Espace - Mark 2 - Replacing steering rack * with Pics * - Renault Forums :: Independent Renault forum

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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 4th November 2007 Thread Starter
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Espace - Mark 2 - Replacing steering rack * with Pics *

My 1994 Espace recently failed an MOT on the steering rack leaking. I replace it, and thought others might want to know how it is done.

Before you start, do the following:

1. Spend time getting the best price for the parts. I got quotes for the steering rack varying from 153 - 483. I finally got a rack and track rod ends from a local supplier (Anglian Motors Factors in Kettering) for a total of 141.96 inc. vat (after returning the old rack). The surcharge was only 23.50, some places wanted 150!!
2. Get a decent under cover area for changing the rack with loads of space, 2 heavy duty axle stands and 16mm ratchet spanner.
3. Learn some new swear words, as you will be swearing all the way through this work, normally resulting in the phrase "why did I start THIS!".

How I did it:

1. Disconnect the battery. Jack up the front of the car. Remove the front wheels.
2. Disconnect the track rod ends. The nuts wouldn't come off of mine, so I cut off the nuts.

3. Drain the steering fluid. I disconnected the pipe from the power steering pump. Cover the end of the pipe, and the outlet from the pump to prevent dirt getting in.

4. Disconnect the pipe from the reservoir.
5. Remove the plastic cover panel in the passenger side wheel arch, and pull the reservoir pipe through from the engine compartment and lay it out straight from the wheel arch.

6. Remove the upper bolts securing the steering rack. These are accessed from the engine bay through the chassis rail. Be very careful, I lost a socket in the chassis rail and spent 45 minutes getting it out with a magnet! The washer on the bolt is exactly the same size as the hole in the chassis. so be very careful when removing. Once the bolt is loose withdraw the socket and tip it so that the washer wedges in the hole. You can then ease the bolt out with the washer.

7. Remove the lower part of the dash on the drivers side. There are 2 cross head screws, 2 short star drive bolts, and a large star drive bolt under the bonnet release to remove. Disconnect the headlight levelling switch, pull off the switch, twist off the bezel and remove the 2 screws. Disconnect the dash light dimmer switch.

8. Remove the pin and clip from the brake pedal to disconnect the brake servo.
9. Remove the 5 nuts securing the brake servo to the bulkhead. Yes there are 5 not 4 as it tells you in the Haynes manual! The 5th is 30-40mm to the right of the top left fixing.
10. Pull the brake servo forward carefully. You will need to move the servo mounting bracket about to remove the rack, but there is the potential of damaging the servo so this can be a 2 person job.
11. Loosen the lower part of the upper steering joint under the dash.
12. Disconnect the steering joint to the steering rack. This looks impossible, but can be done. Remove the bolt/nut securing the joint, then turn the steering so that the opening of the joint faces to the drivers side. Using a suitable item (I used a fixed 1/2" bar) hammer this in to the open section of the joint to release the joint. Knock the wedged in bar upwards to remove the joint from the steering rack.
13. Remove the lower bolts securing the steering rack. This is where the 16mm ratchet spanner comes in handy due to the lack of space.

14. The rack is now free! To remove slide it out the drivers side wheel arch. Sounds simple, but this is awkward, and requires pulling, levering and twisting the steering rack. Levering the brake servo bracket bracket about is required, but be careful that you don't use too much force. You will have to twist the steering rack anticlockwise to lever it out, taking off some of the underseal on the footwell off with the splined shaft, see the photo for the scrapes. Also make sure the power steering pump pipe is fed through as you remove the rack.

15. Hopefully now your steering rack is out of the car. You can now remove the pipes from the old rack, and fit these to the new rack. I found that when I tried to fit the inlet pipe (from the pump) it wouldn't fit. I then found that the new rack had been supplied with a new non-return valve. All I had to do was to pull the valve off the pipe, and then it fitted straight in.

16. Remove the mounting brackets off the old rack, and refit to the new rack. You will have to aline the passenger side bracket, as this is not fixed like the drivers side bracket.
17. As they say in the Haynes manual, refitting is the reverse of removal - Rubbish!. Feed the pipes back in to the wheel arch and run the pipe that connects to the pump back over the chassis rail. Surprising the rack slipped back in to place in 5 minutes.
18. Slide the shaft down from the upper steering joint under the dash and tighten the securing bolt. This puts the joint that fits to the rack lower than normal, making it easier to access.
19. Using levers twist the steering rack and lift it towards the lower steering joint. Get someone to rock the steering wheel, and wait for the joint to slip back on to the splined shaft of the steering rack. Wedge the rack in place and replace the securing bolt to the lower steering joint. Now loosen the lower part of the upper steering joint.
20. Replace the lower rack fxing bolts, then the upper steering rack fixing bolts (twisting the washers through the chassis).
21. Tighten the lower part of the upper steering joint.
22. Reposition the brake servo and replace the nuts in the footwell. Replace the the pin and clip securing the brake pedal to the servo. Once the work is completed you may have to adjust the brake light switch on the pedal so that it works correctly after all of the levering of the brake servo bracket.
23. Replace the lower dash.
24. Connect the pipe to the power steering pump.
25. Reconnect the pipe to the reservoir using a new jubilee clip.

26. Clip back in all pipes and wires moved to help get the rack out. Clip the plastic panel back in to the passenger wheel arch.
27. Fill the reservior with power steering fluid to the max line. Slowly turn the steering wheel lock to lock topping up up the reservoir to max level as the fluid level drops. When the level stays constant reconnect the battery.
28. Start the car and then slowly turn the steering wheel lock to lock, do not stop when at lock, keep the motion smooth. Top up the reservoir to max level as required. Turn off engine.
29. Remove the old track rod ends from the old rack. I measured the distance the track rod ends projected from the track rod to help to rough set the tracking for the new rack before removing them. You need the locking nut and the collet from each side.
30. Fit the new track rod ends and tighten the lock nut to secure. Bolt to the hubs both sides. These nuts should be tightened to the required torque.
31. Refit the wheels and lower the car to the ground.
32. Test the steering, and get the tracking checked. You may need to re-centre the steering wheel.

I hope this helps. My car passed the MOT, and now I have the worst job on my Espace done!

Remember to be patient, and take your time. Most of my major jumps forward in removing the rack came after having a well earned break!
Currently in Wibble's garage:
1994 Espace 2litre RXE

Last edited by HeatherJ; 23rd July 2014 at 03:38 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 4th November 2007
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Spot on post wibble, glad you were not so frustrated as you forgot to take the photos .... a job well done and an excellent post.

Why is it the older I get .... the better I think I was ?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 4th November 2007
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Fantastic post Wibble great Pics..

I will add this to the Knowledge base and a sticky, Espace owners will find this post of great value.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 1st July 2008
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Angry Espace steering rack

Hi, Am full of sympathy for anyone who has been foolishly enough to change an Espace steering rack !! I must therefore be totally bonkers as I haver done it twice on the same vehicle. Bought an Espace with a serious leak on the rack and was given a secondhand good rack. Managed , after days of cursing, to change it only to find that the fluid I was given was the same colour but the wrong type hence after only one year the rack was completely kaput. Bought a second hand rack, changed it and now find that the electric windows don't work, neither does the fuel gauge. Have discovered that the cable ( 3 core ) which goes to the fuel tank passes under the steering rack and that during replacing the rack it snagged on this cable and pulled it.
Could the two seperate problems be connected by a common earth as the fuses are all OK. If so can anybody tell me where to find the earth before I go bonkers. I live in S France and it is B Hot. Berniche
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 21st June 2009
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Hi - Great post! Have to change my rack for the French MOT soon, and am glad to see that it's not just me that has problems with Haynes Manuals and their "Refitting is the reverse of removal"...
Unfortunately, the photos aren't working... Any chance of a new link or getting them sent by email?
Thanks agaion for a very informative post!
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espace , mark , pics , rack , replacing , steering

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