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Jeep Wrangler - Restoration & Custom Outfitting
All photos, diagrams, and text on this page Copyright 2013 - David Todeschini - all rights reserved - see Copyright Terms

 

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 green arrow 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.

 

WARNING!! - 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 fitting.

CAUTION!! - 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.

CAUTION!! - After 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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