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  #1  
Unread 6th October 2014, 10:29 PM
guzzla guzzla is offline
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Default Leaking steering rack - needs replacing?

For the last 2 years there has been a small drop of what I thought was oil under my car when left standing on concrete overnight but more recently found it was steering pump fluid that is apparently leaking from the rack. Has anyone else experienced this? My mechanic says it is fairly rare on a Subaru but at 264,000km I guess it's things like this that can happen to any car. I'm told the cure is a replacement rack, being fitted next week at a budget wrecking (it is for a pensioner anyway) $1400 including new fluid and a wheel alignment. They say it will be a reconditioned used rack (a new one through Subaru is over $2000 just for the part they tell me) and that I should expect a service life out of it similar to a new part. It should certainly see out the life of the car (I hope).

After the BIG 250,000km service and the replacement of struts and springs early in the year it has been an expensive time with the Forester, but my experience with other cars that I have run to this distance (and considerably less too) is that there are just some things that wear out / break / deteriorate with age or mileage and we need to make the choice of maintenance or selling. I just can't let my beloved XT go though. It's such a good car and still feels and looks almost new. I do wonder what the next maintenance item will be though? I'm expecting it to be the original clutch at this age but at the moment it is still perfect and feels like it will last forever. I guess I'll be in for another budget shock one day.
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  #2  
Unread 6th October 2014, 10:49 PM
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^ Where is the oil leaking from, Guzzla?

Other than the rack housing itself being damaged, it can only be coming from the rack-end boots or the steering column pinion gear shaft seals (two 'O' rings on most cars, sometimes only one - e.g. some Fords ... ).

Other related items that could be leaking are the connections from the hydraulic power assist connections.

I wouldn't have thought that any of these would require replacement of the whole rack assembly, unless it has been run dry, or the boots have been so mangled that the rack is full of road dirt/dust/sand etc. From your description, this latter seems very unlikely.

In any event, that price does seem pretty steep!

Maybe a steering specialist can quote you for the repairs necessary, or for a change-over rack, and alignment if a replacement rack is really necessary (i.e. I would be getting a second opinion ... ).
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Unread 6th October 2014, 11:10 PM
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It cost me 800 for a recon rack and 200 for fitting/alignment.... Maybe shop around?
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Unread 7th October 2014, 03:04 AM
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My rack started leaking noticeably (onto the exhaust, with the ensuing steam) a couple of years ago and I also had it replaced with a reconditioned one. $900 plus a wheel alignment.
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Unread 7th October 2014, 07:23 AM
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I don't know just where it is leaking from but it leaves the drops on the driver's side. It doesn't leak enough to need topping up between services and there has been no damage done to the rack as far as I know. I have been made believe that there is no choice other than replacing the rack. It's the first of my cars that this has happened to. I have never sought another opinion as I trust my mechanic to do the right thing but the quote is certainly higher than the quotes above. I must make a few more enquiries over the next couple of days.
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Unread 7th October 2014, 09:05 AM
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Cost me 70 bucks in parts to change the seals in a Toyota rack. Plus a bucket full of rags fluid and a ruined bench top. Crappy job but doesn't take long 1400 is taking you for a ride
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Unread 28th October 2014, 09:10 PM
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I got quoted around $1500 for a fitted and supplied new reconditioned rack from Pedders. $1400 seems steep for a rack from the wreckers.
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Unread 29th October 2014, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fazed View Post
I got quoted around $1500 for a fitted and supplied new reconditioned rack from Pedders. $1400 seems steep for a rack from the wreckers.
The rack wasn't from the wreckers - it was an exchange reconditioned one with warranty and cost $884 + GST. The whole replacement cost including part, labour, completely draining fluid and renewal as well as wheel alignment was $1400. So the same thing through Pedders seems about $100 too dear.
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Unread 29th October 2014, 04:55 AM
guzzla guzzla is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idw View Post
Cost me 70 bucks in parts to change the seals in a Toyota rack. Plus a bucket full of rags fluid and a ruined bench top. Crappy job but doesn't take long 1400 is taking you for a ride
This wasn't the seal, it had an internal leak and needed the whole rack replacing. They tell me I could have just kept driving like it was (I'd already done so for 2 years) but one day it would really start leaking big time. I don't know what was damaged inside the rack. Paying $2500+ for a new rack would be going for a ride. I enquired at 2 other independent servicers here for a diagnosis and received the same advice and almost the same repair quotes. Didn't ruin my bench top either.
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Last edited by guzzla; 29th October 2014 at 10:20 AM.
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  #10  
Unread 29th October 2014, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guzzla View Post
The rack wasn't from the wreckers - it was an exchange reconditioned one with warranty and cost $884 + GST. The whole replacement cost including part, labour, completely draining fluid and renewal as well as wheel alignment was $1400. So the same thing through Pedders seems about $100 too dear.
Ok I thought it was from budget wreckers
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