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1990 Nissan Sentra XE 4-door 2WD
Manual steering and 5-speed transmission
253,900 easy miles on odometer

Here's what I've got: Steering is VERY unpredictable/major wandering, LOTS of play in the steering wheel, and can hear/feel several thumps when turning the wheel while the car's not moving.

Previous related work: Replaced both halfshafts/axles (brand new, not remanufactured), outer tie rods and balljoints several months ago -- was a great success due to info found on this site. And had they been in stock at the store, I would have replaced the inner tie rods too since the bellows/boots were mangled (and the rod could be easily moved by hand)... but they were special order only and wouldn't have come in time, so I reluctantly left them on.

So here's my issue: I know the inner tie rods are shot, but how do I know the manual steering gear/rack-and-pinion unit itself isn't worn out too? The car has over a quarter million miles (I love saying that! :thumbup:), and something is telling me I'd be dumb not to spend the extra cash to replace the whole unit... But then again, why fix something if it ain't broke! I mean, why replace it if the whole unit doesn't generally wear out and it's only the inner tie rods that need to be replaced? I'm generally afraid of rebuilt units, because quality seems to be very inconsistent.

Anybody got any ideas? Oh, and I've already checked out oem-surplus -- and they have no more complete units for this model car. :( That would've been way too easy....
 
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