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‘08 Element Ex Power Steering Rack Leak - Do I need to replace it now?

1441 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  garagerockr
Alright so a little background:

just clocked 192,000 on my 2008 Element. I took my car into a Honda independent mechanic two weeks ago and was informed of a “major” leak in my power steering rack. And because this leak has supposedly been going on for some time, all of my engine mounts are shot to sh*t. The car does rattle and shake pretty loudly, so undoubtedly need to get those replaced.
My main question is - if I get my mounts replaced, would it be safe/smart to wait a bit before replacing the leaky rack?

The mechanic explained to me that the reason the rubber mounts were so fried was because of the power steering fluid leaking all over them. I am the second owner of the car, and for the cars whole life she has gone to drive-thru oil changes. I was informed by the mechanic that Honda’s need a specific power steering fluid made for Honda’s. If I continue to only use this special power steering fluid, will the mounts hold up for a good amount of time?
Reason for trying to spread out repairs is I was quoted $3,500 for the rack, mounts, and new muffler (it vibrates)
I took the car into the mechanic as I was going on a road trip from LA to Portland and back. The car did not leak significantly, over 2,000 miles. So is it that bad?
I’ve also heard of polyurethane mounts - thoughts?

thank you!
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$3500 sounds like a LOT for that amount of work. Mounts aren't too hard for the home mechanic; the bolts for the rear mount can be difficult if rusted in place. I'm a bit skeptical that the power steering fluid is that detrimental to the rubber in the mounts. Don't know if there are poly mounts for the Element. Did he say where it is leaking? It may be possible to repair the leak without removing the rack. Do use Honda PS fluid.
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Hi, do you have any pictures by chance of the motor mounts themselves? Are they cracked and the rubber falling apart?

Even if you use the Honda fluid, if the rack is leaking then you still have power steering fluid dripping on the mounts which can damage the rubber but it is a good idea to use the Honda fluid after the rack is replaced. Did they say they were replacing it with a brand new rack or a rebuilt rack?

You may be able to get a better price on a rebuilt rack, don't be shy about getting a second opinion especially from a friend or family member who is mechanically inclined. Or try another shop recommended by someone you know and trust

If you are only having to top it up a little power steering fluid over 2000 miles that doesnt sound bad to me. I have had worse leaks than that. In other cars some people have used something called Lucas Power Steering stop leak, its an additive that helps seal up leaks but it may not be compatable with the Honda power steering fluid. I will have to ask my mechanic and find out for you, I think he told me last year not to use it on Hondas but I will double check

I would avoid the polyurethane motor mounts, they are a hard plastic mount and will make squeaking noises and will crack sooner than the rubber ones. They are meant more for high performance applications, where they want to minimize any movement of the powertrain that may rob fractions of tiny bits of power

As for the muffler, if you hit it with your fist (when the muffler is not hot of course), do you hear loose metal banging around inside the muffler? If not it could just be a muffler hanger or hanger mount that needs replacing. Sometimes they will try to sell you a whole exhaust system when all you need is a new hanger, they look like this


by the way you bear an uncanny resemblance to an old artist friend of mine, this is your doppelganger

About Janet
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Power Steering Fluid, WILL turn rubber to GOO!

My wife had a 2005 E that the power steering pump was leaking right on the serpintine belt and when I fixed it.

Had to take a small wire brush and get all the goo off the pulleys!
As far as the rack, I have a new aftermarket rack I can sell for cheap if you want to drive down to San Diego for it.
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