Steering Gear Bushings


New Member
Jan 29, 2004
After reading a few posts on here about replacing/upgrading the steering gear bushings I decided to check mine. Had the wife turn the steering wheel while I crawled underneath and watched to see how much slop there was in the bushings. There looks to be around 1/16" side-to-side movement when the wheels are turned.

-Is this abnormal, or is it normal with new RUBBER (OEM type) bushings?

-If I decide to replace, what all is required? Is there a write-up? Do I have to remove the hydraulic lines, or is there enough slack in them to unbolt the steering gear and pull it forward?

-Also, if I decide to upgrade the bushings, any recommendations with a website link? I've read about the MM aluminum type, but not sure where I can find. Are there poly types?

Thanks in advance.
  • Sponsors (?)

The movement is normal. Ford used rubber bushings to reduce NVH. IF you plan to upgrade I would buy polyurethane replacements. Not the offset style, just the regular center holes style.

Those will stop the movement, but you might feel some increased vibration in the steering wheel. I bought a set, but haven't installed them yet.

To install them, just take the nuts and bolts out of the K-Frame that hold in the rack. There is enought room to pull the rack off the studs that hold it to the K-frame. Pry the old bushings out and install the poly's. I recommend using some grease when install the poly's to reduce squeaks.
Great, thanks for the response. Glad to hear it's normal since I got 130K on er. I have a feeling of wondering on some road surfaces (rutted roads mainly), but don't know if it's a normal thing. Where did you get the poly bushings?

Everything else seems to check out good. Don't see any movement in the steering shaft, u-joints, rubber coupling, TRE's........But, I do hear and feel (not noticeable while driving) one click coming from the rack area each time the steering wheel changes direction. The PS fluid smells burnt and isn't exactly red anymore, so I'm gonna start the process of pulling out the old fluid and adding new fluid over the new few weeks/months, until it changes back to a normal smell and color.

Any advice appreciated.
I replaced my rack bushings with poly ones and it really tightened up the shimmy I got going over uneven surfaces and hard corners.

Install took about 30min with a helper start to finish.

It is like SVT32VDOHC says - the rack unbolts from the Kmember and pulls forward. I disconnected the steering shaft (1 bolt) to give me enough room to pull the rack forward. I greased the bushings up a bit so they would slide in (tight fit) and all was well.

Easy mod and great improvement in steering.

Good point. Unbolting the rack will give you extra room. The steering shaft is telescoping too. So I wouldn't unbolt it right away, but feel free to do so. One more thing. There is a bearing that bolts to the firewall that the steering shaft goes through. I would check that too. Just take the two 11mm nuts off and it will slide out. It has needle bearings in it like a U-joint cap does. Just make sure there isn't any missing, make surethey all spin freely, and aren't rusty. I would wipe a thing coat of grease in that bearing and reinstall it. Most likely, yours is fine since your steering is tight, but it's just food for thought.

That bearing actually broke and fell out of my Cobra somehow, and my steering sucked. It was loose, and horrible over bumps. I'm glad I found out that problem.
Thanks for the info. Glad to hear it's easy to do.

Yeah, I saw some earlier posts on the bearing, so checked that also. Seems tight when I grab the steering shaft from inside the car. Doesn't move when the steering wheel is turned either. Watched the rag joint from up above, as best I could see, and that doesn't seem to have any slop. The click in the rack kinda concerned me so I'll keep an ear on that.

By doing some more searching, slight wondering over certain road surfaces seems normal by what others are saying. Maybe it'll improve once I replace my 65Kmi, almost bald tires come July. I've had the car since new and haven't had any problems with it.....did replace the IAC once since it was making noise, but still ran fine. 8yrs and 130K, still original clutch, I'm gonna keep it as long as I can.......especially now that I just spent a couple hundred on smoked euro lights and fogs...haha! Can't believe I never changed the PS fluid since I've been so meticulous with everything else.....oh well hopefully it didn't do any harm.

Anyway, where did you go to get new bushings?