Intermittent heavy steering

Joe77

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Last week after a sharp U-turn the steering on our LR4 is suddenly intermittently heavy. It feels like the power steering cuts in and out a few times for every turn. My initial thought was that the PS pump was on it's way out. Put it up on the hoist today to inspect and turn without a load. When I manually turn the wheels (engine off) it goes smooth for a bit then it's hard to turn, then smooth then hard. Also of note, it looks like there is a new fluid leak where the steering shaft connects to the rack. It's leaking enough to leave a couple drops every time I park. The reservoir is on the minimum line so it's not starving for fluid but definitely has been leaking for a few days. I removed the tie rod ends from both sides to test both knuckles and they turn freely with no binding whatsoever. Seems like a slam dunk that I need a new rack but I figured I'd run it by y'all just in case I'm missing something. Thoughts?

If in fact this turns out to be the rack, I'm wondering how difficult this job would be. I can't find a single video or post of another DIY'er anywhere.
 

Rover Range

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Power steering pump failures are extremely rare.
The p/s rack is binding internally.

They are not too hard to replace. Basically, remove the inner tie rods. Remove the steering shaft, Remove the two mounting bolts. Slide out the left side inner fender area. May need some wiggling.
 

Joe77

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Turns out the u-joint in the lower steering shaft was seized. I'm thinking that because the joint was seized that the shaft entering the rack was deflecting and therefore causing fluid to leak between the shaft and the seal. That leak was what made me jump to the conclusion of a faulty rack and pinion. live and learn. Super easy to replace the rack and pinion on these trucks. Took me about a half hour to get mine out. Then I realized it wasn't the rack :(
 

ryanjl

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It's LR071147. I know it because it's another part I have sitting on my shelf waiting to install. I had a symptom similar to the OP, but mine went away when I got new tires. Strange, but if it works it's not dumb.
 

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