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Old 09-15-2009, 17:11   #1 (permalink)
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Replacing 1998-2000 Ranger/ Mazda truck rack and pinion

I’ve got a 2001 Mazda B2300 std cab 5 spd with 80K miles. The rack bellows are torn and leaking fluid, and the passenger side coil is wet so I’m guessing it’s time to replace the rack with a rebuilt one. This rack also fits 1998 to 2000 Ford Ranger, Explorer, and Mazda trucks and I’m hoping someone who has replaced the rack on these trucks can answer a few questions.

1.Do the outer tie rod ends need to be unbolted from the spindles to unthread them from the inner tie rod ends or can I just loosen the bellows clamp on the inner tie rod end and hopefully spin the inner rod? I understand I need to match the amount of thread engagement between the old and new rack.

2.Can the two rack mounting studs be unbolted and removed while the rack is still in place so that I can slide the rack forward to remove it or does the rack have to be slid upward off the studs?

3.Once the steering pinch bolt is removed can the steering joint be slid backwards towards the steering wheel while the rack is still in place?

4.Is it necessary or worth the effort to remove the stabilizer bar before trying to remove the rack?

5.What’s the best way to drain the fluid?

6.Before I remove the rack I understand I should center and lock the steering wheel in place. When I install the new rack how do I determine if the rack is centered before I slide the steering shaft fitting over the pinion shaft?

7.The Cardone website describes a bleed process that pulls a vacuum on the reservoir. Has anyone tried this?
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Old 09-15-2009, 17:36   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Replacing 1998-2000 Ranger/ Mazda truck rack and pinion

It would be a good idea to get a Haynes or Chiltons manual for exact information. You could use it for other help when you need it. Your local Library sometimes has them.

Doing this type of work for 48 years, I can usually figure things out as I go along but sometimes need a guide. Always with electrical work. Here's what I can suggest if you don't get a manual

1. It's best to take the outer tie rods out of the spindle before turning them off.

2. If the studs have a hex on the tip, you can turn them out to remove it.

3.I believe you would have to loosen the rod inside. (Not sure)

4.I don't remember

5. Take the return hose off of the pump and let it run out from there. Then when the rack is removed, turn it back and forth to get the fluid out of the rack.

6.Turn the rack with the steering joint end and count the turns end to end. Turn it to center and the shaft will only go on in one spot on the rack.

Hope this helps. Someone else might have recent experience with replacing one and hopefuly reply.
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