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Replacing my Rack & Pinion. Need help...

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Old 06-05-2011, 02:48 AM
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Default Replacing my Rack & Pinion. Need help...

Hello everyone,

I've got a 2007 Ram 1500 (Big Horn) 4x4, with only 37K miles. This past winter, my front axle occasionally made this clanking sounds when I drove over minor bumps, pot holes, or un-even surfaces. It only happened in slow speeds (under 15mph), but along with the clanking, it was accompanied by a vibration up the drive shaft and into the steering wheel.

I've had my mechanics shop check and verify the tie rods, upper & lower ball joints, sway bar ends/links, sway bar bushings and even had them look at front drive axle rod, but everything was tight.

Since then, my axles are making that clanking noise every time...even on the smallest bumps. What's even worse is when I cruise at 55-70mph and drive over rough patches on the road, the front tires feel real loose and almost hard to control.

I'm going to replace my shocks, but that's not going to fix the clanking and the vibration up the steering column, so I'm going to replace the rack & pinion too.

Has anyone on here replaced their Rack & Pinion themselves?

Does anyone have a step-by-step on how it's done? Better still, if you have pictures, that would be awesome.

Thanks so much,
-KidAce
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:54 AM
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I dont know of any step by step but you can download the Srv Man in the links in my signature and use them. They will guide you.

Guys have changed them though and they are pretty easy if you are mechanically inclined. The biggest challenge you will have is getting the wheel hubs, spindles and CVs separated being you live up north there they lay sand and salt.

Basically once you get the tires, brakes, spindles and CVs off, the R&P is a direct swap. Pay attention to how far the inner tie rods are in the R&P and remember you will need an alignment after everything is completed.
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:41 PM
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Thank you Weed,

I really appreciate our reply and more importantly, the links to the Srv Manuals. Although there wasn't one for a 2007, the 2006 is pretty much identical to my truck.

So, when I got home after work, I crawled under my truck and took a much closer look at my Rack & Pinion, pushing and pulling, up, down, left, and right to see if I can feel any play or hear the clanking, but there wasn't any play on either side, so I was at a loss as to where the heck that clanking noise comes from.

Before crawling out from under the truck, I was pushing and pulling on other items near the Rack (specifically, any item that was directly attached to the front tires). The CV Axle Half Shaft, on both sides, I think, are the culprits.

Not only did they both have major play, on both sides, but they were clanking too. So here's my question... is it supposed to have that much play and make that clanking noise?

I used my iPhone to video tape my moving them and captured the clanking noise it made. Click on the link below to play it and let me know if it's supposed to do that or mine are shot:

http://home.comcast.net/~kidace/my_front_cv_axle.mp4 (9.6mb)
or
http://home.comcast.net/~kidace/my_front_cv_axle.flv (4.5mb)

Thanks
-KidAce

Last edited by KidAce; 06-07-2011 at 11:51 PM..
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:04 AM
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Sorry bud. Im just not a 4wd guy but my thought out answer to your question would be no. I dont think you should have any play and much less any noise coming from them.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:20 PM
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What? Not a 4wd guy? Are you saying that beautifull machine you're standing by, in your signature, with all that lift isn't 4x4? lol.

That is a thing of beauty though, 4x4 or not. I wish I could lift mine too, but my wife (the boss) would have a cow!!

Thanks for the follow-up Weed.

Here's what I plan to do to verify the problem... When I get home, after work, I'll remove both front CV axles and drive it around (seeing as it's summer now, I'm not gonna need 4x4 for a while). If the clanking noise is gone, then I'll replace them both, but if it's still there, then it's the R&P for sure.

Thanks again.
-KidAce
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:22 PM
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Yeah, it fools many a man.

Be sure to take pics before, during and after and post them. It might help someone else later on.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:28 PM
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They should not budge. Doing what they are doing in that vid...they need to be replaced.
I just can't believe someone walking in their with a problem and they failed to check the CV axles?
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:09 PM
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Thanks Rich, I thought as much also, but each time I brought my truck into the shop, the guys swear those "play" were within operating limits because of the single slip differential.

Not realy knowing how much of a "play" it really should have, I just believed them, but now that you agree with my original thought, I'll replace them first.

I tried to pull the CV Axles of, yesterday, but only using a jack and a jack stand, I didn't have enough ground clearance to get my pry bar to up in there to pry the axle from the CV box. I'll have to get the truck hoisted. I'll update when I get it done.

Thanks again for your input Rich. I feel a whole lot better.
~KidAce
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Old 06-24-2011, 03:07 PM
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Well, I finally got rid of the clunk.

The fix was so simple, I could kick myself. Don't know why I had to make it more difficult than it really was.

So, in my last post, I stated I was going to remove both front CV Axles and drive around without them to see if they were the culprits. I did so, but the clunking was still there, so I put them back on.

I tried replacing both front shocks with brand new Bilsteins, but that prooved futile as well.

I tried replacing the stabilizer bushings with brand new Raybestos ones, but again, the dang clunking was still present.

The next thing I replaced was the Stabilizer Links. Same result.

Before deciding to replace the Rack & Pinion, I thought I'd first try replacing both outter tie rods (even thought they seemed OK).

Voila. That was it. I could have saved myself time and money if I thought to replace the simplest thing, first.

Oh well. Lesson learned.
~KidAce
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:30 PM
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Odd. And they didn't have any play in them? Or just a little bit?
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:30 PM
 
 
 
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