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Car and Truck Steering Racks and Gearboxes

Steering racks are essential components of every vehicle. Also known as the rack and pinion, these help a truck or car turn its wheels from side to side as the driver turns the steering wheel. Here are some questions about finding the right steering system and other replacement accessories like gearboxes.

What kind of steering rack does your vehicle have?

There are three types of steering racks: manual steering, power steering, and electric steering:

  • A manual steering rack does not have a power-assist feature and requires more effort to make turns. Car enthusiasts often opt for manual steering as the application is lightweight and has a response that is suitable for car racing. Since stock manual steering racks are common in old trucks, most cars will only feature rebuilt options.
  • Power steering racks are found in regular commuter cars. They come with an additional component - a pump that supplies high-pressure fluid to the rack while providing hydraulic power assist. It makes steering easy.
  • An electric steering rack is powered electronically. The hydraulic assist on the truck rack is replaced with a computer-controlled electric motor.

Should you flush power steering before making changes or repairs?

Yes, you should. It helps eliminate debris and contaminants from the system, which often reduce the useful life of the rack, box, or pump. However, there may be leftover oil unless the rack or pump is replaced and pipes and separate oil reservoirs are removed and flushed to ensure only clean oil is present in the system.

Why should you change the fluid for your truck?

Over time, the steering fluid becomes contaminated and loses potency. Contaminated fluid is less efficient, making the pump work harder. Changing the fluid regularly helps lessen the stress on the pump.

Where is the steering rack OEM part number located?

You can find the number by searching the car’s model, make, and year of release. If you can’t find it there, check the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) part number off the stock steering rack. It is located on the part and is usually stamped on a metal tag.

How much thread is needed to connect the rods?

You should have a minimum thread engagement of up to 2.5 times the diameter of the outside end. As such, if the outer end is half-inch thread diameter, you want to look for a thread engagement of 1 1/4 inches.