Steering & Suspension: Steering Systems: Steering arms & components
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Topic IntroductionHelp

Rack-and-pinion steering system

Summary
The primary components of the rack and pinion steering system are: rubber bellows, pinion, rack, inner ball joint or socket and tie-rod.

The primary components of the rack and pinion steering system are:

Rack-and-pinion steering system

Rubber bellows

Rubber bellows

This rubber bellows is attached to the Rack and Pinion housing. It protects the inner joints from dirt and contaminants. In addition, it retains the grease lubricant inside the rack and pinion housing. There is an identical bellows on the other end of the rack for the opposite side connection.

Pinion

Pinion

The pinion is connected to the steering column. As the driver turns the steering wheel, the forces are transferred to the pinion and it then causes the rack to move in either direction. This is achieved by having the pinion in constant mesh with the rack.

Rack

Rack

The rack slides in the housing and is moved by the action of the meshed pinion into the teeth of the rack. It normally has an adjustable bush opposite the pinion to control their meshing, and a nylon bush at the other end.

Inner ball joint or socket

Inner ball joint or socket

The inner ball joint is attached to the tie-rod, to allow for suspension movement and slight changes in steering angles.

Tie-rod

Tie-rod

A tie rod end is attached to the tie-rod shaft. These pivot as the rack is extended or retracted when the vehicle is negotiating turns. Some tie-rods and tie-rod ends are left or right hand threaded.

Tie-rod

This allows toe-in or toe-out to be adjusted to the manufacturer's specifications.