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Master Class Auto
Master Class Auto, ASE - Master Auto Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 253
Experience:  20+ years, full time experience. Specialize in Diagnostics & Electrical
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2001 mazda B3000: rack and pinion steering

Resolved Question:

i am replacing the rack and pinion steering device in my daughter's 2001 mazda B3000 cab plus pick up truck. Unbelieveably, one of the mounts on the rack along with a large chunk of the rack just snapped off while driving. even though the new rack came with installation directions, it did not come with any torque specifications. I purchased the correct Haynes repair manual, but it does not contain any instructions for replacing the rack, nor does in contain any torque specifications. could you please provide me with all torque requirements for the rack installation, and any other helpful hints you may have for this endeavor
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Master Class Auto replied 7 years ago.

Honestly - all the Rack and Pinion Units I've worked with, since the 1980's, have an aluminum housing. (can be a weak leak, but only if mistreated or in accident) And, some have rubber (wrap around) type "saddle bushings", if I may.. Or, sort of 'built in' ears/extenders that a rubber bushing slides into. When the LATTER style "mount" is used - the center of rubber bushing has steel (metal) insert for bolt to pass through. In either instance, over tightening the fastener (the actual bolt) should NOT in any way break the rack & pinion housing/case. If you have the latter of two mounts, the bolt would likely snap before anything, or simply dent/crush center (metal) sleeve/insert. OK? If on the other hand, you've got the rubber bushing (saddle type) that wrap around rack- and have a metal u-clamp over them with bolt, that can stress rack more then other mounting style... However, I still feel the bolt itself - or 'steel strap' over the rubber, would snap/break before fatiguing rack housing enough to break it. I do have a degree in basic engineering and am a 20+ years, an ASE Master Tech. I have only seen rack housings 'crack' when abused out of car - or in a car accident...

Let's assume the Rack was remanufactured.. What if it sustained impact damage during rebuild or shipping? May have been weakened before install. That's one idea.. Also, what if something is wrong on car end? Are we sure that nothing is frozen/worn/rusty or binding in suspension/steering? Take a peek to be safe.. Great time to "feel around" for binding is when Rack is OUT of car. Why? Because there is no tie rods connected or drag off Rack. You can sort of 'feel everything' out.. Lastly - You can safely torque those rack bolts by "feel" with a 3/8 ratchet - and do not go over board. If you prefer a spec - tighten to no more then 45 Ft Ibs. (as that's what I see here in my PC Shop Manual) Realize, for sake of comparison, a wheel lug torque is typically around double that. (80-100 Ft Lbs) We need not go nuts here.

Summary: I feel as though the rack and pinion you put in may have been slightly over-tightened.. well, perhaps.. But the stronger gut feeling here, is, the housing already suffered damage - either from an accident in original car, poor handling, or even during shipping.. A hair-line fracture for example, can come to haunt us later. If you need more info just ask.. Thanks!

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
what I meant was that the rack which was originally in the vehicle had a mount that snapped off, not the new one I am installing. is there a torque value on the nuts/bolts for the tire rod sleeves or are they just tighten by feel?
Expert:  Master Class Auto replied 7 years ago.

If the OEM Rack Housing, Snapped - I'd certainly check front end thoroughly. Check steering and suspension for wear or looseness. Make sure Spring Perches and Seats are in good shape and look shocks over as well. Very odd that can happen to a factory unit, unless an "impact" type damage was encountered. The Spec is 45 Ft Lbs in my manual but can also tighten by feel - IF USING 3/8 tools. (like a 3/8 ratchet) Do not over-do. When we do not wish to over-tighten a fastener - a single drop of the BLUE colored Loctite will never hurt - as it prevents bolts from walking out with time/vibration. And allows slightly "lighter" torque. OK? Thanks! :)

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