Jul 19, 2014

Project 180: KTS Steering Rack Bushings and Steering Collar

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Back again with some more project goodness! This isn't a DIY, nor a step by step, but I did want to show you some progress and some cool new parts I picked up.

Shaken is coming soon for me. Shaken is the bi-yearly vehicle inspection in Japan. I have a few issues to deal with, such as a cracked windshield (less that the eraser of a pencil, but a big deal to the over cautious Japanese), and torn steering rack bushings. That last seems to make sense to fix, because I notice at times that my car seems to veer when no other thing is wrong, and the car is aligned. Whatever, I live here now. I want to own a car here. I will play ball.

Every car persons favorite part of "fixing" a car, is that it's an excuse to upgrade a car, under the excuse of "the ordinary parts are almost as expensive. At any rate, it was a good excuse to hit up KTS and get some parts I had been looking at. Thank God it wasn't the whole steering rack as I had originally feared. Take a look at the video below for the unboxing and mini review of the parts that I ordered, those being a set of Steering Rack Bushings and Steering Collar.

Under the car, at the front Crossmember, you will find four bolts. You need to remove all of these. You can see one bolt in the oval cut out to the bottom left of the picture.

And here is a closer look where you can clearly see the bolt.

I'm thinking that these bolts have not been removed in about 18 years... or... since they were tightened at the factory. Going to use some Wakos penetrating oil on this, before I even get started. I really like all of their products that I have used so far. If you can get ahold of some in Japan, I highly recommend it.

And of course the handy dandy impact. This one is made by Tone Tools of Japan.

Here is the back hole of the same bracket we saw a few pictures earlier. There are two screws in each bracket for a total of four. You need to remove all four. After that, just slightly lift the  rack, and pull the bushings out. They are one piece that has a slice in it, so it's not at all difficult to do. Just give it a good yank.... shhhhh get it out of the gutter.

The bushing on the right looks perfectly fine....

The one on the left, though... well...it's seen better days. Definitely needed to be changed, government inspection or not.

And here are their beautiful replacements. These run 8,000 yen, or 80$ American, so they are a little pricey compared to units like Energy Suspension, which are made of polyurethane. However, the quality is high, and the units fit like a charm. They are aluminum so they never need a replacement, but the Energy Suspension units are only 15$. I couldn't notice any performance difference between the two, but I'll left you know more once I get on my coilovers and give 'er some hell.

Just showing you the fit. Lift the rack, slide the bottom in and then put the top back on and bolt her down. No need to freeze these things, or anything like that. They just  go right in.

This is the KTS Steering Collar. Everyone makes this part, and this is not better or worse than any other I have ever seen. However the price was right, and I could get em both shipped for the same price. The unit I had in my old American 240SX was a Touge Factory, and this one is just the same. If it ain't broke...
I didn't take a lot of pics, because putting this in with the engine in was a fuckin' bitch... I'm not gonna be PC, and I'm not gonna lie. I put my other one in when I swapped engines on a recommendation.... now I know why it was recommended.

Here's a tip I was taught. Mark everything in a line with a marker pen. This makes it easy to keep everything in line. Also, once you get this apart. Do NOT turn the steering wheel or rotate the shaft. I don't know from experience, but I heard it sucks, especially if you have an airbag equipped car, like my Kouki. I heard the consequences can be... explosive.

Here's why it sucks to replace while everything is in the car... can you even spot the steering collar or rod? Exactly.

Here's a view from the bottom. Two bolts are actually pretty easy from the bottom. The other two are only accessable from the top, and they aren't so fun. But, (tip #2) a ratchet wrench would have made this shit a lot easier. So would a pet monkey that can turn a wrench.... but those are harder to get.

Anyway, stay tuned for next week, and don't forget to like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/exitevideomagazine

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