Q: What if my rack-and-pinion steers easy one way and hard the other way?A: This could mean that your pump does not have enough pressure, or you could have rubber debris in your servo valve, or possibly damage to your cylinder.

Q: What should I do if my rack-and-pinion feels like it's darting?A: Check the set screw on top of the rack housing to make sure it isn't too loose. Also, check the 9/16 nut on the end of the slave cylinder to make sure it's not too loose. If both of these are OK, it could be a loose drive pin. In that case, you'll need to send your rack back to the manufacturer. To solve that problem, the rack has to be drilled and centered on the dyno machine.

Q: What if my rack turns by itself?A: You'll have to send your rack back to be looked at because your valve holes could be twisted or you could also have debris in your servo valve.

Upkeep Now that we have our new Appleton rack installed, there are three key maintenance procedures we must follow in order to ensure that the rack performs at the highest level.

1. Do not use ATF fluid. Period. We'll use good power steering fluid, preferably a clear one because clear power steering fluid will help you diagnosis steering problems. When it gets dirty you can really see foreign matter in it, plus if it's running hot, clear power steering fluid will get dark.

2. Grease the rack-and-pinion every 8-10 races.

3. Inspect the dust boots after every race and make sure that they are not torn, cracked, or hard. Any of those will let debris into the rack and cause unnecessary or premature wear.

Finally, Appleton recommends servicing the rack-and-pinion at least once a year. A normal rebuild is just seal and bushing replacement. If the car is involved in a severe wreck the rack-and-pinion should be sent in for inspection. Most of the time, a rack-and-pinion that has been damaged in a wreck can be repaired for less than a new unit.

CHART A
  DIRT ASPHALT ROAD RACING
Manual or Power Power Power/Manual Power
Rack Housing Cast/Billet Cast Cast
Shaft Length 18.25-19.75 16.25-18.25 20 and up
Ratio 3.4-4.4 2.0-3.0 1.8-3.0
Servo feel XL-Med Light-Heavy XL-Med