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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Took in my '06 Solara to a shop to have the trans. fluid replaced and oil changed, and they said they found something else that needed fixing. Long story short, I have reason to believe they had no idea what they were doing/talking about.

Initially, the mechanic said I needed to replace my "axle shaft" and sent me Pic #1 to explain/justify that. FYI - the part in Pic 1 has completely deteriorated through...I can put my finger inside of that rubber housing. I said sure, go ahead...then 48 hours later, he calls saying he "actually meant" to say what needed replacement was "two tie rod ends," and sent me Pic #2 to explain that (my arrows shows what was actually replaced on both front wheels). I said sure...

But the part that's deteriorated in Pic #1 was NOT replaced...and that completely deteriorated piece--which is connected directly at the end of one of the tie rods that was replaced--was left on there. Is this 'rubber housing' a part that generally is to be replaced when someone replaces the tie rods? Seems odd he'd initially tell me that part had completely deteriorated through and needed replacement, to only then replace the rod connected into that, without even feeling the need to go ahead and replace that.

The circle in Pic #3 shows what parts, in general, I'm talking about with this post. Sorry in advance for my explanations - I am clearly not a car guru.

They also very clearly did not rotate/balance my tires yet claimed they did and charged me for it which is another reason I'm skeptical of this other work they did.

Thanks for any help.

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Discussion Starter #4
Either go back and get them to do it or give up and go to someone else.
Would any other mechanic (having any clue what they're doing) have replaced that rubber housing while they were in there rather than just leave it on as if it's not a problem? Sorry...not super car savvy. Just trying to figure out what kind of leverage I have here.
 

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Would any other mechanic (having any clue what they're doing) have replaced that rubber housing while they were in there rather than just leave it on as if it's not a problem? Sorry...not super car savvy. Just trying to figure out what kind of leverage I have here.
What should "normally be done" is they let you know what is up and will ask if you want to replace it and depending on your answer will or will not do it. Otherwise if they didn't do any service that you already paid for is already an indicator of going back and complaining that the service you paid them to do and/or to never come back and fine someone better.
 

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They obviously were in over their heads. Your call, but I'd walk away and consider it a lesson learned.
And yes it should've been replaced, especially since you said go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
They obviously were in over their heads. Your call, but I'd walk away and consider it a lesson learned.
And yes it should've been replaced, especially since you said go for it.
Thanks. Will be bringing it back tomorrow to have them do the rotation/balance which they failed to do. I guess my main worry is whether leaving this deteriorated piece on here, and allowing all the elements inside, could cause me some serious issues down the line.
 

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The part that is 'wet' in the first image is the rack and pinon bellow boots. Job of that bellow boot is to protect the rack n pinon from getting dirt/debris on the inner gears/shaft of that which can cause the seals in the rack n pinon to wear out over time and could cause the rack to leak internally. The boot bellow is attached to the inner side of the tie rod end to the rack n pinon.

Personally for me and my experience, something like that I would have left alone if it's just a slight cut and it's not leaking excessively (looks like it was a slit on the bottom side, otherwise it is complete). If it is leaking fluid, the rack n pinon seals are bad. Once the boot is completely torn out/pieces are missing, then it should be replaced as dirt can get in easily. Usually best to also replace the inner/outer tie rod since 'you're there'. Sounds like they may have replace the tie rod but not the bellow boot.

Regardless of if it should have been replaced if you gave the OK to get the job done but they replaced something else, there may have been a miscommunication with the shop internally. They didn't perform the work correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The part that is 'wet' in the first image is the rack and pinon bellow boots. Job of that bellow boot is to protect the rack n pinon from getting dirt/debris on the inner gears/shaft of that which can cause the seals in the rack n pinon to wear out over time and could cause the rack to leak internally. The boot bellow is attached to the inner side of the tie rod end to the rack n pinon.

Personally for me and my experience, something like that I would have left alone if it's just a slight cut and it's not leaking excessively (looks like it was a slit on the bottom side, otherwise it is complete). If it is leaking fluid, the rack n pinon seals are bad. Once the boot is completely torn out/pieces are missing, then it should be replaced as dirt can get in easily. Usually best to also replace the inner/outer tie rod since 'you're there'. Sounds like they may have replace the tie rod but not the bellow boot.

Regardless of if it should have been replaced if you gave the OK to get the job done but they replaced something else, there may have been a miscommunication with the shop internally. They didn't perform the work correctly.
Very helpful - thank you for the explanation. What you've just said aligns with exactly what I can see is going on. The boot is leaking quite a bit because of the massive gouge in the side, and now that I think about it, I believe a previous mechanic may have brought something up about a rack and pinion seal. I'm just hesitant to put any more money into the car as it's probably worth less than $3k at this point. Assuming I just let this run its course and the 'worst case' happens, would that lead to a potentially dangerous scenario if I'm on the road, or will it just become a bit harder, over time, to steer the vehicle? Appreciate all the help.
 

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Very helpful - thank you for the explanation. What you've just said aligns with exactly what I can see is going on. The boot is leaking quite a bit because of the massive gouge in the side, and now that I think about it, I believe a previous mechanic may have brought something up about a rack and pinion seal. I'm just hesitant to put any more money into the car as it's probably worth less than $3k at this point. Assuming I just let this run its course and the 'worst case' happens, would that lead to a potentially dangerous scenario if I'm on the road, or will it just become a bit harder, over time, to steer the vehicle? Appreciate all the help.
It breaks and you WILL crash.
 

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If the power steering rack blows the seal and loses all it's fluid you will lose the power steering. The car will still be controllable, just with a heavier steering effort. There is a mechanical connection all the way from the steering wheel to the tire. It's not like hydraulic steering on a boat.

Yeah if the tie rod breaks you'll lose control, but they just replaced that (allegedly, lol)

How much fluid do you lose in a week/ month/ etc?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If the power steering rack blows the seal and loses all it's fluid you will lose the power steering. The car will still be controllable, just with a heavier steering effort. There is a mechanical connection all the way from the steering wheel to the tire. It's not like hydraulic steering on a boat.

Yeah if the tie rod breaks you'll lose control, but they just replaced that (allegedly, lol)

How much fluid do you lose in a week/ month/ etc?
So ironically, I think I've only had to add fluid maybe once or twice since I've owned the car (about 6 years), and I've never noticed any sign of a leak in the driveway. It's possible it's been topped off over the years as well when it's been brought in for regular maintenance, etc. but I don't know. Besides having the R&P assembly replaced, would you say the best alternative would be to just keep an eye on the PS fluid level? Or would you also recommend I add some Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak now as a preventative measure?
 

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The first picture is a leaking rack boot. I don't see anything wrong with the second picture. They should recommend a rack replacement with a rebuilt, which would include the inner tie rod and the boot on both sides. Since you are trying to not spend money, I can only hope they did not replace any of the parts they recommended, axle shaft or tie rod ends. I would consider that fraud, especially when they leave you with the original problem.
 

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The first picture is a leaking rack boot. I don't see anything wrong with the second picture. They should recommend a rack replacement with a rebuilt, which would include the inner tie rod and the boot on both sides. Since you are trying to not spend money, I can only hope they did not replace any of the parts they recommended, axle shaft or tie rod ends. I would consider that fraud, especially when they leave you with the original problem.
My 04 right had r&p seal started showing leakage in about 08. I started routinely siphoning the PS reservoir and replacing PS fluid. Leakage stopped and no problem since. Regards
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So ever since I got the car back from the shop (~4 days ago), I've been getting a "grinding" noise whenever I'm making a turn and have the wheel either all the way to the right or left. But no issues/sounds when it's not 100% turned left/right. Any way this might somehow just be the new tie-rod ends starting to "break in"? Besides changing the oil/trans fluid, the tie-rod ends is all that replaced and didn't have this issue before.

Or...any way it could be related to the fact they did not do (and did not ask if I wanted) an alignment after they replaced them, and getting an alignment could fix this? (I will be having this done very soon anyways)
 
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