Haynes Team,

I'm working on a 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with the 3.8 liter engine and am using manual #24048, as well as your Techbook on Suspension and Steering Systems.

The car is making a grinding noise that sounds like it is coming from the front left. During the test drive, I noticed that it makes the noise both while going straight and while making turns (in either direction).

I suspected a bad hub/bearing assembly initially (since the other side went bad last year), but after I pulled the wheel on the left, I noticed that the steering gear boot was torn on that side.

Based on this information, do you think the rack and pinion assembly could be going bad? I could not find information in either of your books (and not much in the way of research online) on how to troubleshoot an R&P or if a bad one would make the noise I am experiencing. Or do you think my original assumption about the wheel bearing is the best place to start?