Last update:


  Steering Rack

About Us Useful Links Forums Mailing List


Care of Alloy Wheels
Front Link Rods
Front Suspension
Front Wishbones
Rear Hubs
Roadwheel Repairs
Steering Rack
Steering Knock
Steering Wander
Vague Steering
New Tyres
Suspension Problems
Steering Manual
Suspension Manual

Vehicle Various
Year Various
Mileage 100,000
Repair Cost circa 100
Repair Part(s) Spindle Rod - Connecting
Steering Rack - Excessive Wear

The earliest Scorpios are now 8 years old and many will have travelled in excess of 100,000 miles. It is inevitable that some frequent-use parts will have started to wear, and one potentially expensive part subject to excessive wear is the Steering Rack.

Lower models have a power-assisted rack as standard, while 24V models, and other Scorpios fitted with the Comfort Pack, will have Sensotronic speed-sensitive steering. This reduces power-assistance depending on speed measured by pulses from the Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) on the gearbox.

The steering rack is expensive to replace, but the most common wear is found on the inner ball joint on the track rod arm, where it meets the steering rack beneath the gaiter, sometimes called the 'inner bush'. This is an MOT failure, as well as causing greater wear on the front tyres (normally on the outside of the tread) which should immediately make the owner suspicious if this is spotted. It is easy to diagnose - with the weight off the front wheels, pull and push the leading half of the roadwheel, and watch the track rod - if there is any movement along its length then the inner ball joint (bush) has failed.

Enquiries with a Main Dealer are not encouraging. They will tell you that a new Steering rack is required because the rack itself is not serviceable. Indeed, there is no mention in the Workshop Manual of replacing the track rod, (in Ford parlance, Spindle Rod - Connecting). The Finis number of the Spindle Rod when the Scorpio was built was 7 292 960 and is now obsolete, which will reinforce the technicians belief that the whole rack needs replacing. However, this is not so.

The rack and pinion inside the rack is bathed in oil and provided this is not contaminated will give many years of service without appreciable wear. It is the outer ball joints, (bushes), protected only with grease and a rubber gaiter, that are subject to the greatest wear. The tiniest split or hole permits water to contaminate the ball joint, which then rusts between journeys, and this wear can be very rapid indeed. See the worn Spindle Rod - Connecting taken from mine.

The top picture is the whole nearside Spindle (Track) rod. This shows the 'bush' (actually, a ball joint) which has been unscrewed from the steering rack. The other end is the thread to take the Spindle Rod, Connecting Joint (Track Rod End) The picture below shows the ball joint detail and the thread which screws into the steering rack. Once water gets into this ball joint through the gaiter (in my case, the hose clamp had worn a hole in the gaiter) then excessive wear will take place in only a few months.

WARNING: This excessive wear must be dealt with quickly! If the ball joint wears sufficiently, the joint will separate suddenly, without warning, and the road wheel will be free to oscillate causing sudden loss of steering and damage to the tyre, wheel and suspension.





Now, the repair. Below is the detail from the Ford Catalogue, showing the parts concerned.


Although the item (5) appears to be an exploded view of the operating pistons inside the steering rack, they are in fact the Spindle Rod Connecting - the track rods. The list is as follows:

5 Spindle Rod - Connecting (pair) 1 029 836
6 Gaiter 1 011 665
10 Clamp Hose  M19 3 758 079
9 Clamp Hose  M60X62 6 145 516
4 Spindle Rod Connecting (Track Rod End) RH - 5 030 221
LH - 5 030 222
11 Nut Lock 6 579 146
7 Actuator Assembly (speed sensitive steering only) 7 012 916
2 Rubber Insulator 6 180 930
3 Bolt, hex M12X85mm 1 010 014

Replacing the Inner Rack Bushes (ball joints)

The work to replace the Spindle Rod - Connecting - (the track rod) is straightforward. Order the new one(s) and the new gaiters and hose clips to go with each, and don't forget the new nut for the track rod end - (8). Jack up the car onto axle stands and remove the road wheel and the under engine cover. Slacken the locknut (11) and make a mark on the thread of the track rod with a saw adjacent to the end of the track rod-end (4).

Now separate the track rod end (4) from the front hub (called the Spindle Carrier, not shown on the figure) Care should be taken not to damage this ball joint. A compressing type (nut-cracker) style ball joint separator is preferable to a wedge type to avoid damaging the rubber boot on the ball joint. If you do damage the ball joint you will have to replace it.

Remove the hose clamps from the gaiter (6). Pull the gaiter off the track rod (5), and using Stilsons or Mole grips unwind the track rod from the steering rack (1). Take this to the bench and measure the distance from the mark you have made on the thread to the end of the ball joint (4). This is so that minimum tracking is maintained until you can get it checked with professional gear.

Now measure this same distance onto the new track rod and make a mark on the thread. This is where you will wind up the track rod end (4) to before you lock nut (11) it. Now install the new track rod onto the rack, using ThreadLok. Wind it on tightly. Grease the new ball joint and replace the new gaiter and hose clamps, loosely at the moment. Run a finger with clean oil inside the gaiter to assist sealing.

Wind on the track rod end (4) up to the mark you have made. Wind the lock nut (11) onto the track rod end and lock it, then reinstall the track rod end (4) onto the hub carrier and torque the nut (8) to 37 Nm.

Make sure the gaiter is not chafing or twisted and tighten the clamps (9 & 10) to water tight. Now complete the assembly and have the tracking checked as soon as possible.

Replacement Steering Rack

If the steering rack itself is leaking or otherwise suspect then it needs to be replaced. Unlike the Ford Granada where individual parts are available, on the Scorpio the steering rack is not serviceable. The Ford numbers for replacement steering racks are as follows:-

New (approx 562)    
Without Speed Sensitive Steering RHD vehicles 7 292 949 LHD 7 292 948
With Speed Sensitive Steering RHD vehicles 7 292 951 LHD 7 292 950
Re-engineered from Ford (430)    
Without Speed Sensitive Steering RHD vehicles 1 075 750 LHD 1 075 748
With Speed Sensitive Steering RHD vehicles 1 075 752 LHD 1 075 751

Other motor factors (e.g Partco and Brown Brothers) may list the Scorpio for a replacement recon rack, and these have been quoted at between 150 to 250 plus VAT.



Copyright 2003