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Discussion Starter #1
307 2002 1.4hdi steering rack was leaking from the offside track rod into the boot because there was play on its bearing/bush. I asked my local friendly garage to undertake this job due access and subframe needs lowering to change it. After it was done I went to pick it up and he said the airbag light was on and do I want them to fix it. I replied it was not on when you started the job and as you have had the steering wheel off then the likely hood is that is what has caused it to fail. It turns out that whilst the rack was off the steering wheel must have been turned as something he calls the clock was damaged which obviously engages with the airbag somehow! I have looked in the Haynes manual and cannot find it mentioned either in the airbag removal section or the steering rack section. I believe it might be a plastic cog or something and that once the rack is disconnected the steering wheel has not got to be turned. Anybody able to enlighten me more of the setup. I am awaiting the garage to receive the spare so that they can finish the job. He understands it is down to him. He has just employed 2 new fitters and the one who did the job insists he did not turn the wheel!!
 

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There is a whole sequence to removing and refitting a steering rack to ensure the 'clock spring' ribbon cable is not damaged. The most likely scenario [if the claim that the steering was not turned after disassembly is true] is that the steering column was connected back to the rack before the rack was centred. Centring the steering then snapped the ribbon cable.
The safest way to do the job is to first remove the steering wheel after making sure the wheels are in the straight ahead position before disconnecting the rack. This way the 'clock spring stays in the correct position. Then replace the steering wheel only after the new rack has been fitted and the wheels realigned in the straight ahead position.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for that clarification. My first thought was a cable had been damaged but his terminology stumped me. Sounds about right about connecting and centering after instead of before. I mean even I would have done that and marked the end of the shaft as to where the connection came off. As I said I would have normally have done it but with only jacks, axle stands and wheel ramps there would not be enough clearance to lower the subframe and get under and do the spannering. At 70 my arthritis restricts me too!
 

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The clock spring as some call it is in the comm unit so if they have damaged it due to poor attention to detail then it will need a new comm unit.

replacing the rack should not have damaged it so its THEIR problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Popped round today to find they are indeed changing the comms unit, when they get the correct one. The first they got is different but they have sourced one that matches the part number on the original one. Lets hope they can correctly fit that and it does not have any hidden faults. Apparently it has a 3 month warranty!
 

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As we all know its the functions that matter not the part number but no doubt they dont know that if the cant swap a rack without turning the steering.

All they had to do was remove the key and the column would not have turned :)

Its another example of why your best to just do it yourself !
 

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All they had to do was remove the key and the column would not have turned :)
This works fine as long as the replacement rack is properly centred before connecting it. If it is too far off centre and connected back to the steering column, then the person turns the steering to centre the wheels, this is when the ribbon snaps. Seen this done many times.

IMO, it is much safer to remove the steering wheel, complete the rack swap, centre the road wheels then replace the steering wheel.
 

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Although i agree this is 1 way to do it its not really needed as you could easily centre the rack once off by comparing old and new before fitting thats how i do them never had an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In reality that is the way I would have done the job had I had the full car ramp but I have not and it is too tricky to do it on your back using axle stands, wheel ramps and a couple of jacks. By the time you lie on the creeper you have nor elbow room to move hence the garage! God knows why the steering wheel was removed but down to them in the end. As long as the car is fixed I will be happy. They are a good honest garage so no worries of a bodge job. I take all my vehicles there for the MOTs and have had a few jobs done which have been beyond my expertise, those mainly that require good access.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Picked the car up yesterday and although everything works the steering wheel is a tad out when going straight. About 2 inches at the rim. Enough to annoy! Anyway they will adjust on Monday. When I asked how the problem with the clock spring arose the bosses son, chief mechanic, explained that they ran out of adjustment doing the tracking and had to remove the rack to realign to allow them to get the tracking right. Why the clock spring got damaged or whatever they do not know but its working now and the rack is not leaking!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have now that they have readjusted the tracking spot on and I have paid the bill. £240 for replacing the rack and fitting two new front struts. I cut the old legs apart and one was in good condition but in the other the oil was more like dirty water whist in the other the oil was as it should be, clean and looked and smelled of oil. I replaced the rears myself and cut them apart to see.They seemed ok but had labels saying gas struts but no gas came out on the first cut on both so perhaps they were duff.
 
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