How Do I Know If My Rack & Pinion Is Bad?

You can tell something is wrong with your car when you drive, but how can you tell if it is a rack & pinion problem?

Find a straight and level road with little or no traffic to safely run a few driving tests such as:Installed-Rack-and-Pinion-Chevy

  • When driving straight ahead, can you let go of the wheel without the car drifting off-course? Many refer to this a “pull,” as in “It pulls to the right or left.”
  • When you make a turn, will the steering wheel return by itself to normal position or must you manually straighten the direction? This is sometimes called “sticky steering.”
  • Is there a looseness in the “feel” of the steering wheel? Does it seem that you must turn the wheel too far before the car responds?
  • When driving straight ahead, does it take conscious effort to keep your car driving straight?
  • Does the wheel feel unusually stiff? If power steering fluid is leaking, you may be manually turning the wheel without the power assist.
  • Are you hearing new noises in your car as you drive? Tiny squeals could be a simple slipping belt, but squeals, knocks and hisses should be investigated and scheduled for repair.
  • Do your tires show signs of uneven wear?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to most of these questions, your car needs to be checked by a qualified mechanic for a rack & pinion problem. Repair should be done as soon as possible. Your ability to steer accurately in an emergency is critical to safety. Rocky Mountain Driveline offers expert services for rack & pinion rebuilds.

Rack & Pinion units can be broken, but they can wear out too. The gears are constantly engaged while steering and the wear and tear on metal leads to loose fittings. Bushings and bearings wear out which allows more slippage and looser engagement. Power steering may begin to loose fluid through leaks. Once these problems begin to surface, they may worsen quickly. Rack & pinions may be replaced or rebuilt with comparable safety.

Rocky Mountain Driveline’s experienced technicians rebuild rack & pinions as part of our quality service. You should also have an alignment afterwards for longer tire life and tire safety.

Rocky Mountain Driveline prides ourselves on our reputation for quality work and customer service. Our products are guaranteed and our pricing is easy on your wallet. Don’t let a bad rack & pinion problem ruin your vehicle. For a free estimate, call or stop by today!

Posted in Driveshaft, Rack & Pinion, Steering Gear Box | Tagged , , , |

We Sell Clutches!

Clutch-SalesAt Rocky Mountain Driveline, we truly come through in the clutch. Auto repair is a breeze thanks to the friendly professionals that work in the Denver area. Any automobile clutch can be repaired with ease with the help of the qualified experts you’ll find here. The right price for the right clutch makes the difference between a working car and one that sits in your garage. No matter what type of car you have, you can trust Rocky Mountain Driveline to find you the best clutch to match your vehicle’s needs.

The Denver area has enjoyed the services of Rocky Mountain Driveline for years. They know that a quick stop at the shop puts their vehicle back on the road in no time. Our parts are from the highest-quality manufacturers possible. A simple repair invigorates a vehicle to perform up to its best standards. When your car needs a replacement clutch, bring it to the customer-oriented experts at Rocky Mountain Driveline. You don’t have to worry about second-rate work. The job is done correctly the first time, and we pride ourselves on sending you on your way as happy as you can be.

Clutch

The correct clutch installed in your automobile sets you up for good days ahead on the road. The roads in the Denver area can be difficult to navigate, and are hard on the vehicles that travel on them daily. Vehicles become helpless victims since there is so much asked of them. A trip to Rocky Mountain Driveline offers rest and comfort to your vehicle. Think of how a human feels when they relax at a soothing spa or enjoy a stress-relieving massage. Your vehicle will feel the same way with parts from Rocky Mountain Driveline.

Automobile experts treat each vehicle as a valued piece of equipment. You can be sure that your car will be taken care of with only the highest professionalism you could ever hope to find. Buying a new clutch for that important vehicle you depend on can be easy and safe. Trust the folks at Rocky Mountain Driveline to deliver the best parts in the quickest manner possible.

We feel truly privileged to be able to service the drivers in our great city and state. No job is too big or too small for our talented workers to handle. With so many years of experience, we have seen everything you could possibly come up with. Your vehicle will be as good as new in no time at all, and the service you receive will exceed your lofty expectations. Stop in today and never worry about your clutch again.

Posted in Classic Cars, Clutch, Differentials, Driveshaft, Steering Gear Box | Tagged , , , , , |

Common Issues With Differentials

A differential is a device that allows the wheels on your auto/automobile to rotate at variable speeds. This is a necessary function that engages when your vehicle makes a turn. Regular maintenance can prevent most issues. There are a few common differential issues that can cause your auto/automobile problems and may require repairs or maintenance work.

Dodge-Differential

Rear differential leak.
Differential leaks often occur on high mileage auto/automobiles. Over time, the sealing surface of the differential can develop cuts that lead to fluid leaking out of the axles. To find the leak, you will need to look under the vehicle and raise it up with a jack. Before attempting to make repairs, be sure you are equipped with the proper tools. You will need a drain pan, a wrench and a can of rear differential fluid. Remove the bolts and drain the fluid into the pan. By replacing the fluid, you can more effectively monitor the leak. Replacing the differential fluid should be a regular part of your auto/automobile maintenance.

A damaged ring and pinion.
This typically happens with off road vehicles as a result of getting stuck in mud or other substances. The teeth of the differential have a tendency to break off. Additionally, parts of the differential can break as a result of spinning tires.

Noisy differential.
Noise coming from the differential is often a sign that something is wrong. However, there are a few different situations that can lead to a ring and pinion noise. If the ring and pinion was previously quiet and suddenly began making a loud noise, the gears are most likely wearing out. If the gears make noise during acceleration, you may be dealing with a lubrication issue. Another situation that may cause noise is when the pinion is spinning but the tires are stopped. A broken gear can immobilize the differential and cause a loud crunching sound. Regardless of the sound, if your differential makes noise, there is usually a reason. If you are uncomfortable performing repairs, seek a qualified mechanic to diagnose the problem.

A broken axle.
A broken axle is usually easy to diagnose. After the axle breaks off, you should be able to pull the axle out without removing any bolts. In some cases, the broken axle may fall out on its own.

A burned ring and pinion.
The ring and pinion on your vehicle can sometimes become too hot and parts of the surface teeth get burned off as a result. This is typically caused a lubrication failure. You did not put enough oil in the differential. It is important to perform regular differential maintenance to prevent these types of failures.

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Flywheel Resurfacing

The flywheel is an integral component of any automotive device. Flywheel-ResurfacingThis mechanical gadget is responsible for various key functions in an automobile. For instance, they claim responsibility for the provision of continuous energy in your vehicle. It also ensures that the orientation system is at par. The mechanical device is also responsible for the delivery of energy at fast rates. Due to these immense responsibilities, this spare part is expected to be prone to wear and tear.

This is why resurfacing is necessary; to prevent it from affecting other devices in your automobile. The perfect time to resurface the flywheel is before the installation of the clutch. This is necessary to prevent immediate damage to the latter. Damages would usually manifest themselves in the form of vibrations and chatter. There are certain signs that would warrant the need for resurfacing.

Such signs include hard spots that have discolorations, warping and an uneven texture. As concerns warping, there are some levels that would warrant your immediate attention. To ascertain this, you can use the feeler gauge to measure the extent of warping. Resurfacing would be an imminent solution when the warp-age spans over 0.002 inches of the flywheel diameter.

How To Resurface The Flywheel

The resurfacing process encompasses two techniques, namely grinding and cutting. The latter method involves the use of brake lathes. This is a process that requires astute planning and care to ensure it works out to perfection. Setting up the rotational device on the lathe normally takes time.

On the other hand, grinding encompasses the use of a grinding machine that consists of a block and head. Alternatively, you can resurface this device using a flywheel grinder. Its overhead stone rotates the device during the grinding process. Resurfacind-FlywheelThis produces a flat, smooth feel, which removes a small amount of metal. This is unlike the cutting process where there is always the possibility of removing a lot of metal. The grinding process usually takes a maximum of four minutes.

Other Important Parts

As you resurface, do not forget other tidbits related to the clutch. You must invest in other parts like the disk, release bearings and pressure plates. You could even replace the bushing or pilot bearing if necessary. These parts are integral to the longevity of your clutch system. Also, replacing these parts will not make the resurfacing process a waste of time.

There are many auto dealers that specialize in the resurfacing of these devices. The problem with this scenario is that some of them are not up to consumer standards. Rocky Mountain Driveline has set itself apart from this undesirable trend. The Denver-based automobile spare parts company is a leading provider of resurfacing services in America.

All of its products are American Made and guarantee unrivaled quality and effectiveness. With Rocky Mountain Driveline, you are always sure to reach us in cases of emergency. This is thanks to our long hours and Saturday work days. Before you enlist our services, we will give you a free estimate of the whole resurfacing process.

Your clutch is the cornerstone of your vehicle’s performance. Its effectiveness will depend on how well you look after the flywheel. You can look to Rocky Mountain Driveline as a dependable partner.

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Rebuilt Brakes For Your Antique or Classic Car

If you own a classic car, you’re going to have to get the brakes rebuilt eventually. Like death and taxes, brakes are inevitable. Whether your ride is a muscled-up late 1960s big block monster or a pre-1940 traditional hot rod, there has to be a way to get it to stop. Fortunately, a brakes rebuild for your vintage automobile is as close as Rocky Mountain Driveline.

57-Chevy-Bel-Air

At the turn of the century, when automobiles were still in their infancy, brakes were considerably less sophisticated than they are today. Remember that most cars in those days weren’t capable of speeds much greater than 15 miles per hour! The braking systems in these “horseless carriages” were literally a holdover from the days of the horse and cart. A wooden block was used to apply friction to the steel-rimmed wheel of the automobile, actuated by a handle beside the driver. This was bound to change, of course, as steel rims gave way to rubber tires. With the added comfort, convenience and traction, also came the necessity of producing a new, more efficient brake system that wouldn’t melt the vehicle’s tires.

Classic cars after that time used a forerunner of a system still in use today. The drum brake was developed specifically to answer the challenge of the new rubber tire with regards to bringing the horseless carriage to a stop. Drum braking systems on antique cars came in several varieties. One of the first was a drum band brake, which used a band to produce friction against the outside surface of a drum. Another used brake shoes on the outside of the drum. While these were effective for stopping the vehicle under ordinary conditions, they proved ineffective when the roads were wet or dusty. Since most roads in the early 1900s were dirt roads, that meant that drivers were pretty much out of luck regardless of what the weather was doing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The modern drum brake came shortly thereafter. Comprised of two shoes, a brake drum, and several springs and levers, drum brakes that had the shoes on the inside of the drum proved to be vastly superior to the previous style. In order to rebuild drum brakes of these early classic cars, having the right parts to perform the work is only half the story. Drum brake systems can be notoriously difficult to service, and if your classic car has been stationary for a while, having an experienced mechanic appraise the condition of the brakes and perform the necessary repairs will save you a lot of hassle and money. One of the biggest problems that do-it-yourselfers might run into is misalignment of the brake shoes and failure to correctly install the drum brake springs. Such problems can lead to cracked drums or shoes, noisy brake performance, and even failure of the brake system.

On some cars, a brake rebuild simply won’t do. For instance, if you’ve recently upgraded the engine of your vehicle, and it produces much more horsepower than it did when it rolled off the assembly line, the stock system may not be able to handle the strain. Drums, while effective, still have limitations. One of those is comparatively weak braking when compared with modern disc braking systems. Fortunately, retrofit kits are available that modify the front drums to discs. In order to make certain that your antique or classic vehicle drives right, professional installation is highly recommended for these kits.

A brake rebuild for classic cars is one aspect of classic automotive maintenance that you should avoid skipping. Keeping your classic car well-maintained not only ensures that it stays in prime condition, but also that it’s safe to take out on those Sunday drives!

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History of Transmissions: Automatic vs Manual!

If you have ever wondered what the differences are between a manual or automatic transmission, there are several things you should know about how the system works. The way you use a vehicle and the type of driving you do can make a difference on which type of transmission you may want. Here is a quick description of the types of transmissions and what they can do for you.

Manual-TransmissionWhen the idea of a gas-powered engine first began, the system needed a mechanism that would transfer power from the engine to the wheels. After a number of system designs were tried, the first working transmission and drivetrain was designed in 1877. The transmission was a manual style, requiring the driver to manually shift gears to operate the system. Because of its rough design, the original drivetrain required regular repairs to keep it running.

The drivetrains of these early vehicles were much simpler in design, using reduction gears to operate the shaft and pulleys of the system. The pulleys used leather belts to run the system and the early designs were a simple high and low gear design. The leather belts often wore out, requiring regular repairs and replacement of the gears and belts.

Automatic-Transmission

Many changes in design have been made over the decades since the original drivetrain was designed. In an attempt to increase productivity and make driving easier, designers began working on the idea of an automatic unit. A semi-automatic design was created and used in a General Motors vehicle in 1937 and the designs continued to improve until a genuine automatic drivetrain was installed in a 1948 Oldsmobile. The Hydro-Matic was designed by an engineer from GM and the design staff continued to redesign the system over the years. Automotive technology changes helped to improve the way the drivetrain operated and more designs were created by various automotive manufacturer’s including the Powerflite, Torqueflite, Jetaway and more.

Americans seem to prefer the automatic units with over 80 percent of new cars sold with the newer drivetrain while European drivers seem to prefer the more hands-on style. Ford-Mustang-Automatic-TransmissionIt is much easier to drive an automatic system and some areas of the country require that you take your drivers test with a manual system, even if you will be operating an automatic, just to prove your proficiency in operating the more difficult drivetrain system. The modern system allows you to operate the vehicle from a column shift or floor shift without the need of using a clutch to engage the drivetrain.

The differences between the two types of systems have more to do with the type of driving that you do. If you are looking to get more power from your engine, the manual style still gives you better acceleration from 0-60 mph while the automated style tends to be easier on the gears and requires less repair and maintenance. The size engine you choose also has a lot to do with the drivetrain. Smaller engine sizes would be better off using the manual style to achieve power going up hills and for passing vehicles, while larger engines do not require as much hands on activity.

Another reason for choosing one over the other could be any physical handicaps the driver may have. In order to operate the manual system, you need to be able to depress the clutch with your foot while operating the stick shift with your hand. Some drivers may not have the physical ability to do this, while other drivers just prefer the simplicity of the easier system. Both systems have specific benefits while repairs could very between the two.

Posted in Driveshaft, Steering Gear Box | Tagged , |

Troubleshooting Your Power Steering Pump

How does it work?

The pump itself draws in fluid from a return line and pressurizes it. This system has to make enough pressure to turn the wheels at idle, requiring a valve to control pressure when the engine is running at higher speeds.

Power-Steering-Pump-Toyota

This fluid is directed into a valve body around the steering shaft. If the wheel is straight, the incoming fluid passes around the body into the return lines. However, once the wheel starts turning, it blocks off some of the passages, causing the fluid to exert rotational pressure. It’s this application of hydraulic power that makes the vehicle easier to steer.

What can go wrong with power steering?

Power-Steering-Pump-Jeep

If there isn’t enough fluid in the system, there is air in the system, there is a leak in the system or there are contaminants in the fluid, there won’t be enough fluid pressure to power the system. Blockages can reduce pressure at idle, making the vehicle difficult to turn at low speeds yet behave normally at street and highway speeds.

If the pump or drive belt fails, turning the steering wheel operates the steering rack manually while also pushing fluid through the lines. This makes it extremely difficult to steer. If either part is near failure, there will be noise when turning, particularly when making sharp turns.

How can these problems be addressed?

The power steering pump should be located next to the engine, with a clearly marked reservoir attached to it. There should be a dipstick on the inside of the cap: Some vehicle have “hot” and “cold” markings, but readings will be more accurate if the fluid level is checked while the engine is cold. Power-Steering-Pump-FixThe type of fluid required should be marked on the top of the cap. Old fluid can be removed using a syringe. Fluid that is shiny or has metal filings is a sure sign that the pump is near failure.

In some vehicles, it’s normal to hear some noise when the wheel is turned all the way to full lock, but constant noise is usually due to a slipping drive belt. Some flexing of the belt is OK: A tight belt can pull on the drive pulley, causing rapid bearing wear. If the belt is in good shape and properly tensioned, the problem is usually worn bearings.

Leaks usually occur at the hoses or a kinked line: Follow the path of these parts from the pump to the steering rack and look for any obvious leaks. Leaks from the pump are less common, but are usually caused by holes in sheet metal fluid reservoirs or a bad seal on a plastic reservoir.

Posted in Driveshaft, Steering Gear Box | Tagged , , |

Transfer Cases and Their Function

The transfer case is used in both 4wheel and all wheel drive vehicles. It is attached to the rear of the transmission and receives power directly from the transmission. If the driver selects 4wheel drive mode, the transfer case (using a set of gears or chains) will transfer the power to both the front and rear axles as to supply power to all four wheels. The primary difference between the transfer case in a 4wheel drive vehicle and that of an all wheel drive vehicle is that the latter does not offer an additional torque multiplying low gear ratio.

transfer-case-cutaway

In true off-road 4wheel drive vehicles, the transfer case has two gear ranges. If the driver selects 4-Hi, power is supplied to all four wheels, but a gear ratio of 1:1 is generally used, which supplies no torque multiplication. If the driver selects 4-Lo, power is supplied to all four wheels using a lower gear ratio, which multiplies the torque from the transmission. This makes climbing hills considerably easier. For example, a gear ratio of 3:1 might be used for the low range. This means the transmission input turns three times for every turn of the output driveshafts.

Generally, a transfer case using gears is noisier and heavier, but the gears tend to be stronger than chain driven units. Gear driven cases are generally better for extreme use in off road situations because they can withstand larger torque loads and they do not stretch like chains. Chain driven units have become a standard for most vehicles in production today. They are used on both small and full-size trucks and SUVs. Chains are quieter and smoother making them more suitable for vehicles that are primarily meant for the road.

Transfer-Case

In all wheel drive cars, there is a need to allow for driveline slip to avoid binding the driveline. This is generally accomplished by including differential gears inside the case. These gears can also be locked to provide maximum traction.

In hybrid systems such as the Jeep Quadra Trac, the transfer case is designed to allow automatic electronic engagement of a clutch pack to direct engine torque to the axle with the most traction. Normally, the rear wheels will be given 100% torque, but if they should lose traction, the Quadra Trac will supply torque to the front wheels instead.

Posted in CV Axle, Driveshaft | Tagged , , , |

How Differentials Work

An automotive differential is a set of gears placed in the driveline which splits engine power to the axles allowing the right and left tires to turn at different speeds. This is necessary because as a vehicle makes a right turn, the right tire will travel a slightly shorter distance. On a traditional rear-wheel-drive vehicle, a large ring gear is driven by the driveshaft. The ring gear is attached to a carrier. The carrier contains two sun gears (one sun gear is connected to each axle) and a pair of planetary gears that are meshed with each of the sun gears. During a right turn, the right axle turns slower causing the planetary gears to begin spinning inside the carrier. Slip-DiffernetialThe spinning of the planetary gears allows the left sun gear to turn faster than the right; therefore, the left wheel turns faster than the right one. In a straight line, the planetary gear only rotates with the carrier and ring gear and does not spin (except a tiny amount to make up for slight variations in tire size or road irregularities.) Front-wheel-drive vehicles have a mechanism similar to this contained within the transmission in front. Located in the Denver area, Rocky Mountain Driveline is your full service shop when it comes to auto driveshafts. We rebuild all types of driveshafts and CV axles. Give us a call so we can help you keep your auto in top shape at a reasonable price.

The open differential described above suffers from a lack of traction in some circumstances. This is because it supplies equal torque to each axle. If one tire is on ice and the other is on dry pavement, very little torque is supplied to the dry tire since only enough torque is distributed to spin the ice tire. Because of this problem, the “locking differential” was developed to supply maximum engine torque to both axles in almost all conditions. The “Detroit Locker” is a famous example. Some “lockers” can lock automatically or can be selectively locked by the driver. In either case, they provide the maximum available torque to the wheels making the axle act as if it were one piece. If you are in the Denver area and are having trouble with your driveline, give us a call and we will get you back on the road as soon as possible.

A part-time four-wheel-drive vehicle incorporates a front and rear differential with a transfer case. The transfer case when engaged causes all four wheels to be locked to nearly the same rate. A separate driveshaft from the transfer case is connected to the front and rear differentials. This causes some problems with drivability because poor traction on the opposing axle can result when any tire loses traction. The solution is to provide a “limited-slip” or a “locker” so that maximum engine torque can be applied.

Differential

Rocky Mountain Driveline can rebuild transfer cases and transmissions for your auto. We also provide brake work for antique and classic autos. We even fabricate custom carbon fiber driveshafts. If you are in the Denver area, give us a call and let us describe our services in more detail.

In an all-wheel-drive auto, there is a front, rear and center differential to allow the wheels to turn at different rates. This makes the vehicle easier to drive than the conventional part-time four-wheel-drive. No matter what type of vehicle you drive, Rocky Mountain Driveline, located in the Denver area, can provide you with the highest quality CV axles and driveshafts at an affordable price.

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Rack and Pinion Rebuilds

Your car’s rack & pinion steering system is your link to the road, providing safe, responsive handling and that road-hugging feel car enthusiasts love when it functions properly. However, as the miles build on your car’s steering system, you may find that it’s time for a rack & pinion rebuild to preserve your vehicle’s ability to perform safely for you and your family. rack-and-pinionWhen that time comes, bring your car into the Denver area’s premier auto care affilaite at Rocky Mountain Driveline.

Rack & pinion steering is a very basic technology that has been tried and true since the very first automobiles. Consisting of a toothed rack which slides side to side and a toothed pinion gear which rotates, rack & pinion steering takes advantage of the simplicity inherent with just a few moving parts. Its simplicity makes rack & pinion systems very reliable. Degradations, however, like stripped gears or loss of lubrication do occur as a result of continued use.

Rough or noisy wheel response can be a symptom of a system in need of repair. The consequences of ignoring an ailing system can be very serious. A misalignment or irregularity can lead to a loss of vehicle control. It is important to listen for problems and have your car’s symptoms diagnosed by a qualified mechanic who can repair your vehicle as needed to steer clear of a dangerous situation on the road.

rackpinion-rebuilt

Your car’s steering should feel smooth and fluid at all times. Any strange noises, resistance or vibrations are not normal and should be looked at by an expert, certified mechanic. Of all the systems in your car, those which allow you to steer and stop your vehicle are perhaps the most vital to safe operation.

A rack & pinion rebuild performed by our specialists at Rocky Mountain Driveline is just what your vehicle needs when it’s time to smooth out that steering system.

Rocky Mountain Driveline is the best choice in car care, rebuilds and maintenance for Denver area drivers because we’ve been serving the Denver area with top-notch service for over 35 years. Many repairs can be completed without buying an expensive new part because our team of expert technicians are highly qualified to rebuild, refinish and refurbish durable parts on your car like flywheels, bearings and rack & pinion steering systems.

Posted in Steering Gear Box | Tagged , |