Re: Steering Rack lubrication
I don't know anything about Cortina steering racks specifically, but I'm kind of a guru on Pantera racks, which are the same as used in the Ferrari 308 and many other period cars. They were made under license by Cam Gears UK--yes, they're British! Very similar racks were used in most British cars, and the GT40 rack vaguely resembles it so I suspect that might be a Cam Gears rack as well.
Originally, they were lubricated with 80/90W gear oil. That worked reasonably well so long as the oil actually stayed in the rack. But when the boots became compromised, the oil would leak out, then the rack would run dry and wear would be greatly accelerated.
I've rebuilt about 100 Pantera racks (most recently, one yesterday) and a couple of Ferrari racks. A particularly anal (in a great way!) friend of mine with a Ferrari 308 actually telephoned TRW, who purchased Cam Gears many years ago and continues to make their racks, and spoke with their tech department asking for advice on what to use to fill them.
The engineers there told him that using gear oil was a very old-school method, and that production cars have almost all switched to using a very lightweight and 'slippery' grease. He said to skip the gear oil and use O-weight grease instead (that's how their new racks are filled).
I searched high and low and couldn't find a reasonable source of O-weight grease (except in a 55-gallon drum, no thanks!). However, CRC engine assembly lube is rated at 0 to 1/2 weight, which is pretty damn close. The first 50 or so racks I rebuilt were filled with oil; after I learned about the grease I switched to this CRC engine assembly lube and have never looked back. It delivers a very smooth action, with the greatly added advantage of not ever leaking out.
Do NOT use traditional wheel bearing grease; that stuff is much too thick and sticky, and would lead to stiction in the steering.
Your mileage may vary....
Mike Drew, Vacaville, CA (
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'72 De Tomaso Pantera, '66 Contemporary 427 Cobra, '66 Shelby GT-350 clone, and gearing up for a Superformance Mk 1....