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Old 07-30-2007, 13:04   #1 (permalink)
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parts store guy worried me about steering leak

My 2001 has had a steering rack leak ever since we bought it 3 months ago. ABout 3000 miles have been put on it. I added some fluid when I found out it leaked and it was just below min (while not running). I filled it up just below max. After about 2500 miles it had lost enough to be a slight bit below the middle line. I added more and haven't looked at it since (2 weeks?) A few times there have been large (dinner plate size) spots on the road, several times there have been drips smaller than hand size, and some very small spots. It doesn't seem to be losing a lot. My friend noted that it leaks when the wheels are turned, but not straight.

I was going to "let it ride" for a bit as it is a $700 repair. The Parts guy today made a comment that it could just blow and we'd lose the steering. I hadn't thought that was a likely scenario. I thought it would get worse first, and that I'd notice it and act on it.

I am waiting because we've only had it 3 months and I fear there could be mechanical problems (no real reason to think that, except age and a couple stalls that are hopefully just the IAC). I am just leery of dumping that much money into it, yet we just bought it, so getting rid of it is not an option anyhow.

Any comments on how long I should or shouldn't wait? Afraid to let my hubby know about the cost since it's my son's car.
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Old 07-30-2007, 14:57   #2 (permalink)
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Re: parts store guy worried me about steering leak

He's only partly right. Yes, you could lose your power assist. You will never lose your steering. That's a mechanical linkage. Until they made steering completely "fly-by-wire" with no mechanical backup, the parts guy should chill out a bit and stop worrying people.
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Old 07-31-2007, 13:44   #3 (permalink)
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cool Re: parts store guy worried me about steering leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitall
My 2001 has had a steering rack leak ever since we bought it 3 months ago. ABout 3000 miles have been put on it. I added some fluid when I found out it leaked and it was just below min (while not running). I filled it up just below max. After about 2500 miles it had lost enough to be a slight bit below the middle line. I added more and haven't looked at it since (2 weeks?) A few times there have been large (dinner plate size) spots on the road, several times there have been drips smaller than hand size, and some very small spots. It doesn't seem to be losing a lot. My friend noted that it leaks when the wheels are turned, but not straight.

I was going to "let it ride" for a bit as it is a $700 repair. The Parts guy today made a comment that it could just blow and we'd lose the steering. I hadn't thought that was a likely scenario. I thought it would get worse first, and that I'd notice it and act on it.

I am waiting because we've only had it 3 months and I fear there could be mechanical problems (no real reason to think that, except age and a couple stalls that are hopefully just the IAC). I am just leery of dumping that much money into it, yet we just bought it, so getting rid of it is not an option anyhow.

Any comments on how long I should or shouldn't wait? Afraid to let my hubby know about the cost since it's my son's car.
A common leak on Duratecs is the bottom of the P/S pump. Usually just seeps a little. Could also be a line.
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Old 07-31-2007, 15:10   #4 (permalink)
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Re: parts store guy worried me about steering leak

It's clearly leaking at the boots, at least on the drivers side. I saw it come out of there myself! Also, a shop and a friend said it's the boot where it is coming from, which means the seal there is leaking. Nobody has suggested repairing the seal, all say replace the rack.

Ford's price is actually cheaper than a local mechanic and one of those "car care" chains we have here (goodyear or firestone). It is $685 complete with alignment and including tax. There is a one year part and labor warranty on it.

I'm thinking of doing it. I just wish I knew the stall problem that showed on 2 days, 2 weeks apart, is cured by the IAC, which I just completed! I dread spending $$ on the steering, then more trouble comes along. FORD didn't find anything to suggest for the stall other than the IAC, so maybe I'm clear...

I was going to let it go a while longer, but don't know if I properly understand the risks or likelihood of the seal completely blowing while he is turning...

THanks for all your help!
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Old 07-31-2007, 17:05   #5 (permalink)
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Re: parts store guy worried me about steering leak

If the seal blows all you will lose and fluid and power steering. Your sterring wheel shaft is connected directly to the rack. The rack basicly replaces the power steering gearbox and the steering linkage(s) from the old days like the idler arm, inner tie rods ect... The rack has a shaft that runs through the assembly that connects tie rod to tie rod. When the rack goes poof you can still steer just will be harder without the power steering. It does need to be replaced but please don't think you will lose complete steering, your still connected.
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Old 08-01-2007, 09:18   #6 (permalink)
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Re: parts store guy worried me about steering leak

Maybe the stalling was due to the PS. There is a pressure switch on the rack that tells the PCM to add air when the pressure rises.
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