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nice1
Dodge Dakota
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11/09/2007
23:20:51

Subject: steering rack
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would a bad rack cause toe problems with steering? other than the inner tie rod ends i don't think it would. i'm having toe problems. i had it aligned like a month ago and having trouble again. i center the steering wheel and look at the front tires and one wheel always looks more turned than the other. not a whole lot but maybe my eyes are deceiving me! also appears the same way if i turn the steering wheel a little bit. both wheels do not look like they are in parrallel with eachother. i replaced outer tie rod ends because of tight steering so they are good. ball joints have no play in them but i don't think they would cause toe problems. bushings look ok as well, no clunking either. only thing it seems it could be is inner tie rod ends or rack. i don't have any play in the steering though. i have 82,000 mile on the truck and have been suspecting the rack being bad for about 3 months now because everyday the steering seems to be different. so if i need new inner tie rod ends i'll just get another rack since it comes with them. but the longer i can hold off the better, that rack is not cheap! just wanted to see what others thought. thanks



dakota49
Dodge Dakota
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11/10/2007
08:31:29

RE: steering rack
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Actually, the rack doesn't have inner tie rods, they use a ball and socket but you would have to rebuild/replace the rack to fix the problem.
One thing I have noticed is a lot of shops don't know how to test the rack to see if it is bad. The shop that did the alinement should have found the rack bad when they were trying to adjust the outter tie rods.
Good Luck
Dakota49
1988 3.9 4X4 5speed



nice1
Dodge Dakota
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11/10/2007
21:00:35

RE: steering rack
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they did say that the tightness in the steering could be coming from the rack. i've already replaced the pump and it really hasn't helped. they suspect that the valve that would get pushed inside the rack to turn your wheel (i forget what they called it) it may be worn and the rack is not getting the pressure it needs. the rack doesn't leak at all yet. all i know is i'm going back to get this truck fixed because something is not right and i'm almost certain that it has to do with the toe and i can also see the some negative camber in the front wheels as well now. why would it be ok after the alignment and then a month down the road be off again. i didn't hit anything and drive all highway. could something have loosened up?



dakota49
Dodge Dakota
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11/10/2007
22:59:16

RE: steering rack
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If it wasn't torqued to the correct spec's when they did the alinement, it is posible for it to loosen and get out of alinement. I hate to trust anyone with my truck because I have seen so many get it wrong on my own stuff I prefer to do everything myself, I can't do my own alinements though. There have a been a few others on here that have the same kind of problems and it was incompatence. Maybe not in your case, still just a month after the alinement, that is reason to suspect something isn't right.
Good Luck
Dakota49
1988 3.9 4X4 5speed



ontblackDak
Dodge Dakota
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11/12/2007
21:11:55

RE: steering rack
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You don't say what year/model your Dak is, but be aware thet there was a recall on certain dakotas regarding steering rack mounts, perhaps yours is loose?



nice1
Dodge Dakota
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11/13/2007
02:44:54

RE: steering rack
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it's a 2002 3.9 2wd. only recall i've ever gotten for it was the wiper motor. this truck is scaring me! drove home in the pouring rain and the steering is really scary. i can feel what seems like someone turning the wheel without me even turning the steering wheel. then it will shift to the other side real quick like in the opposite direction, but the steering wheel never actually moves. my tires are also at 4/32 tread as well so i have to keep that in mind, maybe hydroplaning but still pulls hard left and right suddenly. i've got a ton of bump steering going on as well, i hit a bump and the steering jerks to whatever side the bump is on, it is very annoying and bothersome! i have new shocks too.

definately feels like something moving or shifting around. i'll have to get a pry bar and see if i can't move the rack around at all near the bushings.



daddio
Dodge Dakota
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11/13/2007
11:14:35

RE: steering rack
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did you check the coupling/s on the steering shaft to the rack? a little play in those would make a huge difference.



nice1
Dodge Dakota
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11/13/2007
23:14:11

RE: steering rack
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yes, checked coupling, no problems found. i think what i'm actually feeling is pressure variances in the rack. it goes from feeling like i'm floating on the front end to feeling like no power steering at all. feels like somekind of resistance on the rack that i'm always having to fight when going into turns or whenever there's uneven road surfaces or water. it will pull hard and steering wheel moves. it will do it even at 5mph over uneven surfaces. almost like the rack can't hold the wheels straight. no visible leaks outside but wonder if somekind of internal leak in the rack basically creating a whole pressure mess and noisy new power steering pump. no air in lines either, bled thouroughly and nice clean fluid.

i'm about to just give in and break out the credit card that's almost maxxed and go and get a rack and mounts. was trying to wait till spring but i can't imagine how this truck is going to drive when theres a little bit of snow on the ground. i'll crash for sure cause these trucks suck without 4x4. i don't really feel like wasting my money on a 3rd alignment just to have problems again in another month or so that might be coming from the rack. after thinking about it i don't really think old tires would cause this type of behavior, maybe i'm wrong.

any advice you can give would be great! thank god the rack is right there in front of the truck and looks real easy to get out unlike my wife's cavalier which also needs a rack. you gotta drop the crossmember for hers!!! A REAL B**CH!!



nice1
Dodge Dakota
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11/17/2007
02:26:32

RE: steering rack
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they found the problem. the steering intermediate shaft was loose where it telescopes at. they took it off, barely any grease left in there. they put a grease fitting on and greased it, good as new!! i can not belive the difference that little bit of play made in the way the truck was handling.

also, the trusty tire gauge that i had been using for years turns out to be crap. it was 10lbs off to the negative. so when i thought i was putting 35psi in i only had 25psi in. no wonder this truck handled like crap!

the rack is a little bit tight and the shop spoke highly of Lucas power steering additive. they all used it in their dodge vehicles and said it helped alot. i will put it in and see. i have nothing to lose with 80,000 miles and original rack.



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