All Honda Motor Company vehicles are equipped with rack and pinion steering, including the Civic. This type of steering system can begin to fail if the bushings are old, worn or compromised. The steering wheel is connected to the rack on the front axle housing through a pinion gear; the rack is a toothed rail that moves left and right as the pinion gear engages it. The bushings ensure that the rack is in the proper place, so that the front wheels are steered effectively. Replace the bushings when the steering becomes loose and unreliable.
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Things you need
- Socket wrench set
- Open-faced wrench set
- Pry tool
- New rack and pinion bushings
- 2 car jacks
- Ball joint tool
- Torque wrench
Raise the front end of the vehicle, using two car jacks. Place the jacks firmly on the frame of the vehicle, just behind the front wheel wells.
Locate the rack by crawling underneath the vehicle -- the rack is just above and in front of the front axle housing, and it mounts the front axle housing by use of a long bracket; it has four retaining bolts connecting it to the bracket.
Use the appropriate open-faced wrench to remove the flexible joint nut located on the pinion gear housing (the pinion gear housing is located where the steering column meets the rack). Unfasten the flexible joint nut to disconnect the steering column from the rack.
Use the appropriate socket wrench to unfasten the four retaining bolts connecting the rack to the front axle.
Follow the rack to each end near the wheels. Unscrew the castle nuts on the tie rod ends, using an open faced wrench; remove the tie rod cottar pins, using a socket wrench; and use a ball joint tool to separate the tie rod from the steering knuckle. Remove the rack from the vehicle.
Place the rack on a work surface and use a pry tool to remove the two rack and pinion bushings from the wrack. This will be difficult and may require cutting into the rubber bushings. Install the new bushings in their place, using a pry tool.
Replace the rack and install the four retaining bolts to 29 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench. Place the tie rod ends back into the steering knuckles and install the castle nut on the tie rod ends to 32 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench. Use a socket wrench to replace the cottar pins.
Replace the steering column into the pinion gear assembly. Use a torque wrench to replace the flexible joint nut to 22 foot-pounds. Lower the vehicle to the ground.
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