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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've replaced every piece of the front suspension/ steering except the steering rack. Just after adding the heim joint front strut rods I started to get a clunk over low speed bumps, which was exacerbated by steering input. I put the car on jack stands and have tried all of the connections. I put a breaker bar under the tire to try and load unload, granted doing this solo doesn't get you much in the way of diagnosis thats how it is for me.

I replaced the passenger side guide bushing when I first got the car several years ago so that is new. But I've come to the conclusion by turning the wheel hard left and right while it's on the ground that the rack is probably the culprit I get a pretty loud thud with 15 deg of turn from one side then thirty back.

I think the fact that the strut rods can't move anymore brought this play that was already there to light.

So long story long what is everyone else doing to deal with a bad rack. I can't seem to readily find oem or otherwise parts to rebuild the manual rack. Rebuilt power racks are available from 300 to infinity dollars. Go with de-powered power rack?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Do the power racks bolt up in the same place? I would like to get something on order this weekend. I'm planing to retain my manual rack uv joint since it doesn't have the rubber spacer in it, if they are interchangeable?
 

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Do the power racks bolt up in the same place? I would like to get something on order this weekend. I'm planing to retain my manual rack uv joint since it doesn't have the rubber spacer in it, if they are interchangeable?
Sort of, but not really. You have to clearance the penetration through the floor quite a bit, and the power rack in a manual car will also mount a half inch or so off center to the drivers side. So you end up with more steering angle one direction than the other.

None of the 91/92 U-joints had the rubber, that's a 93+ thing I believe. I'm not sure if the joints are interchangeable, but I think there is a difference in the length of the lower portion of the shaft, since the power rack sticks up higher into the chassis the shaft is shorter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thats a shame, I'd rather not cut into the sheet metal especially if its not going to be a great fit anyway. I guess its down to what I can find available at this point. I don't mind rebuilding the rack but no parts available. I'm wondering how these rack re-manufacturers are getting their stuff.
 

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Have you actually taken the rack off and put it on a bench to see where the play is? Given how easy it is to drop the rack, that would be my first step. I also think you should be able to save the rack you have in most cases.

Assuming the gears themselves are in good shape, you can still easily get the steering rack bush (45522-17020 or 45522-17040 depending on year). When this bushing wears out, you can certainly get play; it is very easy to replace. Similarly, you still should be able to get the rack guide (at least for the early year cars 45523-12040). You may have to get creative on some parts... but to get started all the LHD part #s are listed here: Front steering gear & link for Toyota MR2 SW21L - Genuine parts

Also, Powerflex has aftermarket rack mount bushings (Toyota MR2 Steering Rack Bushing Kit) since Toyota no longer sells the originals. I have been very happy with them on my car. I generally shy away from urethane bushings, but since they don't have any possible effect on suspension movement etc. there really is no downside here.

Good luck!

Luke
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, first thing I did when I got the car was put the white bushing in on the passenger side, that's still good. All the important rebuild bits for racks, manual or power, are NLA. I've scoured everywhere I can think and there are no reman manual racks. The places that listed them would cancel my order saying it was an inventory error. I went ahead and ordered what I could from amayama but they don't have complete parts for any of the SW20/SW21 MR2 racks only piece meal depending on the version. There are RHD reman manual racks available but that doesn't help much. I suppose I could cannibalize them for parts lol. I could see this being a big issue for those of us wanting to keep these for another 10 years or forever.

I suspect after reading more posts on common issues that it is a bad pinion bearing. So from here I either wait for my amayama order and then get the pinion bearing from mcmaster or some such industrial supplier or I chop the frunk and get the power rack. I'm not in a place right now where I can rebuild a rack without major inconvenience but I could if I had to. But I'm thinking this would be a good opportunity to upgrade the pinion. Quite frankly the manual rack is awful. I've had a lot of manual steering cars but this one is so slow. If you drive back to back with a miata the MR2 is like steering a pickup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
the power rack in a manual car will also mount a half inch or so off center to the drivers side...
I gave up on the manual rack route due to unavailability. After some mishaps (which is for another post) I managed to secure a rebuilt PS unit.
Now on centering the rack before I pull the u-joint down from the steering shaft: If the rack is a half inch off I guess your only option is to center the rack in the housing and take it up in the tie rods? Or do you center the rack gear to the chassis which would be offset to the housing and have equal length tie rods. Then it would just bottom out on one side sooner than the other?
 

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You want the tie rods equal length, or you will get bump steer. I made a spacer for the rh end of the rack to limit travel so it was equal in both directions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You want the tie rods equal length, or you will get bump steer. I made a spacer for the rh end of the rack to limit travel so it was equal in both directions.
I've about got this rack apart but I don't have the inner tie rods out yet. Did you happen to take a picture of this spacer before you put it in? I feel like there aren't enough threads on the the inner tie rod to go through a half inch and still have enough to safely run the thing.
 

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Mine slips over the rack and secures with a set screw. So the end of the tie rod is in the same place, it just reduces the travel.
 
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