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  • WWYD, Audi A6, P/S leak after tie rod R+R

    Posted by Richard Zaagman on January 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    2003 Audi A6 4.2 comes in for a steering boot replacement. Boot was ripped open. While there, we replaced the inner tie rod end. No obvious wear from boot being open. Simple job, no problems, standard every day proceedure. Customer picks up the car and has a whinning sound that wasn’t there before. We looked it over, no leaks seen, added P/S fluid and told him to keep his eye on it and report back to us. Also ensured him that if we found anything related we take care of it.

    Couple weeks later he calls and says he wants to bring the car in and have the leak repaired referring to the seal that was damaged during the tie rod end replacment. Apparently another shop and a friend looked at the car and said that whoever installed the tie rod end damaged the seal and the shop stated there were marks indicating we had trouble when replacing the tie rod end.

    We looked at the car again. Pulled the steering boot back, it’s leaking. No damage to anything, anywhere. The seal is not even visible. The seal is almost a foot further inside the rack, beyond the toothed section of the rack. Can’t even see the seal or get to it if you wanted to. We showed this to the customer along with an exploded view of an Audi steering rack showing him where the seals are and how far they are from the inner tie rod end.

    So here’s the delemma. Customer comes in without a steering leak, leaves with one after we replaced the left inner tie rod end. I can find NO relationship to our work and his leak. I’m trying to work out some coop deal with him, such as he pay our cost on the rack and pay the techs wages, but we haven’t agreed on anything yet.

    WWYD and does anyone have any idea whether or not anything we did could have caused this leak?

    Richard Zaagman replied 10 years, 2 months ago 7 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
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  • rhopp

    Member
    January 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Questions come to mind: Was the vehicle delivered to the customer

    with the fluid low? If so, we bought it. Did adding fluid solve the

    noise? Where else did the fluid go?

    Who recommended the boot? If it was CAS, would you normally note

    that a compromised boot can allow damage that is unpredictable? If

    not, we bought it. Might be dumb luck that the debris took out the

    seal, just after you touched it, however the seal most likely

    wouldn’t be damaged if the torn boot hadn’t allowed debris in.

    Many crystal ball issues IMHO. I know that’s not an inexpensive rack

    or install… Is there a chance of keeping him as a client? He’s

    already questioning quite a bit. We’ve won several raving fans by

    stepping up in a situation where the grey area couldn’t be cleared.

    V/W 8 cylinder owners can be one of the strangest lot to work with.

    Richard Zaagman wrote:

    > 2003 Audi A6 4.2 comes in for a steering boot replacement. Boot

    was ripped open. While there, we replaced the inner tie rod end.

    No obvious wear from boot being open. Simple job, no problems,

    standard every day proceedure. Customer picks up the car and has a

    whinning sound that wasn’t there before. We looked it over, no

    leaks seen, added P/S fluid and told him to keep his eye on it and

    report back to us. Also ensured him that if we found anything

    related we take care of it.

    >

    > Couple weeks later he calls and says he wants to bring the car in

    and have the leak repaired referring to the seal that was damaged

    during the tie rod end replacment. Apparently another shop and a

    friend looked at the car and said that whoever installed the tie rod

    end damaged the seal and the shop stated there were marks indicating

    we had trouble when replacing the tie rod end.

    >

    > We looked at the car again. Pulled the steering boot back, it’s

    leaking. No damage to anything, anywhere. The seal is not even

    visible. The seal is almost a foot further inside the rack, beyond

    the toothed section of the rack. Can’t even see the seal or get to

    it if you wanted to. We showed this to the customer along with an

    exploded view of an Audi steering rack showing him where the seals

    are and how far they are from the inner tie rod end.

    >

    > So here’s the delemma. Customer comes in without a steering leak,

    leaves with one after we replaced the left inner tie rod end. I can

    find NO relationship to our work and his leak. I’m trying to work

    out some coop deal with him, such as he pay our cost on the rack and

    pay the techs wages, but we haven’t agreed on anything yet.

    >

    > WWYD and does anyone have any idea whether or not anything we did

    could have caused this leak?

  • Tom Ham

    Member
    January 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    A long time shop owner I know in town here (used to go to high school with him) would likely tell me to just fix it and move on…and I would tend to agree.

    For what it’s worth, looks like you can pick up a decent recycled one for about $100 or so.

  • Alan Ollie

    Member
    January 20, 2012 at 2:39 am

    That’s why we work only on VW and Audi’s PS racks leak on Audi’s just from breathing on them.

    I see the problem monthly that’s why we have a note on invoice on any steering or suspension jobs. Something like the note below.

    *** The steering system could start seeping or leak in the future. German Car Depot makes every attempt to minimize the possibility of future problems.We will inspect your car at your next service.

    We also send a reminder in 2-3 months. Next oil service watch for any seeping from the ______ system.

    The reminder makes it easier to explain the next leak.

    After all that is said we still get irate people every few months.

    Audi… It’s not if the car will leak something it’s when.:)

  • mikevanwazer

    Member
    January 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    “Also ensured him that if we found anything related we take care of it.”

    In the name of customer satisfaction, replace it. Make the process as painless as posible for the customer. In the future do a better job to CYA! It sucks when jobs go south but it comes with the territory.

  • Joe Mazur

    Member
    February 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I would agree with the above replies. It is coincidence, but often

    taking the high road when there is a “gray” area builds trust with your

    customer, and can work for your benefit, especially if you think this

    customer could turn into a loyal customer. Obviously the leak was there

    right after the repairs you did. By fixing it and keeping the customer

    happy you build trust (both directly and indirectly) in the Community

    Automotive brand.

  • mattsauto

    Member
    February 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    I’ve heard a lot lately about leaky p/s systems and the use

    of typical p/s fluid. What fluid did you top the system off

    with? I’ve seen dexron/mercon stop a leak in p/s systems

    since it contains conditioners for seals. Just a thought.

  • Tom Ham

    Member
    April 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Dick….how did this story end?

    Thanks,

  • Richard Zaagman

    Member
    April 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    We ended up replacing the rack and the customer paid for the rack at a minimal profit and he paid my cost of labor. One thing the customer didn’t realize is the steering boot was open when the vehicle came into the shop. Initially he had the impression that we damanged the boot, which wasn’t the case. I showed him the location of the rack and the tie rod end that we replaced and explained that when a boot is open, water, dirt, salt etc are going to be constantly filling the wheel well and there is no doubt will eventually damage the rack. Once he realized the boot had been open for a while, he backed off a bit. The fact that the leak started after we replace the tie rod end was still hard to ignore, at least by the customer. We wanted to keep the customer, so we shared the cost as described. Have yet to see the customer return and he does need a timing belt, so the jury is still out as to whether we accomplished our goal of keeping him as a customer.