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Old 01-01-2012, 05:41 PM   #1
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Default Bad power steering fluid leak, need help!

I'm not sure if this is the correct thread to post in, but here goes. I'm leaking power steering fluid, enough that it leaked into my alternator and fried it. I took the alternator off today so I could see under the pump but I still cant find where the leak is coming from. I was told i can jack the front up, turn the car on and turn the wheel to see where the leak is coming from but I have a dead alternator so the car will not start at the moment. Should I replace the alternator and try to find the leak? Or should I just replace the whole pump? Is there a common spot where it might be leaking?
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:37 PM   #2
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i have the same issue.....
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:46 PM   #3
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Alot of us have the same issue, and I do believe there is a thread on how to fix the leak or something like that with a power steering cooler.
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:48 PM   #4
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Does anyone have a link to the thread? I did a search, couldn't find anything though.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:06 PM   #5
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http://www.ls1tech.com/forums/genera...g-success.html
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:37 PM   #6
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haha I swear I browse the forums and everyone starts to have the same issue as I do. i am in the middle of a power steering line replacement and derale ps cooler install. i feel like im a ps expert now..
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:45 PM   #7
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mine is leaking from the high pressure hose and everytime you turn the steering wheel all the way to the right or left it will shoot out oil. Dealer charges 130 for hose pepboys 30-40 bucks atleast in my case, it leaks from the bottom of the hose but not sure if yours will leak from the top or bottom. So dont know where yours is leaking from but a high pressure hose is possible maybe.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:24 AM   #8
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This is a common problem. Like all common problems, it comes with a good bit of mythology.

Usually, the fluid boils over in the reservoir and pours down the sides on to the alternator. Is the top of your reservoir, the pump body, and all the hoses wet/sticky? If so, this is what is happening to you. If not, you've got a less common issue; like a bad tank seal, grossly leaking pump, or a punctured hose.

If the boil-over is your problem, you just need to flush your PS fluid out and get new clean stuff in there. (old/contaminated fluid is prone to boil-over) That should take care of things. If you want extra insurance, replacing the PS cooling system is an expensive way to get one and will give dirty fluid extra "life." (See the link that Chaos07 posted above for more information and details on PS cooling.)

PS fluid frying alternators is a myth. Old age and use is what does it! The fluid won't hurt the alternator and what really went bad on you is the rectifier or voltage regulator parts - and both of those are sealed to the elements. (Well, the fluid is sticky and will hold dirt inside the alternator, which is bad - but if you fix the PS problem, your new alternator won't have to endure that stress.)

While you are doing all this, you should also check your PS fluid to make sure there's no coolant in it. (a source of contamination) Likewise, check your coolant dipstick to make sure there is no slime (PS fluid) on it. The stock PS cooler is known to go bad and mix fluid from the two systems. This is another great reason to switch the design of your PS cooling system. (see link above)
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:02 PM   #9
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Thank you everyone for your help!

So to be clear, the ps fluid will NOT ruin the alternator? Does that mean it's safe to buy the new alternator, put it on and do the test to find the leak without worrying about the fluid pouring all over it? That would make things a bit easier...

I just wanted to add, I'm 99% positive it isn't leaking from the top. The top and the sides are both clean, it seems to be coming from somewhere lower, possibly behind the pump. The hoses looked okay as far as cracks (although there is fluid on them), but I could be wrong. I'll keep you all updated.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:52 PM   #10
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Correct, the fluid will not ruin your alternator - but it will make your new alternator very dirty fast. (I changed both at the same time, didn't seal my reservoir properly and dumped PS fluid all over my new alternator. ... everything is running fine and we're all still alive to talk about it.)

Take the alternator out (best to do this from under the car) and you should have a good look at the bottom of the pump.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:02 PM   #11
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I had time to play with the car today..

Alternator is out, drenched in fluid. It looked like the leak was coming from one of the PS pressure hoses, (where the rubber meets the metal, the lower half) the one that comes out of the left side if looking at the front of the car. I sealed around it with high temp epoxy to see if it would stop any leaking. I would have gotten a new hose, but the GM dealer wanted $130 for it. I laughed and walked out.

I drove the car around and it felt alright, but no different than before. I pulled back into the driveway and opened the hood only to find more fluid leaking to the ground. With the alternator back in, I can't get a good look at where it's coming from. Even with it off, I couldn't pinpoint the leak, as fluid is splattered everywhere probably from dripping onto my belt. So it seems the leak is coming from up higher than where I thought it was. Should I take the alternator back off and give it a second look? Or just buy a whole new pump? I'm about to say screw it, save $550, and get a manual steering rack so I don't ever have to deal with this again lol

Also, what are your thoughts on Power Steering Stop-Leak from Lucas?
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedshift86 View Post
I had time to play with the car today..

Alternator is out, drenched in fluid. It looked like the leak was coming from one of the PS pressure hoses, (where the rubber meets the metal, the lower half) the one that comes out of the left side if looking at the front of the car. I sealed around it with high temp epoxy to see if it would stop any leaking. I would have gotten a new hose, but the GM dealer wanted $130 for it. I laughed and walked out.

I drove the car around and it felt alright, but no different than before. I pulled back into the driveway and opened the hood only to find more fluid leaking to the ground. With the alternator back in, I can't get a good look at where it's coming from. Even with it off, I couldn't pinpoint the leak, as fluid is splattered everywhere probably from dripping onto my belt. So it seems the leak is coming from up higher than where I thought it was. Should I take the alternator back off and give it a second look? Or just buy a whole new pump? I'm about to say screw it, save $550, and get a manual steering rack so I don't ever have to deal with this again lol

Also, what are your thoughts on Power Steering Stop-Leak from Lucas?
That's your pressure hose. Nothing short of replacing the hose will fix your problem. Any regular parts store will sell the hose you need for a reasonable price. (Some may even have it in stock.) The hose is under very high pressure, so epoxies, duct tape, bubble gum, or whatever just won't work.

If your pressure hose has been leaking, I'll bet your pump has run dry at some point? If so, your pump may be burned out also.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
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That's your pressure hose. Nothing short of replacing the hose will fix your problem. Any regular parts store will sell the hose you need for a reasonable price. (Some may even have it in stock.) The hose is under very high pressure, so epoxies, duct tape, bubble gum, or whatever just won't work.

If your pressure hose has been leaking, I'll bet your pump has run dry at some point? If so, your pump may be burned out also.
When I first noticed my PS pump making noise I checked the reservoir and added fluid. The reservoir was very low but not empty. I added fluid to the appropriate level for the week until I could work on it. The car is still easy to turn... Is it safe to assume that the pump is okay? Hopefully it's only a hose or two that I have to worry about.

I'll have to swing by the parts store tomorrow and check it out. Should I replace both hoses while I'm at it?

@ wssix99: I really appreciate the info and advice, thank you again!
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedshift86 View Post
When I first noticed my PS pump making noise I checked the reservoir and added fluid. The reservoir was very low but not empty. I added fluid to the appropriate level for the week until I could work on it. The car is still easy to turn... Is it safe to assume that the pump is okay?
Yea, if its not making noise now, you should be good to go. If it works fine, sounds fine, its most likely fine. (It sounds like you've been on top of adding fluid.)

Quote:
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Hopefully it's only a hose or two that I have to worry about.

I'll have to swing by the parts store tomorrow and check it out. Should I replace both hoses while I'm at it?
It depends on your budget. The pressure hose is really the only hose that typically goes "bad." Its the only one under high pressure and extreme pressures - so you should be able to get by with just replacing the one hose. (All the other hoses are low pressure.)

When I have the money, I like to replace all the hoses while I'm in there and have the fluid drained out. Just repairing one part is enough of a PITA that I like to lessen the probability that I'll have to deal with another similar issue in the near future.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:27 PM   #15
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Ah, I see! I was wondering about the second hose which looks similar, but all the auto parts stores online that I checked only carry the one. I guess that's why lol

I probably won't have time to work on the car until Monday, so she'll have to sit for a few days. When Monday comes around I will update you with my progress. Don't forget about me!
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:19 AM   #16
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I found my hose to be bad by removing it, and then plugging up one end with your finger, clean off the hose of all residual fluid, clean off the other end, and blow as HARD as you can, if you get wet spots.. BAM.. found your issue. It worked for me, it's not a garuntee though. SO, now my question, I forgot how this hose came out and I'm having a hell of a time installing it now, lol does anyone have any pics of it in the car? I can't, for the life of me, find any pics from underneath the car.
Thanks guys.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I found my hose to be bad by removing it, and then plugging up one end with your finger, clean off the hose of all residual fluid, clean off the other end, and blow as HARD as you can, if you get wet spots.. BAM.. found your issue. It worked for me, it's not a garuntee though. SO, now my question, I forgot how this hose came out and I'm having a hell of a time installing it now, lol does anyone have any pics of it in the car? I can't, for the life of me, find any pics from underneath the car.
Thanks guys.
That sounds like a good idea...

I have this exact same problem, and I'm sick and tired of leaving sploches all over my dang driveway
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:08 PM   #18
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I finally had the cash and a nice day outside to work on the car. I replaced the high pressure steering hose which I had hoped was my problem. Sure enough, no leaks so far! I also replaced the alternator, which was shot. The car is running great, and not a spot in the driveway after 2 days.

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Old 02-11-2012, 12:06 PM   #19
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Someone mentioned PS fluid mixing with coolant and it being slimmy. I find it difficult to determine slimmy and non slimmy with the dexcool being in there with it's gelling like characteristics- how does one tell the difference.
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:57 PM   #20
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Someone mentioned PS fluid mixing with coolant and it being slimmy. I find it difficult to determine slimmy and non slimmy with the dexcool being in there with it's gelling like characteristics- how does one tell the difference.
Its more of a visual reference vs. a tactile one. The dipstick will look evil with caked on slime. Looks something like this:
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:57 PM
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