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Rack and Pinion Repair

Hi ya’ll. I have a 08 Ford Ranger RWD XL 2.3L with 45k miles. Recently, the mechanic who was doing some brake work for me notified me that my rack and pinion was seeping. He said that it should be fixed because it was a safety issue and as it become worse it would cost more to repair.

I took it to local Firestone and they said the seep was very small and it wasn’t an issue. They recommended I just watch my fluid levels and check the ground for excess liquids. They said I should not fix it now.

Who is right? Should I repair now or later?

They recommended I just watch my fluid levels and check the ground for excess liquids. They said I should not fix it now.

Just how did they recommend you check the rack fluid level?

This truck is only 2 years old. Is it still under warranty? Take it to the dealer and have them fix it if it is.

The drivetrain is still under warranty but the regular warranty expired at 36k miles. They said to watch the rack fluid level by watching for any dripping under the truck under the passenger side where it is seeping and if the power steering fluid is low (becomes hard to turn).

The Firestone guy gave you good advice.

The seals in racks are not repairable on the car, only by rebuilding the rack assembly. Repair of the vehicle requires changing the rack. The cost of repair does not increase if you wait to do the work.

And I’ve never heard of a rack failing catastrophically, suddenly hemoragging it’s fluids and leaving you without assist. But I have seen a mechanic tell someone their rack was leaking when it was not (oil was all over the bottom of an old vehicle) in rder to generate work.

Monitor the fluid level in the power steering reservoir. If you’re truely leaking, the level will drop. You’ll have ample notice to get the rack changed.

I think the Fierstone guy was either giving you good honest advice or maybe even saving you from doing unneccessary work (without openly disagreeing with the first guy).

Monitor your fluid level in the reservoir. If it drops, you’re leaking. If it doesn’t you’re not.

Thanks everyone!

It wouldn’t hurt to replace your power steering fluid. This may help slow down or eliminate your seep and cost you five dollars and a few minutes of your time. Use an old turkey baster to suck the fluid out of your reservoir, engine off of course. Refill, drive a day(or just cut the steering wheel lock to lock a few times, whichever you prefer), repeat until your bottle of power steering fluid is used up. Whatever you do, don’t put “stop leak” products in your truck. They are more trouble than they are worth and a last resort for a clunker, which your truck is not.

“Whatever you do, don’t put “stop leak” products in your truck”

I was actually going to mention the opposite - depending on what the product is.

First, there are some “high mileage” power steering fluids that have seal conditioners. Those won’t hurt anything and if there really is a seep can either stop or slow it. So if you change out the fluid just add one of these kinds of fluids.

If the “seep” gets any worse Lucas makes a power steering stop leak fluid that works well and hurts nothing. I have a van that had a pretty bad rack leak. I just kept adding Lucas whenever it needed fluid and before long the leak was gone. After adding fluid almost weekly I now haven’t had to add any for a good 6 mos. I will likely need to have the rack replaced eventually - but it might just be after I get rid of the van.

As for other kinds of stop leak - engine, transmission, A/C - absolutely a bad idea.