Steering gear for different automobiles
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Your Steering rack worn out? » Read more about common malfunctions • Repair • Replacement manual
Driving comfortably and safely with power steering rack
Power steering rack supports the movement of the steering wheel, enabling less strong people to use heavier cars without any problems. The power steering rack has its origin in truck construction. Nowadays it is standard installed in compact cars as well.
Simple principle with great effect
Power steering rack consists of a hydraulic pressure cylinder, mounted to the steering rack. The cylinder has a double function, i.e. it has a pressure and a suction side, enabling it to provide the steering rack with pressure irrespective of the steering direction. The cylinder receives its pressure from the power-steering pump, together forming a closed, separate circuit. The power-steering pump is driven by a belt from the engine. Therefore, the power-steering pump and the power steering do not function when the engine is switched off. Steering then becomes noticeably heavier. Power steering rack has nothing to do with the brake booster, although the brake is also operated hydraulically. This is however a completely different circuit and independent from the hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering.
Power steering rack repair
Power steering rack as a component is extremely durable. Generally, it lasts beyond the 100,000 km mark. Defects announce themselves way in advance. The following symptoms are characteristic:
- Glugging or whistling noise and jerky steering movements.
- Leaking hydraulic fluid.
- Heavy steering.
- Grinding noise in the steering pump.
Repair of the power steering rack should not be delayed as the steering performance gradually deteriorates and driving becomes increasingly unsafe. Furthermore, a seriously damaged power-steering pump can sooner or later jam, forcing the driving belt over the take-up pulley of the pump. The belt soon wears and ultimately ruptures. Depending on other possible belt functions, serious engine damage could occur. This applies when the power-steering pump is driven by the serpentine belt. Technically, the replacement of pressure cylinder and power-steering pump is not complicated. Both components are fixed with a few screws and lines. Complete replacement of the steering gear is recommended. The reason is technical: cause for malfunctioning steering rack is generally the aged, permanently circulating power steering oil. If this is never changed, an increasing amount of abrasive particles is polluting the oil, flowing through the entire system, gradually and continuously causing damage. Which component will fail first, is more or less decided by coincidence. Only a replacement of all components including the oil reliably restores power steering performance.
Avoid costs by preventive maintenance
Practically, power steering rack damage occurs from the inside outwards. Even though car manufacturers only rarely prescribe changing intervals for power steering oil, action is necessary. Ultimately every 100.000 km or on occasion of serpentine belt replacement you should invest in fresh hydraulic oil. This keeps the degree of pollution low and extends the life span of your power steering considerably.
New power steering rack, high investment
Replacing a power steering rack is not difficult, though a real costly business. Steering gear with pressure cylinder, power-steering pump, lines and oil might set you back more than 1000 EUR (± £900). The reason for this is the fact that for these components only parts of the highest quality can be considered. Cheap spare parts do not last long in these highly strained components. A power steering component suddenly malfunctioning always has immediate effect: steering becomes heavy and hydraulic oil escapes under great pressure. In addition to the dangerous driving situation you are causing environmental pollution as well. Furthermore, rear traffic is endangered by the leaked hydraulic oil. This can all be effectively and durably avoided when choosing for branded quality spare parts.