I still haven't completed the sunroof delete. I blame the holidays.
However, I was able to tackle a minor maintenance issue. Both rubber boots on the steering rack were torn. Thankfully, the inner tie rods were still tight. So I removed the old boots, cleaned out the crud, and installed new ones. I also put some grease in the tie rods, before re-assembly.
I bought some rack boots that are designed to be installed without disturbing the alignment. The outer end of the boot is large enough to fit over the end of the tie rod. And it has a rubber boot to fill the gap. It makes the job easier, since you don't need to mess with alignment settings. Just unscrew the tie rod from the steering rack, replace the boot, and reinstall.
Here's a photo of the new boot, with the rubber donut. It's split, so you can slip it over the tie rod without disassembling it.
I used a Dremel tool with a cutting disc to cut the band clamps, and a utility knife to cut the old boots.
I didn't have a wrench big enough for the tie rod. My biggest one is 32mm. I think it's 34 or 35mm wide. So I used channel-lock pliers.
After cleaning out the crud, and re-greasing the tie rod end, I slipped the new boot on, and installed the rubber donut.
Then I re-attached the tie rod to the steering rack, and slid the boot into place. Last but not least, I crimped the band clamps. And the job is done!
The job went pretty quick. I was pleasantly surprised. And I was able to cross something off the to-do list. Works for me!Merry Christmas, everyone!