Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

Steering rack Bellows (boot) replacement

2752 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Peaty
While changing the oil on my kids 01' Forester I noticed a split boot on the steering rack, drivers side. I ordered the part through Amazon and watched a video on youtube on how to do the replacement without removing the tie rod end. Removing the tie rod end is the proper way but that would necessitate a verification of alignment after the install. I was pressed for time and did it the hard way.

What you will need:

A way to get the car safely in the air including jack stands

Eye protection, you'll be working under the car

New Boot, I use this kit

Beck Arnley 103-2695 Steering Rack Boot Kit

Scissors - to remove old boot

19mm socket - to remove wheel and castle bolt from tie rod end

Torque Wrench- torque back the tie rod at 20 ft/lbs

Diagonal cutters - To remove large clamp and remove extrable wire from new clamp after install

to tug pull new large end clamp to tighten

Cotter Pin - use a new one on the castle bolt.

Needle nose pliers - To remove cotter pin from castle bolt

Tie Rod Remover Tool - Not required but you can get one on loan for free at most any auto store, you need to leave a refundable deposit. Makes life a lot easier.

PB Blaster or similar - Spray a little on the tie rod end castle bolt.

Flat blade screwdriver - Help get the boot over the tie rod end

Plastic Bag like a ziplock - to go over tie rod end to help slip boot on

Axle grease - to go on the plastic bag and grease socket on the steering rack.

After you get the car safely in the air and remove the tire you can spray a little PB Blaster on the castle nut of the tire rod.

Depending on the condition of your boot you can remove it before the install or wait to be sure you can get the new boot on, just in case. My boot was only split in the middle so I left it on until I got the new boot over the tie rod.

I use diagonal cutters to remove the large clamp and scissors to cut the boot off. I tired a razor knife at first but the scissors were easier to deal with.

The tie rod has a ball socket you can see with the boot off. For good measure I packed some axle grease in the area. If your boot was completely gone and there is a lot of dirt in this area. I'd suggest cleaning it with some brake cleaner first to get the crap out of there then pack it with grease.

Either way, with pliers move the small end clamp off of the old boot and closer to the tie rod. You can reuse this on the new boot. For good measure I put some black tape over the clamp so the new boot would slip over it easily.

Remove the cotter pin on the tire rod with the needle nose pliers and with a 19 mm socket remove the castle bolt.

I used the tie rod tool to pop the tie rod out of the hub. The tool works like a clamp to press it out, very simple. No damage to the boot on the tie rod. worth borrowing one from the auto store.

With the tie rod out of the hub, put the plastic bag over the end. Get a corner over the threads. Slather the bag with some grease. Put the boot on and pull it over the tire rod. It's pretty tricky but it will go. I used a flat blade screwdriver to help get it over the end. I had it positioned through the small opening and at the bottom opposite the threads, sort of under the tie rod.

After you manage that put the tie rod end back up in the hub and put the castle nut on a few turns just to hold everything from moving around as you fit the boot.

Next slide the boot up and fit the large opening over the rack being sure the lip is on all the way round. Push the small end over the little lip on the rod. I worked from under the car, it was really the only way to see the area up at the large opening end. This part is pretty tricky as the area to work is pretty cramped. Slide the band clamp over to the area and manipulate it so it's over the flat lip area on the boot. Holding back with a screwdriver, pull on the band clamps end with pliers to get it snug. Once you have it snug, bend it the opposite direction you pulled and with a screwdriver, bend the two tabs to hold it in place. Cut the excess band with diagonal cutters.

Slip the small clamp on the end. If you don't have one to re use they did supply a wire that has two loops at the ends. You can wind that around a few time and like a twist tie wind the ends up to secure that section.

After the boot is on double check the large end is evenly on the end and secure. Now you can tighten the castle nut with a 19mm socket to 20 ft lbs. The stud will want to turn and not tighten unless you press up from below to keep it from spinning. Try to align the hole in the stud with an opening on the nut. Put a new cotter in place and bend with some needle nose pliers.

Put the wheel back on and lower the car. Torque the lug nuts and driving around a little re torque your lug nuts. I like to use 70 ft lbs on the 2001

Please note, this was the drivers side. I suspect the passenger side is similar but I'm not 100% sure. If you do the passenger side let me know if it's the same or give a heads up as to the differences and I will add them here.



See less See more
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
1 - 1 of 1 Posts