Tom_

Rack and Pinion

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I'm looking into replacing the clunky rack and pinion.  The delco units are listed with two part numbers, 36R043 and 36R044.  Described as 3 ports or 2 ports respectively.  Does the '89 use the 2 or 3 port?  What does the procedure look like difficulty-wise and time-wise taking into account all of us here are at least passable mechanics :rolleyes:.  

 

I'm trying to decide if I can do this in the parking lot like my engine and trans mounts or if I need to bribe a buddy with frosty cold beverages to pour power steering fluid all over his shop floor.

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My local NAPA has two listed for an 89.  They say 3 ports.  Priced in the mid $80 range for remanufactured units.  You might need to purchase new boots too.

I thought of doing my 88 but tried Lucas power steering stop leak instead.  It worked beautifully.  My 115,000 mile car's seals were evidently hard and this product softened them up and did a remarkable job.  A retired engineer for the Chevrolet Corvette plant in Bowling Green advised that I use this on an 87 Vette that I had.  It worked great too!

I got my Reatta up in the air and looked it over good when I was thinking of replacing it.  I saw where I could get wrenches on to the mounting bolts and fluid lines.  Looks like a driveway job to me.  Go for it but try the Lucas first.

Good luck!

 

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Thanks for the reply.  I have already replaced a bad pump and used Lucas products.  My issue however isn't bad seals, but something else internally in the unit.  Basic, after you turn left it pulls left, after you turn right it pulls right, clunky noises when turning corners (not CV joints clunks when turning even when sitting still).  The PO had 22's on it and it destroyed the strut mounts, tie rod ends, and evidently the rack and pinion.  But, it never leaked so I'm only now getting to replacing it.  Most likely going with the ACDelco reman 3 port if your info is correct.  

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It is not an easy job and I have done this on my '89. I did it on the ground but got it up as high as possible. The toughest parts were getting at the bolts and breaking them loose. IIRC there are 5 or 6. I also recall positioning the high pressure hose in the rack resulted in bruised and bloody hand appendages. Those 25 year old bolts can feel like they will never loosen.

 

The 2 port and 3 port difference probably has to do with the extra port for the A/C cut out switch. On the 1st production models when parallel parking Reatta's and putting a load on the pump and rack the engine could stall. Buick's fix was to install an A/C cut out switch when the load goes high. This is from memory as it has been about 5/6 years since I performed the swap and I no longer own the vehicle. I believe Ronnie has the full tutorial posted in his Reatta's Owners website. Sorry I don't have the link. Just found the link which was helpful.

 

http://www.reattaowner.com/roj/component/content/article/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=76:steering&id=248:rack-pinion-removal-instructions

 

Good luck.

Edited by waltmail
Added additional info and link (see edit history)
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You need the 3 ports. I have swapped the rack three times, once while pulling the tranny on one Reatta and once while pulling the engine/tranny and once just doing the rack. Far easier with the first two options, and as I said to myself 'Never again" on pulling just the rack alone. I now take it in when I do the front struts and let them do everything at the same time. Chaeper that way when you figure you save on one alignment. 

 No more of that "heavy lifting" for me... 

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Tom before changing the rack and pinion you could try this remedy.  Install a P/S solution ( trans additive ) in the pump and lift the front of the car off the ground ( take the weight of the wheels) and at about 1500 rpms turn the steering wheel hard left then hard right do this a number of times ( the valving in the rack is sticking) after that remove the return hose on the pump and install a drain hose to it so it will reach a container on the ground. Then take a gal. of new trans fluid and have someone set in the car start it and turn the wheel back and forth while you pour the ATF into the pump. When you get down to about the last quart of ATF tell the person to shut the car off ( you don't want to run the pump dry) Re-install the return hose fill to level and road test ( Sometimes this doesn't work) but if it does you save a lot of time and money.   

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That would probably be good for the rack & pinion. It might be a little hard on the CV joints to be turning lock to lock with the wheels hanging down without supporting the control arms. The joints could possibly come apart or get damaged. They come apart pretty easy if your just working on the struts.  I believe the FSM says you shouldn't run the engine with the transmission in gear when the wheels are hanging down without support under the control arms - I assume because it would be hard on the CV joints?

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3 hours ago, Ronnie said:

with the transmission in gear

 

Leave it in park for this, and the old "burping procedure" is done the same way (after changing a component in the system). The PS system is much like the brakes. Even though the joints won't be loose enough to come apart- I agree with Ronnie about not stressing the joints by putting it in gear. 1.5k RPM, turn lock to lock several times.

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Hey guys I need to point out a few things about this rack and pinion subject. One, I didn't say to run the car in gear, and having the wheels hanging down? well all I can say about that In all the times I've done this (to many to count) I never had a problem BUT if that is a concern then by all means support the lower control arms. The reason for raising the front wheels is to take the stress off the rack and the tie rods. Through out the years that I re-built transmissions  before I would take them for the roadtest I would run them in gear on the hoist while filling the trans to the proper level. Once I reached the level I then would run the transmission through all of it fazes to make sure the shift patterns (up shift and down shift) were where I expected them to be and with the engine running in gear I would raise the car back up and check for leaks then after all that I would roadtest. Throughout all of this I never had a problem with the C/V joints separating.   Well I think I'm reaching the ten post rule soooo..........I think I'll go and scrub the kitchen floor, catch up with you guys later. A friend Dave. 

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If you think about it, there are many times the suspension can be at full extension and the wheel turned. As long as the drop is limited by the attached strut, there shouldn't be any issues. I agree completely it isn't a bad idea to provide a measure of safety and support for peace of mind, but strictly speaking, it shouldn't be necessary. My .02

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Sorry that I started a debate because of me offering a word of caution that interrupted the discussion about the steering rack & pinion.  I was just repeating what I read. Real hands on experience beats that every time.

 

Screenshot-2018-1-9 89Reatta-46-8D1-ECMTroubleCodeDiagnosis pdf.png

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I can agree with what Ronnie just posted about checking ABS sensors but its not really necessary for the rack and pinion. When a manufacturer puts out instructions they try to list every conceivable possibility to make sure that if something does happen, they put out the warning, so they can't be held libel. but flushing out the rack and pinion doesn't require running the car in gear.      

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