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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK I have been trying to figure out if I need new tierods or rack and pinion (steering rack).

This all started when I noticed my rubber boots covering the tie rod ball joints were split in half. On further inspection I noticed what I was afraid was hydraulic fluid on the diver side boot and on the wishbone bushing behind the boot. But after taking (cutting) the boots off the tierods the substance I thought was fluid appeared to be grease of some sort possibly seeping from the inner ball joint.

When removing the boots I found no evidence of hydraulic fluid except for one small drop in the boot from the passengers side. I have also examined all the bushing and ball joints in the steering and suspension and they all are in good shape with no tearing or leaks with the rubber being flexible. There is no flex in the wheels when trying to rock them side to side either on the horizontal or verticle axis. There is just no play in the steering.

I have included a pictures and any help or advice would be appreciated. :dunno:
 

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Under the lift arms
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whats wrong is your useing a split boot... or no boot...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the reply all.

Yes I know there is no boot. I just cut them off after finding them split. New boots are on there way and will be installing them ASAP.

Question still remains, Does this look like a steering rack leak?
Or as stated by pshovest it might be grease from rack teeth. Is there suppose to be grease in the rack teeth cavity?
If so I would like to doo nything necessary before replacing the boots.

Thanks again for you help.
 

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If there is no red steering fluid then the rack is fine. It wont be for long if you drive without the boots. There are lots of places for the steering fluid to leak from. Res cap, hoses, etc.
 

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It doesn't look like the steering rack is leaking. There should be no grease or fluid inside the rack end boots. The LH side (drivers side in your case) looks as though it has had some work done on it before and the rack end has had grease applied to it. This is not necessary and can cause the rack seal to wear if the boot fails (quite common) and dirt enters the boot and sticks to the grease. It needs to be cleaned off. The RH side looks OK. The LHS is near the power steering pump/hoses and any oil leaks here (also quite common) are going to end up on the rack etc.
Clean the grease from the rack and replace the boots and go from there.
The hemispherical joint at the rack is also a common failure point. I've had to replace 3 on my E39 and one on my old E36. Any play here will have the car wandering around all over the road.

RonR
99 528iT M52TU
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks again for the advice and suggestions, really appreciate them.

So next questions is'should I replace the tie rods when replacing the boots or just go with what I have and then get an alignment or just replace the outer tie rod ends? As I said all the parts seem to be in good condition but I have read if I'm taking the off to install the boots might as well replace the tierods.

Opinions please.
 

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BMW CCA 69606
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If there's no play they're good. If you change them you'll need a front end alignment. Disconnect as 1hander said and there is no need for an alignment.
 

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Dinggg....what now!
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You are ok.The grease is for the rack.If the hyd fluid is leaking the whole area will be wet and the boot will be fouled with fluid.
Just smack new boots on and you will be good to go.....
 
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