New C Class (W203) Steering Rack

Carpet

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
Hi everyone, about two weeks ago My car started making a whirring sound when I turn the wheel at low speeds. A quick search on forums such as this one suggested that the power steering fluid may be low and that this was a common problem for a car of my mileage (~60K). I checked the fluid and it was a little low, I topped up but 2 daysw later the whirring was back. I topped it back up and hoped that if it was a small leak I could keep topping up everytime I had to drive to get me through to payday when I could get it fixed.

Anyway at the end of last week, the leak finally gave out. Pouring fresh power steering fluid into the reservoir results in it flushing straight out close to the rack. My girlfriend was driving it at the time and luckily was with someone with AA membership so we got it towed home.

I'd like to point out, that we haven't driven this car with no power steering fluid. This was in the hope that all that would need replacing would be a hose or seal and that the rack itself would remain undamaged.

Several posts regarding this problem have resulted in changing a hose, but I want to prepare myself in case it's an internal seal in the rack and the whole rack needs replacing. I have seen on ebay racks for £250, I've also seen third party racks for sale in the states for under $500 and I've heard rumours that a MB rack can be up to $1900!

Has anyone had a similar problem and had it fixed at a non-MB garage and how much was the rack + labour? Are there refurb or thrid party racks readily available from places like europarts?

I've just spoken to Mercedes and they've confirmed that a new rack is over £1800, but the guy on the phone thought that if my oil is pouring straight out, then it sounds like a hose has gone. He said that a faulty rack seeps the fluid out. Can anyone confirm this?
 

television

Always remembered RIP
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
164,073
Reaction score
332
Age
86
Location
Daventry
Your Mercedes
2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
We have never had a rack fault on here as far as I can remember, always the hose, where are you in the UK
 
OP
C

Carpet

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
I'm in Maidenhead, Berkshire. After posting, I spoke to Osbournes, our local Mercedes specialist and that also said that it was probably the hose and they'll look at it for free. I'll be able to chuck another bottle of oil in the car and nurse it up there but I'm still reluctant to drive anywhere but the place that'll end up fixing it. Payday is the 24th and that when it'll get sorted.

Whats the expected amount of labour need to change a hose. Is it going to be as little as an hour or are they going to need to take out bits to get access?
 

television

Always remembered RIP
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
164,073
Reaction score
332
Age
86
Location
Daventry
Your Mercedes
2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
1 hour should be the max for changing a hose and checking
 

type49

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2005
Messages
1,601
Reaction score
1
The racks are generally pretty strong:D. Dont let the pump run dry though, this is the weakest link:shock:
 

Cole@MBS

Forum Supporter
Authorised Forum Supporter
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Messages
13,654
Reaction score
812
Age
51
Location
Hedge End, Southampton
Website
www.mbssouthampton.co.uk
Your Mercedes
124 300 CE 24 Coupe, C220CDI, 1959:Morris Minor
I have seen quiet a few blow the end seals and the gaiters get filled with oil, some late stuff as well!!!
 
OP
C

Carpet

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #7
Ok I have an update.

The car had been sitting stationary for eight days. I checked the power steering fluid reservoir to find that it was still full. I took a look under the car and both boots were wet but the oil seemed to be coming from above.

I drove it over to the nearest Mercedes specialists and there was no whine, but I did have the window down and as I approached the garage I could hear the dripping below onto the road.

They took a look under the car and there was quite a lot of oil on the spill tray. The bad news was that both boots were full of oil meaning the seals on both rams had gone. This was proved by turning the wheel. Whichever ram was contracting poured oil out. My car is 6 years old and has done less that 60,000 miles and basically all the seals in the steering rack has failed.

The mechanic was a bit surprised by this and his hypothesis, which I agree with, is that the pressure relief valve on the power steering pump has failed and the system was over-pressured leading to the rack failling. In this situation I would have expected one of the cheaper components such as a hose or the pump to fail. Having the weak spot in the most expensive component of the sub-system is a poor bit of design.

So I'd already seen salvaged racks on Ebay for £250 and Merc will do a brand new one for just under £1850. The garage will use, and do tend to use, refurbished parts and they expect a refurbed rack to be £350-£450 which was a plesant surprise. They source their parts from Europarts so I'm going to call them to confirm a price.

Whilst they were looking for the leak the rack seemed pretty accessible so I can't see labour being huge. They're also going to change the pump as well, otherwise the same thing could just happen again.

They are going to put together a quote and call me with it. It would be good to see if anyone knows or works in a garage near Berkshire that will beat it.

Also, whilst getting this checked out, it turns out someones pinched one of my wheel nuts. :rolleyes:
 

Dave Brooker

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2009
Messages
425
Reaction score
0
Ok I have an update.

The car had been sitting stationary for eight days. I checked the power steering fluid reservoir to find that it was still full. I took a look under the car and both boots were wet but the oil seemed to be coming from above.

I drove it over to the nearest Mercedes specialists and there was no whine, but I did have the window down and as I approached the garage I could hear the dripping below onto the road.

They took a look under the car and there was quite a lot of oil on the spill tray. The bad news was that both boots were full of oil meaning the seals on both rams had gone. This was proved by turning the wheel. Whichever ram was contracting poured oil out. My car is 6 years old and has done less that 60,000 miles and basically all the seals in the steering rack has failed.

The mechanic was a bit surprised by this and his hypothesis, which I agree with, is that the pressure relief valve on the power steering pump has failed and the system was over-pressured leading to the rack failling. In this situation I would have expected one of the cheaper components such as a hose or the pump to fail. Having the weak spot in the most expensive component of the sub-system is a poor bit of design.

So I'd already seen salvaged racks on Ebay for £250 and Merc will do a brand new one for just under £1850. The garage will use, and do tend to use, refurbished parts and they expect a refurbed rack to be £350-£450 which was a plesant surprise. They source their parts from Europarts so I'm going to call them to confirm a price.

Whilst they were looking for the leak the rack seemed pretty accessible so I can't see labour being huge. They're also going to change the pump as well, otherwise the same thing could just happen again.

They are going to put together a quote and call me with it. It would be good to see if anyone knows or works in a garage near Berkshire that will beat it.

Also, whilst getting this checked out, it turns out someones pinched one of my wheel nuts. :rolleyes:

Look in the Yellow Pages and ring your local rack rebuilders, you may be surprised how cheap reconditoned PAS racks are, way less that £350...
 
OP
C

Carpet

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #9
The specialists came back with their quote and it wasn't the rack price that was shocking.

A refurbed rack is available and only £169.95 (exc VAT)
Apparently power steering pumps are only available from Merc and thats a massive £258.00 (exc VAT)!
They reckon it'll be fours work and the rate is £75/hr.

Once you tot that all up and whack on VAT its £837.83 which is £100-150 more than I was expecting but that's because the pump is a lot more than I thought.

So now my question is are there third party pumps I can use?
 

Dave Brooker

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2009
Messages
425
Reaction score
0
The specialists came back with their quote and it wasn't the rack price that was shocking.

A refurbed rack is available and only £169.95 (exc VAT)
Apparently power steering pumps are only available from Merc and thats a massive £258.00 (exc VAT)!
They reckon it'll be fours work and the rate is £75/hr.

Once you tot that all up and whack on VAT its £837.83 which is £100-150 more than I was expecting but that's because the pump is a lot more than I thought.

So now my question is are there third party pumps I can use?

Does it actually need a pump?
 
OP
C

Carpet

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #11
I think the concern is that if the PRV on the pump has failed and the pump is likely to over-pressurise the system then the new rack will just pop both its seals and soon as we fit it.
 

television

Always remembered RIP
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
164,073
Reaction score
332
Age
86
Location
Daventry
Your Mercedes
2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
This pump must have a relief valve, and it can only be that, that has failed
 

type49

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2005
Messages
1,601
Reaction score
1
See how much they charge just to fit the rack. Might be worth just doing this. If the new rack did fail again, at least you could get it replaced under warranty & just buy the new pump, which you were thinking of doing anyway....
 

television

Always remembered RIP
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
164,073
Reaction score
332
Age
86
Location
Daventry
Your Mercedes
2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
See how much they charge just to fit the rack. Might be worth just doing this. If the new rack did fail again, at least you could get it replaced under warranty & just buy the new pump, which you were thinking of doing anyway....

Tip of the week :D:D:D
 
OP
C

Carpet

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #15
Would the rack be under warranty if:
a) it was a refurbed part, not from Mercedes
b) this work was being carried out at a Mercedes Specialist rather than at Mercedes
 

type49

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2005
Messages
1,601
Reaction score
1
Would the rack be under warranty if:
a) it was a refurbed part, not from Mercedes
b) this work was being carried out at a Mercedes Specialist rather than at Mercedes

The part will have a 12 or even 24 month warranty from the shop you bought it from. Obviously, if you bought a non Merc rack, which then failed, you couldn't take it to a Merc dealer expecting a warranty. There is, however a rule that if you bought a dealer supplied rack & pump, then fitted them yourself, if either failed in the warranty period, you can get the dealer to supply & FIT the failed part again. (Providing they were fitted "in the correct manner")
 

Dave Brooker

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2009
Messages
425
Reaction score
0
There is, however a rule that if you bought a dealer supplied rack & pump, then fitted them yourself, if either failed in the warranty period, you can get the dealer to supply & FIT the failed part again. (Providing they were fitted "in the correct manner")

They only ever either replace or refund the part, they don't cover fitting.
 

type49

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2005
Messages
1,601
Reaction score
1
They only ever either replace or refund the part, they don't cover fitting.

Yes they do - but it does depend on the circumstances. If you bought an autobox & fitted yourself, they could argue there was some swarf/fillings in the cooler, which resulted in the failure of the new box. If you bought an electrical item, they could argue that another component overloaded the new item, causing it to fail.

If you buy a straight forward single item, say a bottom ball joint, if it then failed, the dealer has no real way out of replacing & fitting that item. This is not a Mercedes rule. It is part of dealer standards.
 


Text: V4B offer competitive leasing deals across the Mercedes Benz range, we have excellent knowledge and experience on the Mercedes product and we pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service.
V4B
Top Bottom