Steering Rack Gaiter Replacement
Car just failed the MOT (French) on a badly split gaiter and reading some of the horror stories about skinned knuckles and how it took hours to get the ..... thing over the rack got me thinking.
The result is that I've just swapped a gaiter in 20 minutes (not including jacking and taking the wheel off).
This is how you do it:
I read that some people recommended warming the gaiter in hot water to make it more elastic and easier to fit so going on from there I wondered what would happen if I stretched the end of the gaiter over a larger diameter former to give it some permanent stretch.
Look below and you'll see that I used a minuature flower-pot. First I warmed the gaiter end in hot water and then pushed it over the flower-pot. It will stretch more but I thought that was sufficient.
Then I placed the whole thing in boiling water on the stove
After 5 minutes I removed the flower-pot and the result is a considerably larger opening on the gaiter.
This larger opening will gradually contract over 24 hours to near enough the original size, but you have a couple of hours to use it before it gets too small again.
Once done this will just slip straight over the rack body end with no effort and then the zip-tie can be tightened using the slotted pipe trick (catch the end of the zip in a thin pipe and you can twist this to tighten the tie in the confines of the chassis.
One other tip is to mark the track-rod and rack shaft with tippex (useful for all sorts of things like this) so that before disassembly you have a reference point -then just count the turns on removal so you can get the same position later.