Suspension & Steering

Steering Rack Removal

Steering Rack Removal

This morning I tried to do the steering rack on my 1987 S4 with little luck. I took off both belly pans and could clearly see the connections to the steering column. That looks pretty easy, but I'm sure it'll frozen in there and will require some torque to do so. The hose connections are there in plain sight and also seem pretty easy to get to. So far so good. The problem arose when I wanted to remove the four 19mm bolts holding the steering rack to a brace that obviouls holds the rack to the car. If anyone out there has ever tried to do this rack on their 928, you know where I am leading to. The four bolts holding the steering rack to the car move freely on top so in effect you are really not unbolting the bolts but merely happily rotating them-much the same way as the earth rotates on its axis-continuously! So why, you ask don't I just stick a wrench or socket on the other side and then attempt to unbolt. Well Porsche thought of everything to make your job miserable. The answer is there is no room to stick a socket with a wrench attached to it(not enough clearance) on three of the four bolts. How about a boxed end wrench? Still no room plus the oil filter is in the way of the handle of this wrench. How about an offset wrench? I still don't see the clearance from other components. So, my question to all those out there is, how do I grab the other side of this bolt/nut assembly? I think if I resolve this I may very well attempt it again.

Patrick Leston

I don't remember experiencing what you are talking about doing the rack on my car. As I remember the heads of the bolts are very close to the frame member. I remember wedging a small pry bar or the blade of a screwdriver between the frame rail and the closest flat on the bolt head. As you torque the nut this should jam it in good enough to allow you to loosen everything and also will fit in the crevis better than a wrench or whatever. I do remember needing a pipe on my 1/2" drive set to get the four big ones off. I think I pulled a muscle in my neck too! Argh! You know, lying on your back with your feet up on each wheel yanking on the pipe on the wrench handle. Someone should make a strength training video featuring all of these moves.

Good luck,
Jay Kempf

The four bolts on my 88 are 17mm, not 19mm, so I hope we're talking about the same ones. I made a special tool in order to hold the bolt heads while I was inducing hernia-like injuries while trying to loosen the nuts. (Just leave this one alone, O'Rourke). I took a thin-walled, 3/8 inch drive, 17mm socket, and cut all but 3/8 inch off of the gripping end. Then, from some 3/8 inch square steel stock I cut one piece 3/8 inch long, another, 2 inches long. I welded the 3/8 inch piece to the middle of the 2 inch piece. This made a tool which looks like a "T", with a short vertical piece. Then insert the short vertical piece into the top of the socket, place the socket on the bolt head. When you start turning the nut (with major grunting), the "T" on the socket will wedge against the side of the rail and keep the top of the bolt from turning. Works when you're torquing the nuts, too. Sometimes you may have to use finger pressure on top of the "T" to keep it from popping off.

Remember to get an alignment when you're done.

Yup, I remember this job. Didn't like it one bit.

Walt Konecny

I changed my steering rack about two weeks ago and did not experience the difficulty in getting to the top side of the bolt you are describing. I used the boxed end side of a standard size Snap-On wrench (I don't remember what size it is). I was able to catch the top of the bolt by using the angle of the wrench (the open end side pointing away from the car). The same wrench worked for reassembly and torquing.


Thanks to all of those that have helped; especially Mark Anderson at 928 International and Dave Roberts at 928 Specialists. Just a moment ago I finally removed the old steering rack from my '87. Took some doing but that baby came right out. Those spindles on the end of the tie rod took some doing but a pipe wrench did the talking for me. The steering linkage-no problem. Took the screw out and inserted a flat head screw driver and carefully hammered it into the slot to pry it open-no problemo. The problem-the last hurdle- was the bolt that threaded into the steering rack. There are two. One has a flexible hose and the other is like steel piping. Well this one you couldn't thread the bolt out because the sway bar was in the way and impeded its outward progress. Solution- remove all the nuts that hold the rack, move the rack toward the front(its free now) and unbolt it. That done the rack will "flow" into your awaiting arms. My question to all now is what kind of things should I watch out for on the installation of the new one. I'm on my way out to but the ATF Dexron II or III now. I know I should flush out the lines before sealing her up. How do I get rid of any air, or does that automatically happen. Everyone's help has been tremendous and quite honestly this job could not of been done without the help of all. I'm halfway home......

Patrick L.

Glad to hear you made good progress. As far as bleeding the system the manual suggests that you jack up the car until the front wheels are off of the ground, fill the reservoir full and crank the car (not starting it) while adding fluid as necessary until the fluid level in the reservoir stops dropping. Then start the car and turn lock to lock until the bubbles go away.


Never replaced the steering rack, but did replace the power steering pump. The best thing to do is drain the reservoir and wash it out, it has a small screen filter at the bottom. At this time you may want to pick up a new reservoir to steering pump hose, as this is a primary source of leaks in the system. After the reservoir is cleaned out, I used compressed air to blow the old fluid out of the lines, there are other ways of doing this, but this was the easiest for me. You may want to remove the belt form the power steering pump and move by hand to get the old fluid out of it. After all is re-connected just fill reservoir about 3/4 full and start her up. The system is self bleeding, so it will most likely suck most of the reservoir fluid right away, so stand by with some more in hand. Fill till it is about 1/2 to 2/3 full, then check later when the engine is both hot and cold. You can help get any last remaining air out of the system by turning the wheel full left and them full right. If after all is done, you still notice air bubble in the reservoir, you probably have a leak somewhere, like something not tight enough.
Good luck -

Adam S.
'89 Black 5sp.
'87 Silver Auto

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