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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
power steering leak with pic, please help

I have a bad power steering leak on my 99 Vulcan, and i haven't pinpointed it yet. Looking under the car i can see some fluid dripping from the area around the front passenger firewall area behind the wheel.

Is there a common hose back there that leaks or what could i be looking at? Just one of many problems i have that need to see attention soon since its guzzling quarts of fluid every week right now.

If anyone has has a picture or diagram that can show me which hoses are for sure the ps lines i would appreciate it.

I've either been too busy or its been cold and or raining so when i actually have time to get under there i want to make short work of this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Okay i managed to get a pic of where the leak seems to be coming from. Its just running out of this boot. I hope i don't have to replace the entire rack and pinion setup to fix that leak. How much would a shop charge to fix this i don't know that its my kind of work.






Does anyone know if thats repairable or how easy it is? I obviously can't afford to spend a lot of money on this with a few other things needing to be replacing including the wheel bearing and cps going bad


Heres the video

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Which is sideways btw so the fluid is moving from left to right in the video, obviously it was really running top to bottom
 

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Easiest and likely cheapest way to fix this is a reman rack. The seal can be replaced, but if one side went, the other is likely living on borrowed time. IMO, resealing a 129K mile old rack is a waste of money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Easiest and likely cheapest way to fix this is a reman rack. The seal can be replaced, but if one side went, the other is likely living on borrowed time. IMO, resealing a 129K mile old rack is a waste of money.

Is there a writeup to replacing the rack? If so is that something i can do without specialty tools?

What about replacing the seal on that one side? I am interested in that if possible, i have other things to worry about and don't wanna put expensive parts on it when i still have the stock tranny @ this mileage.


Also is there any danger to the pump by driving without fluid in it, will it overheat? I know its near impossible to steer but does it damage anything like running other types of pumps dry?
 

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Cake monster
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That's a swollen boot. The rack in my windstar had both ends blow at the same time. Time for a reman rack, as suggested above.

You need to drop the subframe at the rear likely, mark and disconnect the tie rod ends (or count the turns?), remove the lines from it, etc... It's not a fun job in general. I had an AC Delco rack installed and it has preformed very well since. You'll probably need an alignment after installing it. They generally come with new inner tie rods.

As for the pump, after the fluid leaks out it'll start sucking air in. You'll ruin the pump if you run it low on oil a lot.
 

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Cake monster
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As for the other problems, I would worry about it in this order: Rack, CPS, then wheel bearing. Jack the car up and feel the tire for play, if you have a ton of play then it might be an issue but if there isn't much yet and it's just screaming, leave it for a while. It won't ruin the car to let a wheel bearing go longer than it should. The tire might fall off if you let it go really long, but it'll start eating the caliper up and such before that. It would probably be best if you did it all at the same time. The other option is to get a junkyard rack, that will save you, but it might do what yours did a week down the road. The reman rack will easily cost what the cps and bearing is worth, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sounds like this job might be too advanced for me. Any idea how much a shop would charge for this job
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Are there any shops that do this kind of work cheaper than the dealership or should i just go straight to the dealer for a quote?

Do shops like Midas do work like this?
 

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Cake monster
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Are there any shops that do this kind of work cheaper than the dealership or should i just go straight to the dealer for a quote?

Do shops like Midas do work like this?

Well, I prefer to go to local mechanics that charge an hourly rate. I simply drive the car in and ask for a direct quote on the part I want replaced. You've diagnosed it, so that'll save you. Most mechanics have contracts with parts stores, so they can get it cheaper than you and charge the difference to keep for themselves, so if they're competitive with the retail prices of your local parts stores, it might be a good idea to have them order the part for you, then they don't have to bump up your bill to make the difference if you bring it in. Which some of them do. That's about how it works in my area, might not be the case in your area though.

Hope this helps.

Also, I'll note that rack and pinion R&I is a common job for mechanics, they go out all of the time so most garages will do them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Called two of the closest places to my home, Midas wanted $900 for the new rack + labor and a 4 wheel alignment.

I called Car X and they only quoted me for $750 out the door with the new rack that they said included new tie rods, an alignment and all the labor.

Car X said 4.5 hours of labor. Both shops said if i drop it off tomorrow morning i can have it by close of business day, so since Car X is within walking distance and the cheapest i am going to drop it off there.

Anyone think i can find a lower price or is that reasonable?

I will probably print off a $20 off coupon also just for the heck of it since its available at Car X
 

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Cake monster
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Called two of the closest places to my home, Midas wanted $900 for the new rack + labor and a 4 wheel alignment.

I called Car X and they only quoted me for $750 out the door with the new rack that they said included new tie rods, an alignment and all the labor.

Car X said 4.5 hours of labor. Both shops said if i drop it off tomorrow morning i can have it by close of business day, so since Car X is within walking distance and the cheapest i am going to drop it off there.

Anyone think i can find a lower price or is that reasonable?

I will probably print off a $20 off coupon also just for the heck of it since its available at Car X
What's their hourly rate? I'll check the job time for you when I have access to my other PC. $89/hr for 4.5hrs is $400 for labour, then $350 for parts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
What's their hourly rate? I'll check the job time for you when I have access to my other PC. $89/hr for 4.5hrs is $400 for labour, then $350 for parts?

The front end alignment which they say is a 4 wheel alignment is probably adding a bit to the charge. I also think they said they are going to "flush" the ps system, but i didn't tell them yet i want to provide my own Mercon V to make sure they use the right stuff and not some generic PS fluid, hopefully that will knock a few bucks off of the tab.

Its now completely un drivable since it leaks all of the fluid out in a matter of seconds.


EDIT:

Ya i just called them back to check some more things out they are $79.87 hour labor, and the services they are quoting me are the rack replacement with inner tie rods, alignment, and power steering flush for $750 + Tax

I have a $20 off Coupon and he said he will knock another $10 off for bringing my own fluid which he thinks it needs about 2-3 quarts, of which i have plenty to spare.

So if everything is as he said it was and theres no other suspension parts that need replaced while they are in there it will be about $763 after tax

A pretty penny for something quite unexpected ;\
 

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Cake monster
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The front end alignment which they say is a 4 wheel alignment is probably adding a bit to the charge. I also think they said they are going to "flush" the ps system, but i didn't tell them yet i want to provide my own Mercon V to make sure they use the right stuff and not some generic PS fluid, hopefully that will knock a few bucks off of the tab.

Its now completely un drivable since it leaks all of the fluid out in a matter of seconds.


EDIT:

Ya i just called them back to check some more things out they are $79.87 hour labor, and the services they are quoting me are the rack replacement with inner tie rods, alignment, and power steering flush for $750 + Tax

I have a $20 off Coupon and he said he will knock another $10 off for bringing my own fluid which he thinks it needs about 2-3 quarts, of which i have plenty to spare.

So if everything is as he said it was and theres no other suspension parts that need replaced while they are in there it will be about $763 after tax

A pretty penny for something quite unexpected ;\
$79.87/hr at 4.5hrs is $359, then $75 for an alignment (just a guess) and $300 for the rack is $734. Sounds about right to me. They can't align the car properly if there's broken suspension parts, do you know of any other suspension components that would need to be replaced? The wheel bearing might be an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
$79.87/hr at 4.5hrs is $359, then $75 for an alignment (just a guess) and $300 for the rack is $734. Sounds about right to me. They can't align the car properly if there's broken suspension parts, do you know of any other suspension components that would need to be replaced? The wheel bearing might be an issue.

Haven't seen anything that looks out of whack or worn. I might ask them how much it is to replace the wheel bearing while they are in there, but i might also tackle it myself if they charge an arm and a leg for it.

Will just have to wait and see what they find out down there.

Any ideas how much i can expect a wheel bearing to add to the tab?
 

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Cake monster
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Haven't seen anything that looks out of whack or worn. I might ask them how much it is to replace the wheel bearing while they are in there, but i might also tackle it myself if they charge an arm and a leg for it.

Will just have to wait and see what they find out down there.

Any ideas how much i can expect a wheel bearing to add to the tab?
It might save you to have it done now, while they pull the front end apart to do the rack, but I'm not sure. I would ask them, though. I shopped around for mine, I ended up getting the bearing from the dealer, since they were a little cheaper than the most expensive offerings elsewhere as I recall, and I figured you can't beat an OE part, it was made in mexico. I think it came to $120 something canadian several years ago, just for the bearing. But you can buy cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Going to at least get the front drivers wheel bearing done since its def bad
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well bad news for me. Looks like this job is going to cost me just shy of $1500 to get it done right.

The guy at Car X says both of my ball joints have about 3/4 inch of play in them, which isn't surprising for being stock with 129k miles on them. So he says that if i don't replace them they will have a hard time aligning the car and they look like they are in bad condition anyways. He seemed very honest and wasn't trying to pimp all the parts but recommended that they be done if possible.

Hes also going to do the front hub replacement that i wanted to get done which is way overdue.

So all in total

-Steering Rack w/inner tie rods
-PS Flush (Which he said i have to do to get the 1 year warranty on the rack)
-alignment
-front hub assembly replacement
-2 new ball joints

Should be less than $1500 out the door with tax. He knocked some off the price by applying a coupon code i didn't have, so it coulda been more.

I also talked him into putting on my Brembo rotors and satisfied pro ceramic pads for free, which basically saves me a couple of hours of getting my own hands dirty..... So i guess it could have been worse, just stinks to put so much money into a car that has a low value to it already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It drives a lot better now. The ps pump seems upset that it was ran dry a little, its working fine but making more noise than usual. They used a federated rack. Hope none of these unexpected repairs popup again
 
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