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Randall C
Randall C, ASE MasterTechnician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 12803
Experience:  35 years ASE Master Tech, Diagnostic , Electrical Specialist
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Should the bellows or boots on the rack and pinion on a 2002

Customer Question

Should the bellows or boots on the rack and pinion on a 2002 ford focus ztw be filled with fluid? I noticed a leak on the passenger side, and that the boot was split. I replaced the boot, which was filled with fluid when I removed it. Leak persists. Lines all look leak free. But some fluid does seem to around the new boot. Could seal on that end of the R&P be leaking fluid into the boot? It is hard to tell where the leak is coming from and I do not have the tools to pressure test the system. With the boot full of fluid am I looking at replacing the whole rack and pinion? Or is there a seal that can be addressed without taking out the whole assembly?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Randall C replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I am Randall , Finding a shop or doing a rebuild for the seals? very rare, we just do not rebuild them, I do not know any shop that does. It simply is more cost effective to change the rack , get a warranty and be done with it, The end seals are going bad, It is not suppose to fill the boots, In order to even change those seals? requires special tools and the rack has to be removed and torn down , so, just as best to just change the rack out, Can it be done on the ground? yes, but much easier on a lift as the subframe is lowered down some under the car to remove the rack, Book time is 3.0 hours plus alignment, Not a huge job , and still? really nothing you will be able to do to repair it, best to swap it out.Sure you can try? additives for stop leak in the PS fluid, this may fix or help correct till you get it repaired, below is a copy of an article I send to customers once in awhile

One of the most common places to find leaking power steering fluid is at each end of the steering rack, the rack end seals wear out and start leaking. If the rack end seals are leaking, it may take a while to notice because the fluid will be trapped by a rubber boot on both ends of the steering rack, these boots protect the steering rack from road debris. Once these boots fill up with power steering fluid, the fluid will swell the boot and eventually permeate it.

If the car power steering leak is coming from the rack end seals, most likely you'll have to replace the entire steering rack, and that could cost you a few bucks, or, you could get lucky and find someone to replace just the seals, but that's very rare because you have to disassemble some of the steering rack to get to the seals and sometimes it requires special tools. I have inlcuded a picture of the boots in a link as well