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A few weeks ago, coming out of Wal-Mart, my car's steering locked up on me. The wheel wouldn't turn and the only way to get it to unstick was to fight it until it would. Well anyway long-story-short, I drove down the road fine until I hit my driveway when it locked up on me again and took me for a ride almost into my house. I stopped it about a foot short. There it sat until a garage came and got it to look at it. They filled it with tranny fluid and it locked up on the first guy and not on the second one. They didn't know what it was. So I took it to the next garage and told them to check the rack and pinion. It was, though they didn't have the right tools to do the job. I called around town until I found a garage that could do it and dropped it off today. It'll take about 2 days to fix and cost about $800 to $900 estimated. So if your car locks up and your not sure what it is check the rack and pinion. I've found that our cars have a history with this problem and found that here:
Dodge Intrepid Chrysler 300M Unsafe Steering Problems Failure Defects
 

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Mine didnt lock up [thank god]. I had just returned from a 3 hour drive doing 70+ most of the way and maybe 2 minutes into town, and right by my house, the steering became EXTREMELY stiff. Long story short, the rack was leaking and I had to replace it. 250$ for a reman. part with my core, and about 500 big ones to install. Threw in some new tie rod bushings while they were in there.
 

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Thats crazy because after reading this article, I realize that my car suffers from:

-loose steering
-excessive play in the Steering
-vibration when over rough roads
-wandering when hard braking
-steering out of alignment
-clunks (but I was thinking right strut mount)
-rattle over bumps

I have 140,000 miles
 

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In your case, you should replace the rack bushing (aka inner tie rod bushing)... That's probably what's causing the looseness... Also the rack mounting bushing might be bad too. Have someone sit in the car moving the steering wheel and another in the engine bay looking at the rack & pinion. If the rack itself (it should be obvious which part of it is NOT supposed to move) moves, then the bushings are bad that will cause some bad sloppiness...
 

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In your case, you should replace the rack bushing (aka inner tie rod bushing)... That's probably what's causing the looseness... Also the rack mounting bushing might be bad too. Have someone sit in the car moving the steering wheel and another in the engine bay looking at the rack & pinion. If the rack itself (it should be obvious which part of it is NOT supposed to move) moves, then the bushings are bad that will cause some bad sloppiness...
So can the tie rod ends be good but the inner tie rod bushings be bad? Because my boss said that the tie rod ends seemed good when he moved the wheels around.

If so, I priced a set of MOOG inner bushings from advance.... Only $19.... What EXACTLY is entailed in changing these bushings? Is it relatively easy???
 

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If he moves the wheel around (3 and 9 clock position) and there's no looseness, then it's not the bushing. When the inner tie rod goes "bad", it's the bushing that gets worn and is no longer filling in the space between bolt and the tierod.
 

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If he moves the wheel around (3 and 9 clock position) and there's no looseness, then it's not the bushing. When the inner tie rod goes "bad", it's the bushing that gets worn and is no longer filling in the space between bolt and the tierod.
oh ok... Well between 3 and 9 is exactly where the play is so... Guess Im getting new bushings...

How hard of a job is it? how long approximately?
 

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My car went to pep boys almost to years ago now to get inner tie rods bushings and ball joints!!! Well long story short, Pep Boys damage my Rack and since dodge/chrysler had them new on back order they purchased a in a reman one and installed it for free!!! I wouldn't recommend taking your car to pep boys to fix anything but a tire!!!
 

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It will take you about an hour, two on the outside. Turn the wheel all the way one direction (or the other), and it will put the rack in the most access... others can tell you or you can search on the forum here to see what side to turn it to, but I THINK it's turnning the wheel to the right...

Looks like you have a second gen, so I think you have to remove a cowl, or at least that makes it easier.

On my first gen, it is a 22mm hex bolt. I took a cheap 6 point socket and had it machined on a lathe to remove about 1/4 inch of the depth of it, so it would fit in the tight spot better.

So, when you have access to the rack (turning the wheel the direction that gives you the greatest acces and removing the cowl), loosen both bolts, but REMOVE ONE ONLY. There is a washer between the rack and the tie rod end bushing, make sure your new kit has the washer or take great care in making sure you put your hand under there to catch it... it will hit the top of the tranny and be lost forever (or till you hit some rail road tracks). With ONE bolt removed, pull the inner tie rod up and remove what is left of the bushing. If you are lucky, the busing is so worn it just falls apart and falls out. Install your new two piece bushing, little metal sleave, and lower back into place. Insert the washer between the tie rod bushing and the rack, and slip the bolt through. Start the bolt into the threads, and get it in a good couple of turns. Then remove the Other bolt and repeat the process.

Make sure while you are doing this that you check your outer tie rods... When I did mine, I failed to do so and found out after the car was apart that I had a bad outer... had to drive the family of 4 in a Geo Metro for a day till I had the outer to put back on.

Also, if the bushing isn't worn out enough, you have to work on removing it. Cutting away at it helps... Since my outer went bad, I remove the assembly and pounded it out with a hammer on a bench.

Changing the outer tie rod was a simple thing just by jacking the front tire up enough to clear the ground, but didn't have to remove the tire to change it. One of the simplest inner/outer tierod changes I've done, actually.

Let us know if you need any other help...
 

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It will take you about an hour, two on the outside. Turn the wheel all the way one direction (or the other), and it will put the rack in the most access... others can tell you or you can search on the forum here to see what side to turn it to, but I THINK it's turnning the wheel to the right...

Looks like you have a second gen, so I think you have to remove a cowl, or at least that makes it easier.

On my first gen, it is a 22mm hex bolt. I took a cheap 6 point socket and had it machined on a lathe to remove about 1/4 inch of the depth of it, so it would fit in the tight spot better.

So, when you have access to the rack (turning the wheel the direction that gives you the greatest acces and removing the cowl), loosen both bolts, but REMOVE ONE ONLY. There is a washer between the rack and the tie rod end bushing, make sure your new kit has the washer or take great care in making sure you put your hand under there to catch it... it will hit the top of the tranny and be lost forever (or till you hit some rail road tracks). With ONE bolt removed, pull the inner tie rod up and remove what is left of the bushing. If you are lucky, the busing is so worn it just falls apart and falls out. Install your new two piece bushing, little metal sleave, and lower back into place. Insert the washer between the tie rod bushing and the rack, and slip the bolt through. Start the bolt into the threads, and get it in a good couple of turns. Then remove the Other bolt and repeat the process.

Make sure while you are doing this that you check your outer tie rods... When I did mine, I failed to do so and found out after the car was apart that I had a bad outer... had to drive the family of 4 in a Geo Metro for a day till I had the outer to put back on.

Also, if the bushing isn't worn out enough, you have to work on removing it. Cutting away at it helps... Since my outer went bad, I remove the assembly and pounded it out with a hammer on a bench.

Changing the outer tie rod was a simple thing just by jacking the front tire up enough to clear the ground, but didn't have to remove the tire to change it. One of the simplest inner/outer tierod changes I've done, actually.

Let us know if you need any other help...
Thank you very much!!! I will let you guys know if I need additional help... This ^ has been very helpful in allowing me to understand these cars a little better... I will definitely update!
 

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You should have no problems fitting a standard socket on it. Just remove the cowl grill and the strut brace and the intake tubings. There will be plenty of room.

Also turn the wheel all the way to RIGHT like CMD said. This side is much easier than left. MAKE SURE U DO NOT REMOVE BOTH BOLTS AT THE SAME TIME. U can loosen them both (u will have to) but just don't turn them both enough so that they will come out. Those bolts are quite long so u shouldn't have any problems.
 

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OH after u get everything installed, u need to bend that tab down to lock in the bolts. Otherwise the bolts will work themselves out eventually... ALso make sure u torque the bolts to 75 ft lb.
 
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