It is not uncommon for the power steering rack to develop a fluid leak requiring replacement of the rack assembly. Loss of power steering fluid may also cause an abnormal noise and damage to the power steering pump.
Car Problem Reports
Mercedes-Benz ML430 Steering Rack Prone to Leaks
Mercedes-Benz ML430 Problem
Average Mileage: 120,276 mi (10,600 mi - 176,000 mi)
Problem started with leaking high pressure PS pipe to the rack. $1000 parts & labor from dealer. Steering rack seal went - went to a local shop - rebuilt rack installed - steering tight with no response. Replaced rack once more. Still poor handling. Power steering pump was blamed - replace with after-market pump. Bill - $2700. Still not happy with the steering response. After about 3 months, pump went again (most likely due to not flushing the fluid completely or using incorrect fluid). This time went to the dealer. He replaced the pump with new fluid. Bill $1000. Total $4700. Seems to be working ok now. What's a mere $4700 to be able to boast "I drive a Mercedes" - I'd much rather not drive at all.
Visitor, 2000 Mercedes-Benz ML430, 130,000 mi
leaking power steering rack and line to power steering pump keep comming off radator. Radator may be clocked.
Power steering just quit working. All the fluid drained out from, I believe, the rack. There was a lot of fluid on it.
Visitor, 1999 Mercedes-Benz ML430, 176,000 mi
changed new power st pump, 2 weeks later was leaking and replaced it again new pump again
Visitor, 2000 Mercedes-Benz ML430, 173,000 mi
Rack has completely failed, seals shot. All failed just around the time the hose clamp failure happened. I think the hose clamp failure is directly tied to the rack failure.
Visitor, 2000 Mercedes-Benz ML430, 120,000 mi
Power steering hose popped out three times! Fluid leaked out...completely. Ugh! Cost to repair, part: $170.00, labor $150.00. Hope this doesn't happen again.
Visitor, 1999 Mercedes-Benz ML430, 80,000 mi
I bought this pile of junk at 80,000 miles. Noticed a noisy steering problem right away. Had the fluid flushed and replaced and it helped, but now getting louder and louder and more annoying. Buying this was a huge mistake as this is the LEAST of the problems.
Visitor, 2000 Mercedes-Benz ML430, 150,000 mi
Power steering rack assembly leaked after pump replacement caused by wrong fluid. New pump increased pressure in system and seals on the rack started to leak. Ordered rebuilt rack assembly which was fitted. Steering problems resolved, including lack of precise response to steering commands. Rebuilt rack solved the problem, expect to pay for at least eight hours shop work. Core refund is around $150. With a rebuilt rack cost around $400.
Visitor, 2000 Mercedes-Benz ML430, 91,000 mi
Power steering has failed. Fluid is leaking profusely. The Chico Mercedes Dealer says that the problems are NOT covered by the recall notices. I plan to take my vehicle to a private mechanic to see what can be done to resolve the fluid leakage & get the vehicle running in a safe manner. I filed a complaint with the NHTSA.
Visitor, 2001 Mercedes-Benz ML430, 154,000 mi
leaking power steering rack