Power Steering issue - GM minivan

I have a '98 Olds Silohette van (FWD - like Chev Venture) that has 145,000 miles now, and I've replaced both hubs and tie rod ends that wore out. Now a new problem has gradually emerged, its a sort of mild
sticking and release of the steering on sharp low speed turns accomplanied by a sort of groan and the action of the wheels is not super smooth. With the wheels off the ground I did not notice binding of the ball joints or CV's when doing mainenance, and I don't get the clicking normally associated with bad CV's. What are the symptoms of a bad rack & pinion? Is this normal for an older GM car ?
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It isn't a GM problem, it is a car problem. Things wear out at high mileage and have to be replaced. Steering parts wear based on how hard a life they have had. The problem sounds like the rack and pinion bushings are wearing. It will probably have to be replaced.

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From a shade tree mechanic...fwiw
Power steering unit full ?? Has it been flushed lately ??? Any leakage from the hoses ?? Did you replace inner tie rod ends or just the outter ??
If the inner tie rod ends were not replaced, do they have any play when wheels are unloaded. Any play, in and out indicated a worn inner tie rod end.
If the inner tie rod ends were replaced...did any power steering fluid leakage from the bushings i.e. removing the bellows and power steering fluid dribbles out..
Another indicator of worn R&P is binding at maximum wheel turn.
My experience...
My 1990 Silhouette inner tie rod ends needed replacement at 122, 000 miles at which time it was discovered the R&P seals were leaking requiring replacement of the unit. The new assembly came complete with inner tie rod ends ready for the shop to install.
Replacement cost as of 9 / 2006 for a remanufactured rack including inner tie rod ends, power steering fluid replacement and alignment was $850.00 This included sales tax and shop supplies charges.
I wouldn't recommend R&R in a driveway on jack stands unless you've had experience... Clearance is tight.
About a month after the rack and pinion was replaced.... the hi pressure hose started leaking at the metal crimp. This cost about 320.00 to replace including tax and shop charges. Not enough clearance under the car to get at the hose connection to the R&P when laying on your back under the car in a driveway.
The real mechanics on this newsgroup will have better information as to how it can be done.
hth
Peter
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1. replaced outers only. Inner ends did not show any play 2. fluid was flushed out as well over a year ago, about as well as I could being shade tree, we sucked out the resv. and ran it, then did this repeatedly now the fluid looks good. You can disconnect a hose and get a better flush, but this is a quick easy flush. 3. I had a leak on a metal line, but I fixed it. 4. Yes, I'm not anxous to spend all the money, and not that anxious to fix it myself either, although I've done some big jobs in the past this one as you mention, looks fairly tight and not very fun
I think right now I'll keep driving it and checking fluid until it gets worse, then deal with it. At 150k, she'll have some issues.
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