OK guys, we may be getting each other confused a bit. I have done a little research on this and here is what I know so far...
At its heart, our steering rack IS a manual rack. When you turn the wheel, you have a direct mechanical connection to the tires via a pinion(gear) that moves the rack left to right. The "power" part of the rack is a piston with a chamber on both sides filled with fluid. The system applies pressure to either side of this piston to aid your manual steering effort.
When you remove the pump, it is just a mechanical rack(with a high gear ratio). At this point, if you leave the fluid in the rack, you will have to expend some of your energy as you move this fluid from side to side when you turn. This is because the piston is part of the rack and when you turn the wheel and move the rack, you are also moving the piston. Like I said earlier, it will be easier to steer with no fluid. Air is much easier to move around.
I have also found out that I was right about the grease. If you take the rack apart and grease everything(not fill it with grease, you still have to let the chambers breath/vent), you have made it even easier to steer and better longevity as a manual rack.
I will be performing this soon on my car and I will document the whole process with pics and post on here when done. If I am wrong on this, I guess I will have to eat my words, but this mod is very popular with other vehicles and that is where I got most of my info.