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1995 HONDA CIVIC EX Rack and Pinion- Clock Spring

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge Service and Repair Questions Answered Here 1995 HONDA CIVIC EX Rack and Pinion- Clock Spring

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  • #862463
    James AllenJames Allen
    Participant

      :angry: I paid good money to a guy who was highly recommended to me by a friend. I don’t have a garage or I would have done it myself. I paid him to properly install a rack in my 1995 Honda Civic EX. Stock. He didn’t center the rack. This destroyed my clock spring. He also didn’t count the threads on the old rack and transfer the outer tie rod ends properly. This destroyed my brand new 80 thousand mile tires in about a month. Driving it was fine. Just real tight when you turned.The first thing I noticed was the horn didn’t work and the SRS light was stuck on and it wouldn’t reset. I figured he accidentally let the steering wheel spin, and it could have happened to me so I let him have that. But then I noticed my driver side front tire worn down to the nub when it was too late. About then the entire rack was shifting back and forth and making a thumping noise. I tightened the bolt that secures the rack to fix this. I rotated the tires till they were gone. I believe he spun the steering wheel 50 times then hooked up the universal joint behind the break pedal. Then just fiddled with the tie rods to make the steering wheel straight. My passenger side outer tie rod was turned in as far as it could go. It was still toed in. So he toed in the Drivers side till the steering wheel was straight. I replaced both tie rods and centered the thread count on the tie rod ends. I disconnected the steering wheel inside and positioned it straight then eyeballed down the front tire and adjusted till it looked as if the front of the tire eclipsed the back of the front tire and the rear tire at the exact same time. The car tracks down the street perfectly. I want to get a new clock spring and install it, then get an alignment. Can anyone tell me how to line this mess back out? When I put on a new cable reel/clock spring I don’t want it to get destroyed too as soon as I go around the block. Thanks in advance for any help I can get.

    Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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    • #862469
      Frank HeiserFrank Heiser
      Participant

        I’d just take it to a good alignment shop and explain about the clockspring and what the other guy did so they understand that they need to make sure the steering wheel is centered by number of turns not just visual position. Then just make sure they did it correctly before installing a new clockspring.

        #862470
        James AllenJames Allen
        Participant

          I did that when I put on the new outer tie rod ends. I have approximately 1 & 3/4 turns from center in both directions. The steering wheel seems to be almost in the exact same position when turned to either the right or left stop.

          #862471
          James AllenJames Allen
          Participant

            And thanks for your reply, by the way.

            #862588
            James AllenJames Allen
            Participant

              I just want to know if I’m good or not to install a clock spring now? Anybody? Eric?

              #862589
              James AllenJames Allen
              Participant

                Or can I just repair my old Clock Spring somehow?

                #862718
                RobRob
                Participant

                  I have a dum question how did you or did he do the aliment after replacing the rack… you always have to do anliment after because the rack can be a diffrent size or threads can be slightly off… becuae Im just confused on how the aliment got off after you or he did the aliment after the rack replacement???

                  #862780
                  James AllenJames Allen
                  Participant

                    He didn’t center the wheel before permanently installing the tie rod ends. What he did was he put the new rack in place, then attached the yoke underneath the dash to the rack with the steering wheel wherever. He then installed the tie rod ends completely. Then straightened the steering wheel. He then fudged the alignment to track what seemed to be right to get paid. I wasn’t there but that is the only way I could see to screw the job up so bad. There was no way to straighten the wheel and adjust it out. it was that far off. I knew he messed up my clock spring because my horn didn’t work when he brought it back and the SRS light was burning bright and would not reset. I’m sure my cruise control is busted too. haven’t tried it. The way it looks, he then put the wheel in the center position and adjusted the tie rod ends till the car didn’t pull one way or the other. I know the rack wasn’t centered because on one side the tie rod was adjusted all the way in and the other was so far out it almost could have fell off. He got about four threads. By the rack being centered I mean, to turn the wheel all the way one way and then turn it half way back. with an equal amount of turns left in either direction. In my case centered is 1 3/4 turns both ways back to center. Unfortunately, if you toe a car in way too far it will go straight, but it will eat tires. I have done plenty of front end work and am pretty good at getting a alignment really close to perfect and I still get the guys with a machine to line it out and sign off on it. It’s the clock spring i’m not familiar with. I need to know if I need to check or adjust anything further other than what I have already done in my original post BEFORE I install a new clock spring. And of course I will get an alignment done by professionals. That is good advice to everyone if you work on your front end.

                    #862787
                    James AllenJames Allen
                    Participant

                      What I did was, I jacked up my car an placed two jack stands under the appropriate places behind each wheel under the front part of each door. I removed both front wheels and placed them behind each jack stand in case anything went sideways. I took my key and put in in the accessory position. I removed both outer tie rods from both wheels and turned the wheels in towards each other out of the way. I then turned the steering wheel all the way to the left, gently, until it felt like a natural stop. I counted turns as I gently turned the steering wheel all the way to the right until I felt a natural stop. I divided that number in half and went back to the left. To center. At this point, the steering wheel was practically upside down. That is not the point though. The point is to center the rack itself. I then took a piece of painters tape and wrapped it around the new top of the steering wheel marking the uppermost center position. I turned the key back and locked the steering wheel.

                      Now it gets easier, new stuff on is usually easier than old stuff off by a long shot. Outer tie rod ends. I took a small acid brush and spread a thin coat of anti-seize on the threads of the receiving inner tie rods after wiping them off good with a shop towel. I ran the locking nut all the way back with my fingers on each inner tie rod end to keep it out of the way. A small amount of anti-seize was pushed back with the nut. I wiped it off too. I then counted the remaining threads and divided that number in half. I screwed on both outer tie rod ends counting a thread each time the tie rod was in the position it needed to be in to reinstall until I hit exactly half of the remaining threads. Then I brought the lock nut down to the tie rod finger tight.

                      This is where the fudging begins. I put the tires back on. I move back about 8′ to 10′ away from the front of the car. I squat down until I am at a good as possible line of sight from the very front of the front tire to the very back of the back tire. I duck until I am looking directly down the center line of the front and back wheels. I do this on both individual sides. In my case, on both sides, the rear tires are look’in good. The front tires are both, about the exact amount pointing slightly inward. Some cars are supposed to be towed-in a specific amount. I don’t think my Civic has much tolerance at all for that. I back off the locking nut a little. I turn both sides in one full turn, looking at my wrench as a reference point. Sight down again. Looks better. A little more same way. Half turn. Whoops too far. Back in a quarter. Good! I spin the lock nut back down on the tie rod end and cinch it up with my wrench.

                      Test drive. Way better. Turning radius again. Seems to have a slight tug, real slight, to the left. steering wheel is perfectly upside down. I drive around to the church parking lot. Nice. Level. Parking lot. I brought my tools for tweaks. Now the car is level on the ground and has a load on it. I put my piece of blue painters tape completely up perfectly and turn off the car. I do the squat duck thing again and I adjust a slight turn on both wheels to the right. Very slight. Test drive. Awesome! Seems to coast easier and even feels stronger. Now my turning signals also turn off themselves at the right time after a turn.To make the car seem to brake before I did when letting off the gas I guess there was a lot of friction on the ground. That guy had my car so long I didn’t notice.

                      Upside down. The part that sucked. Balls. Because I couldn’t find my 1/4″ 10 mm socket I had to use a wrench. Anyway, I made sure the front wheels were perfectly straight.Still on level lot. I got inside the car and laid across the seats to fumble under the steering wheel, behind the brake pedal. It was about 98 degrees. I found this clip on a plastic cover that was really kind of a good design. It came right off and I put it in the back seat. Then it got rough. This guy must have put these two little fellers on with a hammer banging the wrench. There is a universal joint attached to the rack in a tight spot on my car. You have to get in an uncomfortable position. To me, quicker is better in this situation. I couldn’t find my socket. I couldn’t use my fingers to turn them after I broke them loose. Too tight. Wrench. Seemed like forever. I took out two 10 mm bolts so I could drop the universal joint down and free up the rotation of my steering wheel. Still being careful not to let the steering wheel rotate, Wheels perfectly forward I just rotated the steering wheel back to perfect in the direction I knew it to be off in from doing the other work.

                      That’s how I did that.

                      Clock spring…. Anybody?

                      #862928
                      Steve JohnsonSteve Johnson
                      Participant

                        Look in under the Salvage Yard Hacks video section, How to pull a steering wheel, may help.

                        #862988
                        James AllenJames Allen
                        Participant

                          Thank you for that! I watched it. Very informative. And thanks for your reply. Does anyone know of anything that will wreck my cable reel if I don’t make sure it’s right? i just want to get my horn working and my SRS light off like it was before I payed someone to make it not work. And thank you everyone for your help so far.

                          #862989
                          James AllenJames Allen
                          Participant

                            I know the rack has to be aligned and the wheels straight. And the steering wheel needs to be real close to make it easier for the alignment guys. I guess my real question is, Do I need to make sure my steering column is in any particular orientation for any reason?

                            #863451
                            James AllenJames Allen
                            Participant

                              By that, I mean for the cable reel to not break. The turning signal switches to not break. The cruise to work and not break. I just want to make sure centering the rack and aligning the tires close is all I need to do besides put on a centered cable reel. Everyone that has responded so far has been great help or had good questions or made good points. Especially the guy suggesting I watch the junkyard hacks video. If you are in need of any insight on the cable reel subject, The video suggested above is great help. Anybody know of anything that will sneak up and bite me if I’m not aware of it and/or don’t do it?

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