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Steering rack ghost

I have a 1990 Camry that I replaced a steering rack in about a year and 1/2 ago. About 9 months ago, the Camry began behaving as it had prior to the steering rack replacement. We chose not to replace it again (as it is a 1990 Camry) and have been driving it occasionally just around town. The other day I took it out for a ride and no stiffness in the steering at all. What could this be? What would come and go like that?

A frozen belt tensioner can give you the symptoms of a bad rack. If the tensioner corrodes in place it can’t move to take up play as the belt wears or stretches.It will act good sometimes and bad sometimes depending on the temp. and humidity.

Please check the level in the power steering fluid reservoir.

Power steering has been checked. I’ll look into the belt tensioner.

If the belt tension is not the problem, you might have a problem with the pump. If either the pressure relief valve or the flow control valve is sticking open i.e. bleeding the pressure off, the pump could not develop the required pressure. This could be intermittant as you go to the steering lock or drive at high speed.

It also could be a bad pump.

To check the possibilities, have the mechanic T a pressure gauge into the high pressure line and see what pressure the pump is developing as you turn the wheels.