Question about 1998 Plymouth Breeze

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Continuation of 1998 Plymouth Breeze Stiff Steering Issue Well, we ended up replacing basically all of the front end of this 1998 Plymouth Breeze because it was totally worn out. We replaced the front motor mount, the rear motor mount, upper ball joints, front struts, both CV axles, both control arms (lower ball joints), the Rack & Pinion and Tie Rod ends We even replaced the water pump and timing belt because the water pump was leaking and since we had it open, we replaced the timing belt also. Other than the trouble getting everything off, (rust!) the compressing of the coil spring to replace the front shocks and all the time it took, everything went pretty well. (Broke the plate that has the altenator adjustment arm, covers the timing belt and connects to the side motor mount but found one at a junkyard). The only problem that has come out of all of this is that Autozone sold me the wrong Rack & Pinion. I guess there are two types, one with a wiring harness and one that doesn't have a wiring harness. This Breeze doesn't have the wiring harness but the Rack & Pinion that Autozone (and INSTALLED IN THE CAR!) sold me requires the wiring harness, (some kind of switch). What all this comes down to is that the Rack & Pinion that I have INSTALLED, requires a switch. I can get the switch from the local dealer for $40-$45, which is no big deal and it appears that it can be easily installed while the Rack & Pinion is mounted on the car. My concern here is that since the Rack & Pinion that I have requires this "switch", if I put the switch in it to plug up the hole so I have no leaks but there is no electrical connection to it, is that going to be an issue to this installed Rack & Pinion? It is obvious that the switch serves a purpose but I do not know what that purpose is and I also do not know if It is REQUIRED by the Rack & Pinion that I have! I talked to the Dealer Mechanic and he couldn't even tell me what the Switch is used for! The quick solution is to buy this "switch", install it into the "wrong" Rack & Pinion and be done with it. The question is; Is that going to be ok or will it cause this Rack & Pinion to not operate properly and I will be buying the right Rack & Pinion in a month or two? I can get the right Rack & Pinion from Autozone, (in fact it is already sitting on their floor) but it is a lot of work to replace it AGAIN! All the disconnecting and reconnecting of Control Arms, Tie Rod Ends, Sway Bar and Steering Column. But is it worth it? After all of this, my main question is; Can I just buy the switch and install it on the Rack & Pinion to just plug the hole(leak) without causing any future issues/problems/damage to the new Rack & Pinion that is currently installed? Any help on this would be greatly appriciated!

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First, the mechanic has no idea what that switch is most likely. I have several Rack and Pinions for dodge and Plymouth vehicles and none have any electrical on them however I have seen some that do and having looked at these I'm pretty sure it is a sensor and has no control of the Rack and Pinion it self. It should just be sensing the pressure in the Assembly and reporting that back to the vehicle ECM. The good news is if this was an option on some models of that vehicle then you most likely do have a connection point for it on the wiring harness already. Typically they have wiring harnesses made to fit all vehicle of that model line. If a model doesn't have a particular component installed the connector is still there it just isn't connected to anything. As an example, if your vehicle doesn't have power windows, you'll still find the plug ends for the motors someplace either in the door or under the dash. The ECM is most likely capable of dealing with the input as well so as far as that is concerned it shouldn't cause you any issues if you decide to install it. For that matter I would just plug the hole if it is a screw in sensor. Make sure you don't let the bolt you use compress anything inside the assembly though if you choose this route. If the Rack and Pinions are truly interchangeable I don't see why this would be an issue or why it would cause you any problem. If there is no real damage to the assembly though it might be better to do the harder solution and put the correct unit in now while your in work mode on the vehicle. I don't know if Autozone will do an exchange for the part or not since you already installed it though. They should have brought up the issue with the Electrical connector when they ordered the part for you in my opinion. Normally when two options are offered the person helping you should have asked if you had that sensor or not and I would use that as the argument to get them to take that part back. They will counter with why did you continue the install when you noticed the difference question so be ready for a fight on this. What it boils down to is this. Do you want to do a little extra now and possibly save money by not having to buy the sensor and not having to buy the new assembly outright or possibly have to pay full price for another assembly in a few months and know buying that sensor was a waste of time. The dealer mechanics will be of very little help in this area because most are trying to get you to bring the vehicle in and want to get your money so I wouldn't trust anything they said about it.

Posted on Sep 14, 2010


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