Turbo Dodge Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys. Wondering if I could get your opinion on something.

My 89 LeBaron need a new inner tie rod end on the left side. I can feel it through the steering wheel, flopping around a bit at certain angles. Nothing scary, but it needs to be replaced.

My steering rack is also leaking. It's always wet under there, and I usually have to top the reservoir off every few weeks.

I'm trying to decide if I should:

A. replace the tie rod end and put new seal in the steering rack
--or--
B. just go ahead and get a remanufactured steering rack that already has two new tie rods in it.

Obviously A is cheaper. But if I go that route, I'll also need a special tool (i think?) to replace the tie rod end. Then there is the added difficulty of the rack rebuild, which could be trickier than I imagine, though I am pretty good at this kind of thing.

If I go with option B, does anyone have a recommendation for a rebuilt steering rack unit? I'm looking at Rock Auto, new ones are too expensive at about $250. But they have a few reman options. Theres a Cardone that's $65 plus core, and also an AC-Delco that's $102 plus core.

Thanks in advance for any opinions on the matter, or advice of any kind.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
24,677 Posts
Replacing the inner tie rod end is fairly easy...
Remove outer tie rod end, remove boot, remove inner tie rod end, reverse procedure to install, have wheel alignment done.
You can rent the inner tie rod end removal tool...

Replacing the rack is much more laborious,however...
Are you capable of replacing the seal and knowing it will not leak when you are done?

Either way you should inspect the hoses and replace if they look suspect.

DO NOT purchase anything remanufactured by Cardone, their stuff is JUNK.
When I was a Commercial Sales Manager at Autozone, Autozone kicked Cardone to the curb due to constant poor quality issues.
I would also suggest if you purchase a rack you buy it locally, not through Rock Auto (nothing wrong with Rock auto, I use them but only for certain things, nothing with a core), the reasons being...
1)Core Returns, you have to pack it up and ship it back.
2)If you have a problem you need to remove the rack, ship it back and then wait for another, if you buy locally you will not encounter those issues, at AZ, VDP(Vendor Direct Parts if ordered by 2:00 PM) are next day.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, NAJ.

Good stuff to consider. I suppose the only way to know if the rack is still leaking after replacing the seal is to hook it all back and run it. I think I'll get the car up on jack stands and see if I can pinpoint where the leak is coming from before I decide which way to go.

Good idea on the hoses. And also on the RockAuto core situation. Makes sense to me.

I'm going to avoid Cardone, thank you. Looking at this Autozone page, and seeing Duralast new units (too pricey) and "Endurance" remans.
Do you have any experience with this "Endurance" remanufacturing brand?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
24,677 Posts
I do not have any experience with the Endurance Rack, AZ found other vendors to keep the parts supply chain going after they cut ties with Cardone.
The only thing I can tell you is that AutoZone the company may be difficult at times to work for and that not all employees are as knowledgeable as they should be, however, the company itself is extremely customer service oriented and they do strive to use Vendors where quality is assured.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Replacing the racks on these cars is actually pretty straightforward. If you're going to keep the car I'd personally go that route (and spin a couple of new outers on there while you're at it). Make sure you get the right one for your steering type:

271019


I'll respectfully disagree with NAJ on Cardone. Been using their stuff for 25+ years and have never been let down. They are my absolute go-to for calipers and CV axles; I also have a rebuilt Cardone rack under my 2005 Caravan for the past four years with zero issues. The Rock Auto price is (usually) quite good as well.

I'm generally a lot more comfortable with remanufactured parts over "new" (i.e., China) parts.

The RA cores can be a pain. In fact, if the core is 10 bucks or less it's basically a wash and you're better off donating it to your local parts store. If it's over 10 bucks I'll go through the effort and send it back to them for whatever store credit remains after they tag you for shipping. Still, the price is usually far better than a brick & mortar store, so have no fear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, Cap'n.

From the photos I've seen, it appears as though the reman racks (and new ones for that matter) come with new inner tie rods already in 'em. That's a major selling point for me.

Right now I'm leaning towards the "Endurance" reman units from AutoZone, as once you factor in the shipping cost, the price is about the same as Rock Auto. (Of course, buying it locally does mean i have to deal with the dimwits working behind the counter... that store can be so frustrating sometimes. One of the great things about Rock Auto is you don't have to go to the store.)

I was wondering about that Standard vs Firm Feel steering. I have no idea what my Lebaron has in it. Any way to tell? I do really love the steering in my Lebaron. Perfect feel-to-lightness ration in my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Short of having a copy of the build sheet I don't know where you'd find the code. From what I've seen in the past (I used to sell these things in the early 90s), if your car is a base or highline model with the N/A 2.2 or 2.5 and 14" wheels, it will more than likely have standard steering. The turbos with 15" rims usually featured the firm-feel.

You can check the body code plate under the hood, but as I recall the SBA or SBB probably won't be there.

They are all TRW racks in 1989, so either one will bolt up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
So i'm looking online, it appears that every rack with Firm-Feel (SBB) says in the notes "with 14 in wheel."

Weird right?

Maybe I can count how many wheel turns lock-to-lock on my car. The notes on the parts store websites say 2.8 turns for standard SBS steering, 2.5 turns for firm-feel SBB steering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
OK, I counted the number of turns—lock-to-lock—on my steering wheel, and it felt like 2 and 3/4 turns... which is damn close to 2.8. It definitely went around more than 2.5 turns.

So I think I have standard steering.

Though the sportier option is always good, I like my steering as is. It was a hard choice, but I decided to stick with the standard SBA steering.

The nail in the coffin, decision-making-wise, was the fact that I found remanufactured AC-Delco SBA units for $27 with free shipping from Amazon Prime. The same part number on RockAuto was $106 plus core! And apparently I can still send in the core (they call it a "rebate offer" on Amazon) for $30??? So it's basically free... LOL!

We'll see what happens, kinda seems to good to be true but maybe I'm benefitting from someone's mistake.

Also bought a new pair of outer tie rods on Rock Auto (i misread you earlier Cap'n, thought you'd said inners, the comment makes a lot of sense when read correctly) as well as a new high-pressure PS pump hose.

Figured the time would be right to also replace the rear bobble strut while I was under there. Seems like it would be super easy to get to with the rack out of the way. So I reached out to PolyBushings to order a solid strut as that seems to be the hot ticket. Wondering what to do for my other mounts but going to go ahead and get that bad-boy.

Can't wait for my new parts to come! 😄 😄
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Wow! I'm looking up a bunch of parts right now and just checked out the Amazon part 36R0252. $27.21 + free ship and rebate? They have one left...I had to check to see if it fits anything in my fleet. Sadly, no. I'd buy it just to have on hand if it fit.

Great deal. Your SBA steering was meant to be!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I know haha what a deal! the "rebate" is $30. Unreal.
They had two left when I was ordering... 😄
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Well, it wasn't too good to be true. The steering rack arrived, and looks great!

Didn't realize you have to drop the K-frame to get the old one out. Regardless, it was pretty simple and I had the old one out in about an hour.

One thing I didn't think about when ordering my parts was the steering rack bushings. The old ones were already pretty swollen and ripped apart easily when I muscled the rack assembly out. None of the parts stores have these bushing locally, so I went back to Amazon and got the pair for $11 shipped. Moog K7112. Unfortunately they won't be here till Wednesday, which is the soonest any of the parts store could have them as well.

Until then, I have a set of PolyBushings I can throw in while the car is up on stands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Great news! I'm a bit surprised the bushings weren't included, but it'll eventually be worth the wait. Must be a pretty clean car to have come out so easily. Remember the mounting hardware is only tightened to something like 21 pound-feet.

It's going to feel like a new car once you're all installed, bled, and aligned. Well done!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Yeah! The car is pretty sweet, only got about 45k miles on it.

I was surprised about the bushings too, but for an essentially free steering rack you can't complain.

Good note about the light torque values. They did come off super easily.

The only part i'm concerned about going back in is getting the steering column coupler to go back on to the column shaft . I skipped pulling the column out of the interior (which the FSM tells you to do) and instead pulled the coupler out the front with it still attached to the rack, since it isn't attached to the column and just slides out. Hoping I can do it in reverse. We'll see. Worst case I might have to pull out the column in the end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
It's been a few years since I've done a TRW rack in my Daytona, but I did all mine from underneath as well. I recall removing the plastic boot, removing a pinch bolt, and separating at the U-joint (which remained on the rack). It should all go back smooth as butter. It will help if you matchmarked the U-joint to the intermediate shaft so it goes back the same way it came off.

In my curiosity I just double-checked my Haynes manual and the FSM. Haynes says to do it from below while the FSM tells you to get it from above as you stated. You'll be fine I'm sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
I feel your pain replacing a Rack & Pinion (R&P) from doing my Daytona Z “twice” some 8 years ago. I'd only replaced truck R&Ps and they're super easy, not so on a cramped sports car. There were lots of conflicting replacement directions on sites when I did mine & it took 2 days. The second time I knew the tricks, had made modifications and DIY roll pin removal tool. Didn't take long, using all tricks a relatively easy 3-4 hours. You don't drop the K frame or remove at least the passenger side heat shield, maybe not the driver's side.

First replacement I used a Rock Auto R&P and it failed before I got it out of the driveway. Before I exchanged it I called several manufactures and asked for their failure rate. A few wouldn't talk but many did, ATSCO was the industry best with only 12% failures while the industry average was over 26%. Purchased ATSCO's and it worked for a few years & about 3,000 miles then it started leaking fluid out of the bottom worm drive seal. So much for quality. Advice from a 50 year expert. For parts; Trust No One! It's now tough for everybody especially anything having a bearing. If possible get a heavy duty high performance part even if it costs 2-4 times the normal amount (Flaming River, AGR Performance), next is OEM from the manufacture or dealer (impossible for us) or get the stocker rebuilt locally with good seals & bearings. Wish I'd known & done that.

FYI Warning: Concerning jacking up these old cars. I recently had to have the front end aligned from replacing a torn R&P bellows and the guy said he couldn't get it right. Said the frame was tweaked even though for strut supports I have excellent front and decent rear. I was informed that older cars, especially hatch backs & convertibles, can get enough frame flex to tweak the frame from jacking one side up too far, and too far on these can be a very small amount. Chances are I'll have to get rid of the car because I can't justify a frame repair bill.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Sorry bout your frame, Bob. That blows. And the rack saga... i think I may keep my original one as once I ship it back for the core refund, the price of shipping vs the $30 refund may be close to a a wash. Might be a good idea to have a spare, and I could try my hand at rebuilding it. At $27 for the reman ACDelco unit, I'm more than happy not getting $30 back.

Yeah Cap'n. I think it will be okay. I'm still waiting on the damn rack bushings!! Supposed to get here tomorrow. In the mean time, I've been replacing all my motor mounts (some with PolyBushing stuff) while is apart and up in the air.

Here's a few pics, you can see how i lowered the K-Frame with two jacks (I was concerned about it going down level so I could easily align everything to bolt it back up, but now the jacks are gone and the k-frame is just dangling... Not as big of a deal as I thought since the motor isn't attached to the k-frame like most vehicles I've worked on)

You can also see my old rack and the coupler still attached to it. I've since transferred this coupler to my new unit.

271228

271229

271230

271231
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Don't know if this would apply to your LeBaron or if you'd want to try it.
Years ago I installed poly bushings on everything on the Daytona Z, front & rear, except motor mounts, don't need that vibration. TD guy GLHNSLHT2 recommended different alignment specs (reprinted below) maybe you can contact him for LeBaron specs. Seemed too radical but he said he uses them and it didn't cause premature tire ware as the bushings were now polyurethane. Had to convince the alignment tech to do it. Result? No comparison to stock. I couldn't believe the handling improvement and it didn't cause excess ware as far as I could tell. And no that alignment did not cause my frame issue, that was a much later impact. Time & job restraints have stopped me from assessing if my alignment issue can be corrected with shims. FYI: I've noticed slight tire pressure change plays a major difference in handling, specifically balance front & rear. I'd assume width makes a difference, mine are 225s. I run 32lbs in the rear and front can be 31 ¼ to 31 ¾ depending on the weather temperature. Yes, you can feel the difference in a quarter pound. It really pays to have an accurate and more importantly consistent tire gauge.
** GLHNSLHT2 Reprint *
These are JUST STREET SETTINGS. AutoX and Road Course you'll want 1-2 degrees more negative than this depending on your setup.
CAMBER
Front both sides:
Energy Suspension: -1.4 to -1.3 (Poly bushings same.)
Stock bushings: -1.5 degrees of camber
Spherical bearings: -1.2.-1.5 or as much as they can get in up to that setting but keep both sides equal.

Here's the key
Rear both sides:
1/2 degree less than whatever you put in the front. If you have -1.5 in the front then you put -1.0 in the back. If you couldn't get -1.5 in the front then you just take the 1/2 degree off what you did get and put it in the back. Get it?

This balances the car front to rear while cornering.

It's the 1/2 degree split front to rear that sets the balance of the car. If you can only get 0 camber up front then put .5 degrees of positive camber in the rear. The car won't have as high of a limit when cornering but it will be more balanced. This is an extreme case. All TD's have been able to get at least -1.0 up front from what I've seen.

When you accelerate the nose lifts, as the nose lifts the camber goes positive, if you're at 0 at rest then when you accelerate you're riding on the outside edges of the tires affecting your contact with the road.

Same goes for cornering. When you go around a corner the outside tire rolls under the car, if you're at 0 at rest then you do nothing but run on the shoulder of the tire. Not having any camber in the front is why Subaru's and Turbo Dodges understeer in the corners.

The factory put's less camber in the front because they want the front to slide 1st. It's the safe way around a corner in most situations. Also most people can't handle oversteer. Their 1st instinct is to lift off the gas if the back end comes around. And in a FWD car that's a BIG BIG NO NO. It's like driving an trailing arm equipped 911 Porsche. You NEVER lift if the rear comes out. Keep the gas on or add more gas to keep the front ahead of the rear.
**
TOE
If you adjust the camber in the front the toe moves. Toe is what will wipe out a tire in a month, a week if it's bad enough.
Stock front bushings Toe = 1/16" out.
Poly front bushings Toe = 0. (Poly bushings, front & rear.)

For the rear set the toe at zero.

Caster
is non adjustable stock on the front.

Too much toe out will make the car nervous at higher speeds. That's why with stock bushings I say 1/16" out because usually you're accelerating at over 100 and the toe will actually be zero while accelerating due to bushing flex. With Poly there's hardly any flex so set the toe at zero.

A slight amount of toe in will stabilize the car more so but you don't really want it if you don't need it. Porsche designs it's rear suspension to toe in slightly under braking to reduce lift throttle oversteer so kids won't kill themselves. In the race cars this is all taken out because they know how to get a 911 to corner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for those specs. I'll give them a shot!
Got rubber control arm bushings for now, hopefully PB ones soon.

So I finally got the rack in on Wednesday. Like I say, I was waiting on the rack bushings to arrive. Nice units from Moog, fit perfectly.

Took a little finagling to get the u-joint coupler off the rack to mate back up with the column. I used a ratchet strap to pull the K frame forward and allow the coupler to flop down into position as I jacked it up. Once the coupler was in the "hole," so to speak, I released the ratchet strap from the front and pulled from the pack with a second ratchet strap. From there, in order to get the male column end to "stab" into the female coupler, it was a matter of pulling it for and aft with the straps as I jacked it up and down. Kinda tricky since it was a tight fit... took a while but I finally got it.

271274


Unfortunately while pulling and jacking, somehow the passenger side inner CV Boot got a pinhole puncture in it... I sealed it up with rubber cement and an inner-tube patch.... hopefully that holds up!

Also while doing this, I replace the bobble strut with a PB unit, as well as the front motor mount and driver's tranny mount with PB units. I also replaced the speed sensor since I had an extra laying around. Replaced the A/C belt. Changed the oil and filter. Scrubbed my aluminum wheels while they were off. And gave everything on the underside a coating of degreaser followed by a blast from the pressure washer. All in all, a pretty productive session...

Once the rack was in, i went about the process of bleeding the air out of the pump. Basically you fill up the pump, turn the motor on, top the pump off, then turn the wheel 180* back and forth several times, see, how the steering fluid kinda foams up with tiny bubbles, top it off, steer it around again, top it of again, see how foamy it is and then walk away from it overnight. That's my method anyway.

Rack feels nice and tight so far!!

Today I'll get an alignment, and the job will be done. Thanks everyone for the help!
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top