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2005-10 Jeep Grand Cherokee/ Commander/SRT8 Heavy Duty Steering Rack Upgrade kit TOUGHRACK

If you enjoy any of these great platforms, you will, at some point in time, start experiencing some knock in your steering wheel when you hit bumps or potholes.

A short term solution to that was suggested to tighten the cover plate on the steering rack about ⅛ to ¼ turns. After some while from doing this adjustment, your steering wheel will start experiencing a knock again, and that typically is an indication that you will have to replace your steering rack.

Lifting your Jeep or adding larger tires typically accelerates this process and we know of cases that end up having to replace their steering racks more than once per year.

The Diagnosis

We wanted to solve this problem so we had to understand its full scope first.

So we asked ourselves few questions: 

Where is this knocking sound coming from? 
What causes it to start? Why?
Why does it go away after an initial adjustment then comes back shortly afterwards?
What accelerates the knocking generation process?Why do some steering racks have a shorter life span compared to Mopar?
And the main question is, can we make a modification to the Mopar steering racks to make them stronger, have longer life and make driving the Jeep even more enjoyable?? 

To answer all these questions, we had to pull a malfunctioning steering rack off a vehicle, take it apart, understand its problem well, then think hard to get our answers.

The Culprit

We looked at all possible areas of the steering rack and came up with the main culprit responsible for causing the steering wheel knock. In most cases it is really what is under the adjustment cup.There is a V-Shaped cylinder (piston) under the adjustment cup with a loaded spring between them to keep those two components separate from each other. The cylinder has two white pieces at its end, made of a smooth material that slide on the shaft of the gear assembly and pushes on the gears to stay engaged while allowing them to slide on each other in order to steer your vehicle.  The adjustment cup pushes on the spring, and that in turn pushes the cylinder's touching points down on the gear assembly to keep them engaged. The touching points are the two pieces of the white sliding material.When the white sliding material gets worn down due to age, it gets thinner, and you start hearing some knocking sound because the gears start slapping each other due to the slack caused by the worn out material. At that point the spring is no longer exerting its original calibrated pressure to keep the gears engaged.When you turn your adjustment cup an ⅛ or ¼ turns, you are forcing the spring to exert more downward pressure, pushing that gear assembly back together which eliminates the gear slapping sound and that takes care of the steering wheel knock FOR A WHILE.That is also an indication that the white sliders are getting thinner. 

The white sliders are made up of a softer material that has some shock damping characteristics to it. That material thickness, along with the cup spring, is why a brand new steering rack feels smooth especially when hitting bumps at speed. The reason is because the white sliders are still at their full thickness (which, in this case, is thin to begin with), and the push spring is at its full length.When the steering knock starts later again, it is usually because the piston sliders are worn out.. At that point the metal material of the piston is grinding and knocking on the gear assembly itself and the gears are slapping each other.

At that point, you will be advised to replace your steering rack.


Now we asked ourselves more questions:

Do you really need to replace your steering rack just because of the steering wheel knock?? 
What if it is not leaking any power steering fluid, but is only having the steering wheel knock, could it be saved?? 
Better yet, assuming your Mopar rack is not leaking, could your OEM rack be, REPAIRED, ENHANCED AND UPGRADED FOR HEAVY DUTY, LONG LIFE SERVICE??

Now that we understand the problem, we believe we found a solution for it.

Introducing TOUGHRACK, JeePerf's heavy duty, long term UPGRADE solution to the Mopar steering rack woes.

TOUGHRACK is made up of heavier duty steering rack bushing mounts, a totally re engineered piston and an EASYADJUST cup. You can reuse your rack's original push spring with our kit assuming you did not make any adjustment to the rack. We prefer for the spring to be used while it is at it's original length. If you adjusted, or over adjusted, your Mopar rack, you may have shortened or crushed the spring. DISCLAIMER: WE ADVISE THAT YOU USE OUR  STEERING RACK UPGRADE KIT AT THE VERY FIRST SIGN OF A STEERING WHEEL KNOCK BEFORE ATTEMPTING ANY ADJUSTMENTS.

Initial Impressions of driving using our Steering Rack Upgrade Kit (TOUGHRACK):

Smooth, tight and well controlled steering

Smooth bump taking

Solid steering feel

Absolutely quiet steering with no steering wheel knock

A restoration to better than original rack function and steering feel

Longer rack service life

More enjoyable driving

Better on road and off-road handling

Longer tire life due to better front wheel control

Built by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, we invite you to consider TOUGHRACK at the first sign of steering knock before you consider replacing your steering rack.

User Reviews:

Jeep WK/XK Heavy Duty Long Life Steering Rack Upgrade kit (ToughRack)

    • Take your old rack off the vehicle
    • Turn the adjustment cup counter clockwise to open up that piston assembly housing
    • Take out and secure the Spring. Inspect it to make sure it is not fully collapsed. You will reuse it later. If your rack was adjusted many times before, your spring may be collapsed and you will need a replacement.
    • Take out the old piston
    • Put in our new piston and push all the way in for a deep and secure fit
    • Grease the rack off the zerk fitting. Stop when the piston starts moving up which indicates the rack is now full of grease. Synthetic grease is the preferred type.
    • Secure the spring on the zerk fitting
    • Screw in our EasyAdjust cup untill its round surface is about 1mm higher than flush
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