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Discussion Starter #21
Steering rack?
Looks like it, based on what I see on my 07. The wet part is the pinion shaft coming up, out of the rack. The top end of the wet part is probably the lower clamp of the double u-joint on the steering column shaft.
Thank for the help my friends! That explains why my oil is full and the steering fluid has gone down to HOT MIN.
My steering wheel has always been very stiff, perhaps due to this, dunno.

Any recommendations for further steps? How long can I wait with this repair if I continue topping off the fluid?
Also, what is typical cost of repair?
 

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That explains why my oil is full and the steering fluid has gone down to HOT MIN.
I don't have relevant experience with these racks, but others might.

However, I might first verify whether or not the dampness is ATF, and is coming from the steering system.

As the pinion shaft is sloped upwards, if there's a seal leak where the shaft comes out of the rack, there should be the same signs of oil around and underneath the rack below.

I'd wash down the area above and below the rack, then monitor it at each drive to see if the exact source can be identified.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
As the pinion shaft is sloped upwards, if there's a seal leak where the shaft comes out of the rack, there should be the same signs of oil around and underneath the rack below.

I'd wash down the area above and below the rack, then monitor it at each drive to see if the exact source can be identified.
Thank you for the advice! Just to clarify, is it oil or ATF fluid that I should be looking for?
 

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That's my point. Power steering uses ATF. If it's reasonably fresh, it will be a reddish color, and visible as such if the areas it's on are relatively clean.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Thanks! You just had mentioned oil in the previous post and that got me confused. I will definitely add ATF fluid to the reservoir and check for the reddish ATF fluid on the shaft.
 

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2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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Thanks! You just had mentioned oil in the previous post and that got me confused. I will definitely add ATF fluid to the reservoir and check for the reddish ATF fluid on the shaft.
I have on my shelf a UV dye that works in gasoline, engine oil, ATF/power steering.

just bought it in a regular autozone a while back. came from a chemical company called "certifiedacpro" their product #384, but I would think there are others out there.

today I have small unexplained leaks on my 2002 2.5, just about to go out and look at fluid levels, maybe put the dye jug to some use.
 
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