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2001 Outback, 2008 Outback both 2.5
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Discussion Starter #1
My 2008 Outback was having a strange vibration in the steering while turning at slower speeds in town. Occasional minor clunking also.

Took it to one of my two Subaru mechanics. He called a few hours later to say that the rack and pump were bad. There was metal in the PS fluid but it was only a little low on fluid. Rack was leaking bad from boot area and fittings. $1100+ for replacement. Need the car so I said ok, fix it.

I have had 2 x 1996 Outbacks, 1 x 2000 and currently have a 2001 and 2008 Outback. This 2008 only has 80,000 miles and is street driven only. My 2001 has 263k with no rack issues and goes off road a lot. One of my 1996 had 375k, no rack problems.
Just had the same mechanic replace both front axles 2k ago on this 2008 and apparently never saw any rack leakage at that time.

Does not seem common for these to fail. Would like to know if I just got taken.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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4,112 Posts
My 2008 LL Bean has 110K miles and the only problem I had with the steering was air in the system caused by a bad O-ring on top of the pump. It presented some of the same symptoms you describe. If you have the 2.5 H4 engine the fluid he saw may have been from the notorious bad valve cover gasket leaks. Time will be what determines if he found and fixed the problem correctly. If he was right, no reason to believe otherwise, $1100 is a decent price for the work. It is labor intensive and the parts aren't cheap if he is using OEM.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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6,358 Posts
I'm sure the rack area and boots were cleaned up by the mechanic.

If they stay clean, then the mechanic probably was correct, leakage came out of the rack.

If they get dirty again and it's engine oil that's the cause, then it may be that you really didn't need the new rack and pump.

You have five Subarus by my count, all at an age that are going to land them in the shop more often than a new car. I'm sure the guy wants your future business, especially if you intend to keep these around. Why not give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was honest?
 
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