2001 X5 4.4

A couple of months ago my steering became strange. It turns easily, same force as it should have, but there is no feedback. In other words, turning in a sharp turn takes no more or less force than turning at a standstill. And coming out of the curve, you have to manually turn it back to center. For example, go to a large parking lot, get up a little speed, then turn the wheel fairly sharp, it goes into a turn. Normally, you let go of the wheel and it recenters itself quickly. In my case, it will just stay turned and keep going in circles. On the highway, a car will normally drift to the right if the road is pitched that way. Mine doesn't. Not any more.

I had trouble with the telescoping, and we all thought that was causing it, but replaced several broken plastic parts and nothing changed. No feedback at all. Its like turning one of those round brake wheels on a train. Turn it and let it go and there it stays. One would think the caster in the front end would bring it back, and it does a little, but only a little.

The mechanic thinks the steering rack is going bad. Sounds plausible, but I would like to be sure before spending the money.

Any ideas?

Thanks for any comments.

Lin Gilbert