how do i know if the rack and pinion is bad? what kind of noises does it make?
Usually they do not make noise at all. The common problems with rack and pinions are problems with the spool valve, worn out inner tie rods, or leaking seals.
It’s possible for an excessively worn inner tie rod to make a mild thunk sound on a rough road depending on how badly the tie rod is worn.
I had to change the rack on a '94 Voyager a long time ago when it got harder to turn the steering wheel to the right. It would hang up then all of a sudden let loose.
are you hearing clunking and thumping when turning and going over bumps? it may not be the R&P, but the front suspension.
also any sound from a failing power steering pump may get confused with the other noise.
does this happen while turning sharp, any time, left vs right?
have you checked the power steering fluid level? full, between marks?