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One owner car with 150K miles (not our family primary vehicle) needed new tires. So I take it to a reliable tire and alignment shop and had a set of good but not expensive tires put on. Since the front drivers tire on inside had worn down to the fabric plies on inside, I asked for an alignment. They said there was too much sway in front and needed new tie rods and that would be $270. So I take it back today and when they removed the piece connected to the boot of rack and pinion power steering, oil spilled out over the floor. The shop manager said I would need to replace the rack and pinion which they did not do. They did put it back together and no charge.

So now I think maybe I should cut my loss ($550 for tires) and get rid of car rather spend several hundred for more repairs. It runs great and it serves the purpose of getting me back and forth work. There doesn't seem to be any play in the front steering when I drive and doesn't pull to one side. How safe is it to drive in present conditions?
 

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The steering rack seals have begun leaking or, as in the '05 I just worked on, the seals blew out on both ends, and there was PS fluid pouring out of both ends. It depends on how much you like the car--it's not inexpensive to have someone replace the rack. I did mine myself for only the cost of the rack.

You won't feel any play, but the leaking fluid (if not refilled) will eventually cause excess wear in both the power steering pump and steering rack if air gets into the system.
 

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My 2004 was leaking slightly into the boots when I bought it with 142k miles. Was still leaking slightly 6.5yrs later when I sold it with 258k miles. I changed the PSF fluid once during that entire time.... And topped it up once or twice. No more than twice.
In fact.... When I saw it was low one day, long after changing the fluid, I ordered 3 bottles thinking the leak was bad and I was gonna go through fluid quick. 2-3 years later and I've given the new owner 2 sealed bottles and 1 partial bottle.
YMMV

On another note, what do they mean by too much sway? Sway is usually a description of body roll while turning/cornering.... Tie rods have very little to do with that. If they just meant slop in the steering, I'd start with all the lower control arm bushings, sway bar bushings and end links well before I touched the tie rods. Unless of course there was definite proof the tie rods were worn out and the cause of slop...
 

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The rack and pinion is a beast of a job but it is doable. If you can wrench at all there are several youtube videos on how to do it. If you can't drop the subframe you have to separate the gear box on the new rack and reassemble it inside the car to make it fit.
 

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I didn't find the subframe all that difficult, to be honest, but I do have two floor jacks--I used one to support the engine/transmission from below (using a piece of wood as a cushion), and the other to support the subframe. In essence, three of the four "corners" of the subframe just need to be loosened to allow them to drop, while the corner by the wheel, right by the rack, can be removed. (The side engine mount bolts are simple to get off, and the driver's side mount needs to be removed to gain some room to remove the rack.) I don't know if I dropped it the full 30mm or whatever it called for, but I easily got the rack out. The hardest part for me was busting loose those bolts--I had to use the impact wrench with some long extensions to get them out. But once out I cleaned the bolts with the wire wheel and applied anti-seize so they will come out easier next time.
 

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One of the seals on my ‘05 finally blew out and I dreaded the replacement because of the cost of labor and the difficulty of the job. However, I found a video on youtube on how to replace the rack without dropping the subframe and the procedure worked for me with a slight modification. Here’s the video:
Its been two years since I replaced the rack and it’s still working fine with no leaks from the valve body removal required for the job.
 

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One of the seals on my ‘05 finally blew out and I dreaded the replacement because of the cost of labor and the difficulty of the job. However, I found a video on youtube on how to replace the rack without dropping the subframe and the procedure worked for me with a slight modification. Here’s the video:
Its been two years since I replaced the rack and it’s still working fine with no leaks from the valve body removal required for the job.
Thats the same video I followed. 2 years going strong as well. I do notice a weird noise when I start the car up now though. Like water running through a pipe. Not sure if thats the power steering or not. Idk if it's always done that or what. I was concerned that maybe taking apart the valve body caused that but it doesn't appear to have caused any problems.
 

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I wasn't going to touch the valve body on my rack, since it was painted with marks and opening it would void the warranty. The subframe was really a non-issue aside from needing the big impact wrench to get those bolts loose. The Acura service manual made a big deal about dropping the subframe but even in my driveway, just loosening it on three corners and dropping it a little further on the fourth was all it needed. I couldn't believe how easy it was than what I feared it would be like.

Regardless, the end result is a car that drives like new, thanks to the steering rack and new suspension parts up front. It doesn't matter how we get the rack out--just as long as we get it done.

But while looking at the whole thing before I dug into it, is there a reason we can't remove it from the top of the engine compartment? There is a lot of room behind the engine, once a few things are easily disconnected. As for the length, we could feed it partly out the passenger side wheelwell before angling it up to pull out of the engine compartment.
 

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I wasn't going to touch the valve body on my rack, since it was painted with marks and opening it would void the warranty. The subframe was really a non-issue aside from needing the big impact wrench to get those bolts loose. The Acura service manual made a big deal about dropping the subframe but even in my driveway, just loosening it on three corners and dropping it a little further on the fourth was all it needed. I couldn't believe how easy it was than what I feared it would be like.

Regardless, the end result is a car that drives like new, thanks to the steering rack and new suspension parts up front. It doesn't matter how we get the rack out--just as long as we get it done.

But while looking at the whole thing before I dug into it, is there a reason we can't remove it from the top of the engine compartment? There is a lot of room behind the engine, once a few things are easily disconnected. As for the length, we could feed it partly out the passenger side wheelwell before angling it up to pull out of the engine compartment.
I actually just looked at that. Seems like it would be doable but there is what looks like an engine mount right above the rack and some kind of bracket.
 

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I wasn't going to touch the valve body on my rack, since it was painted with marks and opening it would void the warranty. The subframe was really a non-issue aside from needing the big impact wrench to get those bolts loose. The Acura service manual made a big deal about dropping the subframe but even in my driveway, just loosening it on three corners and dropping it a little further on the fourth was all it needed. I couldn't believe how easy it was than what I feared it would be like.

Regardless, the end result is a car that drives like new, thanks to the steering rack and new suspension parts up front. It doesn't matter how we get the rack out--just as long as we get it done.

But while looking at the whole thing before I dug into it, is there a reason we can't remove it from the top of the engine compartment? There is a lot of room behind the engine, once a few things are easily disconnected. As for the length, we could feed it partly out the passenger side wheelwell before angling it up to pull out of the engine compartment.
Agreed that what matters is that the job gets done. I thought about the warranty issue but I would’ve had to buy a second jack and, not having air in my garage, I wasn’t sure an electric impact would have been up to the job so I didn’t drop the subframe. When threading the rack out and back in through the tight space it goes through, all that room above it sure is tempting though. My guess is that it has been tried but there is some part on the rack that doesn’t clear by some ridiculously small amount.
 
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