Steering Rack Manufacturer
MZW steering racks offer smooth performance, can withstand harsh conditions, and last for long.
As one of the global steering rack suppliers, our commitment to quality is high.
We ensure the right materials to make our steering racks, proper manufacturing techniques, and rigorous testing of the finished racks.
MZW Motor are the expert steering rack manufacturers who use the latest equipment and the knowledge of experienced engineer to produce reliable car parts.
That is one of the many reasons why motorists looking to buy a steering rack prefer our products. The same case with mechanics who are concerned with servicing vehicle steering systems.
Contact us today if looking for a steering rack supplier who can guarantee quality products. We make a wide variety of them from manual to the power steering rack parts.
Being a customer-centered company, we provide quick service both for order processing and shipment. You can be certain that your steering rack supplies will always reach you in time.
Why MZW Automotive Steering Racks?
As a result, steering racks manufactured by MZW Motor have these characteristics.
- Electronically controlled steering racks that come with solenoids already installed
- E-coating to offer protection from the corrosion caused by the various conditions and elements
- Thoroughly tested steering racks that meet all the OE specifications for the particular applications
- OE quality seals, boots, and “O” rings that offer high sealing and longer lifespan
MZW Made Steering Rack
MZW steering racks are longlasting. We select and use the right materials to make them. The right equipment and techniques, too. That includes e-coating the racks to offer a corrosion-resistant surface.
We use the best design and materials to produce steering racks. The racks are also passed through a series of tests to ensure they are flawless. As a result, MZW steering racks provide smooth operation for improved driving comfort and safety.
Steering Rack Cross Reference Lookup
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MZW Steering Rack Guide
If your car uses the modern rack and pinion system to steer, it will have a steering rack installed. The rack provides a means to help you guide the wheels when driving. If looking to understand how the steering rack on a car or truck works, read on to the end. This article explores the component in an easy to understand yet detailed way.
What is a Steering Rack?
Put simply, the steering rack is the part that converts the steering wheel rotation to linear motion. The linear motion then transmits via various parts to the wheels, producing a turning effect. That way, the rack assembly helps you to control the vehicle.
The steering rack assembly connects to the steering wheel via the steering shaft and steering column. Laterally, it contains tie rods that eventually link with the steering knuckle, helping to convey the steering wheel movements to the wheels.
The rack comprises many different parts. The main ones include the housing that contains the gearset, the gear set, and tie rids. In some steering rack types, the hydraulic or electric steering assist form part if the rak.
The housing is usually cast aluminum and the rack and pinion gear steel. Aluminum helps to reduce the overall weight of the rack assembly. The gears have to withstand the effects of wear, and one of the reasons for using steel to make them.
The steering rack is mostly found in light vehicles, both cars trucks. Some SUVs, too. Heavy duty trucks and SUVs often use the more powerful but dated recirculating ball system. Here is a video explaining the difference between the two steering mechanisms.
All steering racks use the same working principle. Differences only occur in the different components and, if a power steering system, the mechanism employed. Each method has its upsides and downsides, as you will learn in a moment. Before that, the working of the rack.
Steering Rack Function
The rack forms the main part of what is known as rack and pinion steering system. Together with other parts, it helps a driver to control the direction of a vehicle. The rack is one of the most important safety parts in vehicles that house the rack and pinion steering mechanisms. Its two main functions are:
- To help convert a driver’s rotational input at the steering wheel to liner motion that turns the wheels.
- Provide gear reduction through the small pinion and larger rack gear. This helps a driver to use less effort to control a vehicle.
Parts of a Steering Rack
The steering rack assembly is a large component consisting of many different parts. These differ according to whether power steering is used as well as the type of power assist. To encompasses everything, we will look at all parts, including those that come with the power steering. The main steering rack parts include:
This is the part that connects the steering rack assembly to the steering column. It rotates with the steering wheel, helping to turn the pinion gear. In the system that involves hydraulic power steering, the shaft also contains the torsion bar that operates the hydraulic valve.
The steering rack pinion is small gear that rotates to follow the motion of the steering wheel. It’s usually a splined rod that meshes with the linear rack gear. When you turn the steering wheel, the rotary motion of the pinion transforms to lateral or linear movement of the rack gear.
The rack is the straight metal bar that runs the entire length of the assembly. It contains teeth that mesh with the splines on the pinion gear. The rack moves sideways to turn the wheels under the action of the pinion, helping to steer the wheels. Usually made from steel, the rack connects to the inner tie rods on either side.
The steering rack housing contains the gear set (pinion and rack gears) that form the mechanism to transfer a driver’s inputs to the wheels. It’s usually made from cast aluminum and lightweight. In hydraulic power steering racks, the housing also contains the piston and hydraulic mechanism.
Steering racks generally come with tie rods on either side of the geared metal bar. There’s also the inner and outer tie rod, with the inner rod being the one next to the metal bar. The rods feature a ball joint to make movement in all sides possible when turning. Between the inner and outer tie rods, a large rubber boot is installed to keep out contaminants.
These are rubber bellows/covers that protect the joints between the inner tie rod and outer tie rod. Steering rack boots are meant to keep dust and debris such as sand from reaching the joint and causing premature wear or damage.
Power Steering Components
Although not generally considered part of the assembly, parts of the steering assist are often integrated into the rack. They are, therefore, just as important. They include:
Hydraulic Valve- as the name implies, the hydraulic valved is found in racks that use hydraulic power steering system. Its function is to control the movement of hydraulic fluid based on the rotation of the steering wheel.
Other parts of the hydraulic system include the reservoir to hold hydraulic fluid, and the pump that provides the force to the fluid. The vehicle’s engine drives the pump. There are also high pressure lines to convey the hydraulic fluid.
Motor- In steering racks that utilize electric steering assist, the motor is one of the components that may form part of the rack assembly. It is usually an electronically controlled brushless motor. In some vehicles, the motor’s control module is installed next to the motor.
In light or compact cars, the motor is mounted on the steering column, together with the sensor. Heavier vehicles have it installed on the rack, sometimes with own pinion shaft. The motor comes with a different component; the sensor. The sensor detects the movement of the steering wheel, sending the information to the control module. That way, it helps to ensure accurate and effective steering.
Minor parts include the various steering rack bushes, snap rings, seals, nuts, and other small components. As we indicated earlier, the rack is a large assembly consisting of many different parts.
Steering Rack Types
There are two main steering rack types: manual and powered. The powered type is becoming the most used in today’s vehicles for many reasons. These include the ease to control a vehicle, better steering response, and steering accuracy. Let’s now look at each type of steering rack and how it works.
Manual Steering Rack
A manual rack does not use a power steering system. Instead, it depends on the gear reduction provided by the pinion gear rotating the rack gear. You will still find the steering wheel hard to turn, though, despite the mechanical advantage.
The working of these steering rack types follows a simple procedure. When you rotate the steering wheel, force transmits through the steering column, shaft, and to the pinion gear. The pinion gear then moves rack from one side to the other, depending on the direction of rotation.
Manual racks are a simple mechanism. However, they are not as popular as the powered system that involves the use of hydraulic fluid or electric motor to aid in moving the linear gear. They also do not make a sensitive steering system.
Power Steering Rack
A powered steering rack simply means one that uses a steering assist system. The system is usually either electrical or hydraulic. Each mechanism offers specific benefits and drawbacks, as we will see next.
Hydraulic steering rack
This one features a mechanism consisting of hydraulic fluid to assist with pushing the linear gear or rack. It comes with a reservoir for hydraulic fluid, an engine-operated pump, and hydraulic valve. There are also high pressure lines or hoses for the hydraulic fluid.
The rack’s housing also contains a piston and space for hydraulic fluid. During operation, the fluid flows to the relevant side and provides the pressure to assist the movement of the rack gear.
The hydraulic valve, which is conveniently located between the pinion gear and the steering shaft, contains a torsion bar. The bar helps to regulate the fluid flow, therefore ensuring fluid pressure is applied in the right direction.
Electric steering rack
This type uses an electric motor to help with moving the teethed metal bar or rack. The motor is often bolted to the rack and connected to a control module. It’s also equipped with a sensor to detect the movement and position of the steering column.
The working of the electric steering rack is similar to that of the manual or hydraulic types. The only difference is the steering assist method. The motor rotates both ways, with gears and belt to transfer the rotation to the gear mechanism in the rack’s housing.
The operation of the rack’s steering assist is largely governed by sensors and the control module. These ensure the force supplied matches the steering wheel inputs. This not only helps to make steering effortless but also highly accurate.
Hydraulic Vs. Electric Power Steering Rack
Hydraulic systems make the entire assembly heavy, which can cause a fuel economy issue in some cars. Hydraulic systems are also complicated and made of many parts. They require more maintenance when compared to a motor and are prone to leaks in harsh conditions.
In the event of failure, a hydraulic rack makes a steering system hard to operate. That is because you have to overcome the force of both the rack’s gear set and that of the hydraulic system. That does not happen with an electric system.
Electric steering rack assemblies are lightweight. They do not contribute to fuel economy issues, especially when used in light vehicles. The electric system is also more efficient and requires little maintenance. The can be hard to diagnose or repair, though, unlike the hydraulic types.
Because the motor takes power from the battery, electric racks do not put a strain on the engine, unlike the hydraulic systems. They, therefore, do not cause a drop in the engine’s mileage. Electric steering racks are also highly customizable. They can be fine-tuned to fit a vehicles application or even driver preferences.
Steering Rack Problems
Steering racks are built to last a long time. However, they contain different parts, some of which are more prone to damage or wear than others. Various conditions can also take a toll on the steering rack components. Major problems include:
Broken Steering Rack Seals
Many parts of the rack contain seals and gaskets. When these break down, the whole assembly becomes subjected to failure or even more damage. Cracked or shrunk seals allow contaminants that lead to wear or deterioration of delicate internal components.
Cracked Steering Rack Boots and Hoses
Rubber boots or rubber hoses and lines are likely to crack with time. When that happens, you are likely to experience a steering rack system failure. Boots keep out dirt and grit, protecting components such as bearing. When with, cracked or damaged in any way, the protected parts become exposed to debris.
Loose Steering Rack Connections
Connections can loosen up with time, especially due to the vibrations the rack is often subjected to. Some may not have been tightened properly during installation or steering rack service. Loose connections can make driving unsafe. They also cause the characteristic steering rack noise.
Power Steering System Failure
Sometimes, the problem happens not on the main rack but the steering assist components. It could be a malfunction in the hydraulic system due to leaks, low fluid levels, or any other problem. It could also be a failed motor, sensor, or a worn belt.
Worn Steering Rack Joint
The steering rack on a car, truck or SUV is composed of several joints. These wear down with time, leading to failure of the whole assembly. Worn joints are the cause of steering rack noise when turning, loose or inaccurate steering, and more.
Steering Rack FAQs
Q1. What is a steering rack gaiter?
A. Steering rack gaiters are bellow boots that are installed on the ends of the rack assembly. They offer protection from sand, dust and small stones. Gaiters also keep out water to protect steering rack grease. Without them, the joints would wear too quickly and the grease require replacing too soon.
Q2. What is a steering rack limiter?
A. The limiter is a type of insert that you insert on the outer ends of the rack gear shaft. As the name suggests, the insert limits the travel of the rack to protect the wheels and other suspension parts. That’s because shaft may turn too much when you turn too sharply, especially with a power steering system.
Q3. What causes steering rack damage?
The location of the rack exposes it to debris and other harsh elements. The component is also exposed to high temperatures produced when the vehicle is moving. These conditions lead to damage over time. Power steering fluid leaks also cause problems, or a failed motor if the power steering system is electric.
Proper and regular maintenance of the rack can help avert these problems. These include ensuring joints are adequately lubed and worn parts replaced. Steering rack lubrication is one of the most important maintenance practices. It prevents premature wear of components, prolonging the lifespan of the entire rack assembly.
Q4. What happens if a steering rack fails?
Steering rack failure may lead to loss of control of the vehicle. The steering wheel may jam, become too loose, inaccurate. Here is how to tell if a steering rack is bad or, in other words, steering rack failure symptoms.
- The steering wheel vibrating– vibrations may indicate a problem with the steering assist system or worn parts of the rack. It could also be the result of debris building up in the steering rack system.
- A stiff steering wheel– again, the problem could be the power steering system. Mostly, it’s the fluid that has leaked, causing hydraulic pressure failure. It could also be a failed motor, belt, or debris in the joints if the rack assembly.
- Noise- it could be steering rack clunk or grinding noise. This signals worn parts that need replacing. Sometimes, the entire rack may be damaged and requiring a new one. It could also be loose parts that need tightening up.
- Leaking hydraulic fluid– leaks are easy to notice, especially if the fluid is trickling to the ground. It also produces a burning Snell if it falls on hot parts under the hood. A steering rack leaking fluid will quickly lead to a stiff steering wheel.
- Discolored hydraulic fluid- this indicates leaks that allow water and other pollutants into the hydraulic system. Periodically checking the fluid helps to pick the problem early enough.
Other steering rack failure symptoms include excessive play of the steering wheel, the vehicle wandering uncontrollably, and loose steering wheels. You may also experience steering wheel slips or the smell of burning hydraulic fluid.
Q5. Can you drive with a bad steering rack?
A. You could, but it is not recommended. You may not steer the wheels correctly or you may not at all, especially if the steering wheel is jammed. To avoid endangering yourself and other motorists, it’s advisable to keep the rack in good condition always. Lube the moving parts, and replace worn components. And if the entire rack is damaged or worn, change it without delay.
Q6. What are the options for steering rack repairs?
A. It depends. Some issues are fixable, while others are not. Worn boots or bushings can be replaced in what is often called steering rack rebuilding or reconditioning. Sometimes, the rack may malfunction for being wrongly positioned. If that is the case, we recommended that you seek the services of a steering rack specialist or repair shop near you.
Q7. What is the steering rack lifespan?
A. Steering racks are durable parts, especially if taken care of. They last, on average, 150 000 miles. If you’re wondering how to tell if a steering rack needs replacing, here are the take tell signs. Change the rack if:
- The gears, both rack and pinion are worn and making the steering wheel to have too much play or loose.
- Your car or truck becomes uncontrollable and wanders on the road.
- You hear grinding or clunking noise when turning the wheels
- The steering wheel shakes a lot
- Also, if it’s more than 100 miles using the same steering rack
Before considering to carry out a replacement, it’s advised to do a steering rack check to ascertain the problem. The problem could be the power assist and not the rack itself. Here is a video about how to check the rack.
Q8. What is the steering rack price?
The price of a new steering rack depends on your car’s year, make, and model. It also varies across brands and whether it’s an OEM or aftermarket type. Usually, the amount ranges from as low as $100 to as high as $500. OEM steering racks cost more than the aftermarket versions.
Q9. What is the steering rack replacement cost?
A. Technicians charge around $200-$400 for a steering rack installation job. Adding the cost of buying the component, the total amount comes to between $400 to $900 to do a replacement. The amount may be higher than these estimates in your region. It varies depending on what repair shops in your particular area charges for services.
Q10. Do steering racks come with tie rods?
A. Not always. Some do, while others do not. When purchasing one, be sure to confirm the presence of the rods (both inner and outer tie rods) so that you know what to expect. There will be price differences, of course, and which you should consider when choosing between the two kinds of racks.
Many cars today use the rack and pinion steering system. As a result, steering racks are common auto parts. Knowing how the rack works, the different types on the market, and other facts will help you make the right choices when buying one. You will also be able to detect problems when they occur as well as take the most appropriate action. We hope this guide broadened your understanding of the component.