Installation of Offset Steering Rack Bushings in 99 Cobra
Installing offset bushings helps restore the correct steering arm geometry to a car that has been lowered with, say, Kenny Brown or Eibach springs. I had already installed the Kenny Brown springs on my car, and there was some twitchiness in the steering upong hitting bumps that was not there before lowering the car. Nothing dangerous or scarey, just not perfect.
I purchased the Global West offset bushing kit through The Racing Zone. I think these are the same as the FRPP parts. The kit consists of a two hollow steel pins and four aluminum bushings to replace the stock parts. There is a one page (minimal) instruction sheet included with the kit. Other kits use a polyurethane offset bushing kit with the stock pins to accomplish the same thing--raise the steering box relative to the crossmember.
The car's steering box is mounted on the front edge of the front crossmember using two long bolts, two hollow pins, and 4 rubber bushings. The rubber bushings provide some isolation between the steering box and the chassis. The GW kit mounts the steering box solidly to the chassis.
1. Jack the car up and support it with jack stands on the subframe behind the wheel so the stands won't get in the way.
2. You will need an 18mm box/end wrench or a deep 18mm socket, a 15mm socket and 9" of extension and a ratchet. Also a long screwdriver, a pair of channel-loks, and a soft headed hammer. And a large pry bar or very large screwdriver.
3. Remove the nuts and washers on the long steering box mounting bolts using the 18mm wrench on the nut and the 15 mm socket and extensions as a backup on the head of the bolt. Pull the bolts out through the rear.
4. Pull the front rubber bushings out of the front side of the steering box using the channel-loks.
5. There is no need to loosen the steering coupling from the input
shaft to the steering box. There is also no need to break the tie
rod ends loose or remove the front wheels. Your results may differ,
however. Here is a picture of the coupling at the steering box, just
6. Using the long screwdriver or pry bar, pry the steering box toward the front of the car to loosen it from the backside rubber bushing. Do both sides to keep from putting the box in a bind.
6 The trick is to get the stock hollow pins out through the front of the crossmember without having to move the box much. This pin is a snug fit through the front side of the crossmember and butts up against the back side. Take a long bolt and stick it a few inches inside the pin from the front of the car and wiggle it to break the pin loose some. Then use the screwdriver on the rear end of the pin as a wedge between the end of the pin and the rear crossmember to force the pin forward through the front edge of the crossmember and bushing. When the pin has been moved far enough forward, grab it with the channel-loks from the front and pull the pin forward and out. You can force the pin out through the rear bushing and steering box.
Note--My pins were not very tight. Others have reported that their pins were much tighter than mine. In this case, you can drive the pins out using a drift pin from the rear by moving the pin off center from the rear hole enough to allow you to hit it with the drift pin. Some people have used the long bolt as a drift, but be careful not to damage the threads if you use the bolt as a drift pin.
The hard part of this job is done once you get the stock pins out of the crossmember.
7. Pry the steering box forward enough to get the rear rubber bushing out from between the steering box and the front of the crossmember. Now all the stock parts have been removed. The bolts and nuts will be re-used. The pins and bushings will be replaced. The stock parts are in my hand in the picture below.
8. Install the GW pin in the crossmember on each side from the front side of the crossmember. It is shorter than the stock pin because it doesn't go through the offset bushings. It will butt up against the back side of the crossmember and extend forward of the front side about 1/4".
9. Install the offset bushings with the recess for the pin over the pins and between the steering box and the front crossmember. Install it with the offset hole at the 6 oclock position. Do both sides at the same time. Make sure that the center of both bushings are directly above the center of the bolt hole so that the steering box is perfectly centered over its stock position and not off to one side or the other.
10. Start the steering box over the new aluminum bushings. You may have to move the bushing slightly to get them lined up properly. Check the alignment carefully and don't get the bushing cocked when starting them into the steering box.
11. Insert the stock bolts from the rear and out the front, then start the front side bushings. Tap them into place if needed.
12. Install the nuts, tighten them down to 35 ft-lbs. (Note--Edited 3/25/01, used to say 70 ft-lbs, which is wrong.)
13. Take the car off the stands, and go test drive. The toe-in will need to be checked and corrected by an alignment shop after the offset bushings are installed. The toe-in will become toe-out when the bushings are first installed. Resetting the toe-in is required.
I have driven the car several thousand miles now with the solid aluminum offset bushings installed and can report that there is no noticeable increase in noise, vibration, or harshness due to the solid bushings. In my opinion there is no disadvantage to the solid bushings. I have no experience with the polyurethane bushings. The steering feel will be improved by either type and are necessary on a lowered car, in my opinion.
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