That job is never done in the field. You can buy repair parts for some models, but mechanics do not do the repair this way. First of all, too many special tools are often needed, and none of us have them. Second, even if a mechanic was able to do this service for his own vehicle, he would never risk a lawsuit or angry customer by trying to do it for them. If a burr on the rack is overlooked, it's going to take out the new seal. There can be worn plastic bushings that allow the rack to move away from one side of the seal. That leak is caused by the bushing and slop it allows, not the seal itself.
Also, you can't tell which side is leaking. All rack and pinion steering gears have a breather tube that connects the two accordion boots. When one collapses as the steering wheel is turned, the other one expands. That transfer tube lets the air in those boots travel back and forth, but when there's a leak, the power steering fluid fills that boot halfway, then it runs into the other boot through that tube. The fluid could start leaking from either boot first.
The only proper repair is to replace the steering gear assembly with a professionally-rebuilt unit with a warranty. Those will also have modifications to address the original design shortcomings. Most replacement racks come with new inner tie rod ends already installed. You would have to remove the steering gear from the car, and remove the inner tie rod ends, which also requires a special socket or tool set, before you get down to the seals. Instead of spending your money on those seals, (which might not solve the problem), and the tools you'll likely never use again, put the new assembly in instead of the old, repaired assembly that is likely to still leak. You'll spend a lot less time, and most likely less money, and you'll end up with a much more reliable repair.
Back in the early '90s, a rebuilt rack and pinion assembly could cost over $450.00. For the last 15 years, a rebuilt gear can usually be found for less than $150.00.
Friday, March 8th, 2019 AT 5:29 PM