Replace the Steering Rack on a Subaru Impreza
1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Subaru Impreza Models
It is a fairly straight forward job, which would take a pro 4 or 5 hours. It ended up taking me 9 hours due to 4 trips to the auto store for parts. I apologize for not taking pictures. You’ll have to just imagine what things look like.
Let me just preface this with a warning. You are about to work on a critical part of your car. If you do this incorrectly and lose steering at speed it is your own fault. I take no responsibility for it, or the contents of this install guide. If you do not have the necessary tools or knowhow, please pay someone knowledgeable to do this for you.
I’d like to thank Snorky for helping me do this. Thanks to UkNuck for the picts.
Jack & Two Jack Stands
Assorted sockets, 8mm – 17mm & long extensions
Needle Nose Pliers
Crow’s foot socket wrenches
Ball join puller or hammer/sledge
1 qt Dexron III ATF fluid
Basin to catch old fluid
2x 2.5″ worm screw hose clamps
Large adjustable wrench (≥32mm)
Mark alignment on garage floor.
Loosen lugs and put front of car on jack stands.
I’ll assume you know how to do these steps, so there is no explanation.
Remove the plastic undertray.
Remove the subframe.
Remove jack plate.
Remove front wheels.
Release tie-rods from the control arm. First remove the locking pin with tome pliers and undo the castle nut. Use some PB Blaster to make this release easier.
If you have a ball joint puller, you may use that, if not, use a hammer to push it out, taking care not to damage the threads or the ball joint’s rubber grease housing.
Remove the sway bar’s end links, making sure to remember washer placement.
Remove the steering wheel’s lower u-joint. Or at lease loosen it.
Use a syringe to drain fluid from the power steering reservoir.
Disconnect the two power steering pipes from the rack. To do this, I ended up using a crow’s foot wrench on an 8″ extension through the rack frame (there’s a small gap, you’ll see) to turn the lower bolt while I held the upper bolt in place with a flare nut wrench from above the rack and frame. I do not recall the exact wrench sizes for the lower bolts, but the upper bolts were 17mm & 19mm. The lower ones may have been 12 & 14mm. Once you break a bolt free, be prepared for the ATF fluid to come out.
Remove the steering rack, with tie rods attached.
Depending on year, you either have 4 bolts on the driver’s side and two on the passenger or two and two. Either way, simply remove the bolts and finagle the rack out of the car. I had to rotate the sway bar out of the way to get it out.
Remove/slide away the boot bands holding the stock rack’s boots on. On the larger side, you have to stretch the crimped area wider so that you can expand the circumference enough to unlatch the band. If you have an 05+ these are junk now. The small side just requires a squeeze of the pliers and will be reused. Push the boots back to reveal the inner tie-rod to steering rack connection.
Remove the inner tie-rods from the steering rack by grabbing the two flats on the conical cap. Yours may or may not have a lock washer on there. Mine did not. I did this by securing the rack in a vise and pulling like crazy on an adjustable wrench. I think it is 32mm though, if you have that size of a crescent wrench. It is on there pretty tight, so you probably will need to have someone hold it in the vise. Be sure not to clamp the vise on the barel of the rack or on any “shiny part”.
Install the tie-rods onto the Q-Rack. Tq. spec is 58ft-lbs, but just get it good and tight since you won’t be able to use a torque wrench. Re-do lock washer if you had one.
Put the boots back on. In my case, it looks like the circumference of the Q-Rack was a tiny bit larger than the stock rack. I heated the bands to get them on the rack. Because of this, the stock boot bands were too short. I used a pair of worn drive pipe clamps in place.
Use a set of pliers to make sure the rack is centered by turning the input shaft.
Install Q-Rack into car.
First, just lightly tighten the four bolts that will mount the Q-Rack so that it is in place but free to move around.
Re-install the tie-rods.
Re-connect the steering u-joint making sure the steering wheel is centered. Remember, do not freely spin the steering wheel.
Finger tighten the rack and then re-install the power steering pipes. It may help to remove the clamp that holds them together. Be sure you are not cross threading the bolts.
Fully tighten the rack to the car. 44ft-lbs.
Re-install the end-links.
Re-install jack plate.
Re-install plastic cover.
Top off power steering fluid reservoir with ATF fluid.
Have someone start the car for 3 seconds, then turn off, making sure the fluid level is within limits. Repeat 3x.
Once the fluid level has stabilized, turn the car on and SLOWLY turn the wheel lock to lock. Take 30+ seconds to reach opposite lock. Always be sure the reservoir does not run low on fluid.
Top fluid off to marked level.
Perform quick alignment based on the marks you made on the floor.
Go for a gentile spin.
Get an alignment.
Enjoy your new Q-Rack.