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Binding steering rack


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Just putting my Vitesse's steering rack back together. I had two Vitesse racks and a manual saloon (source of shims) rack for 'spares', but decided to stick with the rack and pinon that came out of the car as its less worn.

I have fitted new end bush and done the end float on the pinon not a problem; but when it came to do the wear pad (the pad itself is new) the rack binds at its mid point.

I wound the rack to full lock (to get max leverage / end float) and very slowly hand tightened the pad nut until the end float had just gone. Wound it back and it won't go pass the mid point. Now I know the car had a very minor bump at the front, it has a very small dent in the passenger side over rider and the chassis extension on this side is very slightly bent.

So questions are; bent pinon? bent rack (seems straight on the bench)? deformed or otherwise damaged teeth (again nothing really obvious I can see)?

Anyone experienced this before?

Am I better off rebuilding with the more worn rack and pinon?

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Normally the opposite happens and it moves ok at the (most worn) mid-point and tightens up as you move away to either side.  My first move would be to just back off the nut a little and see if that is enough.  With these things you have to find the best compromise between free motion and minimal play.  Zero play is unrealistic IMO.

If you can't get a reasonable balance then first I'd dismantle again and check for burrs at the point that it's catching before condemning any parts.  Bear it mind that it may be catching in the end bush and not on the wear pad.



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Nick, stripped the pinon out and tried the other one I had - no better. Then took the rack out and found the longest straight edge I could, result bent rack :( its doesn't look bent, but over its length is about 3mm out.

I stripped the saloon one I had and the rack is a. exactly the same :) b. straight, also a bonus, and c. in really good condition. So put it together and bingo! no binding, no end float all good :)

Its hard to believe that such a minor shunt could have done this to a rack.

Now just got to get it back into the car.

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