2002 Chevy Impala Power Steering System

Tiny
ESN
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 CHEVROLET IMPALA
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 14,100 MILES
I was having no trouble with my steering system but asked my repair shop to check out a noise in the engine compartment. They said it was the steering system. Had the car on the rack and they punctured the boot and fluid ran out. Until then, P/S fluid was never low and now it needs to be topped off once/month. Before topping off, it starts to squeal a little while turning. They tell me that I need a new rack and pinion assembly and re-manufactured pump. With alignment, flushing the system, and labor, I have an estimate of $1300. Do I need a new pump? How can I tell? If I skip the pump and labor, I can reduce the bill by $350. Times are tough. I will do if necessary but otherwise not. I hope to drive the car another 2 years or 40,000-50,000 miles.
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Monday, March 22nd, 2010 AT 4:22 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Fluid leaking from the accordion boots is proof the rack and pinion assembly is leaking, but I hope they didn't PUNCTURE the boot. All that's needed is to remove the small clamp and pull the boot open with a hooked tool. The leakage is the most common way they fail. If those boots were sealing unusually well that would have been preventing the fluid level from going down. On most cars, the fluid would have been leaking on the ground by now, not getting stored in the boots.

My gutt feeling is you don't need a new pump although GM does have a lot of trouble with them becoming noisy. If it makes a buzzing or humming sound, you can always have it replaced later. If it is worn out enough that it can't produce sufficient pressure, you will find it harder than normal to turn the steering wheel now. The leakage from the rack and pinion won't have much affect on how hard it is to steer.

Caradodoc
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Monday, March 22nd, 2010 AT 4:33 PM
Tiny
ESN
  • MEMBER
No, they punctured the boot. I watched them do it, apparently for the second time; once to diagnose the problem and the second time to show me how they diagnosed the problem.

My steering has been fine all along and I am sure the noise is from the fan. Thanks for the advice. I will have the rack and pinion system replaced and hope the pump lasts another 2 years.

Thanks again!
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Monday, March 22nd, 2010 AT 4:40 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Happy I could help. If you trust this shop, let them do the work, but if they have a questionable reputation, look into a getting a second estimate for the same work. I can't believe a professional mechanic would poke a hole into a rubber boot. What if he was wrong and the assembly did not need to be replaced? Those boots keep water, salt, and dirt out to prevent that stuff from getting into the inner tie rod end joints.

Caradiodoc
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Monday, March 22nd, 2010 AT 5:23 PM

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