I have a 1990 Eagle Talon AWD Turbo. It has been loosing power steering fluid. When it gets low, car makes a groaning sound when I make a turn in either direction. A local mechanic said I need a rack and pinion replacement ($500). Is there a way for someone like me, with only basic knowledge of cars, to tell if that is true or if I only need a hose or seals. I have had problems with mechanics in the past and I am gun shy.
Buy a service manual, such as Haynes (they’re not expensive), for your Talon and read through the diagnostic/repair procedure for the steering rack. Then decide for yourself whether it can be repaired or needs to be replaced.
My guess is that the labor costs to repair it are probably so high that replacing it makes economic sense, but a manual would settle the question.
I have a Haynes manual - find it tonight and check it out - you are probably right. I just don’t want to replace it if it is truly just a leaking hose or something much less expensive. Thanks - I appreciate you comment.
In a 17 year old car I’d bet the seals are shot and the rack needs replacing. They’re not designed to be repaired on site, just sent in for remanufacture. The mechanic may be able to save you a few bucks with a remanufactured rack…ask…but the cost will be high anyway. The rack’s aren’t cheap and there’s plenty of work involved. The $500 may even be with a reman rack.
If the rack itself is leaking then replace it as a complete unit as its more cost effective.
Rebuilding a rack takes a few pricy specialty tools and most of the time seals and bushings cannot be gotten.
Aluminum rack housings will become worn in certain places and one really has to know what they’re looking at to determine if the housing is even useable.
There’s only a few places a rack can leak. On each end at the inner tie rod, the pinion shaft seal, and the seal around the pinion depth adjuster. If the leak is at the area where the hoses connect that may be fixable with nothing more than a few O-rings.
(And you may need a line wrench or two to get those hoses loose.)