Wet boot on steering gear - any way to fix or do I have to replace the whole rack?


#1

2001 Grand Caravan, 3.3L V6, 105000miles.



Noticed a moaning/whining sound yesterday while steering, the typical power steering kind. Checked the fluid and it was slightly low but not too bad. Topped it up and it sounded better.



Got under the van today as I didn’t see any obvious leaks from the top. Everything is dry except the driver-side boot on the steering gear/rack. Can’t see exactly if the boot is torn or where the leak is from to tell you the truth but the boot is wet.



I had someone turn the steering wheel left and right (with the front wheels off the ground) while I was under the van but that didn’t help locate the source, it seems it must be a very small leak.



Is this usually a complete replacement job or can the existing gear be repaired?



Thanks,

Jad


#2

It’s easier and more cost effective to simply replace the entire rack with a reman.

Rebuilding a rack requires special tools/procedures and it’s near impossible to find seal and overhaul kits for steering racks. Even when one does find them they’re often obscenely overpriced.
The reman rack is usually much cheaper than the kit required to rebuild them.

Some of the seals are real touchy, it’s very easy to break them, and you then wind up back at aquare one.


#3

Repairing a leaking rack is a DIY job. Some cars have seal kits available so you can disassemble the old rack and replace the seals.

I think it would be pretty tough to find someone willing to try resealing. All that work to try it and it still leaks, who takes responsibilty? Does the shop eat all the hours involved and pull the rack again to replace it? Do you pay for the prior time involved and now pay for a replacement rack too? What’s fair to who? I’ve resealed a few racks for myself. Some worked, some had too much internal wear and still leaked. I won’t do it for any customer in my shop.


#4

Thanks for the replies, guys. I had a bad feeling that was the case. Wish it was a job I could do myself but it looks like some special tools are needed (for the tie rod ends and the steering intermediae coupler…?) Just not too confident from the description in the service manual. Let me know if it’s easier than it sounds. :slight_smile: