Saturday, July 21, 2012

Honda CRX steering rack Replacement

I had the chance to change the steering rack on my friends crx last weekend. His old one was loose and making a lot of clunking noises. It was a pretty easy job and it sounds like it's a pretty common problem so I figured I would post it here. you'll need a a bunch of metric sockets with some extensions and some side cutters to remove the cotter pins in the outer tie rods. 

First of all, jack the car up off the ground, enough so you can crawl under it. After you have it up in the air, take off the wheels.

Here is the parts I had to put on. There is a new steering rack, and both left and right outer tie rods. You will not need to buy inner tie rods because they come with the new rack. My buddy got the rack from I was very impressed with the quality of the parts and would recommend buying from them. The prices are almost too good to believe and they are great to work with. If you have a few days to wait to get your parts because they are all shipped, this is a good place to go. 
Now cram down into the drivers side foot well, pull up the carpet and you'll see a plastic cover. Remove the little plastic cover (which has (3) 10mm plastic nuts) and then pull off the cover. Here you can see the steering coupling. If you have a buddy to help guide the new rack up into the coupling you can just remove the lower bolt from the coupling that goes to the rack. I didn't have a buddy so I removed both bolts and slid the coupling up the steering column so I would have enough play to get the steering wheel set up.
 Now jump under the car and remove the cotter pins and loosen the castle nuts on the outer tie rod ends. 

If you don't have a rivet gun now is the time to whack them with a hammer and they will pop out off the steering knuckle.
 If you have a rivet gun, remove the nut and just hit them with it and they come out nice and easy.

 Now at this point I lost my camera underneath my floor jack for awhile so the pictures are lacking. Anyhow now you can take off the 4 bolts that hold the rack on. There are two 14mm bolts on each side, the drivers side will have longer bolts. After you get the bolts out and the rack is somewhat free, pull the rack down a bit so its loose from the car. Now everything I read on this job says to remove the shift linkage and the stabiliser bar for the transmission at this point. I didn't want to do that because it looks like it's a real pain in the butt so I decided to try to remove it without doing all that. I did have to remove the 2 bolts on the exhaust so that one of the flanges would clear it. That was easy though. I shot them with kroil and even though the car has 300,000 miles the bolts came right out. There wasn't even a gasket to mess with. Honda did this one right. Now comes the puzzle part of the job. I found that if I turned the rack so that the car would be turning all the way to the left ( that means that the left side tie rod is completely collapsed and the right one is fully extended) and I rotated the rack so the shaft came out the back side of the hole it is in, I had just enough room to get the shaft free. The shaft is now pointing down and it is then free to push all the way out the right passenger wheel well. It worked great and wasn't hard at all. I figured I saved a bunch of time doing it this way rather then trying to beat out the pin holding the shift linkage in. Now installation is reverse of removal. Just remember how you removed the rack and it should go in the same way it came out. I installed the rack without the outer tie rods. They are very easy to access so it made it easier to put in a shorter rack. I installed the rack with the 4 bolts, torqued them hooked up the exhaust and then went inside and hooked up the coupling for the steering wheel. I wanted the steering wheel straight so I counted how many turns it took the rack from stop to stop. This one measured 3 5/8 turns of the steering wheel. I then cut that in half and turned the shaft on the rack to that point. I straightened my steering wheel and installed the coupling. I double checked it with the turns of the steering wheel and it worked out perfect.

 Now it was time to install both outer tie rods. I pulled a quick measurement off the old rack and put the new tie rods onto the new rack with that to get me close. I then got some yarn (that was all I could find but it works) and pinned it to the back tire and ran it up to the front tire and fine tuned the front tires so I touched the yarn with both the front and back of the sidewall of the tire and tightened them up. This will get it close enough to get it to the alignment shop. Make sure you put your cotter pins in.
 Now you just need to install the wheels and torque them and take it for a spin. I was amazed how much of a difference it made. I had a crx that I loved and after driving this one with the new rack in it I remembered how much fun they are to drive. I actually miss that car. Both Dixie and I loved it. If I could find an unmolested one I would probably buy it. I looked hard a few years back but everything I found was altered by teenage kids wanting to build ricers out of them. Oh well. I guess I was like that once also.

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