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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2004 MDX Touring model. Had a mobile mechanic do what I thought would be a fairly low-end job, replacing power steering pump/reservoir/tubing. Steering's great, no leaks now, but...Didn't notice until after he was gone that the steering wheel is no longer close to straight when the wheels are straight. Couldn't get back in touch with him, and found out he left town. A local auto shop told me they'd have to remove the steering rack and re-install with the steering wheel correctly positioned, and would be more than $300. I'm left scratching my head as to both how this happened, and whether there's a simpler way to correct it. Is this something I could possibly correct myself by removing the steering wheel and reinstalling at a different angle? Any advice would be appreciated. (Other than stop using fly-by-night mechanics)
 

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A pump change shouldn’t affect steering wheel clocking so the problem may be unrelated to the pump change. However, when you say the lines were changed (you didn’t say which ones) if the mech had to remove or loosen the power steering gear to change the lines, the mech may have had to disconnect the steering linkage inside the cab where it connects to the gear and didn’t mark it and didn’t clock it correctly when reassembled. (This is a guess since your situation isn’t fully described.)

If this is the problem, the connection is at the floor straight down the axis of the steering wheel. There’s a plastic cover, hiding a u-joint. The joint and steering column has to be loosened and then joint has to be repositioned. The battery must be disconnected to avoid activating the steering wheel airbag. You would also have to be very careful which way you turned the wheel bc there is most likely a clock spring behind the airbag that will break if you turn it the wrong way. It’s probably a $70-100 part and the airbag light will go on. DIY, possible depending on your skill/experience, tools, and getting diagrams. You might find help on YouTube.

If the orig mech did disconnect the u-joint, I would get your orig mech to fix it. (Otherwise it could be something else.) The mech that quoted $300 seems way too high. Think it can be done <1hr so $100-$150 seems reasonable if the problem is just the joint. Maybe they’re factoring in a new clock spring.

Good luck!
 

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You do NOT have to remove / reinstall the rack. Doing so will place it back in exactly the same position (unless they mess up the reinstall, of course). This assumes that the rack isn't installed in some unthinkably odd way (can't even imagine how that would be possible, and certainly removing the rack at all wouldn't have been part of the original job).

I'm thinking that for some reason (fiddling with the high-pressure lines at the rack?) he removed the steering column at the rack. Not a big deal though - just a matter of setting the front wheels straight ahead, removing the steering column from the clamp, rotating the steering wheel back to straight, and re-inserting the column into the clamp and tightening (carefully, to torque spec).

I'd add that I'd make the assumption that the wheel isn't wound a full turn plus 90° out of place, so I'd just rotate it back to straight.

When you're done, you may have to do a little adjustment on the tie rod ends - though you might just bite the bullet and have an alignment shop do that. It's really kind of "preventative maintenance" anyway, and is probably due if you haven't had the vehicle aligned in the last 50,000 miles.

Here's a diagram that will give you an idea what you're dealing with (the area you're looking at is labeled "D")...

117322
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
[/QUOTE] Not a big deal though - just a matter of setting the front wheels straight ahead, removing the steering column from the clamp, rotating the steering wheel back to straight, and re-inserting the column into the clamp
[/QUOTE]
habbyguy, it looks simple to loosen the clamp bolt, but do i need to disassemble or unbolt more of the upper steering column to be able to remove it far enough out of the clamp to rotate it? thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also, now that I'm down in there, I'm seeing there's a sizable flat spot on the spline, that looks like it might prevent the bolt from being re-installed in the u-joint clamp if it's inserted at any other rotation. Will this make another method necessary?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update: I now see that the upper spline (from steering col) has the flat spot, but the lower spline (from pinion) has a groove instead, that allows rotation to any angle, so I think I'm in business!
 
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