Rack and pinion leaking

Tiny
ROYALGURL
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 CHEVROLET IMPALA
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 112,000 MILES
My hose on my rack and pinion is leaking, and I was wondering if I should just change the pump and the rack and pinion hose or should I change the hole rack and pinion?
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 4:29 AM

16 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Gotta be more specific on what's leaking. If it's the rubber high-pressure hose from the pump to the rack and pinion assembly, you just replace that. If a steel line on the rack assembly that is bolted on each end is leaking, that is very uncommon. Those only leak if they got hit by something or damaged during some other service. You won't find those available anywhere. I would head to any salvage yard and tell them what you need. They will have bins full of cores that they sell to the rebuilder companies and they will either pull one off one of those, or you can find one in the yard.

If you're seeing leakage from the steel pipe that runs from side to side on the rack, and is just slid into the two rubber accordion boots, that is to transfer air from side to side as you turn. Any fluid leaking from there, or the boots, means an external seal is leaking and the steering gear must be replaced.
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 4:41 AM
Tiny
ROYALGURL
  • MEMBER
Yes I think it's call bellow, but that is what's leaking
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 4:53 AM
Tiny
ROYALGURL
  • MEMBER
No the steel pipe is not leaking just the hose (I think is called bellow) connected to the pipe.
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 4:58 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The bellows boots are those two accordion boots, one on each side that go over the inner tie rod ends. If there's fluid in there, one of the seals is leaking and the fluid will flow through the steel transfer tube to both sides. The rack will have to be replaced for that.
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 5:10 AM
Tiny
ROYALGURL
  • MEMBER
Thank u for your help and I would like to ask til I'm able to get it fixed what do I need to do to prevent more problems on my rack n pinion
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 5:20 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
There's nothing you can do to stop the leak. Most of the time they leak rather slowly making it hard to diagnose until the bellows boots fill up and the fluid starts to drip out. The most important thing now is to not let the reservoir run out of fluid. The power steering fluid lubricates and cools the pump. If it runs empty you'll hear a loud buzzing noise. That's from it sucking up air instead of fluid, and the pressure relief valve is vibrating open and closed. The air that gets in the lines is irrelevant at this point. It's going to get in there too when the rack is replaced. Usually all you have to do is turn the steering wheel from full-left to full-right a few times to bleed the air out. Bleeding the air is a real big headache on a lot of Ford products, but it's pretty easy on all other car brands.

Typically the system will run empty in perhaps as little as ten or twenty miles, but very often it can take hundreds of miles for all the fluid to leak out.
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 5:43 AM
Tiny
ROYALGURL
  • MEMBER
So the boots should not have fluid in it
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 6:00 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Nope. Their purpose is to keep dirt and water off the shaft that moves back and forth. Dirt and rust act like sandpaper on that shaft. That helps to chew up the seals.
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 6:21 AM
Tiny
ROYALGURL
  • MEMBER
I hope I'm not bothering just trying to learn but I would like to ask the seal can't just be changed, I just don't really understand how this work. Cause I also think the pump is leaking.
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 6:25 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If the pump leaks it's almost always from the shaft seal, then the fluid sprays around onto the bottom of the hood. If you have a reservoir mounted separately, there will be a hose going to the pump, but the fluid in that isn't under pressure so they rarely leak.

Until recently we couldn't even buy parts for rack and pinion assemblies and no one ever bothered to try to fix them. Now you can get rebuilding kits but it still doesn't pay because first you have to figure out where it was leaking, then you have to replace any parts with rust or pits that caused that seal to leak. By the time you're done with three or four hours labor, the special tools and seal protectors needed to reassemble everything, and the parts, you'll have three times in it what a rebuilt unit costs. They're so inexpensive now and they come with a warranty. You also don't know all the tricks GM has come up with to save money. The aftermarket rebuilders take care of all that. That goes back to the late '80s and early 90s when GM had a 100 percent failure of all their rack and pinion assemblies. They leaked internally causing loss of power assist, but not loss of fluid. Their way to solve that was to replace just the spool valve, (something no one in their right mind would or could do because we can't buy that part). It had new teflon sealing rings which did restore the power assist for a little while, but it didn't address the real cause of the problem. Those sealing rings ground grooves in the soft aluminum housing, and that let to the leakage. All GM wanted was for that fix to get the cars out of the 50,000 mile warranty, then it was the owners' responsibility to have the car fixed properly. The aftermarket rebuilders pressed in a stainless steel liner that wouldn't develop those grooves. If GM had cared about their customers they would have performed the same simple modification and put those rack assemblies in the cars to fix them right, but profits are more important than customer loyalty or satisfaction.

That's why you're better off with a rebuilt rack from an auto parts store. If you get one from a GM dealer, you'll pay considerably more and you'll have what you have now. Might as well put in something better at a lower cost and with a longer warranty.
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 7:13 AM
Tiny
ROYALGURL
  • MEMBER
Thank u, u have been helpful.
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 AT 7:22 AM
Tiny
JOHINMAN
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 CHEVROLET IMPALA
  • 50,000 MILES
I just had my Steering rack repaired 6 months ago now I just brought the car back for a oil issue and they told me that the steering rack is now leaking yes it will be under warrenty but my question is how could this happen Thank you
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 8:48 AM (Merged)
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Probably a seal got torn or improperly put together. If it's under warranty the other one should be ok.
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 8:48 AM (Merged)
Tiny
CCC10
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 CHEVROLET IMPALA
  • 5.3L
  • V8
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 62,000 MILES
I replaced my power steering rack the steering wheel does not return to me when taking corners seems to be stuck there unless I turn it back. Inner and outer ball joints have been replaced. When I take corners the tires skid too. Could the feed and return lines be crossed?
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 8:48 AM (Merged)
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Disconnect tie rod ends and see if you feel a bind if you do the rack may not be good. Not sure how you could get lines crossed as I think they are different sizes. But have pic included of where pressure line goes. Try bleeding air from system turn to lock and hold 30 seconds, then do same in opposite direction. Do this 3 times. Check p/sfluid it cold be an alignment problem as well.
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 8:48 AM (Merged)
Tiny
HOMER1967
  • EXPERT
Did you replace the rack yourself? Has the car been aligned yet?You must do an alignment after rack replacement. If these issues where not there before you put in the rack, then I would say you need an alignment.
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 8:48 AM (Merged)

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