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Old 12-13-2020, 01:06 PM #1
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Oil in steering rack boots...

I have taken the outer tie rod ends as well as the inner tie rod ends off. When I removed the boot about a tablespoon dumped from the drivers side and a quarter cup from the passenger side boot. How much if any is normal to see here? Is my steering rack in need of replacement?
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Old 12-13-2020, 03:35 PM #2
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Mine both had a bit. More toward the tablespoon amount. Not sure if itís normal but doesnít seem to bother anything.
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Old 12-13-2020, 04:06 PM #3
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Just happened to me the other day when I was ready to do inner and outer tie rods. Decided Iíd rather just replace the rack now instead of changing them and the rack go bad in the near future
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Old 12-13-2020, 04:21 PM #4
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Do you have to add fluid to the power steering reservoir very often?
It could be a 20 year old slow leak.
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Old 12-13-2020, 04:58 PM #5
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If the leak isn't that bad and you're steering is working fine, don't worry about it. Keep an eye on your power steering level at the reservoir and carry on with your life with more money in your pocket. The steering rack on my 2000 is leaking like yours and I'm doing exactly what I'm telling you to do. Ignore it as long as the leak isn't severe. An OEM rack is fairly expensive, around $500. Aftermarket racks are usually crap and fail prematurely.
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Old 12-13-2020, 10:54 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alumarine View Post
Do you have to add fluid to the power steering reservoir very often?
It could be a 20 year old slow leak.
I've had the truck 2 years and never noticed the level low or even changing. I am changing out the upper and lower control arms as well as the rack bushings so I pulled the rack just to make life easier.

Thankfully I have a 99 junker that I'm pulling parts from. I checked the boots on that one while waiting for a response here and they are bone dry so I pulled it and am going to run that one. I agree that it was probably a 20 year old slow leak. The high pressure line was an absolute bear to break free without ruining it.

It's too bad these cant be re-sealed...
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Old 12-14-2020, 01:13 PM #7
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I think every 4Runner could use a steering rack after 20 years on the road. Even if it isn't leaking there will be some play that you can't fix with parts.
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Old 12-14-2020, 03:16 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T4R2014 View Post
I think every 4Runner could use a steering rack after 20 years on the road. Even if it isn't leaking there will be some play that you can't fix with parts.
This is probably true. I've replaced the OTRE, ITRE, LBJ, bushings & rack guide over the last several years. All OEM parts other than the poly bushings. I had about a shot glass worth of what looked like thinned out dark grease in my ITRE boots when I replaced those parts in 2015. No noticeable drop in power steering fluid levels.

My steering column or rack has some lateral play which I can feel in the steering wheel (I can push my steering wheel about 1/8" to the left & right) & has a popping sound when turning the wheel in parking lots. I confirmed the lateral play wasn't from the slip joint on the steering shaft when I removed the steering assembly earlier this year. I don't remember exactly when these symptoms started but has been going on for at least 4-5 years. Since I've replaced just about everything that's replaceable, a new steering rack is probably in my future.
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Old 12-14-2020, 04:06 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourfive View Post
This is probably true. I've replaced the OTRE, ITRE, LBJ, bushings & rack guide over the last several years. All OEM parts other than the poly bushings. I had about a shot glass worth of what looked like thinned out dark grease in my ITRE boots when I replaced those parts in 2015. No noticeable drop in power steering fluid levels.

My steering column or rack has some lateral play which I can feel in the steering wheel (I can push my steering wheel about 1/8" to the left & right) & has a popping sound when turning the wheel in parking lots. I confirmed the lateral play wasn't from the slip joint on the steering shaft when I removed the steering assembly earlier this year. I don't remember exactly when these symptoms started but has been going on for at least 4-5 years. Since I've replaced just about everything that's replaceable, a new steering rack is probably in my future.
Yup, and all the money spent could've gotten a new rack. If you can swallow the upfront cost, a new rack is the end-all solution.
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Old 12-14-2020, 09:36 PM #10
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I think every 4Runner could use a steering rack after 20 years on the road. Even if it isn't leaking there will be some play that you can't fix with parts.
I'm going to disagree with you. My 2000 4runner has 205,000 miles on it and it steers perfect. It leaks some like I stated in my post above, but it performs with zero issues. Why would I drop over $500 on a steering rack when it's performing fine with no play and zero issues? There's a saying that I quite often subscribe to as well as millions of others do as well. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Sometimes it's prudent to replace parts while you're in deep on a job because the labor to get back in that deep is extensive, like replacing the rear main seal while doing a clutch replacement.

My steering would have to be causing my front end to wander making it a safely issue for me to want to spend the time and money to replace it. This is my two and a half cents on this subject.
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Old 12-15-2020, 01:23 AM #11
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Parts alone (oem) for inner tie rods come out to about $300 already. if you want to update the rack guide and bushings with oem too itís probably worth it to just pay for a brand new rack imho. A worn old rack with a slow leak could be ok enough but probably could be better right? I guess Iíll find out when I swap mine in a few weeks
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Old 12-15-2020, 01:35 AM #12
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I'm going to disagree with you. My 2000 4runner has 205,000 miles on it and it steers perfect. It leaks some like I stated in my post above, but it performs with zero issues. Why would I drop over $500 on a steering rack when it's performing fine with no play and zero issues? There's a saying that I quite often subscribe to as well as millions of others do as well. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Sometimes it's prudent to replace parts while you're in deep on a job because the labor to get back in that deep is extensive, like replacing the rear main seal while doing a clutch replacement.

My steering would have to be causing my front end to wander making it a safely issue for me to want to spend the time and money to replace it. This is my two and a half cents on this subject.
I mean, that leak won't fix itself. Not what I call zero issues. Plus what's a $500 when you DIY? Sometimes you're better off just fixing something in one shot.

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Old 12-15-2020, 12:04 PM #13
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I mean, that leak won't fix itself. Not what I call zero issues. Plus what's a $500 when you DIY? Sometimes you're better off just fixing something in one shot.
Well yeah, the leak isn't going to fix itself, but when it's not a bad leak, just ignore it and carry on with your life. I had a Subaru Outback that had engine oil leaks galore, but did I stress about it? No, I didn't. I drove it like I stole it. I'm advocating that the OP do NOTHING, like I've done. Drive it and watch the level in the pump reservoir.

Like I said, a small leak with the steering rack seals isn't enough for me to want to drop the coin on an OEM rack and spend the time to replace it. If the leak was coupled with a performance/safety issue, then it's time to swap it out. But, if someone suffers from OCD and an oil leak is going to keep them up at night, then maybe it's necessary to swap it out because getting sleep is important for their health and well-being.
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