Removing the rack and pinion assembly from a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am Se
To get the old rack and pinion off of the car for replacement involves lowering the sub-frame, removing the stabilizer bar, and pulling the rack out from the driver side of the vehicle.
- Start by lifting or jacking up the car and removing the front wheels. Once the car is safely supported, disconnect both tie rods from the steering knuckles.
- The rear motor mount sits on top of the cross-member part of the sub-frame, and must be disconnected to allow the sub-frame to drop a few inches. Remove the three bolts attaching it to the center of the sub-frame - one in the back and two in the front near the back of the transmission.
- Loosen the two bolts holding the front of the sub-frame. Place a scissor jack or bottle jack under the rear of the sub-frame where the bolt for the motor mount was. Remove the two smaller bolts from each side of the rear of the sub-frame (total 4 bolts) and then loosen the two remaining larger bolts holding the rear of the sub-frame (these bolts go through the rear control arm bushings and are very long) until the bolts are only going through the control arm bushing, and not into the chassis. You do not need to remove these completely.
- Remove the stabilizer links from both sides.
- Next you must disconnect the steering linkage. This is done easily by lifting up the rubber boot to expose the small bolt holding the linkage. Remove the bolt and pry the linkage upward using a pry tool or screw driver.
- Near the passenger side of the crossmember, remove the bolt holding the power steering line bracket to the chassis. You may now begin to lower the sub-frame using the jack. The front bolts should have lowered the sub-frame about a half-inch or so, allowing you to lower the back of the sub-frame 3 or 4 inches.
- With the sub-frame lowered, you can now access the bolts holding the stabilizer bar in place. The right side has a nut screwed onto the top of it holding the power steering lines, remove this first, then remove both bolts. Pry or pull the stabilizer brackets up and out. Remove the stabilizer bar.
- Now you can get to both of the bolts holding the rack in place. Remove both of these, then begin to slide the rack toward the driver side wheel well until there is no more slack in the power steering lines. At this point you should be able to get to the nuts securing the lines on the rack. Loosen both nuts and be ready with something to cap the ends with. I used part of a plastic bag and a wire to tie it. You can now pull the rack out through the driver side.
- Be sure to replace the rubber o-rings on the ends of the lines when putting the new rack in. Replace everything in the reverse order. Put your tie rods on the new rack, making sure to count the turns or make a mark or measure to be sure your tie rods end up close to the same length as before.
- Bleed the power steering system.
Important: Get an alignment! Not only is it dangerous to drive with your steering out of align but it will also grate the tread off your tires in a matter of weeks or even days.