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Discussion Starter #1
The rack on the 164S i just purchased appears to be toast. The local Alfa expert is recommending replacing the whole rack to save time, cost and headache over trying to repair it. This based on the fact that the fluid is leaking from both ends of the rack and has dripped across the oil pan and exhaust. He is asking me to take on the task of hunting one down and having it ready to roll when he is able to get to the car in 2-3 weeks because apparently they are a ***** to find.

A couple questions:

Are the 164 and 164S racks interchangeable? I see a number of websites that have remanufactured racks for ~ $350 but they make no differentiation between the 164 and 164S. Makes me a little hesitant.

Any advice on vendors that are reputable or tricks I should look out for?

Or is there a thread buried on here that someone could point me to that may have some of these answers? Saw one thread where a rack was completely pulled apart and that is clearly beyond my skills.
 

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There are several 164 racks. You need to make sure you get the right one, otherwise even though it will fit, you won't be happy.
There is a rack for the auto cars that has a shorter turning radius one way that the other. Some racks have the centering spring (sometimes called a dampener, which it isn't), usually S rack have this. Some racks have a stiffer, or heavier feel than others. I have 2 Ss, one with the heavy feel and one with the light feel. You can get used to anything, but I prefer the heavy one.
Usually, suppliers will want your core.
Sorry, I can't recall where I got my remanufactured racks.
 

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I was able to get a new "heavy feel" S rack for my LS out of Italy, courtesy of Alfa of Tacoma. That way I knew exactly what I was getting. Not exactly cheap, but I'm satisfied.

I've ordered a rebuilt rack for my 91S years ago from one of the rebuild companies, and they did know the difference between the S rack and the B, L. Got what the S needed.

If you want one of the rebuilt ones, you do have to do some searching on the web for someone who knows what you need. Or, long shot, maybe you could talk Steve into rebuilding yours, as he has done this before, with lots of nice pictures, etc.
 

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Same here I think, for the 91S. They replaced the original one with one which felt just the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Many of us are running Jorgen rebuilds. Rack & Pinion Catalog - Alfa Romeo Last I checked with them, they had racks on the shelf and did not want to buy an old one I had laying around.
Charles

Thanks! I sent them an email earlier today, but was unsure as their website was pretty basic and devoid of detail. The bummer is I was just up in that neck of the woods 6 weeks ago and could have potentially saved some shipping costs. Do you think its too much to ask my 80 year old mother to stop by and grab one and bring it as her carry on when she comes to visit three weeks from now? I'll pay the $25 to check her luggage.

It appears the damper / spring is around mitigating the torque steer on the S and is the primary difference besides mounting points?
 

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I think the spring is for increasing the return force to straight ahead steering, along with the little torsion bar in the rack column which determines how strong the steering force is when you turn the wheel.

I will say that the rebuilt rack I had in the LS when I bought it used was too light feeling, uncomfortable and twitchy at speed. The mechanic said that actually that was a replacement for the previous rebuilt rack they had installed which was so light that the steering was almost unstable, and they didn't hesitate to remove it ASAP. That's why I insisted on a guaranteed heavy feel personally selected by Lino's expert contact in Italy. We sure like it.

If you deal with Jorgen, make sure you insist that the rack you want is the heavy S rack.
 

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Here is the one Jorgen list with damper for 5-sp models:

1990-1995 manual transmission & w/ steering strut 54559/S/M


It is WAY WAY to long for your mom to be taking on airplane. Now Greyhound bus would be OK and cheap shipping cost.

They keep calling me wanting to buy my cores but they only want the ones with damper and they don't want to pay my prices for my used ones.

I currently have a leaking one w/damper from a 92L I need to rebuild. I just replaced it for a friend. I just don't have the time to rebuild it now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good call on the Greyhound. She can pack some balogna sammiches and get her cross stitch on. I am sure she will enjoy the 36 hours of getting to know all the different passengers!

Thanks for the verification on the part number.
 

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Put Mom on the plane and get Jorgen to put rack on the bus. I have shipped two front Verde seats in wardrobe boxes via Greyhound and got two fenders from Idaho that way.
 

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Remember that these cars don't like having the steering wheel turned without pressure(engine running) its what tends to blow seals once time has settled in. Happened to me.
 

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Did you try to reset the racks seals doing what I told you to do?
 

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1. Did I miss something? Did you actually buy a 164? did you post pics to prove it:)
2. You will be wise to get a set of heavy duty jack stands, not the flimsy ones sold at most box stores.
3. Which boot? There are inner and outer boots on the drive shafts and boots on the steering rack.
 

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Slow done take deep breath and report your findings. There are rack boots left and right and there are inner/outer axle boots.

Now was the rack leaking before the hauler pick up the car or afterwards? We will never know well we.

Did you try the reset seals procedure I suggested or did your mech give you his opinion?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Slow done take deep breath and report your findings. There are rack boots left and right and there are inner/outer axle boots.

Now was the rack leaking before the hauler pick up the car or afterwards? We will never know well we.

Did you try the reset seals procedure I suggested or did your mech give you his opinion?
The rack was not leaking when the car was test driven by a friend in Oregon. He got down and looked under the car before and after the test drive and it looked bone dry to him. The test drive was apparently the first drive for the car since being parked up by the dealer in April. The leak began sometime time after the test drive and delivery 12 days later.

I have not been able to do the suggested procedure yet. I live in a very congested urban area in a high rise condo, so no driveway to work in and the two parking deck spots I have are not flat. I had been hesitant to put the car on stands until I could scope out a possible flat spot I can get to. I have found one that I think will work - no-one has ever parked in that handicap spot in the 10 months I have lived here - I think I can use it for a couple hours. I will start up the car tonight and drive it the 60 feet to the spot and then tomorrow morning jack it up and get under it to get a good visual inspection and do the suggested procedure.

The diagnosis of a "sounds like your steering rack is toast" came from the mechanic based on my descriptions and the quick photos I snapped when it was on the carrier. He is 32 miles out and has a small shop. Until he has room from completing scheduled work on other Alfas, I wont be able to flat bed it out to him.

Unfortunately, I had only a few moments to look at the issue when the car was on the carrier in the hustle of trying to get the car unloaded (recall very congested urban area, blocking intersections and delivery vehicles - no time to go over it with a fine tooth comb without getting a ticket). In that hurried inspection, it appeared to me that a steering rack boot was ripped. But I will fully admit to not being completely up to speed on FWD vehicles and distracted by the honking horns - so I likely didn't get everything just right.
 

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As an interim thing to try, use the Lucas power steering restorer fluid. It does seem to work for even significant leaks in the rack. I ended up with a loss of steering fluid in the 91S last winter, so being reluctant to change racks if i didn't have to, I tried the Lucas stuff, and lo and behold, it seems to be holding. No loss of fluid at all so far, after a little bit of time passed as the leak slowed and finally stopped. I guess it is suppose to swell the seals a little. Hopefully it will continue to work for several years more at least.

Try it, you've got nothing to lose if you plan on changing the rack.
 

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Since you are space constrained, and handicapped access limited be sure you have a way to clean up your mess if rack seals will not reset when you try to reset them with new ATF fluid added to reservoir and then doing a quick left to right or vicey versa with engine running. Kitty litter cheap way to CYA. I use drip pans from auto parts stores but even a water heater pan or clothes washer pan from home depot or Lowes will surfice.
 
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