E4 Steering Rack blew

Can any of you guys share your knowledge with steering rack rebuild or maintenance?

bought a 08 e4 today with 850 miles on it and steering boot torn, gunk everywhere, steers like s**t.

Is there hydraulic fluid inside and the shaft seal blew out? Hard to believe 850 miles and that occurred.

Any advise to rebuild rack would be helpful. Thanks


Is this some kind of power steering? Did this happen after you bought it or did you buy it in this condition? I have had to adjust steering racks and change out boots but never saw what you discribe.


Hi Rodney. Bought it yesterday that way. Standard little rack system that’s in Gem cars . There’s dirty grease all over the end where the boot was.

Is it just a screw drive system that has grease in it like a wheel bearing or is there some kind of fluid and seals that go bad like a power steering box in a car? Never had to touch one in a Gem.
Maybe it’s just a ripped boot and some grease melted from heat and needs cleaned and new boot.
May be hard to steer from low tire pressure, haven’t check them yet. Just seemed to turn more revolutions than my last 08.

Standard GEMs have manual rack and pinion steering. Somebody over greased it. Clean it up and install a new boot. Toe in should be about 1/8 inch

Will do, thank you.

The early GEMs used a lower (harder to turn) steering ratio. The boots are now available from GEM dealers, or you can use the Polaris Ranger UTV boot. Most steering rack failures are the result of collision damage such as hitting curbs.


GEM does not sell inner tie rod ends. Aftermarket replacement inner tie rod end: NAPA 269-5088. To install, the outer tie rod end must be replaced with: NAPA 260-2419. The boot is Polaris 5412013. All three of these will fit either side. 0.100" must be trimmed off the male thread where the inner tie rod inserts into the rack. 0.500 must be trimmed off the female thread where the outer tie rod receives the inner tie rod thread. Basically, we are converting from a female inner tie rod to a male. These are actually front end parts for a 1984 VW rabbit. Works great and beats paying $600 for a new rack and pinion assembly.


Will the new boot Part number you mentioned work with existing tie rods on 1999-2004 GEMs?

Yes although have fun getting the inner side of the boot over the lip where a zip tie will securely fasten it. Isopropyl alcohol is a good lubricant for rubber so try using some of that. 05 Gem’s and newer are a lot easier to get the boot on.

Yes, that boot part number is actually for a Polaric Ranger ATV. Works perfectly on pre or post 2005 GEMs. Originally, GEM did not even sell the boot, so I found this alternative rather than buy the whole $600 rack.