The rag joint in a Fox Body Mustang is located at the end of the intermediate steering shaft and just above the steering rack. Its simple job is to provide a small amount of flex for the intermediate shaft within a few degrees of the same plane as the steering gear input shaft. It also dampens vibrations coming from the steering system. Over time, even though the rubber is reinforced with fiber, the material begins to deteriorate, which causes excess play or slop in the steering wheel. To fix this, you need a replacement rag joint.
This install will take roughly 1-2 hours to complete.
- 11/16 & 7/16 Socket
- 9/16 Deep Socket & 15mm Socket
- 18mm and 9/16 Wrench
- 3/8 Drill Bit & Drill
- Open Ended Wrench
- Rust Prevent Paint
- Blue Thread Locker
- Pry Bar
- Torque Wrench
- Vice Grips
- Drift & Hammer
- Marking Tool
- Assortment of rags
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Rag Joint Kit
- Lift the vehicle via a lift or jack and jack stands. We recommend pulling the steering rack forward to make the installation process more manageable. If doing so, place a reference mark on the steering shaft to retain proper orientation.
- Generation Note: For airbag-equipped 1990-1993 Mustangs, have a friend hold the steering wheel when loosening the pinch bolt to prevent the wheel from rotating. Uncontrollable rotation of the steering wheel could damage the clock spring. Loosen and remove the pinch bolt with a 12-point 7/16 socket.
- Use a 15mm socket on the bolt head and an 18mm wrench on the nut to bring the rack forward. Remove these and carefully bring the rack forward by using a pry bar. This needs to be done just enough to remove the spline coupling joint from the steering gear input shaft.
- Remove the hardware from the intermediate shaft by using a 9/16 open-end wrench on the bolt head and an 11/16 inch socket on the nut. Note: You may have to rotate this to access the bolt. Make sure you remember the previous orientation when reinstalling.
- Before removing, take photos of the rag joint to reference when you reinstall the new components. Now loosen and remove the retaining nuts and bolts with a 9/16 socket and wrench, securing the spline coupling joint to the assembly.
- Drill out the two rivets with a 3/8 drill bit.
- Grind down the rest of the rivets with a grinder.
- Drive out both studs with a drift and hammer.
- Clean the raw metal. Use some rust-prevention paint to keep it from rusting in the future.
- When installing the new kit, you will only need the two shoulder studs and two nyloc locking nuts. (Pictured on the right.)
- Now you will begin the installation. When doing so, reference back to the previous photos that you took. Install the spline coupling joint in the same orientation. Install the bolts, followed by the coupling joint, then the nuts. Fully tighten the nuts.
- Reposition one of the small metal brackets and install one of the shoulder studs into place. The threaded portion will face towards the steering shaft.
- Hold the stud with a pair of vice grips while you tighten the locking nut with an open-end wrench. Repeat the same steps with the other shoulder stud.
- Apply some anti-seize to the column insert.
- Reinstall the intermediate shaft into the car and slide the insert into the column. Reinstall the retaining hardware and tighten the nut.
- Apply some anti-seize to the spines on the steering rack input shaft. Position the coupling joint over the steering rack input shaft in the same orientation and tap the rack with a dead blow to fully install it.
- Clean the pinch bolt and apply some blue thread locker. Reinstall the bolt and torque it 25 lbs feet.
- Reinstall the steering rack retaining nuts and torque them to 35 lbs feet. You may now check to see if the steering wheel is straight and reinstall the wheels.
We hope that this article has helped you better understand how to install a new rag joint on your 1979-1993 Fox Body Mustang! Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for more installation and removal videos when working on your Fox Body Mustang.
As always, make sure to keep it here with the Real Mustang Enthusiasts at LMR.com.