159 V6 steering rack leak - any help appreciated! - Alfa Romeo Forum
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159 V6 steering rack leak - any help appreciated!

We have a 159 3.2litre Q4 Sportwagon which sprung a significant leak of power steering fluid, and i am unsure about the advice from my local (non-specialist) garage.

They said it was because of a split steering rack boot leaking the fluid, but when they replaced that they discovered that the leak continued. Can't say i'm surprised as i hadn't expected the boot to be pressurised on the inside, surely there's just grease there?).

So they now say there's a leak within the rack and that we need a new steering rack. Is this appropriate - i feel that if a seal has given out then it should be replacable without swapping the whole rack.

Unfortunately my technical knowledge is limited, but this doesn't feel right and i'd appreciate any advice from someone who knows these cars.

Thanks in anticipation
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I had exactly the same thing on my Brera and the dealer replaced the rack (this was under warranty fortunately). Your garage doesn't exactly inspire confidence though.....
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mine got a new pump (brera rather than 159, but v6 q4 so same setup) and a new steering rack. New pump started screaming after a month, pump replaced, lasted 2 weeks and started making a noise. Found on this forum older cars had the wrong fluid and resovoir. Fluid and resovoir swapped. Noise is gone but steering is very very heavy so I think the pump return seal has gone. I am searching for replacement seals, hence back on the forum. I sure they exist, but it looks like you need to buy replacement parts. To add insult to injury Alfa are selling reconditioned parts.

Hopefully someone can point us in the direction of service kits.
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I had the same go on mine - it was the gaiter on the end of the rack. That allowed water in - followed by corrosion followed by play in the joints followed by recon rack followed by 750 down the pan!

Hope it's under warranty!
 
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You can send it away to get it reconditioned if youre not in a hurry
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Thanks for the help, guys, sounds like we'll have to dig deep in the pocket again.
Alfa price 900, or a recon one for 500!
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Hi ya Mate ive been trying to get hold of you for a couple of days..my 159 has developed the same transmission probs as you have had flashing p and key getting stuck etc...can you give a quick reply as to what the problem was...ive only had car 2weeks and im going crazy with this problem..07714938593 steve i have sent you a private message on this also...thanks again
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2006 159 leaking steering rack

Hi I too have a leaking steering rack, anyone recently fixed the problem in a cost effective way? Or is it best to go with the new part? Thanks
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Just been told by Dealership in Northampton that the steering rack has to be replaced on my 2006 159 3.2 V6 Q4. Last year I asked them to look at the power steering pump as it was making a lot of noise. They said it was normal for 159's and was within tolerances so didn't replace it. The car was still under warranty at the time.

They are now saying that this is a completely unrelated issue and that it has nothing to do with the power steering pump. The steering has been creaking badly for a few weeks now so I got them to look at it whilst it was being serviced. Looking at a bill into the 1000s for replacement rack

I have called ARUK and set up a casefile to try and get a goodwill gesture...will wait and see if I get anywhere with that. I have also bought an extended warranty for the vehicle. The dealership said that the rack hasn't failed yet but that the noise indicates that it is dry and will therefore wear very quickly to the point of failure.

The warranty people send someone around to inspect the vehicle so there is a good chance that they will notice the rack issue and not insure that part. So in a nutshell, I am screwed really!
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For such a common issue, why has there been no recall? I have had ARUK check the recall status on my car and all the recalls have been carried out...that is one recall for a drive housing attachment
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Check the previous threads.

There is a cheaper fix than that offered by the dealers which
doesn't involve replacing the entire rack and is therefore cheaper.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cj romeo View Post
You can send it away to get it reconditioned if youre not in a hurry
Hi CJ, I too now have a drive covered in oil from my Q4 steering rack. You suggested the racks can be re-conditioned. Have you any details on this? Cheers.
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Indeed.
Steering rack is re-conditioned part.
Where should exist a few options to replace it.
a. Buy new one upfront
b. Buy new one with old one deductable.
c. Buy already re- conditioned one.
d. Re-condition existed one.
For d-case it should be done by some specific company ( if any ) who replace all inner rack parts besides case.
Just count the best way out.
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I got my reconditioned rack from here - Alfa Romeo Steering Racks.

Replacement is a major jobbie but you have the chance to refurbish your sub-frame when it is off

It's also easy to do the lower wishbone bushes at this time too
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Re- conditioning companies do not deal with car related jobs. They need naked rack only.
For correct budgeting one should bear in mind
Steering rack stripoff/stripon cost.
New steering links, 2x+steering end knuckle, 2x to be mounted. Not sure exact part names in english.
Wheel geometry to be done definitely.
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I got my steering rack from Kelly bray but I notice in the link above that they are out of stock.
Its not a big job to change the rack, the subframe doesnt need to be touched, the rack is removed through the passenger wheel well.
The usual cause of the rack failing is corrosion on the rack bar caused by the poor design that draws in air and moisture as the rack gaitors collapse and expand as the steering moves which then damages the seals, its for this reason that a lot of places that advertise to recon your rack will then tell you once they have your rack that it cant be reconditioned.
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I think the V6 Q4 is a bit different from the FWD models. The rack has a heat shield attached to it and what with the prop-shaft and exhaust from the front bank it's all a bit cramped.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
I got my reconditioned rack from here - Alfa Romeo Steering Racks.

Replacement is a major jobbie but you have the chance to refurbish your sub-frame when it is off

It's also easy to do the lower wishbone bushes at this time too
Thanks for your response Ken. However, could you give me some Idea of how long ago you had the rack replaced - mileage since replacement, as they do offer a good price. Did they refurbish yours or was
it a one for one swap? I found "The Steering Rack Specialists" of Wakefield and they offer a 24 hour turn - round price of 200. But I know nothing about them and would prefer to rely upon someones personal experience/knowledge.
Thanks
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I bought a reconditioned rack in September 2014 and sent my own back for a 50 refund. There was no deadline on sending mine back and KB arranged pick up.

I fitted the rack in early 2015 and although I've only done 3800 miles since then there have been no problems so far.

I used Tutela GII/R (green) fluid for the refill and added a tube of Forte power steering additive.

(The original had the dreaded red fluid - 37500 miles and 10 years to failure)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
I think the V6 Q4 is a bit different from the FWD models. The rack has a heat shield attached to it and what with the prop-shaft and exhaust from the front bank it's all a bit cramped.
Yes your right I wasnt thinking about the 4wd.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken View Post
I bought a reconditioned rack in September 2014 and sent my own back for a 50 refund. There was no deadline on sending mine back and KB arranged pick up.

I fitted the rack in early 2015 and although I've only done 3800 miles since then there have been no problems so far.

I used Tutela GII/R (green) fluid for the refill and added a tube of Forte power steering additive.

(The original had the dreaded red fluid - 37500 miles and 10 years to failure)
Thanks for your response Ken, much appreciated.
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