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Rack & pinion steering has been around for quite awhile and remains the most common type of steering system in todays cars and minivans. Fluid leaks around the pinion input shaft are also an indication of internal leakage that needs to be repaired.
The appearance and condition of the power steering fluid in the pump reservoir can reveal a great deal about the condition of a rack.
Other problems that can afflict racks include loose or torn bellows (boots), worn inner tie rod sockets, worn outer tie rod ends, and loose or broken rack mounts. Any time a steering problem is suspected, you should test drive the vehicle to confirm the complaint. Start the dry park check by leaving the steering column unlocked and reaching up and rocking the steering input shaft from underneath the vehicle. If you find the steering pulls to one side while driving the vehicle, it might be due to an alignment problem or it might be due to a leaky spool valve that is routing pressure to one side of the rack.
If the steering feels stiff and requires a lot of effort, the rack piston seal may be leaking pressure or the pump may not be producing adequate pressure.
Normal operating pressures within a power rack generally do not exceed 150 psi when the wheels are straight ahead. Steering wander and looseness can be caused by play in the rack, rack mounts or steering linkage (worn tie rod ends or sockets). Once a rack has been removed from a vehicle, the power steering pump and lines must be flushed to remove all the old fluid.
NOTE: The Motorist Assurance Program now recommends changing the power steering fluid every 50,000 miles, or any time components such as the steering rack, pump or hoses are replaced. Flushing can be accomplished by raising the front wheels off the ground and pouring fresh fluid through the pump reservoir allowing the fluid to drain out the return line. When installing the pressure lines on the rack, extreme care must be taken not to overtighten the fittings.
Following the flushing procedure, refill the power steering pump reservoir with the type of PS fluid specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
Next, disable he ignition and crank the engine over several times while observing the fluid in the pump reservoir.
Another trick that can be used to purge trapped air from a rack is to raise up one side of the vehicle with a floor jack, then the other while cycling the steering back and forth. On some systems, the use of a power steering pump air evacuator (Devac tool) is required to purge the air from the system. Realignment of the toe setting will be necessary after replacing a rack, inner sockets or outer tie rod ends, so make sure the small outer clamp on the rack bellows has been tightened after the wheels have been realigned.
If you are replacing a General Motors center take-off rack, make sure the center housing cover washer goes between the inner tie rods and rack. The GM variable ratio racks can be identified by letters stamped into the pinion dust cover, by inspecting the teeth on the rack itself, or by counting how many turns of the steering wheel it takes to go from lock-to-lock. If you are replacing a rack on an air bag-equipped vehicle, do not rotate the steering wheel while the rack is disconnected. Trust me when I tell you that we are truly sorry for missing two episodes of Showtime’s finest. This was created by two corporate whores who needed an outlet to admire beautiful men, say inappropriate, yet often-times profound things, and occasionally ruminate on personal shit that really has no value to anyone who may read it, but we feel like saying it anyway. For those looking for a pre-owned Moto Guzzi California, something to be aware of is a recall that involved several 2003 to 2005 models.
Those California 1100 engines were designed with hydraulic tappets.  Because of some manufacturing problems, a recall campaign was issued by Moto Guzzi for refitting these engines with new components. If the present owner is not sure, you should check the VIN number with a dealer to find out if the recall service was performed on the bike.
There were two groups of bikes addressed, one was the group of unsold Calis and the other was the group that was already sold. The remedy was to inspect the wear of the cam, and if found to be excessive, to inspect the oil sump and engine for metallic debris.  Aside from replacing the cam and tappets, the engine itself would need to be overhauled if the metallic debris was found to have circulated through the engine. To do the fix, dealers needed to order two different kits which were readied for delivery around February of 2005. Moto Guzzi California Special replaced the Bassa in 2001, but even with it’s short few years of existence, the Bassa name continues to hold a special place in the history and evolution of the Guzzi California. The often debated retro style tail light from the California Vintage now also comes on the Guzzi Black Eagle Edition California. Update; got t-boned by red light runner on my kawasaki shortly after last post, healed up, got a corbin seat (stock seat sucks) in Hollister on the cali and put some miles on it, I love my EV!

Dan, sorry to hear about the unfortunate experience you had in San Jose, but don’t give up on dealers altogether, Munroe Motors in San Francisco may be your closest Guzzi dealer and they have been around since 1958. Moto Guzzi seems to have pulled out of South Africa and I have no real history on my Guzzi. Hello Andy, Nothing against the HQ, but I think you should double-check it at Moto Guzzi dealer just top be sure of that to avoid any worry. Hi , I have a 2003 cali ev with a hydro engine but my frame number does not match any on the recall list above.
So it’s the 2002 model, does this mean this motor doesn’t have the tappet problem?
Engine oil: RACING 4T 5W-40 Oil to be compulsorily used for a correct operation of hydraulic tappets. Contamination can occur if the power steering pump is failing, if the hoses are deteriorating, or if the fluid is contaminated by moisture or other substances. Seal wear can allow fluid to seep out of the power cylinder into the end bellows on the rack. Though seal kits are available for many applications, installing seals is a delicate art that requires numerous special tools, and is not always successful. Damaged bellows should always be replaced because they protect the inner tie rod sockets from road splash and contamination. This test involves rocking the steering back and forth with the full weight of the vehicle on the wheels (use a ramp type lift).
Either by pinching the bellows or by sliding the bellows back for direct observation, you should see no visible motion. The spike mount is a simple rubber tube with a metal sleeve inside through which a bolt passes to mount the rack to the crossmember or firewall.
If the control valve that shunts pressure sticks open, the rack may not have much assist at low speed.
The dry park check we described earlier should help you isolate the cause of the looseness.
Long racks come completely assembled and ready to install with new inner tie rods, bellows and mounts. Skipping this important step will shorten the life of the replacement rack by circulating all the contaminants from the dirty fluid right back into the new rack.
Tilting the vehicle sideways causes the air inside the rack to rise toward the end of the rack where it can find its way out. If this washer is omitted or installed on top of the tie rods, the tie rod bolts will extend too far through the rack and contact the inside of the rack housing. Most people want the same steering feel as before, so make sure you get the correct replacement rack for your car. Racks with standard gears typically have three plus turns lock-to-lock, while those with a low ratio gear will usually be less than three turns lock-to-lock.
A coupling donut that is deteriorating with age poses a serious safety hazard, so be sure to replace it if it is not in perfect condition.
I can make excuses, blame my DVR, bad chinese food, catching up on Homeland, but no…we owe you more. Any of you ladies ever contemplate holding a dude’s jizz in your mouth only to run to the bathroom, spit it into a syringe and shoot it up your pie? It’s best to check the seats for dampness in Vegas restaurants before sitting down to a lovely meal. Vin is still convinced he can have a monogamous relationship with a girl who sleeps with fake eyelashes on while banging tricks on the side.
I have recently purchased a California 1100cc and, after coming across this thread am a bit alarmed that I might have picked up a problem….! Just as a heads up, the recall kit does not include the 8 o rings, or 2 head gaskets when they have to complete the overhaul. They use tappet part number GU17045860 which is the same reliable tappet as most of the Moto Guzzi big twins have used since 1976 up until the hyrdo years. Morning sickness is a condition where the steering feels stiff when the car is first started on a cold morning.
Worn inner tie rod sockets and outer tie rod ends will cause steering looseness and toe wear on the front tires, and can be replaced separately if necessary. Also inspect the power steering hoses, fittings and drive belt, and the fluid level in the pump reservoir to rule out obvious problems. By loading the rack and steering linkage this way, any play in the system becomes quickly obvious.

You can attempt to rebuild it, or you can do what most sane people do and replace it with a new or remanufactured unit.
Long racks are a good choice for high mileage vehicles that have wear in the tie rod ends, and they save installation time. The ratio for a variable rack can vary, so pull back one of the bellow, turn the rack as far as it will go to one side and examine the teeth on the rack. The clockspring forms the electrical connection between the air bag module in the steering wheel and the rest of the air bag system.
To check the strut mounts, turn each wheel side-to-side while the tie rod ends are disconnected from the steering arms.
The presence of power steering fluid in either bellow, therefore, means the rack is leaking internally and needs to be replaced. A crack, tear or split in the bellows can allow dirt and moisture to ruin the inner socket. Deterioration of the rubber insulator around the sleeve due to heat, age or oil contamination can allow the rack to wobble slightly on its mounts creating looseness in the steering or increased feedback through the steering wheel. If the wheels are up against a curb or if the steering wheel is turned hard against the stop, it can climb to 700 to 2,000 psi depending on the application. Fill the pump reservoir with the correct type of power steering fluid required for the vehicle, then crank the engine over (after disabling the ignition by grounding the coil wire) or turn the pump by hand. The ones that are not protected from the elements by a plastic sleeve are usually the ones that have to be replaced. If the steering is not centered when the rack is installed, it is possible to overextend and break the clockspring when the steering is turned all the way to one side or the other. I figured it’d be better to spend the $70 out of pocket, then have them put the old ones back on.
Does that mean that by the time my bike was built the problem with cams and hydraulic lifters had been resolved? This problem is most common in Saginaw racks on older General Motors FWD cars and is caused by wear in the spool valve housing. If nothing is done about the problem, the bellows will continue to mushroom with fluid until one or the other bursts, releasing the fluid that has been mysteriously disappearing from the pump reservoir. Rubber bushings can be replaced if worn or damaged, but broken or cracked mounting ears require rack replacement.
It takes special tools and know-how, and leaves you vulnerable to comebacks should the rack you rebuilt turn out to be a leaker. Short racks cost less, but take more time to install because the tie rod ends also have to be installed. Add two quarts of new PS fluid to the pump reservoir (be careful not to let the pump reservoir run dry), then reconnect the pressure line to the pump. A broken clockspring would prevent the air bag from deploying in an accident, and would also cause the air bag warning light to come on. John participates in local charity rides and also serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for one of the largest annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.
The ethanol in fuel does not help anything in just about any bike, especially hoses and seals, but also metals. Thankfully the dealer seems to be doing a great job, even though its taking them more than the time they were allotted.
My bike has always had ONLY AGIP 5w40 and every time I drop the pan to change the filter I look for any metal particles.
Center wear is caused by wear between the rack and pinion gears, and can allow steering wander when driving straight ahead.
That is why the bellows should be inspected every time a vehicle is up in the air, and replaced immediately if found to be defective. Most manufacturers and rebuilders thoroughly test their racks before they are shipped to make sure they are leak free and operate properly. And they give you a warranty, which is something you do not get when you rebuild a rack yourself. Some lines are designed to swivel after they have been tightened to provide flexibility during installation and to accommodate engine vibration. Overtightening the line fittings can strip the soft aluminum threads in the rack and damage housing.

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