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Power Steering Repair Cost?


johnpozey

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  • 3 months later...
I noticed the hose connecting my power steering was leaking fluid, there is a crack in the hose. My mechanic says I have to replace the entire steering assembly...Is this true? He quoted me about $800 with parts & labor...

My hose is now leaking too, but the rack has bad seal(s). So I am wondering if it is feasable to rebuilt the rack myself or to buy a rebuilt rack, yeah, cause I ain't payin' no $800 nothin' for no parts and labor, that's that bull sh*t.

 

Honda007.jpg

 

P.S. - I love to thread jack dead threads.

 

101

Edited by James Matteu
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Com'on, I'm not asking you to pick between Obama and McCain.

 

Rebuilt or replace.

 

I know which is easier, but is there a significant savings in rebuilding the steering rack myself, i.e. are special tools really needed, etc.?

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The rebuild kits are cheap through the dealer. But first you need to find out if the rack is good. With both wheels off the ground (car on jack stands)and the car OFF, you should be able to turn the steering wheel from stop to stop with one finger and very little resistance. If there is a lot of resistance then the rack may be bent. Odds are if you have never been in a side impact accident or hit a curb too hard it is OK. But when ever you want to rebuild a rack, always make sure it is good before putting a hole bunch of time into it.

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...make sure it is good before putting a hole bunch of time into it.

Ah-firmative, rack is great. The only sign something is wrong is leaking boot and weeping send line.

 

I just got off the phone with Honda and confirmed they have a Power Steering Rack Seal Kit (Honda P/N 06531-SV4-000) that retails for $100.00. Dan said he would let it go to me for $86.00 and tax.

 

I just checked one place and found out a rebuilt rack would run me $541.99.

 

Thanks, Turtlehead for the tip.

 

If anyone has rebuilt a steering rack, feel free to comment on your experience.

 

I looked at a few how-to's and the procedure looks pretty simple. Seems like a nice way to spend the afternoon. I will probably turn this thread into a how-to by sharing my experience and tips when I do it (this weekend is fix the shower, next weekend is oil pan/oil pump, so probably April 19/20).

Edited by James Matteu
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I have re-built many racks. If the main nut comes off without galling up on you, everything is pretty simple, however, if the nut does not treat you well you will be looking for another rack. Also, find out what is in the kit. The Civic kits right now do not come with a new main nut for the rack end. If it is not in the kit you may want to find out how much it is, and if it is cheap get it. The threads on the rack rarely gall, but the nut often does. If you end up needing it is it best to have it on hand (that is if it not too much) as they probably wont stock it at the dealer and would have to overnight it. One other thing, you will want to use an air gun to take the main nut off. If you try it with a breaker bar and a vise you will put too much constent force on it and probably ruin the shaft. The fast hitting stroke of an air gun is the key to getting it off and not hurting the rack. After that, everything should slide right out. You will probably want some good grease on hand so that you can lubricate the pinion and gears (located under the nut) that hold the shaft that connect to the steering column. You will know what I am talking about when you get in there and see it.

 

As far as procedure goes, I like to put passengers window down, make sure the steering wheel is straight (tires pointing straight) and strap the steering wheel to the passengers side mirror. This will ensure the wheel does not make a revolution while you are working on the car. The reason you do not want it to make a revolution (even though most people would think that it looks fine, and infact it would work) is you dramatically increase the risk of damaging the SRS cable reel when you make sharp corners after the car is back together.

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Also, find out what is in the kit.

Yeah, I realized this when looking around the internet, that often everybody has their own definition of what makes a kit. Originally, I was only concerned that the kit would only have seals and not the boots/bands for the ends. Once I am sitting in front of my Service Manual (I am at work), I will make a laundry list and call back.

 

Thanks for the tip on the Main Nut, that will definately be on my list.

 

One other thing, you will want to use an air gun to take the main nut off. If you try it with a breaker bar and a vise you will put too much constent force on it and probably ruin the shaft.

I don't have an pnuematically operated impact driver, I do have a manual one, but it is always easier to use that manual impact driver when things are still on the car. If I cannot get to the Main Nut while the rack is still on the car (to just loosen, not remove), I will drive the rack down the street (in my wife's car) and have the guy at the shop loosen it for me. He usually wants $5.

 

You will probably want some good grease on hand so that you can lubricate the pinion and gears (located under the nut) that hold the shaft that connect to the steering column.

I have: High Temp Lithium, White Lithium, Xylene, Molybdenum/Graphite, WD-40, Silicone; you have any suggestions?

 

I've never seen the inside of a steering rack, does the shaft "float" inside the outerhousing? I ask since you say applying a breaking force to the Main Nut could damage the rack, really I am curious, no doubt you come off as a completely credible source of information as I will not attempt to use any of my breaker bars.

 

Thanks for the "tie the steering wheel to the mirrors" tip, that totaly sounds like something Honda would forget to mention in the Service Manual.

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Any NLGI #2 grease (a.k.a. what you want to grease ball joints, universals etc.) should be fine. You may not need it, but where the spring is below the rack guide screw often times dries out or the grease gums up, so it is always a good idea to put some fresh grease in there. You will know where I am talking about when you get to removing the rack guide. That is also something a Honda manual wont mention. Be very careful when removing the shims under the vavle body. You want to put them back the way you found them (i.e. don't flip them over).

 

When using a breaker bar you are appling force primarily to one side of an object in an attempt to move it. A gun comes at the same object straight on it line and instead of give it one hard constent pull, it give it multiple short blows with equal force around the object. Take for example a 93 rust bucket accord. You want to replace the front shocks. The pinch bolt for the shock is frozen. You have tried your 3/8 ratchet and a good 6pt 14mm, but it wont move. You put penetrating fluid on it and then tourch it, but it still wont move. Then you decide to use you 1/2 breaker bar. Snap. They don't call them breaker bars for nothing JK. Try the same senario only with an Ingersol Rand 2125 or 2135 air gun with 140 psi pushing it. Feather that trigger a little, maybe a little heat, and 9 times out of ten it comes right out and you don't have to replace the wishbone. I live in the northeast, and if you live where cars rust you know how bolts like to break. Guns still break bolts too, breaker bars twist objects and guns hit them from all sides. By the way, the cylinder nut should be a 36mm, which I am sure you have for removing spindle nuts. If it not then I stand corrected, as I have seen some that are 32mm.

 

That being said, if you were to use the breaker bar while trying to remove the cylinder nut, and you ended up having to apply great force, you may bend (ever so slightly) the cylinder housing. The rack should be perfectly alligned in the tube in order to ensure the seals that you are putting in will remain centered around the rack. In other words, the rebuilt steering box would probably work fine, but how long before it leaks. I am not sure of the pressure these boxes run at while the car is running, but I think it is near 1700 psi. One small issue anywhere during the rebuild (like you get dirt or metal in the cylinder) it wont be long before the seal(s) want to leak again.

 

As far a kits go the give you the seals that typically leak in the rack. They usually do not give them all, and there is usually no reason to replace everything. You will certainly want to check to see if it comes with the cylinder nut, also inner tie rod end lock nuts (as you should not reuse the old ones), and that is basically it. The kit should have new boots, but sometimes they don't give you new clamps, so you better not destroy you old ones. Parts are funny like that. One year you get it all in a box, and the next you end up having to order the remaining parts.

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Any NLGI #2 grease (a.k.a. what you want to grease ball joints, universals etc.) should be fine.

I have to check, but my high temp lithium should be classified as NLGI #2, since it is a lithium complex lubricant, but I will check.

 

the cylinder nut should be a 36mm,...I have seen some that are 32mm.

I have both from owning an '86 Accord (32mm) and now the '97 V6 (36mm).

 

One small issue anywhere during the rebuild (like you get dirt or metal in the cylinder) it wont be long before the seal(s) want to leak again.

I have a powerful telescopic magnet to clean up metallic dust or shavings; and I will perform the rebuild on shop towels over cardboard on my tile kitchen floor (my wife loves when I do stuff like that :nono: )

 

The kit should have new boots, but sometimes they don't give you new clamps, so you better not destroy you old ones.

I am actually concerned about that since I know myself well enough to know I will likely do something to the clamps to where they will not be re-usable. I will invest in a full set and be just as satisfied to have extra clamps when I am finished.

 

Dude, you're awsome with the information.

 

I'm in Florida (miles from the beach), but I am familiar with rust, just not as intimately as you northern folk are. I have never had a pinch fork bolt seize on me, in fact, they always look minty with their nice shiney cadmium plating.

Edited by James Matteu
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I reviewed the procedure in my Service Manual (Honda P/N 61SV405) and the removal, disassembly, and re-assembly looks time consuming but simple and straight forward.

 

I am wondering if it should be necessary to replace the oil seals on the Valve Unit Body?

 

Also, regarding the reassembly, what's with all the special tools, does everyone have to use these for rebuilding steering racks?

 

Cylinder End Seal Guide (Honda T/N 07GAG-SD40400) - tapered cylinder that helps install the Cylinder End Seal.

Piston Seal Ring Guide (Honda T/N 07HAG-SF10100) - tapered cylinder that helps get the o-rings over the Piston Ring and onto the Piston.

Piston Seal Ring Sizing Tool (Honda T/N 07HAG-SF10200) - pushes the Piston Seal Ring against the piston and makes sure it is a "good" fit.

Cylinder End Seal Remover Attachment (Honda T/N 07NAD-SR3020A) - on a 24" long, 3/8" drive, the tool fits into the Cylinder End Seal so it can be pushed out of the Cylinder Housing.

Cylinder End Seal Slider (Honda T/N 07974-6890801) - peice of plastic that protects the Cylinder End Seal as the seal is passed over the teeth on the steering rack.

 

The reason is, long ago, I bought a Ball Joint Remover (Honda T/N 07MAC-SL00200) for $176.00 and still use it to this day, but I was at a shop one time and saw someone using a 4 foot pry bar to do the same thing I would do with the special tool I bought (what a thrill kill), and I'm sure the pry bar was way cheaper.

 

I want to find out if these tools are absolutely necessary. It looks like I can get around using them by covering any surface that can scratch or be scratched with either LowDensityPolyEthylene or Vinyl tape as necessary.

 

BTW, I have a can of Valvoline SynPower Synthetic Grease (NLGI #2 GC-LB), so I am good on lube.

Edited by James Matteu
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Ah, there is the rub. I work at a Honda/Acura shop with all the tools we need to work on these cars. However, to answer you question quickly, Yes, tools as they describe are needed, BUT, when you are working on it, with a mechanical frame of mind, you will develop your own "Honda" tools by retro fitting what tools you have to do the job. Basically, depending on your creativity and how many and what tools you have in your chest, you should be able to do the job without buying anything. As for the ball joint remover thing, a 4 lb. steel mall and one solid hit to the cast of the knuckle assembly, depending which joint you are popping will doo the job. Honda puts a little bump out on the casts near the ball joint boots, it is that nub that you hit. A pry bar with a good hit will usually take out the tightest ones.

 

As far as the valve bobdy seals go.... Inspect everything, that basic Honda rebuild kit should have all the seals that should be replaced. O-rings for sure though. The grease you are planning on using is the exact that we use.

 

You are on the right track already by thinking about other ways of doing things without the Honda tools. As you are working on it you will certainly see what they are telling you to do, and then be able to figure out a better way. Honda factory manuals are great because if you follow everything to a tee, you should be able to do the job right. The problem is, having worked solely with a Honda certified master mechanic for many years, you learn that sometimes half of what the book is telling you is not needed. You have to learn to use the book as a baseline, and then use your mechanical knowledge to make things easier.

 

Hear is a good example for you. Lower front ball joint replacement (accords). Look at what the book says and hear is how we do them.....

 

Remove the 17mm crown nut. Remove the 36mm spindle nut. Pop the lower ball joint with one solid hit. Pull the knuckle off the axle and turn it towards the back of the vehicle and strap it back to hold it in place. Remove the ball joint boot. Use an air chissle (Snap-on's work the best) with a blunt point or hammer head to drive the old ball joint out. Take your new ball joint and put it in the freezer (contraction) for and while (15 mins usually does the trick). Take a plumbers tourch and heat the knuckle where the ball joint goes (expansion). Take the ball joint out of the freezer and put it in the knuckle. Using a brass or bronze punch working in a circular motion tap the new joint in. Bolt everything beck together in the reverse. The whole job takes about 15 minutes start to finish in the shop. Now would you rather do that or remove the whole knuckle assembly and press it out and press the new one in?

 

The book way works, but it is not always the best or fastest way.

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Rebuilding the Steering Rack Myself:

 

$92.02 - Power Steering Rack Seal Kit (Honda P/N 06531-SV4-000), kit includes:

..Cylinder End Seal (qty. 2)

..Piston Seal Ring

..Piston Seal o-ring

..Backup Ring

..Tie Rod Lock Washer (qty. 2)

..Pinion Side Bellows Band A (qty. 2)

..Rack Guide Screw o-ring

..Valve Body Unit mounting base o-ring

 

Additionally, I will purchase:

$13.90 - Driver Side Tie Rod Dust Seal (Honda P/N 53534-SV4-003)

$13.90 - Passenger Side Tie Rod Dust Seal (Honda P/N 53534-SV4-N01)

$227.25 - Power Steering Feed Hose (Honda P/N 53713-SV7-A01)

$0.60 - 2 Cotter Pins (Lowe's P/N xxxx)

 

Tools I Don't Have, but would need to rebuild the steering rack:

3mm Carbide Drill Bit

Cylinder End Seal Guide (Honda T/N 07GAG-SD40400)

Piston Seal Ring Guide (Honda T/N 07HAG-SF10100)

$83.45 - Piston Seal Ring Sizing Tool (Honda T/N 07HAG-SF10200)

$73.78 - One 36" long, 3/8" drive (Snap-On S/N GAX36)

Cylinder End Seal Remover Attachment (Honda T/N 07NAD-SR3020A)

$42.79 - Cylinder End Seal Slider (Honda T/N 07974-6890801)

One "Grade 10" 12x175mm Hexagonal Head Flange Bolt with M12x1.25 threading

 

Total so far: $547.69

 

Buying a Rebuilt Steering Rack:

 

$310.66 - Rebuilt Rack from Honda, less the $150.00 core charge

$13.90 - Driver Side Tie Rod Dust Seal (Honda P/N 53534-SV4-003)

$13.90 - Passenger Side Tie Rod Dust Seal (Honda P/N 53534-SV4-N01)

$227.25 - Power Steering Feed Hose (Honda P/N 53713-SV7-A01)

$0.60 - 2 Cotter Pins - bought from Lowe's

Total: $566.31

 

$255.95 - Rebuilt Rack from SteeringRack.com, less the $99.99 core charge, (P/N PR3571)

$227.25 - Power Steering Feed Hose (Honda P/N 53713-SV7-A01)

$0.60 - 2 Cotter Pins - bought from Lowe's

Total: $483.80

 

$215.00 - Rebuilt Rack from Buy-Steering.com, less the $75.00 core charge, (P/N 80-00682)

$227.25 - Power Steering Feed Hose (Honda P/N 53713-SV7-A01)

$0.60 - 2 Cotter Pins - bought from Lowe's

Total: $442.85

 

All prices include tax or shipping to make for a fair comparision

 

As far as the required tools go, I am debating about the 2 guides, but the rest I am not certain I want to work around for fear of damaging the inside of the Gearbox Housing.

 

I am still concerned about the amount of force needed to get the Cylinder end seals out of the Gearbox Housing. The book says to use a press, but am wondering if there will be a way to do it by hand. The book is very explicit about not striking the tool as that would break the Backup Ring, which will leave the Cylinder End Seal inside the Gearbox. What gives me doubt over the amount of pressure required is that the instructions indicate the seal is to be installed using "finger" pressure, doesn't sound stuck in there to me?

Edited by James Matteu
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You will certainly want to check to see if it comes with the cylinder nut,...

The kit doesn't come with the "cylinder nut" (you know, just to be sure, we are both talking about #15 below, right?, this is my first time :happy: ), I forgot to add it to my list.

 

At the shop, do you guys drill out the staked point that holds the cylinder nut in? Is this why it is so hard to remove? The cylinder nut is supposed to be torqued in at 51 ft-lbs, which does not seem like alot of torque (less than the wheel lug nuts), so I would think they should come right off.

 

Two things came to me in a dream (yeah, you will need naps too when you have kids), if the piston on the rack is used to push off one of the Cylinder End Seals, then why isn't the rack simply flipped around and put back inside the Gearbox Housing push out the other Cylinder End Seal?, instead of using the Cylinder End Seal Remover Attachment (Honda T/N 07NAD-SR3020A). And, why not use the Cylinder End Seal Slider (Honda T/N 07974-6890801) again instead of the Cylinder End Seal Guide (Honda T/N 07GAG-SD40400)? I don't have prices yet, but I am sure the Seal Slider (a peice of plastic) is cheaper than the Guide (metal).

 

The question about how much pressure to use to remove the Cylinder End Seals comes from the book instructing the repairer to press the Cylinder End Seals out but in order to reinstall them, you "Step 43. Remove the special tool. Push in the cylinder end seal with your finger. Note: Take care not to damage the cylinder end seal withthe threads and burrs at the staked position of the gearbox." Finger pressure does not seem like alot, any imput on is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks again for all the info.

13SV40013-9.jpg

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Yes part 15 is the cylinder end nut. No we do not drill them out. Backing them out will cause the nut to typically gall on the punch point. The cylinder metal is harder then the nut. We almost always replace the nut because the threads get galled. I suppose you could try drilling it out and then just set punch it in a different location when you are done.

 

Honestly, unless people really want to or have to save money, we would always reccomend a used or Honda rebuilt rack assembly.

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way too much info for me to digest. but i don't have a leaking rack to worry about either.

 

one thing i wanted to point out is to make sure you can get your car in for an alignment after you do all of this. if you won't be able to get it aligned right away make sure to take careful measurements of the rod ends so that when you reassemble you can match it up as close as you can. i measured before i did all my tie rod ends and when i reassembled and had the car checked for alignment I had it so close that the shop told me not to spend the 69.99.

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way too much info for me to digest. but i don't have a leaking rack to worry about either.

 

one thing i wanted to point out is to make sure you can get your car in for an alignment after you do all of this. if you won't be able to get it aligned right away make sure to take careful measurements of the rod ends so that when you reassemble you can match it up as close as you can. i measured before i did all my tie rod ends and when i reassembled and had the car checked for alignment I had it so close that the shop told me not to spend the 69.99.

 

You bring up a good point. I always count the exposed thread though (between the lock nuts etc.) instead of measuring. You can also string the car to check alignment before, and then after. In all honestly, I have not had an alignment done at a shop in 10+ years. I string the car and line them up my self. You can even do the camber with a string, plumb bob, and something (what ever you have) to check the angle. Sounds voodoo but it works. An alignment at a shop, as I have learned, is only as good as the calibration of the machine. If the machine is not aligned/calibrated regularly, then why bother. Strings don't lie.

 

Again, good point though.

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Honestly, unless people really want to or have to save money, we would always reccomend a used or Honda rebuilt rack assembly.

There doesn't seem to be any reason I cannot do it myself. I have the money to get a reman' unit, I also have the money to pay Honda to do the work.

 

I enjoy working on my own car and this is just another thing I have never done before and will learn as I go along. If I screw it all up, I will just buy a reman' rack and swap it with the one I rebuild. Really, there just does not seem to be much to it.

 

I definately looks quicker/easier than changing my clutch, and nobody showed me how to do that either.

 

As far as the alignment, I was going to count threads or paint them to reinstall in the same location as before; thanks for the tip.

 

Edit: don't get me wrong, I have had some hard lessons in the past. For instance, I bought all the special tools to rebuild my A/C Clutch only to remove the thing and have the compressor bearings fail the first inspection step (the pump did not have a smooth action, i.e. the bearing were shot). I ended up just buying a cheap replacement compressor anyways. Which reminds me, I keep forgetting to put my field coil and rebuild tools in the HF Classifieds.

Edited by James Matteu
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On your car, I'd rather do a clutch. 2.5 hours start to finish. Re-build a rack, removal and installation time included, about 3 to 3.5. Clutch sounds better. LOL Honestly, I don't like the smell of old power steering fluid. The cleaner the job the better. BTW, you sound like an engineering budy of mine in VA. Like to tinker, and have the knowledge to do so.

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med students shouldn't work on their cars. one slip and you will be trying to do appendectomies with one hand.

 

for most of us I think doing your own camber adjustments is the recommended method for tuners. if you want to have visible camber for the 'look' you can do so. and for people like me that will need to raise the car back up for winter driving, and drop for summer I don't want to have to pay to realign every time I adjust the coilovers. any flat driveway and a gravity plumb tool and camber can be done with minimal effort.

 

*note: I spelled appendectomy, both the plural and singular, the first time without looking up how to spell it! :p

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been collecting information on this project and updating it here.

 

I would love to go through the experience of doing this steering rack rebuild, merely for my edification, but I do have 3 kids and a wife. At this point, I can no longer justify the cost of rebuilding the rack myself when I can get a rebuilt one so cheaply and with a 3-year warranty.

 

I would need to rebuild two 1996 or 1997 Honda Accord V6 Steering Racks in order to recope my initial investment, based on the costs of the tools associated solely with this rebuild. I don't have these tools since I have never needed them before, and as such, would likely never need them again.

 

Another update, the rebuild is being pushed out to the weekend of May 3/4.

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  • 4 years later...

I finally did it yesterday.

 

I used a 18mm socket in lieu of the Honda Seal pusher tool. I used the rack shaft to push out the seal behind the End Nut. I used a pipe wrench and a big crescent wrench to get that end nut off, it wasn't too bad.

 

I MADE A HUGE MESS, I had no idea how much fluid was sitting in this thing.

 

I also realized two bits of maintenance I've neglected:

 

1. Rack guide tension. Not that the it should really be off, but while the tie rods are off, it doesn't hurt to adjust it after removing its guts. That way, you can put fresh grease on the guide.

 

2. Gear housing grease. All my grease was long dried up and gone. I've changed the boots several times, but never knew what wad inside the rack and didn't know what to lube with. Now I know the housing side gets a liberal amount of axle grease and the end nut side gets wiped off and then moistened with power steering fluid.

 

Thanks Turtlehead, wherever you are.

 

Oh and the Honda kit did come with everything I needed.

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I am still around... I don't have much time to post, but I am glad that you finally got around to rebuilding it (3 to 4 years later). They aren't too bad if you have the time provided the main shaft is still good and true.

 

I can't believe you found the old thread and posted back. The thread has only had 14k+ views. I am supprised it was not pinned simply on the number of views... Hope you are still doing well and glad to see that your 97' V6 is still on the road.

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