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I'm not a total novice, as I've owned 3 subarus. But, I really am confused as to why I have a leak in my rack. The car has been babied, and has very few miles on it 90,000 . Recently I had to buy two new axles for the front. Now....the boot on the driver's side of the rack is loose and has exposed the CV ball and they said that the leak is coming from within the shaft. Not to say that my mechanic is devious, but the question is....could they have pulled back or torn the boot and exposed the joint to the elements causing the leak? It seems that whenever I bring in my car for an oil change something more costly comes up in a few weeks or a month.
Anyway, regarding the rack itself. They put in some sort of goo to slow down the leaking. Should I bring it to a dealership for the $600 repair or local mechanic, should I have my original rack repaired because it has such low miles and where in Maryland or Delaware? And, finally, if I bring it to the dealership for new rack how long usually does the warranty for these things last? If I hang on to my old rack, can I have that rebuilt and where? I live in Maryland.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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The rack end seals will leak with age. Its normal. They crack or shrink.

Cardone Remanufactured Rack And Pinion A1 26-2401 List for $370 but can probably be gotten for less. Labor is 3 hours plus an alignment with transfer of parts, the outer tie rods. New inner tie rods and boots come with the rack.

Cardone parts come with a Lifetime warranty with most parts suppliers but it is up to the shop that installs it whether they carry it over to you. You will have to check with the dealer to see what their coverage is, but Cardone will probably be their supplier.

Rebuilding/resealing a rack could run almost as much as replacing it. You would have to search your area for shops that rebuild them.
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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steering racks do not fail often. and as a result a good used one could be had for less than $100. but not every one could or would buy used and have it installed.

but if you have any doubts at all i would go get a second opinion. almost any shop could swap out a steering rack, no dealer needed. i too have doubts about my shop tearing boots during routine maintenance. i would probably replace the bellows / boot on the rack and not the rack it self. i doubt the rack would suffer a major failure suddenly. it will leak more leaving a stain on the ground. and eventually the fluid level will get low and cause issues. but both of these will be a warning of of failure.

the rack may be fine even if the boot is torn. the shop / mechanic may be exaggerating the need for replacement. i would replace the boot and then keep an eye on it. look for a stain on the drive way or garage floor. if there is no stain there is no real leak problem.

you could also add some Trans-X ''stop leak'' to the fluid. this helps my wife's avalon. but if you add it now you will never know if the stop leak helped or the rack was ok to begin with.
 

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The rack end seals will leak with age. Its normal. They crack or shrink.

Cardone Remanufactured Rack And Pinion A1 26-2401 List for $370 but can probably be gotten for less. Labor is 3 hours plus an alignment with transfer of parts, the outer tie rods. New inner tie rods and boots come with the rack.

Cardone parts come with a Lifetime warranty with most parts suppliers but it is up to the shop that installs it whether they carry it over to you. You will have to check with the dealer to see what their coverage is, but Cardone will probably be their supplier.

Rebuilding/resealing a rack could run almost as much as replacing it. You would have to search your area for shops that rebuild them.
Hey Cardoc any chance that pesky O-ring near the pump could create a wrong diagnosis by an inexperienced shop? Or possibly be used as a fleece the customer option by a not so honest mechanic? Any easy tips on how the owner could eye ball things to see if that might be their issue?
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Hey Cardoc any chance that pesky O-ring near the pump could create a wrong diagnosis by an inexperienced shop? Or possibly be used as a fleece the customer option by a not so honest mechanic? Any easy tips on how the owner could eye ball things to see if that might be their issue?
The pump seal you refer to is on the engine. The rack seal that apparently has the leak is on the rack. The area can be pressure washed to remove any oil and then with the engine running, steer left and right several times and look for fluid leaking out. If it is a slow leak it won't be seen until its driven a while, maybe days or weeks, in which case just keep an eye on it over time to judge how long it takes to leak out. Also watch the level in the reservoir.

If its not a severe leak, it can be put off as long as the system is operating like its supposed to.
 
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