Tuesday’s featured repair is Power Steering Rack and Pinion Replacement on a 2004 Lexus RX330, brought to us by a client from Kitsilano, Vancouver.
The Lexus RX 330 is a very reliable and well built mid sized Sport Utility Vehicle. Few things go wrong with them but like all cars and trucks eventually parts wear out. In the case of this Lexus the power steering rack and pinion was leaking fluid. To a lesser degree the power steering pump was also leaking so both parts were changed at the same time.
Most power steering systems consist of a pump driven by the engine, a pressure and a return hose and the steering gear: either rack and pinion or a steering box. Some systems also incorporate controls to vary the power steering effect and a cooler to keep the fluid from overheating. Variable effort power steering is a great feature because power steering is needed most when the car is not moving, once you are under way less effort is required. This improves road feel and reduces energy consumption.
Leaks are the most common problem with power steering systems. Other concerns come from noisy pumps, worn out rack and pinions, and worn drive belts.
Over the last 10 years many vehicles have switched to electric power steering. This has many advantages: less parts, no leaks, lower fuel consumption and improved steering control. We have yet to replace an electric rack and pinion or performed any repairs on such a system, however failures do occur and they can be very expensive.
For the time being there are many vehicle’s with conventional, hydraulic power steering systems so replacing pumps, racks, hoses and belts will continue to be required repairs on many vehicles, Lexus RX330s included.
For more information on the Lexus RX330 click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexus_RX330
For more about power steering click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_steering