mounting bolts tight? Maybe ththe whole rack is ssliding side to side. That wouldn't explain the loss of power assist though. Tie rods all tight? it came with the immersed installed?
 

m.mcmillen

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If something in the rack and pinion is bound up, I might have put too much stress on the pump and snapped the shaft. They’re really weak anyway. Take your belt off and pull the pulley away from the pump. If the pulley and shaft come out, replace the pump.

Raise and support the front and turn the wheels side to side and see if you can detect anything odd with no load on the front end.
 

NJTB

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Just a thought here. Does the end of the steering shaft have a u joint on it? I've seen them go bad on other models, it's a VERY rare thing, but does happen.
 

KML

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Edit/update
I took off the return hose going from the rack to the cooler to make sure fluid was cycling and it seems to be. After that I took the belt off the ps pump to check the gear which felt solid.

Was going to call it a day and pull my car up a little and heard the pump whining. And wouldn’t you believe it I have power steering. I think I somehow got rid of an air pocket blocking up the system.

Now for the bad news. My driver side wheel is messed up. It’s not following the steering wheel as the other one does. Either the rack is messed up or the inner tie rod slipped out of the socket but there is no play when I grab the tie rod. What a headache.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
 
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KML

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I plan to return the rack and pinion tomorrow as I believe it’s busted.

Wish me luck!
 
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Mooseman

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Quite possible that the inner wasn't tightened properly or they forgot to put some Loctite on the threads. What brand is it? It sucks big time that you have to redo all that work :frown:
 

KML

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What brand is it? It sucks big time that you have to redo all that work :frown:
Endurance Remanufactured Rack & Pinion 64242

The plate is off again so it’s a simple job of taking the tie rods off and undoing a few bolts. I’m just glad to have a clue of what’s going on as I’m not as hopeless as I was before.
 

KML

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Edit
Had trouble this time because I forgot to put the cross member back on :eek:

All is good here! The other rack was definitely an issue with the popping and stuff.
 
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MRRSM

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If it comes down to cases... From having personal experience with installing several of their Units... I can confirm that you just cannot do any better than trying to get your Power Steering Rack & Pinion components from Detroit Axle. These are worth spending the extra money for their thoroughly High Quality Remanufactured PS Racks that are available on Amazon via this Link:


90324
 
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KML

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I would have gone with that one if I weren't in a pinch.

There's one last thing I would like to correct. The wheels seem to be dipping so the bottom end pulls in more than the top. It's obvious when looking at the car while the wheels are forward. I'm wondering if I torqued the big bolts on the cross member too little or too much (my wrench only goes to 150 foot pounds - need 177. Not sure what else would do that and I doubt the alignment shop would pay any attention to the cross member (unless that's part of the work).
 
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Mooseman

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I didn't even use a torque wrench when I did mine, just used the German measurement "gudentite". You could just torque them to 150 and then a little more with a breaker bar.

An alignment shop would just torque the lower control arm bolts after adjusting camber and caster and then just turn the inner tie rods in/out of the outers as required for toe-in.
 

KML

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Okay! So the alignment shop should handle the camber issue. I wasn’t sure if it was caused by the pressure of the cross-member and was irrelevant to what the guys at the alignment shop would handle. But from what your saying it’s part of the work.

Thank you!!
 

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