Steering rack "play" options - Nissan : Datsun ZCar forum :Nissan Z Forum: 240Z to 370Z
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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Steering rack "play" options

Hi,

My steering rack for my 78 280 is starting to get a bit sloppy (when the car is on jack stands i can laterally shake the wheels a bit so I figure now is the time to work on this).

Basically my question is what is the best way to go about this? I am seeing many of the rebuild parts are either prohibitively expensive/rare but found that third party (Endurance) options are available like the below link:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Manual-...tamkro&vxp=mtr

Basically I'm asking if these are any good or if I really should spend the hundreds more to track down OE parts to rebuild it.


any ideas?

1978 280z - stock L28 engine - Dallas, TX

Last edited by chaseincats; 04-01-2018 at 02:02 AM.
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 03:19 AM
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chaseincats, are your front wheel bearings good?

Jim
1975 280Z, Metallic Green
Long Gone: 1975 and 1978 280Zs, both Metallic Brown

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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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chaseincats, are your front wheel bearings good?
Wow...that's actually a really good question. Here's the back info:

My steering wheel will shake between the speeds of 50-70 regardless of the wheels/tires used after balancing. When I went to the alignment place the other day after getting new tires put on, the guy said my alignment was already perfect (even though it pulls to the right) but said my rack was getting tired and was able to laterally shake the front tires.

Could the pulling to the right and steering wheel wobble between 50-70/play be caused by a wheel bearing(s) going bad?

(Unfortunately he only demonstrated the issue by shaking the driver side tire so im not sure if its an issue on both sides or not.)

1978 280z - stock L28 engine - Dallas, TX
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 06:14 AM
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I’m not confident enough to address the issue with pulling right and 50-70 mph wobbling, at least as far as your steering rack might be involved. The pulling still sounds like an alignment issue. The high-speed wobble sure sound like a tire balance issue. Swap front and back tires to see if the wobble moves from the steering wheel to your butt (seat-of-the-pants testing!). How good is the tire / alignment shop(s) that you used? I’ve had less than stellar results with the various chain stores.

To verify whether or not your bearings need attention, I’d jack up the car, put my hands at 12/6 o’clock and rock them back and forth. If your hands are at 9/3 o’clock, you’ll always get some movement since the steering is free to move. But at 12/6, movement will be more isolated to the bearings.

If the bearings check out ok, I think I’d try a different shop to check balance and alignment before moving on to the rack. And make sure to get a printout of what they found and what they adjusted to. I’d hate to rebuild something unless I convinced myself that the more common answers were not responsible.

Jim
1975 280Z, Metallic Green
Long Gone: 1975 and 1978 280Zs, both Metallic Brown

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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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I’m not confident enough to address the issue with pulling right and 50-70 mph wobbling, at least as far as your steering rack might be involved. The pulling still sounds like an alignment issue. The high-speed wobble sure sound like a tire balance issue. Swap front and back tires to see if the wobble moves from the steering wheel to your butt (seat-of-the-pants testing!). How good is the tire / alignment shop(s) that you used? I’ve had less than stellar results with the various chain stores.

To verify whether or not your bearings need attention, I’d jack up the car, put my hands at 12/6 o’clock and rock them back and forth. If your hands are at 9/3 o’clock, you’ll always get some movement since the steering is free to move. But at 12/6, movement will be more isolated to the bearings.

If the bearings check out ok, I think I’d try a different shop to check balance and alignment before moving on to the rack. And make sure to get a printout of what they found and what they adjusted to. I’d hate to rebuild something unless I convinced myself that the more common answers were not responsible.
I gotta say, I'm 100% sure it's not a tire balance issue. Reason being that I've gone through 2 different wheel styles and 3 sets of tires all being balanced and installed by 3 different shops (in 2 states) and all getting the same result. Once I even went back to the shop and had them flip flop the front and rears but nothing changed unfortunately.

To check the wheel bearing, when you say to 'rock them back and forth' do you mean pulling them towards/away from me, or twist them perpendicular with the ground?

1978 280z - stock L28 engine - Dallas, TX
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 12:50 PM
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This sure sounds like loose wheel bearings.

With car jacked up and on jack stands. Pull on the top of the tire and push on the bottom. Then reverse so your pushing on the top. Do this fairly quickly. There should not be any noticeable movement.

12/70 build 240Z

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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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This sure sounds like loose wheel bearings.

Pull on the top and push on the bottom. Then reverse so your pushing on the top. There should not be any noticeable movement.
I'll meet up with some friends this week and give that a shot, thanks! If that ends up being the issue, what is the next step? Are loose wheel bearings tightened or replaced (I've never dealt with these)?

If they don't move after I do that, how would we test the rack? Basically, since I don't have a jack, as long as it's up in the air, what else should I try so we can narrow this down?

1978 280z - stock L28 engine - Dallas, TX
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 01:45 PM
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I'll meet up with some friends this week and give that a shot, thanks! If that ends up being the issue, what is the next step? Are loose wheel bearings tightened or replaced (I've never dealt with these)?

If they don't move after I do that, how would we test the rack? Basically, since I don't have a jack, as long as it's up in the air, what else should I try so we can narrow this down?

Wheel bearings are easy, if any doubt (rocks when push pulled at top and bottom) then best would be to find someone that has the feel for it, and tighen the nut. The FSM has a lot of info (new vs old bearings) about how much force it should take to pull the hub etc... basicly you want it just tight enough to preload the bear so there is NO play but loose enough so it spins freely. Its a tapered shaft that the needle bearing ride on so too tight is bad too loose is bad. There is all kinds of receipes for getting it right, prob some youtube advice showing how other do it. Frankly if they were a problem I would have expected at least one of the shops to have pointed it out.


On the rack you can confirm the bushings are ok they allow some movement so just make sure they look ok. other than that again a decent shop should be able to spot a bad tie rod/ball joint issue if that is the case. I just lock the steering wheel and push pull at 9 and 3 and look for excessive play, should be very little. Listen for clunking etc...


here is a video of my rack with new OE bushings. this is with the car on the ground (not jacked up) if you look closely you can see how much the tires are turning. The play seems excessive but I don't have any problems with steering. I do sometimes have a tiny bit of vibration at certain speeds but its not constant and not always, I assume its tires getting in and out of sync. I know I have run out on the rims, but to me its not excessive.

Last edited by Dave M; 04-01-2018 at 01:48 PM.
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Wheel bearings are easy, if any doubt (rocks when push pulled at top and bottom) then best would be to find someone that has the feel for it, and tighen the nut. The FSM has a lot of info (new vs old bearings) about how much force it should take to pull the hub etc... basicly you want it just tight enough to preload the bear so there is NO play but loose enough so it spins freely. Its a tapered shaft that the needle bearing ride on so too tight is bad too loose is bad. There is all kinds of receipes for getting it right, prob some youtube advice showing how other do it. Frankly if they were a problem I would have expected at least one of the shops to have pointed it out.


On the rack you can confirm the bushings are ok they allow some movement so just make sure they look ok. other than that again a decent shop should be able to spot a bad tie rod/ball joint issue if that is the case. I just lock the steering wheel and push pull at 9 and 3 and look for excessive play, should be very little. Listen for clunking etc...


here is a video of my rack with new OE bushings. this is with the car on the ground (not jacked up) if you look closely you can see how much the tires are turning. The play seems excessive but I don't have any problems with steering. I do sometimes have a tiny bit of vibration at certain speeds but its not constant and not always, I assume its tires getting in and out of sync. I know I have run out on the rims, but to me its not excessive.
Thanks for the info Dave!

Regarding the bushings, during the brief amount of time the car was up on the lift the only bushings I saw that looked "wrong" were the bushings for the front sway bar. Take a look at these pics (https://imgur.com/a/XIAEx), you can see the metal of the mounting rod between the bushings. The sway bar looked like it was being pulled up and wasn't parallel with the ground, which is why the bushings look the way they do. Is this how it's supposed to be?

-chase

1978 280z - stock L28 engine - Dallas, TX

Last edited by chaseincats; 04-01-2018 at 02:07 PM.
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