Continental 2000-2002

Removal & Installation

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CAUTION
Do not rotate the steering wheel when the intermediate shaft is disconnected. Damage to the air bag sliding contact will result.


NOTE
Disable the air suspension before raising the vehicle. The switch is located on the left side of the luggage compartment.

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2.  
  3. Turn the air suspension switch to the OFF position.
  4.  
  5. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Negative battery cable
     
    Steering column intermediate shaft
     
    Powertrain Control Module (PCM) harness connector and ground straps
     
    Upper motor mount
     
    Front wheels
     
    Outer tie rod ends
     
    Suspension height sensor
     
    Heated Oxygen (HO 2 S) sensor connectors
     
    Dual converter Y-pipe
     
    Subframe brackets
     
    Steering gear attachment nuts
     
    Rear subframe bolts. Lower the rear of the subframe about 4 inches for access.
     
    Steering gear heat shield and bracket
     
    Steering gear harness connectors
     

  6.  
  7. Rotate the steering gear to clear the mounting bolts from the subframe, and pull the gear to the left to access the fluid lines.

    Power steering pressure and return lines
     
    Steering gear through the left fender opening

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Exploded view of the power rack and pinion steering gear mounting

     

  8.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:

    Steering gear
     
    Power steering pressure and return lines. Use new O-ring seals and tighten the fittings to 25-30 ft. lbs. (33-41 Nm).
     
    Steering gear harness connectors
     
    Steering gear heat shield and bracket
     
    Rear subframe bolts. Tighten the bolts to 57-76 ft. lbs. (77-103 Nm).
     
    Steering gear attachment nuts. Tighten the nuts to 84-112 ft. lbs. (113-153 Nm).
     
    Subframe brackets
     
    Dual converter Y-pipe
     
    HO 2 S sensor connectors
     
    Suspension height sensor
     
    Outer tie rod ends. Use new nuts and tighten to 35-46 ft. lbs. (47-63 Nm).
     
    Front wheels
     
    Upper motor mount
     
    PCM harness connector and ground straps
     
    Steering column intermediate shaft. Tighten the lower bolt to 30-38 ft. lbs. (41-51 Nm), and the upper bolt to 24-30 ft. lbs. (33-41 Nm).
     
    Negative battery cable
     

  2.  
  3. Fill the power steering system.
  4.  
  5. Turn the air suspension switch to the ON position.
  6.  
  7. Check the system for leaks and proper operation. Adjust the toe setting as necessary.
  8.  

The Variable Assist Power Steering (VAPS) system used on these vehicles consists of a micro-processor based module, a power rack and pinion steering gear, an actuator valve assembly, hose assemblies and a high efficiency power steering pump.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. View of the Variable Assist Power Steering (VAPS) system components

  1. From inside the vehicle, remove the nuts securing the steering column tube boot to the cowl panel.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Exploded view of the Variable Assist Power Steering (VAPS) system

  1. Remove the two bolts retaining the steering column gear input shaft coupling to the power steering gear shaft and yoke assembly.
  2.  
  3. Set the steering column tube boot aside. Remove the pinch bolt at the power steering gear shaft and yoke assembly, then remove the steering column gear input shaft coupling.
  4.  
  5. Raise the vehicle and support safely. Remove the front wheel and tire assemblies. Support the vehicle under the rear edge of the subframe with jack stands.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Support the vehicle under the rear edge of the subframe with jack stands

  1. Remove the tie rod cotter pins and nuts. Remove the left and right-side tie rod ends from the steering knuckle.
  2.  
  3. Mark the position of the jam nut (to maintain the alignment), then remove the tie rod ends from the spindle tie rod.
  4.  
  5. Remove the nuts from the gear-to-subframe attaching bolts.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Remove the nuts from the gear-to-subframe attaching bolts

  1. Remove the rear subframe-to-body attaching bolts.
  2.  
  3. Remove the exhaust pipe-to-catalytic converter attachment.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Remove the exhaust pipe-to-catalytic converter attachment

  1. Lower the vehicle carefully until the subframe separates from the body approximately 4 in. (102 mm).
  2.  
  3. Remove the heat shield band, then fold the shield down.
  4.  
  5. Disengage the VAPS electrical connectors from the actuator assembly.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Disengage the VAPS electrical connectors from the actuator assembly

  1. Rotate the gear to clear the bolts from the subframe and pull to the left to facilitate line fitting removal.
  2.  
  3. Position a suitable drain pan under the vehicle, then remove the line fittings. Remove the O-rings from the fitting connections, then replace with new ones during installation.
  4.  
  5. Remove the left-hand side sway/stabilizer bar link.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Remove the left-side sway/stabilizer bar link

  1. Remove the steering gear assembly through the left wheel well.
  2.  

To install:

  1. Install new Teflon® O-rings into the line fittings.
  2.  
  3. Place the gear attachment bolts in the gear housing.
  4.  
  5. Install the steering gear assembly through the left wheel well.
  6.  
  7. Connect and tighten the line fittings to the steering gear assembly.
  8.  
  9. Engage the VAPS electrical connectors.
  10.  
  11. Position the steering gear into the subframe.
  12.  
  13. Install the tie rod ends onto the front wheel spindle tie rod.
  14.  
  15. Install the heat shield band.
  16.  
  17. Attach the tie rod ends onto the knuckle. Install the nuts and secure with new cotter pins.
  18.  
  19. Attach the sway/stabilizer bar link.
  20.  
  21. Raise the vehicle until the subframe contacts the body. Install the rear subframe attaching bolts.
  22.  
  23. Install the gear-to-front subframe nuts, then tighten to 85-100 ft. lbs. (115-135 Nm).
  24.  
  25. Attach the exhaust pipe to the catalytic converter.
  26.  
  27. Install the wheels, then remove the jackstands, and carefully lower the vehicle. Tighten the lug nuts to 85-105 ft. lbs. (115-142 Nm).
  28.  
  29. From inside the vehicle, push the steering column tube boot end out of the vehicle, then install over the steering gear housing.
  30.  
  31. Install the steering column gear input shaft coupling to the power steering gear shaft and yoke assembly. Tighten the bolt to 30-38 ft. lbs. (41-51 Nm).
  32.  
  33. Install the inner steering column tube boot to the cowl panel.
  34.  
  35. Install the input shaft coupling to the steering gear shaft and yoke assembly.
  36.  
  37. Fill the power steering system with Premium Power Steering Fluid E6AZ-19582-AA or equivalent.
  38.  
  39. Bleed the power steering system. For details, please refer to the procedure located later in this section.
  40.  
  41. Connect the negative battery cable, then check the system for leaks and proper operation.
  42.  
  43. If necessary, have the alignment checked by a reputable repair shop.
  44.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig.

 
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