New Rack and Pinion leaking....Is it my fault?

dchall89

Member
Hey there. I just got done doing an entire suspension/steering install on my 98 3.8L. Front and Rear. I didn't want to replace the rack, but when I took the boot off the inner rod, fluid poured out pretty heavily. I did some research and found the only remedy was a new rack.

I went to Advance Auto, got a "new" (re-manufactured) rack from them with inner tie rods and bellows already installed.

I installed the new rack without any issues, this might be one of the easiest repairs I've ever done.

I put all the lines back together, with new teflon rings, and snugged it down to spec. No leaks!

With tires off the ground, I bled the system of air as directed by different forums online (with car off, fill the pump, turn the wheel left to right without hitting stop about 20 times and top off fluid.)

****now to the problem***

I am driving the car, and I hear the loud "I'm empty give me fluid" whine. I open the lid, and the pump is bone dry.

I inspect the rack bellow, and they are filled to the brim with fluid. No leaks anywhere else.

Is there a step I missed that could contribute to this leak? Or is it the luck of the draw with re-manufactured parts?

Thanks for listening to me ramble. It's not a hard job, but I really didn't want to completely take my steering apart again.


OH! Power steering pump and hoses are original, so I'm replacing those when I swap the rack out. 100% new install when I'm done.
 

James Carr

sleep-er noun = fusing speed with secrecy
Refill power steering Reservoir bleed like before then drive it my guess is with the car off not enough fluid was during the original repair don't worry just fill it again and try it out
 

dchall89

Member
Refill power steering Reservoir bleed like before then drive it my guess is with the car off not enough fluid was during the original repair don't worry just fill it again and try it out
Think maybe the rack is okay? Just try bleed process again? Or do this with new rack?
 

James Carr

sleep-er noun = fusing speed with secrecy
your old Rack is dead time for a new one .....then follow the bleed process you described in your earlier post . you shouldn't have any more trouble then buddy
 

HRLNKN

Member
Don't forget: you have a power steering cooler & pump. Until you turn the car on & move the steering wheel around you'll probably still have some air in it that'll get pumped out when you start driving. Top it off, go around the block or something, & check the level again in the reservoir.
 

dchall89

Member
Don't forget: you have a power steering cooler & pump. Until you turn the car on & move the steering wheel around you'll probably still have some air in it that'll get pumped out when you start driving. Top it off, go around the block or something, & check the level again in the reservoir.
Yeah, especially after I swap everything. I'm doing a new pump and hoses on top of the new rack. Just hoping my remanufactured part isn't garbage right off the bat this time! Give me a few months at least!
 

HRLNKN

Member
As long as you didn't go too far with it whining it should be ok. Just keep an eye on it for the next few days anyway. I had a similar problem with a transmission in another car before. Replaced the line & topped off...but forgot to account for the fluid that would get pumped through the cooler once the car got up to temperature. The level dropped way down & I thought I had another leak or something until I thought about it for a while
 

dchall89

Member
As long as you didn't go too far with it whining it should be ok. Just keep an eye on it for the next few days anyway. I had a similar problem with a transmission in another car before. Replaced the line & topped off...but forgot to account for the fluid that would get pumped through the cooler once the car got up to temperature. The level dropped way down & I thought I had another leak or something until I thought about it for a while

That's a good point. I just drained transmission and pulled driveshaft for ujoints. I'll recheck level on that when I'm under replacing the rack now.
 

HRLNKN

Member
Good luck. I think you can handle it. Just take your time & check your work. Feels good driving your car after you've fixed it yourself.
 

dchall89

Member
Okay check this out. I uploaded a YouTube video to watch. New rack, new lines, and new pump. When turning to the right. No issue. Pump whines a little, but I guess Ford just makes them that way?? When I turn to the left, and this is stationary of moving, you can feel a jumping/stuttering in the wheel. The wheels actually bounce a little. Check the video out. Is this a 2nd defective rack?
 

6 Shooter

Well-Known Member
The whining pump may be related to the size of the return oil line on the bottom of the PS pump. Fought that issue for months and several pumps until I went with a larger hose size on the bottom of the pump, The whining was from too much restriction without enough oil supply to the pump.
 

dchall89

Member
The whining pump may be related to the size of the return oil line on the bottom of the PS pump. Fought that issue for months and several pumps until I went with a larger hose size on the bottom of the pump, The whining was from too much restriction without enough oil supply to the pump.

I read your reply to a different member where you mentioned return hose diameter and pump whine. Can you explain how you fixed that again? I'm confused reading the other post.

Would you recommend adding an inline filter to the power steering system, or would that restrict flow more? Thanks for your time.
 

6 Shooter

Well-Known Member
My setup is different than your due to using the GT hydrabrake system. However, I did experience a lot of whining in several pumps. This setup had two return oil sources, one from the rack and pinion and the other from the hydrabrake booster. This used a tee under the pump which is the return source for the circulating oil. The final solution ditched the tee and was replaced a Y plus an increase in the size of the tubing from both sources.

In your vacuum assist brake setup, you have only one single source of oil flow which is one side of the the two connections from the rack and pinion. So, suggest you jack up the car, get under it, and trace the hose starting from the bottom of the PS pump, and following this hose all the way back to the Rack and pinion. Examine for decaying hose, bent hose, smashed/dented/squeezed/kinked area in the metal tubing parts of the return system. If you find no obstruction, repeat with the supply side and pay particular attention to the 90 degree tubing bend coming directly out from the PS pump.
 

dchall89

Member
It's been a while, had a shop swap out my steering rack (this makes 3rd new rack) because I ran out of time to do things. They just called and told me I was ready to pick up, but that the steering still had a little stuttering in it, which was the reason I brought it in in the first place. Mechanic suggested I drive it for awhile to "break it in", does this sound legit? I'm becoming super stressed out this car.

To recap, It is a new pump, all new lines, new rack, and new inner/outer tie rods.
 

James Carr

sleep-er noun = fusing speed with secrecy
yes and know..... it shouldn't need to long of a break in so if its still doing it next week take it back
 

dchall89

Member
yes and know..... it shouldn't need to long of a break in so if its still doing it next week take it back
Okay thanks. That's my thinking too. I'm starting school again soon and I have run out of time. Im going to just take it to local dealership to inspect. They've been real up-front for what I've used them for in the past. If they fix the issue I'll ask other shop for partial refund, and if they don't I'll tell them I'm going to contest charge on credit card. This shop is making me feel like an idiot over something simple as a hydraulic system.
 

6 Shooter

Well-Known Member
When you did the left-right thing, did you have the front end lifted off the ground? If not, use that procedure and turn the wheel fully to the left, hold a few seconds, then turn the wheel to the right and hold a few seconds. Repeat 4-5 times while the system purges air bubbles and completes the bleeding process.
 
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