Leaking Rack

Kidd-7

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RTP, NC
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96 Cougar 4.6L
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I need some help here. Looks like my rack is leaking from the driver's side. It's dripping out of the steering bellows, I haven't opened it up yet and frankly kinda scared to.

This is my daily driver. I'm thinking of initially using some stop leak as a band aide to buy me some time, any recommendations on what to use? Brands, etc.

Now I've used rack doctor in the past, but everything I've read online states how badly he's gone down hill. Rock auto has Cardone & BBB remans, they also have seal kits. Guidance here: replace the rack or attempt to replace the seal, I've not done the later before and not sure what I'd be getting into.

I've also read something about running a mustang rack, at this point do I say :cougbang it and swap to that and AN fittings?

It's a 96 Cougar stock BTW. What's ya'lls thoughts? Thanks.
 
Replacing the seals is a pain and you need to rig up a special tool to drive out the one in the middle. Not worth it. If there’s grooves worn into the pinion bore from the spool valve seals it’s a throwaway, good remanufactures can machine this and sleeve it but it’s a bit of a mystery which ones actually do that without taking it apart to look.

SN95 Mustang racks are a direct fit with the exception of the rag joint end, you’d need to do a universal joint conversion with a 3/4DD to triangle end joint(Unisteer is recommended). The MN12 bushings lines and tie rods all thread right on otherwise.
 
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I do have a U joint on there currently, replaced my rag some years ago when I did the motor mounts. Sounds like the SN95 is a different U-joint.

Ok sounds like replacing the rack is the only option, with that I'll go all in and replace the lines also.

Energy Suspension listed 2 bushing for the SN95 rack: 4.10103G & 4.10104G. What's the difference and which set would be correct?
 
You can't use SN95 bushings, they need to be the MN12 type
 
Nothing is a pain if you know what you're doing; Most things are a royal pain if you've never done it before...
 
In doing some quick googling there seems to be many imitation ZM racks out there and looking at the availability both from Rock auto and local shops there is no guarantee for a ZM. I'll obviously benefit from a new rack regardless, with mine peeing so profusely and all. And a ZM or a ZK would be an upgrade.
 
If you're seeking out a SPR ZM specifically I'd look for a low mile used one, remanufactured you don't know what you're getting, you may get mismatched housing and gears, the only thing truly unique to the Cobra rack is the pinion/Tbar/spool valve assembly. The rest of the rack and the ratios are all the same(and they're the same as the MN12s for that matter). Any later new edge mustang rack is a bit better than the MN12 ones, they allhave better valving and helical cut gears for improved feel, the ZM just gets you a stiffer torsion bar
 
If you're seeking out a SPR ZM specifically I'd look for a low mile used one, remanufactured you don't know what you're getting, you may get mismatched housing and gears, the only thing truly unique to the Cobra rack is the pinion/Tbar/spool valve assembly. The rest of the rack and the ratios are all the same(and they're the same as the MN12s for that matter). Any later new edge mustang rack is a bit better than the MN12 ones, they allhave better valving and helical cut gears for improved feel, the ZM just gets you a stiffer torsion bar
Supposedly.
 
It's a real part; I've seen pix. just not availability, lol. It's a little I shaped piece machined out of some expensive steel. That's the same in all of them, but those are made thicker,for increased effort on the steering. Similar to the speed dependent effort our cars do electronically, but across the board. If you use a mustang rack, you have to change the tie rod ends, iirc. different steering geometries, Without it bump steering is an issue.
 
Jco and s4gunn: you should have the money I owe ou in your account monday. I'm finally getting to the end of that nightmare, at least.
 
It's a real part; I've seen pix. just not availability, lol. It's a little I shaped piece machined out of some expensive steel. That's the same in all of them, but those are made thicker,for increased effort on the steering. Similar to the speed dependent effort our cars do electronically, but across the board. If you use a mustang rack, you have to change the tie rod ends, iirc. different steering geometries, Without it bump steering is an issue.

The mustang outer tie rods are shorter so you'd run out of adjustment for the MN12 track width. The rest of the rack dimensions are totally identical, the inner tie rods are actually shared
 
I think at some point, I found the dimensions for the various ones, but unless you know what the alloy. heat treating, etc, the size is worthless. The guys I got the measurements from had a list of materials that failed.
 
Oh also the Cobra racks have limiters due to the Cobra's 275 tires, our chassis has more wheelwell clearance so those should be removed, they're slid on behind the inner tie rods. I think even the remans have them
 
That's good to know. The cardone reman ones are unobtanium, so used is a better option anyway. I'll try to reach out to the guy that had the info, and see if he ever found a source for the dogbone.
 
Jco and s4gunn: you should have the money I owe ou in your account monday. I'm finally getting to the end of that nightmare, at least.
I've still got that sport wing packed and ready whenever you're solvent too.
 
Let me get everything paid that I need to first. I spent 4 hours learning how to use a flat screwdriver today, lol. I had to replace a light switch, lol. 4 hours... Getting old is not for the weak, lol.
 
These are the poly bushings that you want: Energy Suspension 4.10102

This is the Ford triangle style u-joint that you want: UniSteer 8050370

You could try to locate the 03/04 Cobra SPR-ZM rack for a quicker ratio.
Thanks for the part numbers, curious with this U-joint do I still need a piece of DD steering shaft to adapt it?
 
Got the parts on order. I picked up some lucas stop leak and will be using that to get me by.
I pulled the bellows off today and had a pretty good amount of fluid come out of the drivers side, so defiantly where the leak is. I'll be replacing this the week of Thanksgiving and hanging a retractable awning on the deck, I need that out of the way to work in the garage. Hopefully I can fire up the smoker also. It'll be a busy week off of work. LOL
 
Thanks for the part numbers, curious with this U-joint do I still need a piece of DD steering shaft to adapt it?
Yes, you'll need it to connect the top of the joint to the steering shaft. You could cut a piece from a junkyard steering shaft. If you have a u-joint on there already then you should have this.

Edit: Just for clarity - that u-joint link I posted is ONLY if you're using a Mustang rack. If you're using an MN12 rack, you'll want the double DD u-joint.
 
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Currently have a stock MN12 rack with a U-joint. Just ordered a mustang rack, that new U-joint and the AN fittings and connectors. So with that DD piece I have I should be good.
 
This was a post from September but I still have a question. I just have a stock 96 that's leaking fluid from the bellows. First, CAN the rack be rebuilt and what does it take to do it correctly? Also, if I decide that I don't have or can't afford the tools or don't have the skill or ability to rebuild, can I get or find and buy a stock rebuilt steering rack? One with now frills but will last 100K miles before needing replacement? The current OEM rack did not!
 
The one I replaced was from Cardone. If you can find one, the rack from a 04 mach one or cobra have the best torsion bar. The number is in Matt's thread, iirc. You have to use our tie rod ends, and it's a bitch to get out, unless you have tiny hands, lol. I got quoted 300 bux to replace one, and that's cheap. I was supplying the rack, they quoted putting it in. To this day, I wish I'd paid the man, lol.
The cardone part you want is CARDONE 222000. That's a rebuilt mach 1 rack spr-zm is the one you want. They're rare these days, you are likely to get a different one.
 
The one I replaced was from Cardone. If you can find one, the rack from a 04 mach one or cobra have the best torsion bar. The number is in Matt's thread, iirc. You have to use our tie rod ends, and it's a bitch to get out, unless you have tiny hands, lol. I got quoted 300 bux to replace one, and that's cheap. I was supplying the rack, they quoted putting it in. To this day, I wish I'd paid the man, lol.
The cardone part you want is CARDONE 222000. That's a rebuilt mach 1 rack spr-zm is the one you want. They're rare these days, you are likely to get a different one.
Thanks for the info but I don't want a Mustang rack, I either want to rebuild the one I have or get a direct swap for a Thunderbird. I'm not in to modifying this car, just want it stock. I don't care how much better this or that part is, just want it to be relatively stock. I'm an old man and I don't need or want to go fast anymore!
 
Question for the group, should I respect the PS pump while I’m in there replacing the rack and replumbing the lines?
 

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