Warranty Concern-Steering Rack - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Warranty Concern-Steering Rack

I was wondering if anyone can assist with this information. My 2007 Elise is having the steering rack replaced under warranty. The service manager called and said that an alignment will need to be done but is not covered under warranty. Is anyone aware of this??? How can a steering rack be replaced under warranty and then the alignment not done as a part of the overall process to complete the work properly? I have tried to call Lotus USA Warranty but no one seems to pick up the phone.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Nevermind. Issue resolved. Although I had to call Lotus USA Warranty (really a bunch of great people over there)

Future Reference: If anyone is getting their steering racks replaced under Lotus Original Warranty and the service dept. tell you that they can not complete the work unless they do an alignment. Tell them that an alignment should not be needed (unless your vehicle really needed it before it went in) and what needs to be adjusted is the Toe, which is covered under warranty.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-03-2010, 08:06 PM
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why did you have to get the rack replaced?
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 07:14 AM Thread Starter
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The rack had a lot of vibrations. Klunking noise and rattling like something was either not secure. Also driving at highway speeds (70-90) the car did nto feel secure. Also if you went over a dip or bump in hte road the entire steering column/shaft would shake. I drove it with the Lotus Technician and not even driving 2 minutes, he knew that the rack needed to be replaced.

After replacement the rack is so smooth that it makes day and night difference. One thing that I did find out from the dealer is that the replacement rack is not new but rather remanufactured unit. (I didn't like that idea, although it carries 12 month warranty). Will try to find out more details on that from Lotus.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 07:52 AM
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Steering rack issues on these cars date back the the S1's.

Owned, loved, enjoyed, and now gone:
1969 Europa S2 Blue
1970 Europa S2 White
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1984 Turbo Esprit Calypso Red
2005 Elise Starlight Black
2005 Elise Saffron Yellow
2005 Elise Ardent Red
2006 Exige Graphite Grey
2007 Exige Canyon Red

Other:
1970 MGB GT
1970 Datsun 510
1984 Honda CRX Si
1984 Pontiac Fiero
2004 Chrysler Crossfire
2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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But on the newer models 2006+ they were supposed to have been corrected. I am surprised that Lotus could not have figured this out and fixed it for good.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 01:56 PM
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has anyone looked into fixing the rack problem.as in repairing the rack not replacing it.my car is out of warranty.so if mine goes i will be looking to repair it.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 02:13 PM
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has anyone looked into fixing the rack problem.as in repairing the rack not replacing it.my car is out of warranty.so if mine goes i will be looking to repair it.
After I replaced my bad steering rack, I took the old one apart just to see what had worn out in it. It was grinding like there was dirt in it when you turned the pinion and there was play at the pinion no matter what position the rack was set. I figured I would find a worn pinion and metal chips in there, but to my surprise, all the parts (pinion, rack, bearings, etc.) looked to be in excellent if not as new condition. There was no sign of wear on anything and even the grease was clean. I put it all back together and tried adjusting the preload, but oddly, it could not be adjusted to remove the play and allow the rack to operate smoothly. You could get rid of the play, but it would grind terribly and feel very notchy and rough or you could remove some preload and the action would smooth out, but the play at the pinion would be excessive. I could never pinpoint what was wrong with it, nor could I adjust it to work correctly. Perhaps the rack or pinion were manufactured incorrectly and simply will not mesh correctly?
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Future Reference: If anyone is getting their steering racks replaced under Lotus Original Warranty and the service dept. tell you that they can not complete the work unless they do an alignment. Tell them that an alignment should not be needed (unless your vehicle really needed it before it went in) and what needs to be adjusted is the Toe, which is covered under warranty.

Pretty Much anytime a suspension component is changed, an alignment should be done.

There is no way to put the new rack back in exactly the same place with exactly the same length, and the tie-rod ends in the same place. An alignment must be done for correct toe.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 05:38 PM
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After I replaced my bad steering rack, I took the old one apart just to see what had worn out in it. It was grinding like there was dirt in it when you turned the pinion and there was play at the pinion no matter what position the rack was set. I figured I would find a worn pinion and metal chips in there, but to my surprise, all the parts (pinion, rack, bearings, etc.) looked to be in excellent if not as new condition. There was no sign of wear on anything and even the grease was clean. I put it all back together and tried adjusting the preload, but oddly, it could not be adjusted to remove the play and allow the rack to operate smoothly. You could get rid of the play, but it would grind terribly and feel very notchy and rough or you could remove some preload and the action would smooth out, but the play at the pinion would be excessive. I could never pinpoint what was wrong with it, nor could I adjust it to work correctly. Perhaps the rack or pinion were manufactured incorrectly and simply will not mesh correctly?
thanks for the info.i have rebuilt a few racks and most of the time they can be fixed by shimming the pinion or adjusting the rack if it has an adjuster.i have also found play in the ball sockets on the tie rods at the rack.that can be fixed by adding a shim also.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 06:27 PM
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thanks for the info.i have rebuilt a few racks and most of the time they can be fixed by shimming the pinion or adjusting the rack if it has an adjuster.i have also found play in the ball sockets on the tie rods at the rack.that can be fixed by adding a shim also.
Yes, I've shimmed a couple myself, but that old rack just could not be adjusted to make it smooth and tight at the same time. The adjustment is via a large threaded plug that acts on a spring which presses on a nylon slipper to force the rack closer to the pinion. It is fairly sensitive and a little too much pressure from the plug on the spring will lock the rack up solid. It really shouldn't be hard at all to adjust the preload according to the shop manual, but whenever I got it to the correct preload (used a spring scale to pull on a tie rod), the rack would just grind and you could feel every tooth of the pinion bind and lurch as it moved with the rack. I had zero play at the tie rods and the ball sockets were just as stiff and tight as the ones on the brand new rack I installed so they were not part of the problem. That old rack only lasted for 4K miles which is pretty pathetic as far as I'm concerned.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 06:37 PM
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For those of you interested in trying to rebuild your steering rack, here is a great source of information on how to do it and how to get parts for it: Replace the steering rack - SELOC TechWiki
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 07:27 PM
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It is fairly sensitive and a little too much pressure from the plug on the spring will lock the rack up solid. It really shouldn't be hard at all to adjust the preload according to the shop manual, but whenever I got it to the correct preload (used a spring scale to pull on a tie rod), the rack would just grind and you could feel every tooth of the pinion bind and lurch as it moved with the rack. That old rack only lasted for 4K miles which is pretty pathetic as far as I'm concerned.
The fact that you could feel every tooth suggests to me that the shape of the teeth are wrong or just plain worn out. Any evidence of wear on the teeth? Do you have any close up photos of the teeth on the rack or the pinion?

Agree, pretty pathetic for such a car! It's not like rack and pinion steering was just invented. And..........Lotus has had plenty of time to work on this issue!
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 07:35 PM
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For those of you interested in trying to rebuild your steering rack, here is a great source of information on how to do it and how to get parts for it: Replace the steering rack - SELOC TechWiki
thanks again for the info.i believe what you are saying.its just hard to believe that its such a pos rack.my car has 17xxx miles on it.its also an 06 so maybe it had the updated rack installed.i will take a look at the seloc link.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2010, 07:46 PM
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did you inspect the rack bar to make sure it was strait?that was one of the problems on the last rack i rebuilt.it was curved from the machining of the teeth on one side of the bar.i ended up getting it nice and strait.so after that was fixed it worked really nice all the way through the travel.
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-08-2010, 08:48 AM
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did you inspect the rack bar to make sure it was strait?that was one of the problems on the last rack i rebuilt.it was curved from the machining of the teeth on one side of the bar.i ended up getting it nice and strait.so after that was fixed it worked really nice all the way through the travel.
I did not take the time to check the rack bar to make sure it was true. The preload force, slop, and grinding feel was the same throughout the full travel of the rack no matter how the preload was adjusted, so I doubt the rack bar was bent. I have had racks with wear in the past and they were either sloppy in one spot (usually the middle) of the travel, or they would get tight as you moved the rack bar from side to side, but this was not the case with mine. That is why I figured it had to be a bad pinion, but upon disassembly the pinion showed no wear and the original machining marks from the grinder they used to make the pinion were still visible on all the teeth and had not even been worn smooth yet. It was just not obvious what was wrong with it.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-08-2010, 08:54 AM
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The fact that you could feel every tooth suggests to me that the shape of the teeth are wrong or just plain worn out. Any evidence of wear on the teeth? Do you have any close up photos of the teeth on the rack or the pinion?

Agree, pretty pathetic for such a car! It's not like rack and pinion steering was just invented. And..........Lotus has had plenty of time to work on this issue!
Nope, no wear on the pinion nor the rack teeth at all. I still have the rack laying around, so I'll pull the pinion back out of it again and take some photos to post.

Edit:
Here are two photos showing the pinion with its retaining circlip, seal (I had to damage the seal to remove it), and the related preloading parts. As you can see, the pinion shows almost no wear and the teeth are just starting to shine up from working the rack. You can't see or feel any ridges or wear on the teeth. What looks like crud down in the grooves between the teeth is just grease and it is clean.

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Last edited by tesprit; 09-08-2010 at 08:55 PM. Reason: Added photos
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-08-2010, 09:40 AM
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It's called the "dreaded klunk."

When the steering rack needs replacing you will absolutely know it in the Elise/Exige. It makes a racket and with my Lotus it sounded like the front end was falling off.

My warranty covered the rack and the alignment.
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-08-2010, 08:02 PM
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I did not take the time to check the rack bar to make sure it was true. The preload force, slop, and grinding feel was the same throughout the full travel of the rack no matter how the preload was adjusted, so I doubt the rack bar was bent. I have had racks with wear in the past and they were either sloppy in one spot (usually the middle) of the travel, or they would get tight as you moved the rack bar from side to side, but this was not the case with mine. That is why I figured it had to be a bad pinion, but upon disassembly the pinion showed no wear and the original machining marks from the grinder they used to make the pinion were still visible on all the teeth and had not even been worn smooth yet. It was just not obvious what was wrong with it.
well i cant figure out what would be the problem ether.all i can think of is the machining is off from the pinion to the rack.its strange that it would work correctly when it was new.then have problems with no signs of what is wrong.well i suppose its not the end of the world to have to buy a quick rack from sector.
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-08-2010, 08:51 PM
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well i cant figure out what would be the problem ether.all i can think of is the machining is off from the pinion to the rack.its strange that it would work correctly when it was new.then have problems with no signs of what is wrong.well i suppose its not the end of the world to have to buy a quick rack from sector.
It has to be a problem with the machining being slightly off, but if that is the case, how these racks work correctly when brand new is a total mystery to me as well.

BTW, while I had the pinion and preload parts removed from the rack today to take the photos above, I pulled the rack bar from side to side and it was as smooth as can be with no slop or binding so there is no way it is bent or the bushings are worn or out of alignment. Again, it points to either the rack bar or the pinion teeth being machined incorrectly.
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