Jeep Wrangler - Restoration & Custom Outfitting
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Power Steering Fluid Leak
Leaks in a power steering
unit are nothing to laugh at or ignore. On most vehicles, there is no warning
sensor that the fluid in the system is low, and the only indication you may get
is a funny noise when you steer, and (eventually) complete failure of the
steering assist when the fluid runs below the operating level. You MAY or MAY
NOT get drips on the driveway, depending on where the leak is. If you keep
driving without fluid in the system, you WILL seize-up the pump, which will
break (or throw off) the Serpentine belt, and your vehicle will be stranded.
My Jeep sprung a leak in
the steel tube that used to be where the
is in the photo at the left. You will need an 18mm open-end box wrench to get
into such a tight space. It took about an hour to get the old fitting out, and
the new BRASS fuel line fitting in. If the leak is in the Return line (green
arrow), all you
will need to fix it is a BRASS fuel line fitting with a hose nipple attached.
You can get this piece at any auto parts store. Get 3 feet of new hose and a few
hose clamps, and you're good-to-go. If the leak is in the high pressure line (red
arrow), you'll be
out over $100 for the correct piece. DO NOT REPLACE HIGH PRESSURE LINE WITH
RUBBER HOSE - You will DIE on the road when your steering fails suddenly when
the hose blows out.
When routing the new hose
to the reservoir, be careful to place it well away from the moving parts of the
steering system. If needed, use tie wraps to hold the hose close to the inside
fender well. You DO NOT want the hose to chafe because it is up against a moving
part, as this could cause the same catastrophic failure potential as a cracked
Power Steering Fluid is
slippery-er than snot on a glass door knob. If you try
to walk across a pool or spill with anything but mountain-climbing cleats, you
will fall and break your ass. Cheap Cat Litter can be used to clean up the
spill. Don't let your pet walk on the stuff, either.
repairing a Power Steering Fluid leak, take your vehicle into a large empty
space, and make a dozen alternating sharp turns as far as you can turn the steering
wheel. This will "burp" air bubbles that may have entered the system because of
an empty reservoir, or due to removal and replacement of hoses. After you have
done this, then check the fluid level, drive the vehicle for a few miles, then
check the fluid level again, and top it off if necessary. Don't be surprised if
you see foam in the reservoir. To a certain extent this is normal, but it should
not look like you're washing socks in there. Let the foam settle before checking
the fluid level. Over the next few days of normal driving, check the fluid in
both hot and cold conditions.
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