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Steering Rack to inner tie rod and back again....ugh

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas' started by TejasYOTA, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. Aug 3, 2013 at 1:41 PM
    #1
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA [OP] Countinuous improvement

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    Check the TTORA Garage Section....
    Well this is sort of a long story-ish... that starts with the steering rack replacement to a bent inner tie rod to a new steering rack clamp.
    [​IMG]

    Back this past April 2013, I wanted to replace my original stock steering rack on the Tacoma.
    Why, well after 150,000 miles that included wheeling, mud, snow and daily driving, the seals decided to puke. :xbarf:

    I was working to replace my inner tie rods and when I removed the boots, dark brown and black fluid puked out.
    I immediately closed them and said CRAP!
    The seals were gone...so I had two options.
    Replace the steering rack or replace the seals and the inner tie rods.

    I opted to replace the steering rack.
    I looked on-line and received quotes all were in the $400 and up range (including the core deposit).
    I chose to use Rack Doctor, I have heard of them from my BMW crew and other wheeling guys have had great service and refurbished parts from them.
    And they were the only one that had a lifetime warranty!
    So Paypal sent them $367.45
    Which included the following

    Toyota Tacoma 4WD steering Rack (PN 549 @ $220)
    Core charge ($95)
    Urethane bushings ($34.50)
    Return shipment tag ($18)

    All items arrived safe and sound.. and they looked great.
    I went to my friend's home to get it installed.
    I will not bother you with photos... there are great photos of installs already.
    See below:
    TTORA - Steering Rack install

    This is for the steering rack bushings
    Parks Offroad - steering rack bushings

    All was very straight forward and install was easy... so off to go wheeling at Hidden Falls Adventure Park during the July 19th weekend.
    So what happens when you try to wheel with the big boys at Hidden Falls Adv Park?
    [​IMG]

    and this...
    [​IMG]

    You are bound now or later to have this happen
    [​IMG]

    Having major help from Jason, Kevin, Chad & Shiner on recovering me.
    Well what we found was that the Inner Tie Rod had bent and same as the steering rack bracket.

    The shaft to the left should be centered to the ball joint housing on the right.
    [​IMG]

    The upper mounting bolt should be horizontal.
    [​IMG]

    Busted bushing
    [​IMG]

    So the day after, I took the skid plate off and everything else looks okay... no kinked hydraulic lines (good).
    So far I looks like I will need a need a new mounting clamp and urethane bushings. Then figure out how to straighten out that bolt.

    I had Jaybird get me all the Toyota replacement parts I needed (other than the urethane bushings... bought those from 4WheelParts @ $25 - yep cheaper than Rack Doctor.. ugh).

    Fast forward from July 22 to August 3, at 7am... I started working on the steering rack - - again.
    I was back at my friend's home and we pulled the outer tie rods from the hub assy, loosened the rack, pulled the bracket off and saw that the upper stud was NOT bent (sort of good), but the cross-member that it is threaded into the weld nut, was out of sorts.
    [​IMG]

    The steering rack bracket
    It should be in a shape of the letter "C"... it looked like it was italicized. :rolleyes:
    [​IMG]

    The cross member - note that the metal on the frame has bent, but not the bolt, as shown in the photo.
    [​IMG]

    But there was something else that I saw that was NOT on the refurbished steering rack when I installed it.
    Can you tell.... :confused:
    [​IMG]

    There is heavy corrosion that was hidden by bondo and paint at the same location as the Steering Rack's clamping area.
    I know that it was NOT caused by me and looking at the rack closer, it was there before I had installed it back in April.
    Guess I will be contacting the RACK DOCTOR.com about this.
    I will not go off-roading with something was fixed to look good outside, but looking like that on the underside.
    It would be a matter of time for it to have a catastrophic failure. :eek:

    Anyways, I have to get my truck rolling... so we broke off the weld nut, and plan to use a new Grade-10.9 M14-1.5 nut and bolt.

    If you are interested on what 10.9 metric grade signifies...check the following site from Bolt Depot
    http://www.boltdepot.com/fastener-information/Materials-and-Grades/Bolt-Grade-Chart.aspx

    We used a BFH and a body hammer to flatten the metal.
    [​IMG]

    After hammering.
    [​IMG]
    No we did not grind anything or apply any heat.
    We did discuss those options and decided not to do it.

    I then asked my friend to see if he had any rubber strip to use to fill in that corroded area.
    If i only used the new bushing, there would be a gap between it and the steering rack - ie it would allow the rack to move, there was not enough surface area for it to grab it.
    We did not want to use any metal shims, because it would be metal to metal contact and cause it to fail sooner (ie like a file removing metal).
    We found an old rubber radiator hose and trimmed it to length and it did the job perfectly. :)

    Sorry no pics of that.

    Anyways, we bolted and torqued everything back down, tape measured - string measured the alignment and all was done for today.
    I will schedule for an appointment to get the truck aligned again.

    Other than the corrosion, everything worked great.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  2. Aug 3, 2013 at 9:50 PM
    #2
    Loggerhead

    Loggerhead Well-Known Member

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    Quite the ordeal to find out that you got a shitty, refurbished rack. I hope you're able to work it out with rack doctor and that they make it right. Having compromised parts on your rig is no good.
     
  3. Aug 4, 2013 at 6:03 AM
    #3
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA [OP] Countinuous improvement

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    The next time I remove it... I will get a depth gage to show how deep it that corrosion really is.
     
  4. Aug 4, 2013 at 7:01 AM
    #4
    Lumpskie

    Lumpskie Independent Thinker

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    Keep us updated on how rack doctor deals with the situation too. Do you think the bondo was their work?
     
  5. Aug 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM
    #5
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA [OP] Countinuous improvement

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    The whole rack was painted that silver, making it look clean and refurbished...so I believe they had to know about it.
     
  6. Aug 4, 2013 at 6:25 PM
    #6
    jberry813

    jberry813 The Mad Scientist

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    The factory passenger side mount sucks. Speaking from experience, the bending back is a very temporary fix and it will bend again, with less force every time. Hell the nuts on the back side of the mount I wouldn't even call tack welded in. At best they are braised. No penetration at all. I broke one loose just removing the bolt.
    This was my final solution. 1/4" plate:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Aug 5, 2013 at 3:16 PM
    #7
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA [OP] Countinuous improvement

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    I agree... it's just temporary... love your re-enforcement plate.
    Great idea and job.
    Did you remove the old mount and welded on new nuts on the back side of your new plate or just let them be free with just a lock washer and locktite.
     
  8. Aug 5, 2013 at 3:33 PM
    #8
    jberry813

    jberry813 The Mad Scientist

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    Cut the old mount off completely. Did some pretty hearty tack welds on the new mount (can see the heat spots in the second pic) as its completely boxed in.
     
  9. Aug 5, 2013 at 4:57 PM
    #9
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA [OP] Countinuous improvement

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    Cool, I see the boxing on the top, did you also leave the bottom open, so if one of the nuts broke free, you could use conventional attaching?

    Edit, can I use your photos & qoutes to use on my Garage section in TTORA?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  10. Aug 5, 2013 at 9:06 PM
    #10
    jberry813

    jberry813 The Mad Scientist

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    The bottom is slightly open, but nearly impossible to get to the nuts with the extra plate added to the bottom of the crossmember. I'm not worried about them breaking loose like the factory shit. I might be able to get to the bottom nut if i needed to, but again...these are not coming loose.

    Feel free to use the pics/quotes. I'm on TTORA too (although not very active). Shoot me the link once you post it and I'll make sure to subscribe.

    Here's all the pix I have from the rebuild:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Aug 6, 2013 at 5:18 AM
    #11
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA [OP] Countinuous improvement

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    Damn you had to drop your transaxle too... looks beefy.
    I will post up the update tonight and thanks for the pics.
     
  12. Aug 6, 2013 at 6:17 AM
    #12
    jberry813

    jberry813 The Mad Scientist

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    Well truth be told, I snapped the ADD stub shaft into two pieces also so I already pulled the whole diff. You could probably get by without pulling the diff, but it definitely made it easier with head and hand room.
     
  13. Aug 6, 2013 at 4:22 PM
    #13
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA [OP] Countinuous improvement

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    Check the TTORA Garage Section....
    I just made a new post on my Garage Section on TTORA, where it shows the fabrication of a new Steering Rack Mount by JBerry813 :)

    If it cools down this weekend, I may lay under my truck, take measurements and make up some templates of his design.

    Thanks to JBerry for the suggestion!

    TTORA Garage Section for "Possible fix to the steering rack mount"
     
  14. Aug 6, 2013 at 4:33 PM
    #14
    ntilehman

    ntilehman Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you have a good start to make that much stronger. A little FYI in the metric bolts there is no "grade 8". There is 8.8 which is like grade 5 in standard then you have 10.9 which is like grade 8. If you know this already ok, but i wanted to give you a heads up from one of your previous posts. Not trying to insult your intelligence.
     
  15. Aug 6, 2013 at 5:41 PM
    #15
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA [OP] Countinuous improvement

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    You are correct....it is a 10.9 metric grade.
    Thanks, I have fixed the post.
     
  16. Aug 24, 2013 at 9:15 AM
    #16
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA [OP] Countinuous improvement

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    Well it has been a while since I have updated this post.... So here goes...
    Dax of The Rack Doctor contacted me after I contacted them about the issue I found.
    We talked about what I found and what lead up to the finding of this issue.
    First they do not use bondo... They use an epoxy filler for areas that have pits and corrosion.
    Second, as far as he can remember, out of the thousands of racks they have sold, I am the first to have filed a claim for the epoxy for failing.
    He also reminded me that according to their life time warranty that since I offload my truck, they do not need to honor the warranty.... Yep...that is true...
    Here is the last sentence from their fine print. :(
    Then in the same discussion, he was happy that I told him everything and that he will discuss the situation with Richard, the owner of Rack Doctor.
    I told him, I would appreciate any thing they can do.
    So a handful of days later, we talked again.
    In short they are willing to do the following...
    If I pay for shipping the replacement rack to me, pay for the shipment back of the damaged rack and pay a refundable core charge of $50?
    I immediately said "you bet, i agree and thank you and Richard".

    So the total would be $86...$18 for shipping x2 and the core charge.
    I will PayPal them next week,
    I should get the replacement soon after and then I will replace the corroded unit and I will get better photos and depth measurements of the corrosion.

    So 5-stars for the Rack Doctor. :D
    So the next time I need to replace a leaking seal, like my original factory unit, I will get the seal kit. ;)
     
  17. Aug 24, 2013 at 3:49 PM
    #17
    Dirty Pool

    Dirty Pool She caught the KATY and left me a mule to ride

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    You never mentioned the actual cause. Was it excessive load on steering vs rock or contact/impact with Terra-firma?

    However you build for the future, give some thought to welding some C shaped plates to the sides of the rack bracket. It's weakness contributed at least 50% to the total failure. The lower bolt is stabilized by your skid and remained true. When the rack body moved up, the bracket deformed, bending the frame at the weld nut location. If the "C" bracket was stronger all the force would be towards shear of the bolts themselves. This might save you some work unless you expect to see the way extreme loads of jumping etc.
     
  18. Aug 24, 2013 at 5:03 PM
    #18
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA [OP] Countinuous improvement

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    It was in the 4th photo.

    [​IMG]

    Excessive load from using too much skinny pedal.... trying get over that ledge.
    After 11 yrs of off-roading and this was my first real trail breakage.
    All others were body damage items.
     
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