1998 Mercury Sable 24V station wagon. (AKA Ford Taurus.)
The power steering rack and pinion (Haynes calls it a steering gear) is
leaking power steering fluid out of the left tie rod boot.
Is there any hope of repairing that?
I assumed there was no way to repair it, and started to remove it
following the instructions in Haynes, but it tells you to remove the
Is this absolutely necessary? The bolts on the exhaust system are rusted to
the point that they don't even have threads anymore. Is there any way to
do this job without removing the exhaust pipe?
Also, one of the bolts on the headpipe is so deep inside that I don't
think I could even get to it - and it's rusted too.
It says to lower the engine cradle at one point by 4 inches - is this why
it says to remove the exhaust pipe?
======================>You need a rebuilt rack. If you can get it out without removing the exaust
do it. If you find you must remove the exaust(most likely will) you can get
to that bolt with a deep 15mm socket on a wobble and an extension. Spray
some liquid wrench or something like that on the nuts pryor to removing
them. They will be stuck but once you break them free you should be ok.
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
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with these modifications:
It is not necessary to remove the exhaust - if you can remove the nut that
is right above it. (One of the two nuts that bolt the rack to the
subframe). There isn't much access, but it is possible. Get a long tool
that will fit, whatever you need to pay for it will be worth it to not
touch the exhaust.
Loosen and remove the drivers side nut first, then loosen slightly - but
DO NOT remove the passenger side nut. Take a hammer and bang upward on the
drivers side bolt until it loosens from the rack, then remove it from the
rack (if you have room - do it whenever you have room, probably after
lowering the subframe). Now remove the passenger side nut. This single
step will save you hours of frustration trying to get the rack to slide
out of the car.
If you can't manage to loosen the hose connectors to the rack (you will
need a crows foot wrench), you can do this as an alternative - disconnect
the line at the pump. If you can loosen the connector at the pump do so,
but if you find you have no room, then remove the belt, then the power
steering fluid reservoir, then the bolt that holds the line to the engine
then the 3 bolts that hold the pump to the engine (put your tool through
the holes in the pulley). Then turn the pump over, and you will have room
to loosen the connector.
For the return line, it's rubber, so if you remove one of the holders that
hold it to the subframe you will give yourself enough slack that you can
pull the rack out and then disconnect the line.
It is not necessary to remove the heat shield.
Do not be afraid of lowering the subframe, something seems to hold it up
and prevent it from lowering too much, so don't worry about the entire
engine falling on you. It is much easier to put the stands under the
subframe and them jack the rest of the car up to lower the subframe,
rather then putting stands on the car and the jack on the subframe. You
only need one jack actually, lifting just one side of the car will work
fine (the drivers side). Make sure to lower the subframe as much as
possible, or it will be impossible to remove the rack.
Before sliding the rack out move the electrical wires completely out of the
way (the ones that connect to the rack, and the O2 sensor wires) - they
seem to have been designed to catch the rack and prevent you from pulling
When attaching the actuator to the rack, do yourself a favor and use RTV
on it, so you don't need to, like I do, do the entire job again because it
is leaking. Don't use RTV on the fluid line fittings though. And don't get
any inside the rack.
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