If you have to ask, this is definitely not a job for a do-it-yourselfer. You will need special tools to disconnect the two outer tie rod ends without damaging them. The brake master cylinder and cruise control servo must be unbolted and moved out of the way. The steering shaft coupler is very difficult to remove even for an experienced technician. Once that shaft is disconnected, it is imperative to not turn the steering wheel. You must start with the tires straight ahead, and the new rack must be centered when the shaft is reconnected. If the steering wheel is off-center by one complete revolution, the clock spring will be damaged when you turn to full left or full right turn. The broken clock spring, about $250.00 installed, is an expensive mistake that will cause no horn, no cruise control, and the airbag light will be on and that system will be inoperative in a crash.
This is one of the hardest vehicles to replace a rack on. There are a number of things that professionals do to prevent further damage to the vehicle. In addition, the car will need an alignment after the work is done. Most conscientious technicians will not want to touch the car after a do-it-yourselfer has possibly caused all kinds of other problems. They know they will be blamed for everything wrong with the car after they work on it. They also don't want to be involved in something that might have been done improperly such as forgetting to tighten nuts, cross-threaded mounting bolts that will allow the rack to shift position and lead to loss of control, or even just cause squeaking and crunching noises from failure to lubricate the rubber mounting bushings.
No one can fault you for wanting to do car repairs yourself, but cars are so unnecessarily complicated now, in the long run, you are better off letting a professional do this job. This is one where it will surely be more expensive in the long run doing it yourself.
Friday, November 27th, 2009 AT 2:48 AM