99 Park Avenue broken rack. Any tips/tricks for me? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 04-21-2015, 12:39 AM   #1
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Default 99 Park Avenue broken rack. Any tips/tricks for me?

Hey all. Backing into a spot at work today, I heard a loud pop. When I went to straighten the wheel, I noticed that it hung up just before straight. I pulled forward, and it straightened out just fine. I didnt think anything of it, till I went to leave after my shift. Car only does one revolution of the wheel to the left.

Needless to say, I called the insurance and got a flatbed ride back to my grandmothers where my old car is. Jacked it up and my suspicions were confirmed. Rack is good and busticated.

Rather than get mad about it, I threw the battery in my old car and went home to fight with it another day. Alldata is VERY vauge on what all is required in this job. I know i will have to drop the rear of the cradle, but are there any helpful hints/ tricks that i should know about? thanks alot guys. i really appreciate it!

For those of you who like to see broken things, I've included pics of the broken mount and a video of the symptoms.


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Old 04-21-2015, 09:09 AM   #2
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Wow......Have never see that before....but looks like a lot of rust at that point....

I don't even think you have to drop the cradle on a P/A.....You can lower it a bit if necessary, by backing off the two rear cradle bolts....have a jack there for safety, in case you go too far...

Hardest part is loosening the two 18mm retaining nuts from the PS lines.....

Pop off the intermediate shaft bolt, two tie rod nuts, and the two cradle bolts holding the gear...with the Driver'* side wheel off, should come out easy....

Make sure you get the right one...does car have Magnasteer? It will have a wire harness on the rack if it does...

One thing to be aware of....you will need an alignment....but you want your repair to be as close as possible......so count the turns on each tie rod end, as your remove them, so you know how many turns to reinstall them on the new rack......and one other thing...measure the end to end measurement of the inner tie rods with the the outers removed.....I ran into this twice........for some reason, the reman inner tie rods, that were installed on the rack, were slightly different in length....so you will have to adjust your turns on the outer tie rods accordingly....
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Old 04-21-2015, 01:03 PM   #3
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Thanks alot. I work at the parts house, so i ordered the non mag steer rack when I started my shift. I did notice an electrical connector down there when I got home though.

(You can see the electrical connector zip tied to the rack just out of frame in the second picture. i suspect this was some previous mechanics doing)

The reason I ordered the non mag steer rack, was because I bought both types of inner tie rods last year, and it turned out to be the non mag steer rods that worked.

So that brings me to my question. what will the repercussions be if I install the non magnasteer rack in a magnasteer car? (apart from obviously not having magnasteer)

The funny thing is, the car is fairly rust free. apart from the rack apparently.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-22-2015, 12:55 AM   #4
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I found removing the cat gives you a lot more room to work on it
and a lot of time the DS bolt hits the sway bar so you might want to take that loose
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:18 AM   #5
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Take lots of photos Jason if you can!
As per your video: I'm not sure if could use the words "really really fun" in the same sentence, with a rack replacement.
I'm pretty sure there would be many "other" words used though!!
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:12 AM   #6
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Well, I had to loose the Otterbox on the phone, and I don't remember where the heck I put my camera. So here are some bullet-points, as I didn't want to ruin my s5 under the car.

First of all, this should be the first step so you don't forget later on. lock the steering wheel then for good measure put the seat belt through it and latch the seat belt. If the wheel is turning more revolutions in one direction than it was intended to, expect an airbag in your face.

Second step is to remove the pinch bolt on the steering shaft. The FSM says it'* accessed via the engine compartment. LIES. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to access it from up top. It is not going to happen. The solution is 3 feet worth of extensions, and an 11MM socket. This has to be the first time in my life I think I've ever used an 11MM socket. You need a long pry bar to pull up the dust boot, and then you can access the bolt from the wheel well. If you have you're wheel centered as it should be, the bolt will be staring right at you.




Another bullet-point (not pictured) is to go out and buy a 10mm ratcheting box end wrench. This was the only effective way to remove the (2) 10mm bolts on the top of the heat shield. (FSM claims these are clips. They are not.)

Next step is to unbolt the rubber half of the rear transmission mount. (giant torx bit, 13mm and 15mm ratcheting box ends for the rubber part)



Put a jack with some wood under the transmission and jack it up till it feels like the mounts are maxed out, and you can tell the weight of the car is beginning to be put on the jack. You will then be able to get your pry bar and yank the rubber half of the mount out.

Next, lower the jack back down (the amount the transmission goes down is negligible so don't worry about breaking something.) Once you have done that, you have to remove the metal half of the mount. (15mm socket, 13mm socket, and a 15mm box end, preferably ratcheting) The metal half is pictured below. It is mounted to the back of the transmission in the orientation i have pictured it. The 2 studs of the rubber half go up into it vertically. This is why you need to jack up the transmission to remove the rubber half.



Next step is to place your jack about 5" underneath the cradle, in the center. Proceed to remove all 4 rear cradle bolts. (18mm)

Reason you do this for clearance to get the rack out of the wheel well.

Not sure about the non magnasteer models, but with my car having magnasteer, the gearbox portion of my rack is HUGE. This being the case, the rack needs to be removed from the PASSENGER side. It is impossible for the gearbox portion to fit between the back of the transmission and wheel well on the driver side. This is why we remove the transmission mount. If it were possible to remove it from the driver side, the entire transmission mount step would be unnecessary.

One last note. These fasteners are 16 years old. They are TIGHT. Bring a cheater pipe or a breaker bar. I'm amazed nothing fastener-wise broke on me.



Here are some close ups of the damage. Judging based on the shiny just broken parts, id say this rack was barley hanging on for some time.










For the night, it'* riding in the trunk. I went and looked at the non mag steer rack i ordered and it was identical. Apart from one major detail. the line connections are WAY different on the non magnasteer model. (and the magnasteer ring, obviously)

new one will be in from Chicago in the AM I will report back tomorrow evening either really happy or really angry.
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Old 04-23-2015, 05:24 AM   #7
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Thanks for the great info & photos!
That is some excellent & tough work their Jason. How many hours to remove it?
I certainly hope the new rack & fittings go well for you!
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Old 04-23-2015, 03:07 PM   #8
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Mid project update. Got the rack in, everything is done but the outer tie rods. Counted the threads and measured everything, so I shouldnt be too far off to drive the 20 miles to my alignment Guy. Will post back later with an update.
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