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    Sam Carlson
    Tutorial Bot euromobile900's Avatar
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    14 Aug 2010
    Medford, MA
    '90 900 LPT with a flat-nose conversion

    Replacing Steering Rack Boots - C900

    Replacing steering rack boots on a SAAB power rack can look like an easy job. It's definitely DIY-able, and easier than replacing CV joints. But there are pitfalls. I entered this job at 2pm on a Friday afternoon, expecting to be finished by dinner. It was 10pm by the time I quit, without having properly finished.

    This is one of those jobs that took me five hours to do the first time (and 1/2 hour three more times, when the boot popped off), but now I could do in 1/2 hour. It's not that ugly, but I made all the mistakes. The nice thing is that you can f&#@ it up as many times as you want, but you'll never need to get another alignment once it's all together. Hopefully you will not make so many mistakes as I did!!

    You will need an alignment after you are done. No matter how good you are at counting tie rod threads, alignment is necessary. Given how much of a pain this all is, and the price of alignments these days, and how cheap the second boot is, I recommend doing both boots at once.


    Tools Required:
    -Pipe Wrench
    -Wrench for jam nuts (open end metric)
    -Crimping tool of some sort for boot clamps
    -Nippers for old clamps, zip ties, and boot holes

    Parts Required:
    -New Boots (2 recommended)
    -New boot clamps (Zip ties or metal band clamps which fit into the grooves in the boots)

    First, you should undo the tie rod end from the tie rod. Loosening the jam nut can be a pain. I'd soak it in penetrating oil the night before, if it's not already soaked in power steering fluid. You'll probably need to put a pipe wrench on the tie rod end and a regular open end wrench on the jam nut. Don't round it off!! Scissor the two wrenches together, or put another wrench or pipe in between them as a lever if you need more force. Mine were very hard to loosen. Take the outer tie rod end and jam nut off, and set them in a safe place.

    Cut the inner clamp, or fatigue it with a needle nose pliers to remove it. Remove the boot by squeezing the outer clamp with a pliers and slide the whole assembly off.

    Then, when you're in there, clean any grit you find. I'd just use a bunch of rags. You can grease the rack bar and inner tie rod end ball joint, which is exposed. I doubt this will do any harm mixing with whatever power steering fluid ends up in there. Use chassis grease, the type you'd use for a ball joint. I'd stay away from moly-lithium, only because it's so black.

    Putting on the new boot can be a challenge. There is a tube for air to pass between the two boots. It's held on just by sitting in holes on the boots. New boots from eEuroparts have the holes, but they are sealed, so you need to take a pair of nippers or a razor blade and cut the rubber stub off on the inside of the boot, before you install. Ask me how I know!

    Once you have everything seated (boot on rack, tube stuck in both boots), then you'll need to clamp the boot in place. Don't clamp the boots in place until you are done seating them in the tube and on the rack! You'll squish the tube hole and won't be able to get the tube in. The outer clamps (tie rod to boot) are easy. Just reuse the old ones. The inner clamps are harder. I recommend OEM-style metal clamps. Get them from Napa or something. Make sure they're very narrow. Bring the new boot to Napa when you find these, so that you can make sure they fit in the groove. Buy an extra so that you can screw up once. You will need to clamp them with some type of tool. Needle nose pliers work. End-cutters work better if you can get them to the clamp. It's tight space in there.
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    Hose clamps don't work for the boots. In fact, anything that's too narrow for the groove in the boot won't work. I tried a hose clamp about five times, and it slipped off. If you want to be a redneck, you can use zip ties. I've done this with success, but the technique is less fool proof. If you get the zip tie too tight, it will squish the boot and the boot will slip off. If you get it too loose, the boot will slip off. If you use those metal zip ties, the grease will cause them to slip, and the boot will slip off.

    Once you are done, run the steering back and forth quickly and watch for ballooning and scrunching of the boots, to make sure the air is getting between them through the tube.

    Eyeball or count threads to get the alignment close, then drive to your favorite alignment shop to get the thing properly aligned, and keep an eye on the boots for popping off, for the next few hundred miles! And enjoy!

    Next time I'm in there, I'll take pictures and post them up here. As of now, it's cold outside!!
    Last edited by euromobile900; 15 January 2011 at 02:24.
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