A simple repair, costing less than $75, could have saved this owner from a nearly $1,900 repair bill, and potential accident. A protective rubber boot, one is located on each side of the steering rack, had split, and over several months, had allowed water to enter into the sealed and lubricated surfaces of the power steering assembly. The water quickly did its damaged on the polished and machined surfaces of the steering rack and pinion gears, as well as contaminating the power steering fluid system. The resulting damage caused in rapid wear to the steering rack assembly, excessive play in the steering, and a very hazardous driving condition.
To complicate matters, Volvo has updated the design of the steering rack, so the correction consists of replacing not only the defective steering rack, but also the pressure and return hoses, and the steering coupler. Prevention is always less costly than correction. Be sure that your steering rack boots, along with the boots used on the Constant Velocity (CV) joints, are inspected every service.