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Rack and Pinion Howto `99 Trans Am

This is a discussion on Rack and Pinion Howto `99 Trans Am within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; I just swapped mine out yesterday but I don't have any pics ... While it's fresh in my mind, for ...

  1. #1
    Member 79Firebird_99TA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    99 Trans Am

    Rack and Pinion Howto `99 Trans Am

    I just swapped mine out yesterday but I don't have any pics ...
    While it's fresh in my mind, for a `99 Trans Am:

    1. Loosen front wheel lug nuts. Jack front and put on jack stands. Remove wheels.

    2. Center steering wheel and lock it to keep it from turning.

    3. Disconnect outer tie rod ends.

    4. Disconnect power steering inlet and outlet hoses at rack. Put a pan underneath to catch fluid.

    5. Locate and remove nut and bolt holding R side rack from chassis. Bolt pulls out from the top.

    6. Loosen nut/bolt a good ways but not all the way on the L side. The bolt will not be able to come out from the top due to the engine. Most people saw the head of the bolt off just above the chassis, rather than jack the engine up to remove it. If you go that route, get some 9" metal cutting saws-all blades and cut the head off. I used 6 blades to cut mine. Be careful and use the right angle otherwise the end of the blade will hit the engine and the saws-all will kick back. I also removed the 2 lines on the rack for more clearance for cutting. Once that's done, just drop the headless bolt and nut down and remove the nut with a wrench and vice grips and get another one from the hardware store.

    7. Loosen the steering gear flexible coupling bolt and work the rack out. You may have to do some prying, but she'll come out.

    8. Inspect the new rack vs. the old. Remove the old tie rod ends to get the locking nut. Also count the number of turns. I did this only to get the locking nut. I counted 18 turns to get both of mine off.

    9. Install tie rod locking nut on new rack and tie rod ends. Might as well put new tie rod ends while you there.

    10. Make sure that the rack is at the centered position as can be verified putting it up against the old rack. Also make sure the shaft that the flexible steering coupler connects to is positioned as close as possible to the orientation of the old otherwise you will have problems getting it connected.

    11. Install the rack and connect the flexible steering coupler to the rack. With the rack centered and the steering wheel centered it should slide right down. If you have a hard time getting it connected, you could either have a friend move the steering wheel slightlly back and forth it should slide on down, otherwise the steering shaft on the rack can be turned with a 5/8" wrench. Tighten that bolt to 35 ft/lbs.

    12. Get the rack in position and install the R side bolt from top and L side from the bottom. Torque those to 63 ft/lbs.

    13. Tighten power steering inlet/outlet hoses to the rack.

    14. Connect tie rod ends and grease.

    15. Fill power steering pump reservoir with power steering fluid. Perform the flush following howto on this site.

    I believe I have everything. Also it took me 4 hours to do the job and that included the trip to the hardware store for blades and bolt.
    Last edited by 79Firebird_99TA; 07-07-2012 at 09:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    pajeff02's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Mansfield, PA

    Black & Blue
    '02 WS.6 / '07 Suburban

    Nice work. I will add that once you disconnect the rack from the steering shaft, do not spin your steering wheel or you can break the clock spring for your air bag. Here are some pics from my car of what the OP was working on:

  3. #3
    James Bond Spikito's Avatar
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    Aug 2007

    2001 3.8 Black - sold
    2000 SS Black M6


  4. #4
    Super Moderator
    pajeff02's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Mansfield, PA

    Black & Blue
    '02 WS.6 / '07 Suburban

    I assume that the OP's stock rack went bad and started leaking. It happens.

  5. #5
    Senior Member justinmc978's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    college station, tx

    sold: 1999 firebird
    1998 Trans Am

    When you lock the steering wheel, it will stay locked when the R&P is out right?

  6. #6
    Member qwik219d9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Atlanta, GA,Ft.Walton Bch,FL

    99 ws6 a fork type tool and BFH required to remove the tie rods.

    2. would you happen to know the size of this Left bolt that reqires cutting so I can have it on hand before I dissaaaemble.

    3.I don't have a saw saw can I cut this left bolt w/ a hack saw?


    and Thanks Jeff for images
    Last edited by qwik219d9; 09-26-2012 at 04:33 AM.

  7. #7
    You've Seen The Butcher GoldenFlame's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    2009 Silverado Z71
    2003 Corvette MN6 Black

    I'm gonna bump this up. I'm thinking I'm going to have to swap mine out as well. I've got a clicking type noise every revolution of the tire, that gets worse when I turn. I'm also experiencing bad camber from this as well, both fronts are wearing on the outside. You can also wobble the tire around a lot when it is in the air. Bad stuff!

    I'm guessing this is the rack, almost certain. So do you guys have a preferred brand for a new one? and what size bolt I'll need if I cut my old one?

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