Mushy Taurus Steering

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

I just bought a '89 Ford Taurus for my 17-year-old daughter and I have a question for you. The mileage is over a 100,000 miles, but the car runs great and the interior is in pretty good condition. The problem the car has is when it is driven down the road it seems to have approximate play of 1" to 1.5". I have been told that the car hasn't been started or used in about 8 months. When I asked about the steering they told me that it could be the power steering unit. Could this be the problem ? Or could it be something more serious?

More likely that not, the steering rack is wearing out. This is commonplace for that vintage car. The replacement is not that hard either. If you have the time, and a warm place to work, you could probably do it yourself. Please refer to a service manual for detailed instructions to see if this is something you would want to take up. The cost for the part is probably somewhere around $130. Installation by a garage is probably around 2 or 3 hours. If you do decide to do the job yourself, remember to flush the new rack system prior to connecting the return line to the power steering pump. This way, any debris from the remanufacturing process, will not end up in the pump. And, as a matter of fact, you should flush the pump prior to installing in to the new rack.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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