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Old 12-02-2020, 09:45 PM #1
tgreenwood75 tgreenwood75 is offline
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Loosening 'New Style' Steering Rack Guide Lock Ring

Hey All,

I have an '01 T4R with the "updated" steering rack guide (i.e. 24mm hex to remove) that I would like to tighten up a bit to see if it improves slight steering play. I have already tack welded the shaft and this seems like another area to gain a little bit more response and reduce the amount that the truck gets pushed around by wind.

My problem is that I am unable to loosen the lock nut/ring that puts the guide cap under tension. I have soaked it pretty good with penetrating oil but its been no match for 20yrs and 230k miles of New England driving. It is corroded but not horribly so, but I suspect it has never been removed.

Has anyone else had this problem? What's the safest way to remove it? Is a torch safe on the rack housing with the fluid and seals inside? Can the nut be cut in such a way to allow for a nailset/screwdriver removal? Keep soaking with WD40 and give up if it doesn't move?

I would love to tighten up the guide a few degrees but its not worth hurting anything expensive on a silly lock ring.

Thanks!
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Old 12-02-2020, 11:18 PM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreenwood75 View Post
Hey All,

I have an '01 T4R with the "updated" steering rack guide (i.e. 24mm hex to remove) that I would like to tighten up a bit to see if it improves slight steering play. I have already tack welded the shaft and this seems like another area to gain a little bit more response and reduce the amount that the truck gets pushed around by wind.

My problem is that I am unable to loosen the lock nut/ring that puts the guide cap under tension. I have soaked it pretty good with penetrating oil but its been no match for 20yrs and 230k miles of New England driving. It is corroded but not horribly so, but I suspect it has never been removed.

Has anyone else had this problem? What's the safest way to remove it? Is a torch safe on the rack housing with the fluid and seals inside? Can the nut be cut in such a way to allow for a nailset/screwdriver removal? Keep soaking with WD40 and give up if it doesn't move?

I would love to tighten up the guide a few degrees but its not worth hurting anything expensive on a silly lock ring.

Thanks!
Just out of curiosity how much torque do you think you are using trying to remove it? Are you using a hex socket on a breaker bar or a hex allen wrench?

I know those guides are only suppose to be torqued to 18 FT LB so it shouldnt need much but like you said after years of not moving it could be rusted up pretty well. Either way if it was me id use a cheater bar to get as much length as possible for better leverage. 24mm is a big hex so i dont foresee any stripping or issues from giving it a good amount of torque. Id personally stay away from using heat in that area but other people might say different.

Im actually going to be doing the exact same thing this weekend for the same reason. Let me know how big of a difference it made if you can. Im trying to track down my freeway wondering.
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Old 12-03-2020, 12:28 AM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreenwood75 View Post
Hey All,

I have an '01 T4R with the "updated" steering rack guide (i.e. 24mm hex to remove) that I would like to tighten up a bit to see if it improves slight steering play. I have already tack welded the shaft and this seems like another area to gain a little bit more response and reduce the amount that the truck gets pushed around by wind.

My problem is that I am unable to loosen the lock nut/ring that puts the guide cap under tension. I have soaked it pretty good with penetrating oil but its been no match for 20yrs and 230k miles of New England driving. It is corroded but not horribly so, but I suspect it has never been removed.

Has anyone else had this problem? What's the safest way to remove it? Is a torch safe on the rack housing with the fluid and seals inside? Can the nut be cut in such a way to allow for a nailset/screwdriver removal? Keep soaking with WD40 and give up if it doesn't move?

I would love to tighten up the guide a few degrees but its not worth hurting anything expensive on a silly lock ring.

Thanks!

I had to use a pipe wrench on one of our T4R's to break it loose.
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Old 12-03-2020, 01:26 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firemanj92 View Post
I had to use a pipe wrench on one of our T4R's to break it loose.
My tool of choice for the job as well. Then I put on a new clean lock ring.
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Old 12-03-2020, 01:43 PM #5
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Ya a pipe wrench for sure, but you can just loosen the fitting first and then adjust the lock ring.
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Old 12-03-2020, 05:39 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm99 View Post
Ya a pipe wrench for sure, but you can just loosen the fitting first and then adjust the lock ring.
Could you explain this? By "loosen the fitting" you mean to back out the guide to relieve the pressure on the lock ring? This was one of my ideas.
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Old 12-03-2020, 05:40 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom8706 View Post
Just out of curiosity how much torque do you think you are using trying to remove it? Are you using a hex socket on a breaker bar or a hex allen wrench?

I know those guides are only suppose to be torqued to 18 FT LB so it shouldnt need much but like you said after years of not moving it could be rusted up pretty well. Either way if it was me id use a cheater bar to get as much length as possible for better leverage. 24mm is a big hex so i dont foresee any stripping or issues from giving it a good amount of torque. Id personally stay away from using heat in that area but other people might say different.

Im actually going to be doing the exact same thing this weekend for the same reason. Let me know how big of a difference it made if you can. Im trying to track down my freeway wondering.
I'll keep you updated as soon as I break mine free, should be a quick and easy job barring this obstacle!
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:09 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreenwood75 View Post
I'll keep you updated as soon as I break mine free, should be a quick and easy job barring this obstacle!
If you are not wanting to get the whole shiterie out you may just be able to tighten the center cap a bit. Get your socket on it and tighten it in a touch. Likely an 1/8 of an inch on the circumference is all you are going to want to tighten it anyway. The steering feel will tighten up fast. Go too far and youíll be backing off again.
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:20 PM #9
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Mine even with no rust was also insanely hard to remove. Road grime I guess. I ended up removing the guide and the ring came off with it, also with a breaker bar.
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:26 PM #10
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So, I was able to break it free with a pipe wrench (had to pull the skidplate bolts and push it downward first) and tighten the guide a bit.

I tightened it about 10 degrees and felt no difference so I went a bit further and that was too tight, had some sticky spots in returning to center. I backed it out a touch and will try again in the morning to see how it feels. Definitely a trial-and-error scenario where it is easy to convince yourself that a touch tighter is better not worse.

For those who haven't done this yet, definitely mark the guide and the housing with a sharpie to get an idea of how far you are turning. Also, ensure that the guide doesnt get tightened when you snug down the lock ring, I think this contributed to mine being overtightened the first time.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:11 PM #11
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[QUOTE=tgreenwood75;3575449Also, ensure that the guide doesnt get tightened when you snug down the lock ring, I think this contributed to mine being overtightened the first time.[/QUOTE]

Yes, it's a 2 handed job. Ratchet in the center and wrench on the lock ring.
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Old 12-12-2020, 07:54 PM #12
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Just wanted to update this for others to say that I was extremely happy with the results.

Not sure of how many degrees in total I tightened mine because I tweaked it a few times and the lock ring was hiding my initial sharpie markings.

The result is better stability in windy conditions and slightly less bump steer. The steering overall feels much nicer, could not be more pleased for the minimal effort. Amazing that a 230k mile vehicle can drive so tight and nicely without completely overhauling suspension and steering - very impressive. I would add this to the list of considerations for new owners before R&Ring the whole front end.
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