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Steve
Steve, ASE L1 Master Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 5494
Experience:  25+ Years experience as a professional working automotive technician; ASE L1 master technician
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I have a 2003 PT cruiuser I bought used with 135000 miles.

Customer Question

I have a 2003 PT cruiuser I bought used with 135000 miles. It made a noise when turning to the right . I told the shop where I bought it that I felt the POwer steering was going out but they refused to look at it. In Oct. the power steering pump went out and now the Rack and pump both have to be replaced. However the shop just wants to rebuild the rack. I am gettting to the point where I am afraid to drive my car and am worried if they repair it - it will cost me more money and be even less safe. Any ideas about repairs vs replacing a power steering rack and pump?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Chrysler
Expert:  Steve replied 1 year ago.
Hello!
There were actually three different steering racks used in this model year according to my parts listing information. All of them can be bought as a remanufactured assembly, complete with inner tie rod ends for around $200.
I would suggest installing a factory remanufactured steering gear (rack and pinion) assembly instead of having yours rebuilt in a shop. This is the preferred repair method nowadays, I have not heard of a shop rebuilding a rack in house for many years. The reason is that in a factory setting the rebuilding process usually has much better quality control; rebuilders can bore out worn housings and install sleeves, for example, to restore worn parts to factory tolerance. When a shop does it in house what they usually do is just take it apart and put in some new rubber O-rings and seals, and that is all. A factory rebuilt one is usually a batter job and will last longer. Factory remanufactured ones also usually come with a much better warranty.

Here is a supplier our shop has used many times in the past for remanufactured steering racks, and have never had a problem with their quality:

www.meridianautoparts.com

All auto parts stores also sell remanufactured rack and pinion assemblies, so you may want to call a couple of suppliers in your area to check their prices before making a decision. You may also want to check with your local Chrysler dealer; the cost of factory reman MOPAR brand racks is usually very competitive with parts store brands.
As far as the pump, replacing the pump with a remanufactured one is also the way to go. No one rebuilds pumps any more, for the same reasons: factory rebuilt ones are better quality and have a better warranty. A good quality factory remanufactured pump generally costs under $100.
Steve, ASE L1 Master Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 5494
Experience: 25+ Years experience as a professional working automotive technician; ASE L1 master technician
Steve and 7 other Chrysler Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks- I am really concerned as I feel because it is high miles and I am upside down I am being ripped off by the place where I bought it especially since it is supposed to have a warranty for mechanical work but every time I need something mechanical done it is never covered. Now I owe over $6500.00 for the car and still am putting out $500- $600 in repairs every month.


Could this have been caused from being involved in an accident as the dash board it is out of alignment and the doors don't shut correctly.

Expert:  Steve replied 1 year ago.
It is difficult to say what the cause of failure is without being able to see the parts. Usually if a rack is damaged in an accident the first thing you would see is bent inner tie rod(s). If an accident cause a steering fluid leak it could allow the pump to run low on fluid, which will cause internal damage to the pump.
You might want to take the car to a different shop that has a good reputation in your area for a second opinion before committing to pay for any repair. People get second opinions all the time. You can also have a different mechanic look the car over for any other needed maintenance or repairs so that you know what might be needed soon.
If you do not know a reputable shop in your area, you can usually find one by entering your ZIP code in the shop locator link found here: www.iAtn.net

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