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Steering rack pissed all the fluid out



Car cut out today and wouldn't start. Luckily I could roll backwards to the house, but obviously had no power steering. When I did get it started all the power steering fluid drained out from the bellows on either end of the rack. I suppose it's blown some seals out, but which ones? From what I've read steering with no power assist shouldn't damage the rack, or is this not true?
I have seen the set of seals on ebay, but they don't say for which manufacturer these are and maybe they would be different for LHD.
 
I have removed the rack and have to get the seals out, but they are behind the steel plate in the photo. How does this come out, looks like you would have to unscrew it, but there is also what appears to be a wire clip in the hole on the tube (second photo).
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ZachB

ClioSport Club Member
  182
Use circlip pliers. You turn that way in red until the clip end appears, then pry it out and turn other way (this is how I do it on rhd rack) Make sure the shaft is fully in so you dont scratch it. The end cap might not come out on its own and you will have to remove the shaft all together, which you will need to remove the pinion to do so. Make a mark or measurement of the clock of the pinion so when you assemble it again the wheel is centered. Remove the pre load guide, then 2 bolts for the pinion housing and twist the housing while pulling carefully, you might need to persuade it with a rubber hammer to twist depends on how old the rack is. Then pull the shaft out and the end cap will be forced with it, I sometimes give the other end a few taps with a hammer and punch as that will get things going without yanking it and making a mess.
I try to empty as much fluid out before removing the pinion with the lines out by holding upside down with tissue and rotating all the way from left to right a few times, then put some tissue in the holes to bung them up before you take the shaft out.

With the end cap removed, you will then need to carefully hit the rotary seal out of the end cap and tap the new one using a large socket or similar, inspecting the outer rubber seal while at it.
For the seal inside the rack, you will need a specific sized socket with some electrical tape around (just for added protection) and a long extension, you can either hammer it out or press it out. You will need to tap the new one in to seat it, again using a specific socket (I used 27mm 1/2 drive) with tape to not scratch the inside of the rack.
Regardless if the inner seal is damaged or not, you need to remove and replace it anyway, as when removing the shaft, the gears can tear the seal. Which is why when you put the shaft back in, put some electrical tape on the sharp edge of the gears and apply pas fluid for lubrication, then to remove tape I carefully peel back with a pick or finger through the hole where pinion goes, rotating the shaft for easier angle. Use pas fluid for lubrication on shaft on end seal as well.

Of course you need to inspect the shaft for any damage, which is what could be causing the leak. What is that circled in yellow? dirt or a scratch?
Everything needs to be spotless when assembling, lots of brake clean and care needed cleaning everything.

I doubt its leaking through the pinion main seal, you need to post more pictures of either end first to see.

When assembling and tightening the guide back up, make sure there isnt a notch when turning the pinion (just dont tighten it up much) They are sloppy regardless how much you tighten them up (s**t design)

Thats just the 2 rack seals, the pinion bearing and seals will need a press to assemble, if you want to do that too then you will also need a new main bearing which is a koyo 16005.

This is assuming you have found a full seal kit for sale?

ggg.jpg
 
Thanks for all the info, the car has only done 30,000 miles so the rack is in very good condition. It didn't have any leaks till I steered without engine assistance at which point it blew the seals at either end and dumped all the fluid in the entire system. If I can get the end seals out without needing to remove the rack do you think the inner seal will be OK? There are no leaks around the pinion shaft. If I do have to remove the rack, what's the best way to remove the tie rods that connect to the ball joints?
The thing marked in yellow is most likely just dirt as the piston surface looks immaculate.
Another question, do you mount the rack to the sub frame then mount the whole assembly or does this make it too difficult to attach the steering column to the rack?
 

ZachB

ClioSport Club Member
  182
Thanks for all the info, the car has only done 30,000 miles so the rack is in very good condition. It didn't have any leaks till I steered without engine assistance at which point it blew the seals at either end and dumped all the fluid in the entire system. If I can get the end seals out without needing to remove the rack do you think the inner seal will be OK? There are no leaks around the pinion shaft. If I do have to remove the rack, what's the best way to remove the tie rods that connect to the ball joints?
The thing marked in yellow is most likely just dirt as the piston surface looks immaculate.
Another question, do you mount the rack to the sub frame then mount the whole assembly or does this make it too difficult to attach the steering column to the rack?

No problem. Its a strange problem thats for sure, another that will get me thinking for a while 😄

Well that depends, since you said fluid leaked from both ends Id be worried it would leak again if I didnt change it. Do you have any other pictures?

For tie rods I just use a 32mm spanner, although a tie rod tool with a impact gun is the better option, as with the spanner you can heavily twist the rack and put strain on the main bearing and can actually leak out fluid in the process, not a problem if you are about to rebuild anyway.

Ive done it the way you said before, you just have to be careful as you raise the subframe up that the column either attaches as your raise or its out of the way and you slot it after. You could loosen the column first if you wanted but Its not necessary.
 
I got the end cap out pretty easily, but it looks like I'll have to use the rack to knock out the seal, does it come out in either direction?
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ZachB

ClioSport Club Member
  182
It only goes one way. I don’t think you will be able to without removing pinion, the shaft won’t go far enough otherwise.
 

ZachB

ClioSport Club Member
  182
Inspect it first, is it obviously torn/damaged? Is the garter spring seated inside the seal or has it come out?

To remove you need to hit it from the other side, using a punch or screwdriver with hammer, it can take quite a bit of effort to remove.
 
The seal looks fine, I can't see the spring without levering back the rubber' which would probably do irreparable damage.
The oil must have got past this seal though as the boot was full of oil.

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ZachB

ClioSport Club Member
  182
It could be that the force required to turn without pas (engine off) 'levered' the shaft and and made a slight hole to let fluid out, these racks arnt a good design and the shaft can move a lot without much force.
 
I half filled the reservoir after I had the car raised and the oil just went straight through and out of the dust covers. Is there a pressure relief valve somewhere in the system?
I have a cheap Chinese rack coming today, wouldn't want the same thing happeni ng again.

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ZachB

ClioSport Club Member
  182
I half filled the reservoir after I had the car raised and the oil just went straight through and out of the dust covers. Is there a pressure relief valve somewhere in the system?
I have a cheap Chinese rack coming today, wouldn't want the same thing happeni ng again.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

Id be surprised if something failed within the pinion at 30k miles. There are a few seals that could go though. I just took a pinion completely apart and there was a large rust/dirt spot at the bottom of the torsion bar so they can get really dirty where you wouldnt expect it.

Hopefully the new rack works fine (y)
 
Needless to say, the Chinese rack is the wrong size. Called Renault and they want £1,000 for one.
Have you used the kit of seals on ebay, the photo only shows one O ring and I've seen 3 already and haven't even opened up the pinion.
 

ZachB

ClioSport Club Member
  182
Needless to say, the Chinese rack is the wrong size. Called Renault and they want £1,000 for one.
Have you used the kit of seals on ebay, the photo only shows one O ring and I've seen 3 already and haven't even opened up the pinion.
Post the link?

Im not to sure if they are the same, they could be if they are the same turns lock to lock. Some non sports are the same you can get lucky.
 

ZachB

ClioSport Club Member
  182
Ive bought that one a couple times a while back, first time was good then second time were ever so slightly different, will work but not as good. You need 2 of these for the rack, they are the best ones.


Edit: what i mean by not as good is they will flex more than the ones I linked, you want minimal flex obviously.
 

Touring_Rob

ClioSport Club Member
Is the Clio rack complicated then?
I have a feeling the 182 one in my van will need looking at soon. 🤦‍♂️

Not especially from looking at Zach's pictures just a real dick to get to with the engine in, its at the back by the bulkhead Sierras are at the front where you have a decent amount of room to work... although I've only ever had the rack out of a 2wd not the 4wd which has the big ali subframe so could be worse... although I would still rather work on a sierra than the Clio!
 

ZachB

ClioSport Club Member
  182
Ive made up custom lines all with quick disconnects that cost (f**king lots) to minimise as much pain as possible for check ups and dismantling! Then theres the machining that needs doing as well.. All worth it though o_O😄
 
  Clio Sport
Needless to say, the Chinese rack is the wrong size. Called Renault and they want £1,000 for one.
Have you used the kit of seals on ebay, the photo only shows one O ring and I've seen 3 already and haven't even opened up the pinion.
What rack do you have SMI ? I'm looking for a part no 8200 276 162 or 771 1134 669,what dealership did you contact?
 


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