The rack and pinion is an essential component of any vehicle. If the rack and pinion are worn or leaking, it will affect the overall handling and safety of the car. We will explain the removal and install steps for a rack and pinion for 1979-1993 Fox Body Mustangs. Some steps and components may vary depending on year and model.
This install will take roughly 4-5 hours to complete and above average mechaincal knowledge.
- Assortment of Tools (Sockets, Wrenches)
- Drain Pan
- Push Pin Removal Tool
- Pry Bar
- Assortment of rags
- Jack & Jack Stands or Lift
- Marking Tool (Paint Pen, Sharpie)
- Hose Cutter
- Hammer & Deadblow
- Measuerment Tool
- Threadlocker & Anti-Seize
Before you begin, whenever the rack and pinion are removed from the car, it's essential to inspect the O-rings and replace the Teflon washers on the two lines installed into the rack.
Check out our other install and how-to videos related to the steering system, such as:
- Installing a new Steering Rack
- Installing a new Power Steering Pump
- Flush & bleed the Power Steering Fluid
- Support the vehicle as high as you can if you're working off of jack stands or with a lift
- Locate the power steering cooler tube and hoses. Position the drain pan under the hoses.
- Dislodge the push pin securing the frame rail splash shield to the core support. Clean this area if it's needed.
- Loosen the clamp securing the upper hose to the cooler tube and slide it back. This is the hose going to the bottom of the power steering pump. Be prepared for fluid to run out.
- Loosen the clamp securing the lower hose of the cooler tube and slide it back.
- This is the low-pressure return hose coming from the power steering rack. Just like the upper hose, be prepared for fluid to run out.
- Allow the fluid to drain from both hoses. While the fluid is draining, go ahead and remove the wheels.
- Pick either the driver or passenger side and locate the cotter pin at the outer tie rod.
- Loosen and remove the 18 mm retaining nut. Strike the forward-facing side of the spindle with a hammer until the outer tie rod is free. Then repeat these steps for the other side.
- Locate the steering shaft to rack connection. This is right underneath the rag joint. If needed, rotate the steering shaft, so you have access to the pinch bolt. Clean the area and then place a reference mark.
- For airbag-equipped 1990-1993 Fox Mustangs, have a friend hold the steering wheel while you loosen the pinch bolt to prevent the wheel from rotating. If the wheel rotates uncontrollably, it could damage the clock spring.
- Loosen and remove the pinch bolt with the 7/16 12-point socket.
- Use a combination of a 15 mm socket on the bolt head and an 18 mm box-end wrench on the nut to remove the steering rack hardware.
- Push the rack bolts towards the rear of the car. Use a pry bar and slowly work the rack off of the sleeves in the K-member.
- While doing this, separate the shaft from the rack. You'll want to bring the rack forward until you get a wrench on the high-pressure fitting. This is the hose that occupies the lower port. Loosen and remove this fitting with the correct size wrench. The upper fitting is the low-pressure line and it just needs to be loosened so that the fitting can swivel. (You can fully remove it if you like.)
- You can now remove the steering rack from the car.
- With the rack removed from the car, use this opportunity to clean the surrounding area and the hardware you plan on reusing before installing any of the new components.
That completes the removal steps for the power steering rack for a Fox Body Mustang. We will now continue with the installation steps below.
It is very important to flush the system before installing new components. Whether it be a new rack pump or hoses. Be sure to check out our "How to flush the power steering fluid” video.
When you are finished with the installation, it is highly recommended that you have the car’s alignment checked, regardless of how accurate you are when installing the outer tie rods. It is more than likely the tow has been affected in some way, which will cause premature tire wear if it isn't adjusted.
Check Out The Full Installation Video On Our Channel Below
How To Install Power Steering Rack | Fox Body Mustang (79-93)
- To get started, place the new rack on a workbench. In order to center the new rack, use a pair of channel locks or vice grips to hold the input shaft. But be careful not to damage the splines. Turn the input shaft all the way to one side until it stops.
- Pick something in the general area to reference how many turns you're rotating the shaft (typically reference the tool you’re using). You'll want to count the number of turns it takes to rotate the shaft in the other direction until it stops. Cut the number of turns in half, and that is the number of turns that you will rotate the shaft back the other way for it to be centered.
- FOR LATE-1985 TO 1993 OWNERS: The pre-installed sleeves will remain in place if you have a 1979 to early 1985 Mustang. If the rack is being installed into a 1985 to 1993 car, since this year's range utilized the sleeve setup you see in the photos, they can be removed with a hammer and appropriate size socket.
- Run down the jam nuts on the inner tie rods and apply some anti-seize to the threads.
- To install the new tie rods or pre-existing tie rods (if they're still good), place the old rack on the workbench for reference. On the old rack, rotate the jam nut away from the outer tie rod using a combination of wrenches. Count the number of turns to remove the outer tie rods from the inner tie rods.
- Tech Tip: If you’re using new tie rods, spray these with some clear coat to help prevent surface rust and corrosion.
- If you're using new outer tie rods, install the grease fittings and tighten them down with the correct socket.
- Install the new outer tie rod and rotate the same amount of turns as the old tie rod or use the old rack for reference.
- Run the jam nut against the outer tie rod and use a combination of wrenches to tighten the nut. Of course, make sure the ball stud is facing straight up. Do the same for the other outer tie rod.
- Before installing the new rack, use this opportunity to clean the surrounding area. Some all-purpose cleaner, degreaser, microfiber towels, and a brush will get the job done. Remove the driver's side rack sleeve, so the rack is easier to install into the car. Go ahead and remove the steering rack bolt on the driver's side.
- Using a dead blow, tap both sides of the rack sleeve to loosen it up. Now you want to use a drift and a hammer and drive the sleeve out of the K-member from the rear.
- The bushings included with the new rack are polyurethane, which isn't going to flex like the factory rubber bushings and is a little more difficult to install over the sleeves. Go ahead and carefully knock out the bushings on the passenger side of the new rack.
- Position one of the bushings onto the sleeve with the flange facing toward the rear. Tap this bushing into place with a dead blow until it bottoms out against the k-member.
- Slide the rack into place and tap the front side until it slides over the bushing.
- Install the frontward bushing into the passenger side of the steering rack.
- Align the driver-side sleeve that was removed in the correct orientation and reinstall it.
- To have clearance to install the two hoses, bring the rack forward until you have enough room to install these hoses and tighten them with the correct wrenches. Remove the plug from the upper port in the steering rack. This port is for the return line that will connect to the lower fitting on the cooler tube. Verify that there is an o-ring and a new Teflon washer installed on the fitting.
- Thread the fitting in by hand, making sure it isn't cross-threaded.
- If needed, remove the plug from the lower port, so you have additional room to turn the wrench. Using the appropriate wrench, tighten the fitting until the washer is compressed.
- Verify that there is an o-ring and a new Teflon washer installed on the fitting. Install the high-pressure supply line into the lower port on the steering rack. This is the line connected to the side of the power steering pump. Thread this fitting in by hand and make sure it isn't cross-threaded. Using the appropriate wrench, tighten the fitting until the washer is compressed whenever these fittings are tight. The swivel characteristic is standard, so don't attempt to tighten the fitting further.
- Before sliding the rack back into place, apply some anti-seize to the steering gear input shaft.
- Because of the polyurethane bushings, you may have to tap the rack with a dead blow to install it fully. As you do this, make sure the steering shaft is reinstalled on the input shaft in the same orientation as it was removed.
- Apply blue thread locking compound to the pinch bolt and reinstall it. Torque it to 25 lb-ft.
- Reinstall the long steering rack to K-Member bolts, washers, and nuts. The nuts have a torque spec of 35 lb-ft.
- Slide a clamp over the hose from the steering rack and install this hose onto the lower fitting on the cooler tube.
- Next, you’re going to install the bulk hose, and it's going to install between the return fitting on the bottom of the pump and the upper fitting on the cooler tube. Slide one of the previously removed clamps over the hose and install this onto the pump first. Position the clamp into place and tighten it down.
- Run the hose towards the cooler tube and mock it up before cutting it. Once you determine the length, cut the hose.
- Slide over another previously removed clamp and install the hose onto the upper fitting on the cooler tube. You can now tighten both clamps.
- The new rack that we are using comes with an inline filter and clamps. This gets installed into the return hose running from the cooler tube to the bottom of the pump. The direction arrow on the filter will point in the direction that the fluid is moving, which is from the cooler tube to the pump.
- Hold it up against the hose to determine where the cut needs to be made. Make the first cut and slide a clamp over the hose.
- Install the hose onto one side of the filter and position the clamp into place. Do the same for the other side of the filter.
- Clean the area inside of the spindle where the ball stud will make contact. Apply a thin layer of anti-seize to this area. Reinstall the outer tie rod into the spindle and thread on the nut.
- If you use a factory-style castle nut, then the torque spec is 41 lb-ft plus any slight rotation needed to align the window on the nut with the hole in the ball stud. Install the cotter pin and bend the pins to secure it. Do the same for the other side.
- Tech Note: New tie rods usually come pre-greased, but if they aren't, go ahead and pump some grease into the fitting until the boot barely begins to swell.
- At this point, you can reference the bleeding procedure on our channel. Once complete, reinstall the wheels and lug nuts, get the car on the ground, and torque the lug nuts to factory spec. You will want to have the car's alignment checked as soon as possible, as the toe was more than likely affected.
- All right, everybody, we hope that this article has helped you better understand how to remove and install the power steering rack on your 1979-1993 Fox Body Mustang.
As always, make sure to keep it here with the Real Mustang Enthusiasts at LMR.com.