5.0 Mustang & Super FordsHow To Chassis Suspension
Flaming River Power Steering Shaft
5.0 Tech Inspection
Here's a question for those of you who consider yourselves "conscious" or "aware" of all the things that are going on with your Mustangs. How many times have you ever stopped and thought about those critical but dull parts that make it function on a daily basis? Sure, there are some components that we expect will never require replacement, such as washer-fluid reservoirs, trunk-lock actuators, and so on. However, the majority of a Mustang's mechanical pieces are constantly in use.
A 'Stang's steering gear (rack-and-pinion, steering shaft/linkage, power-steering pump) is a system that really is taken for granted by most car owners. Outside of making sure the fluid level is where it should be (and we usually don't even check that until we hear the power-steering pump groan), most of us view the steering gear as something that will always be "fine." The truth is, however, a Mustang's steering mechanism experiences more wear than many other high-use parts and systems on the car, and it's something that really should be inspected more often.
Our associate publisher, Joe Galloway, found this out firsthand, when he noticed the steering in his '98 Mustang-turned-Mustang GT was becoming less precise. Joe's 'Stang is a former V-6 car that received a complete 4.6-liter makeover, so it needs all the precision it can get.
After lifting Joe's Mustang on a hoist and inspecting the steering gear, we were able to pinpoint a badly worn power-steering shaft as the source for sloppy steering. We're correcting that ill by installing Flaming River's '94-'04 Mustang Power Steering Shaft Kit (PN 1509P; $334.95).
The new shaft is a bolt-in replacement for the factory link (manual-steering shafts also are available under PN 1509M) that improves steering response by creating a more-direct link between the steering wheel and the rack-and-pinion unit. A new shaft will eliminate dreaded steering wheel slop. If the connection is too direct, Flaming River also offers a vibration dampener to quiet things down.
We put the part replacement in the more-than-capable hands of Mark Brigham, a service technician at Brandon Ford, and Big Steve grabbed the following shots to show you a few highlights of the procedure.