Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

DIY Steering Rack Replacement 2016 Model S

GreyS

Member
Aug 2, 2019
8
8
UK
Just had my power steering fail on my 2016 Model S 85D. Car is now out of warranty and Tesla remote diagnostics suggest that a steering rack replacement may be required. Part alone with be £3,000. Following the Tesla recall and Steering Rack motor bolt replacement I had the clicking/popping sounds on hard lock when reversing out pf parking spaces etc, but not sure if this is related to this later failure.

The power steering failed reversing out of a parking space. Had to drive an hour home and it was hard work. You can hear the power steering motor trying but there is no assist being given and I have the errors on screen saying auto steer unavailable, park assist unavailable.

My brother is a mechanic so I think a DIY replacement of the rack is an option. I can source one for around £400 in the UK.

My question is how hard a DIY job is this on a RHD dual motor. There looks to be good access to the steering rack but from what I could find of manuals online it seems you have to remove the sub frame etc?

Is just replacing the motor an option and leaving the rest of the rack in place?

Any advice from those that have done this would be much appreciated.....
 

GreyS

Member
Aug 2, 2019
8
8
UK
Just had my power steering fail on my 2016 Model S 85D. Car is now out of warranty and Tesla remote diagnostics suggest that a steering rack replacement may be required. Part alone with be £3,000. Following the Tesla recall and Steering Rack motor bolt replacement I had the clicking/popping sounds on hard lock when reversing out pf parking spaces etc, but not sure if this is related to this later failure.

The power steering failed reversing out of a parking space. Had to drive an hour home and it was hard work. You can hear the power steering motor trying but there is no assist being given and I have the errors on screen saying auto steer unavailable, park assist unavailable.

My brother is a mechanic so I think a DIY replacement of the rack is an option. I can source one for around £400 in the UK.

My question is how hard a DIY job is this on a RHD dual motor. There looks to be good access to the steering rack but from what I could find of manuals online it seems you have to remove the sub frame etc?

Is just replacing the motor an option and leaving the rest of the rack in place?

Any advice from those that have done this would be much appreciated.....
Steering rack model is GJ32-3504-AA. Visually everything looks ok. I was able to drive it back although the steering was extremely heavy of course so I think mechanically the rest of the rack must be ok. Really just debating if swapping the motor for a reconditioned one is the first thing to try or not. If the entire rack is an easy replacement then I will likely go for that and not have to worry about tensioning the belt, adjusting the tracking etc.

2021-06-17_14-27-54.png
 

GreyS

Member
Aug 2, 2019
8
8
UK
Steering rack model is GJ32-3504-AA. Visually everything looks ok. I was able to drive it back although the steering was extremely heavy of course so I think mechanically the rest of the rack must be ok. Really just debating if swapping the motor for a reconditioned one is the first thing to try or not. If the entire rack is an easy replacement then I will likely go for that and not have to worry about tensioning the belt, adjusting the tracking etc.

View attachment 674378
Just had my power steering fail on my 2016 Model S 85D. Car is now out of warranty and Tesla remote diagnostics suggest that a steering rack replacement may be required. Part alone with be £3,000. Following the Tesla recall and Steering Rack motor bolt replacement I had the clicking/popping sounds on hard lock when reversing out pf parking spaces etc, but not sure if this is related to this later failure.

The power steering failed reversing out of a parking space. Had to drive an hour home and it was hard work. You can hear the power steering motor trying but there is no assist being given and I have the errors on screen saying auto steer unavailable, park assist unavailable.

My brother is a mechanic so I think a DIY replacement of the rack is an option. I can source one for around £400 in the UK.

My question is how hard a DIY job is this on a RHD dual motor. There looks to be good access to the steering rack but from what I could find of manuals online it seems you have to remove the sub frame etc?

Is just replacing the motor an option and leaving the rest of the rack in place?

Any advice from those that have done this would be much appreciated.....
Update in case it helps anyone else. I managed to purchase a second hand steering rack. To remove the old one is a bit of a job on the AWD model, the RWD where you have no front motor would make it a lot easier.

They could have simplified things a lot by having the mounting brackets bolted to the sub-frame and not welded. In the end the sub-frame had to be loosened to provide a little more movement. The arms were removed from the rack before trying to get the rack out. Took about 2 hours to get it out a fair bit of that was working out how.

One surprise was that the replacement rack upon replacement did not work. Horrible metallic sound when trying to turn the wheel. Turns out that the parts reseller must have taken the motor off when the dismantled the donor vehicle and so the belt had lost its tension. This could have destroyed the belt if we had not stopped and rectified immediately.

After tensioning in-situ all was fine. The tracking was out which was expected but just had that done done by a local garage and everything seems to be back to normal. I'll test auto pilot when I am on the motorway next but I think it will work as normal without the need for calibration.

The rack is badged Land Rover but I could not find the same part advertised online so it may have been made for Tesla specifically. Its close to the model used on the Evoque based on pictures.

Total time was 4 hours.

Looking at the old rack the belt had snapped. I have a suspicion that when the Aluminium bolts were replaced for the stainless ones there was a loss of belt tension which was why the ranger had to get the car towed to the SC. The rack seems to be the original one so I think they tensioned the belt. I always had a slight noise at full lock after the bolt replacement which in hindsight I think was the belt slipping a notch or two. Eventually this probably wore the belt as the damage to it is all in the same area.

Not something I can prove but seems to make sense from the work that was done and the damage seen to the belt.

Looks like the belt can be replaced but you would have to remove the rack to do so.
 

beatle

Active Member
Aug 31, 2019
1,247
684
Springfield, VA
My car has had the bolts replaced prior to my ownership, and I had them add the shims and replace the bolts again (under warranty) shortly after I took delivery due to a popping noise from the steering column. 17k miles later I'm getting the noise again, I think. I still have a few months left on the warranty and I'm wondering if the replaced parts are failing in some way or if it's another issue.
 

GreyS

Member
Aug 2, 2019
8
8
UK
My car has had the bolts replaced prior to my ownership, and I had them add the shims and replace the bolts again (under warranty) shortly after I took delivery due to a popping noise from the steering column. 17k miles later I'm getting the noise again, I think. I still have a few months left on the warranty and I'm wondering if the replaced parts are failing in some way or if it's another issue.
I definitely think there is a risk of belt tension having been lost during the bolt change. The popping sound on my S was almost certainly the belt skipping and not the rack moving due to bolt stretch. Tensioning the motor further may resolve but it will depend if the belt is worn. If you are in warranty I would get them to resolve the popping noise. Out of warranty I would remove the motor (3 bolts) check the belt and re-tension. 20 minute job if the belt is ok.
 

Gtech

Member
Dec 4, 2016
536
649
Netherlands, Berkel en Rodenrijs
Update in case it helps anyone else. I managed to purchase a second hand steering rack. To remove the old one is a bit of a job on the AWD model, the RWD where you have no front motor would make it a lot easier.

They could have simplified things a lot by having the mounting brackets bolted to the sub-frame and not welded. In the end the sub-frame had to be loosened to provide a little more movement. The arms were removed from the rack before trying to get the rack out. Took about 2 hours to get it out a fair bit of that was working out how.

One surprise was that the replacement rack upon replacement did not work. Horrible metallic sound when trying to turn the wheel. Turns out that the parts reseller must have taken the motor off when the dismantled the donor vehicle and so the belt had lost its tension. This could have destroyed the belt if we had not stopped and rectified immediately.

After tensioning in-situ all was fine. The tracking was out which was expected but just had that done done by a local garage and everything seems to be back to normal. I'll test auto pilot when I am on the motorway next but I think it will work as normal without the need for calibration.

The rack is badged Land Rover but I could not find the same part advertised online so it may have been made for Tesla specifically. Its close to the model used on the Evoque based on pictures.

Total time was 4 hours.

Looking at the old rack the belt had snapped. I have a suspicion that when the Aluminium bolts were replaced for the stainless ones there was a loss of belt tension which was why the ranger had to get the car towed to the SC. The rack seems to be the original one so I think they tensioned the belt. I always had a slight noise at full lock after the bolt replacement which in hindsight I think was the belt slipping a notch or two. Eventually this probably wore the belt as the damage to it is all in the same area.

Not something I can prove but seems to make sense from the work that was done and the damage seen to the belt.

Looks like the belt can be replaced but you would have to remove the rack to do so.
Thanks for sharing. Did you have to do redeploy or any sort of coding for the new steering rack or is it plug n play?
 

GreyS

Member
Aug 2, 2019
8
8
UK
Thanks for sharing. Did you have to do redeploy or any sort of coding for the new steering rack or is it plug n play?
No coding is needed, there are just two cables to plug in. The rack is a fairly standard one made by Land Rover. Seems to be the same as that from an Evoque. Only its the LHD version that fits into RHD UK Tesla's. However I purchased a used one that came out of a Tesla to be safe.

Something to be mindful of when you put the new rack in is that you should have the wheel centred when you remove the old rack and then make sure your replacement rack is set to roughly right right position (use a measuring tape to see how much of the rack arm is extended). If you don't do this then you may end up with your steering wheel a long way off centre.

It may not be possible to manually turn the new rack easily against the motor with it off the car (you have a huge leverage with a steering wheel. We got around this by connecting the cables to it before fitting it into place so supply power to it and you can then easily turn the rack by hand. Disconnect the cables and you can then refit to the steering column.

Your tracking will likely be a little out when refitted. A local garage sorted that out for me in 15 mins. My steering wheel was around 5 degrees off before the tracking was adjusted. Autopilot is working perfectly etc. No need for an calibration by Tesla etc. It really is fairly standard running gear. The mechanic doing the alignment commented that a lot of the components he could see are Mercedes ones. Seems Tesla (at least these earlier ones) use a lot of off the shelf components from different manufacturers.

Removing the Aluminium plates attached to the subframe and loosening the subframe (remove all mounting bolts) was needed to get enough movement to pull the rack out on the AWD model. I think a RWD version would come out in 20 mins. We had access to a lift. You could do it on ramps but it would not be as easy.
 
  • Informative
  • Like
Reactions: GazMav and Gtech

GazMav

Member
May 19, 2021
22
17
UK
Hi @Gtech ,
When you replaced the rack did you use your existing steering motor?
The reason I ask is I have tried to replace the motor with a used one and it's not working, the part number on the motor was slightly different.

It could be a bad motor or maybe they sent one from an Evoque.
It literally does nothing when I plug everything in, tried it out of the rack to see if it moves and also tried it in the rack, torque against the belt.

I'm not sure what else to try.
 

Gtech

Member
Dec 4, 2016
536
649
Netherlands, Berkel en Rodenrijs
Hi @Gtech ,
When you replaced the rack did you use your existing steering motor?
The reason I ask is I have tried to replace the motor with a used one and it's not working, the part number on the motor was slightly different.

It could be a bad motor or maybe they sent one from an Evoque.
It literally does nothing when I plug everything in, tried it out of the rack to see if it moves and also tried it in the rack, torque against the belt.

I'm not sure what else to try.

Did you check the fuses also?
Screenshot_20210901-212838_Drive.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: GazMav

GazMav

Member
May 19, 2021
22
17
UK
Thanks, I did check the big 60A one and ensured pin 6 was seeing 12v on 'startup'.
I even powered pin 6 myself to bypass CAN expecting it to default to a safe mode, which it didn't.

My previous motor was causing a violent vibration all the time like it was stuck in lane departure mode, hence why I was trying to remove CAN to determine if the motor ECU was faulty or something is sending CAN messages to trigger lane departure - fun these cars :-(
 

GreyS

Member
Aug 2, 2019
8
8
UK
Hi @Gtech ,
When you replaced the rack did you use your existing steering motor?
The reason I ask is I have tried to replace the motor with a used one and it's not working, the part number on the motor was slightly different.

It could be a bad motor or maybe they sent one from an Evoque.
It literally does nothing when I plug everything in, tried it out of the rack to see if it moves and also tried it in the rack, torque against the belt.

I'm not sure what else to try.
Hi, I used the motor that came with the replacement rack but they should be interchangeable. You just need to remove the three bolts securing it and make sure you tension the original against the belt before tightening them back up. You can use a lever or some wedges between the rack and motor housing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GazMav

BostonBurley

Member
Jan 13, 2021
138
54
South Pas
My car has had the bolts replaced prior to my ownership, and I had them add the shims and replace the bolts again (under warranty) shortly after I took delivery due to a popping noise from the steering column. 17k miles later I'm getting the noise again, I think. I still have a few months left on the warranty and I'm wondering if the replaced parts are failing in some way or if it's another issue.
I was in your shoes and it ended up being the upper control arm bolt (directly above the front tire) needed tightened really snug and noise disappeared. It didn’t feel loose but I was able to snug it up 1/2 turn and then some and that must’ve been it. Worth checking.
 

Gtech

Member
Dec 4, 2016
536
649
Netherlands, Berkel en Rodenrijs
Thanks, I did check the big 60A one and ensured pin 6 was seeing 12v on 'startup'.
I even powered pin 6 myself to bypass CAN expecting it to default to a safe mode, which it didn't.

My previous motor was causing a violent vibration all the time like it was stuck in lane departure mode, hence why I was trying to remove CAN to determine if the motor ECU was faulty or something is sending CAN messages to trigger lane departure - fun these cars :-(
Great, so you checked a lot already.

So the old motor is vibrating and the 'new' one is doing nothing correct? When the old motor vibrates did you have working power steering also?

Do you have any fault codes at all? I assume you already tried disconnecting HV loop and 12V battery to reset?

About that safe mode you mention, is this something you know for sure or an assumption? I have a working spare steering rack with motor so I could try it this weekend.
 

GazMav

Member
May 19, 2021
22
17
UK
Great, so you checked a lot already.

So the old motor is vibrating and the 'new' one is doing nothing correct? When the old motor vibrates did you have working power steering also?

Do you have any fault codes at all? I assume you already tried disconnecting HV loop and 12V battery to reset?

About that safe mode you mention, is this something you know for sure or an assumption? I have a working spare steering rack with motor so I could try it this weekend.
Thanks for the reply,
Correct, the old motor vibrates and the new one does nothing (I noticed I get a 'missing in action' code w036 so it's like it's not even plugged in) something I will check further tonight.
With the old motor in I do get power steering, it makes it hard to drive due to the vibration but it does work. The vibration gets better with speed (assuming it has less input when going fast). When I say vibration, it's a violent shaking of the wheel.

RE: Safe mode - just my assumption from reading about people using power steering motors on their project cars - I've not seen it with this rack so complete guess.

I'll have another try tonight, I might try to find a motor with the exact part number, I think that's my only option - funnily enough I do have a RR Evoque that I could pull the motor from and try - might end up with 2 paper weights then :)

Appreciate the replies,

Thanks again
 

Gtech

Member
Dec 4, 2016
536
649
Netherlands, Berkel en Rodenrijs
Thanks for the reply,
Correct, the old motor vibrates and the new one does nothing (I noticed I get a 'missing in action' code w036 so it's like it's not even plugged in) something I will check further tonight.
With the old motor in I do get power steering, it makes it hard to drive due to the vibration but it does work. The vibration gets better with speed (assuming it has less input when going fast). When I say vibration, it's a violent shaking of the wheel.

RE: Safe mode - just my assumption from reading about people using power steering motors on their project cars - I've not seen it with this rack so complete guess.

I'll have another try tonight, I might try to find a motor with the exact part number, I think that's my only option - funnily enough I do have a RR Evoque that I could pull the motor from and try - might end up with 2 paper weights then :)

Appreciate the replies,

Thanks again

Since your old motor does have working power steering it seems to me that your new motor is broken or indeed wrong part nr for your car.

Can you post numbers or pictures that are on both pumps?
 
  • Like
Reactions: GazMav

GazMav

Member
May 19, 2021
22
17
UK
Since your old motor does have working power steering it seems to me that your new motor is broken or indeed wrong part nr for your car.

Can you post numbers or pictures that are on both pumps?

I think you are right on the wrong part. the top one is the original, the lower is the 'new' part. I didn't have much to choose from when trying to source this.
I have found an ECU repair company that can test and repair these so I'll give them a try with the original.

20210902_191644.jpg
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Gtech

Gtech

Member
Dec 4, 2016
536
649
Netherlands, Berkel en Rodenrijs
I think you are right on the wrong part. the top one is the original, the lower is the 'new' part. I didn't have much to choose from when trying to source this.
I have found an ECU repair company that can test and repair these so I'll give them a try with the original.

View attachment 704439
Here are pictures of my spare motor.

20210904_093840.jpg

They match exactly with your original motor. (I got a rack for LHD Tesla so nice to know they share the same motor)

Also the time stamp of your new motor is 01-2017. I did some research and found below result. Below are all RHD part nr's from EPC:

1453629-00-B (before 03-2016)
1459636-00-A (03-2016 - 08-2017)
1070806-00-E (08-2017- present) This rack is used for AP2.5 and upwards vehicles (steering rack with extra redundancy)

Seeing your original motor timestamp you have a 1453629-00-A/B steering rack and the new motor you got is probably from a 1459636-00-A. (maybe you could get a VIN build date from the company you got that motor from)

Also, are you sure the size of the gear is exactly the same? They look different in size.

20210902_191644.jpg
 

GazMav

Member
May 19, 2021
22
17
UK
Thanks @Gtech for doing all that research, really appreciate it.
After I posted the pic I did notice the physical difference including the gearing size.
I have sent my original to an ECU specialist who an test and repair these.
I've also sent back that other motor for a refund.
I'll keep an eye out for a motor with same part number and keep this thread updated if I can get the original repaired.

Thanks again.
 

GazMav

Member
May 19, 2021
22
17
UK
Hi All,
Update to my crazy steering vibration, I ordered a used full rack (£460) as I couldn't find a steering motor being sold with matching part number. The rack matched exactly to my original.
I removed the motor from the 'new' rack and bolted to the original (keeping tension as I did), success, no more vibration and nice smooth power steering again.
So it was a faulty motor and as others have said, no coding needed.

Thanks again for help and hopefully this will help someone out in future.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gtech

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top