The benefits of rack and pinion steering have long ago been proven. This steering format has simplified both vehicle design and service.
The system consists of a toothed lateral rack that engages a geared pinion shaft driven by the steering shaft, which in turn runs across the face of the toothed rack.
When the steering wheel turns the pinion rotates. This forces the rack to slide left or right, controlling front wheel direction by means of its tie rod connections.
Rack and pinion steering replaces the four "conventional" steering parts - idler arm, pitman arm, center link and the large, heavy cast iron gearbox. Thus it is lighter, requires less space, and provides measurably greater steering "feel" and efficiency since it offers a "direct connection" to the steering arms, as opposed to a multi-linked network of pivoting steering links and rods.
Both manual and power-assist racks are common, but power assist systems are most common on U.S. vehicles.
Rack styles and locations are dictated by the needs and design of the vehicle.
Rebuild vs. replace
If a rack unit leaks hydraulic fluid inside and around the bellows boots, the culprits are …