Hi mark2010. Welcome to the forum. We all know GM likes to bleed money from their owners after the sale but 658 bucks? That's more than a brand new rack assembly costs from the dealer for a Chrysler product.
The fact that a kit is available once again suggests GM has a problem with their units and knows about it. Remember the "morning sickness" that affected every GM rack and pinion in the '80s and early 90s? And the "fix" was simply designed to get the car out of the warranty period as cheaply as possible? There is a long history here of a company not looking out for the best interest of their customers. If this is indeed a known problem, you can be sure the aftermarket parts suppliers are also aware of it and have developed an improvement just as they did for the morning sickness problem. Before I would be held hostage by the dealer, I would investigate the cost of a remanufactured rack and pinion assembly from the local parts stores. The disadvantage to replacing the entire unit is an alignment will be required after the rack is replaced. The advantage is many replacement racks have lifetime warranties. A typical remanufactured rack and pinion costs around $150.00.
If this is not a common problem, you might be able to find a good pair of used tubes at a salvage yard. Normally the tubes are not available to the general public just as other internal parts are not available.
If the "pipes" you're referring to are the hoses, can you determine where they're leaking? If the fluid is coming from the threads on the soft brass nuts, or between the nuts and tubes, the o-rings are leaking. You might be able to just replace them. If the leak is where the rubber hose is crimped to the steel line, the hose will have to be replaced. For 658 bucks, you should be able to buy six of them from a parts store such as Auto Zone, Napa, or Carquest.
Friday, May 21st, 2010 AT 4:37 PM