Trying to find out why the PUMP blew again

Tiny
PAULAM1958
  • MEMBER
  • 1994 PLYMOUTH ACCLAIM
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 100,000 MILES
Hello I just had a power steering pump replaced, as well as the pully. By a shop person. With in a weeks time the pump blew. The car dude said to me that there is a leak and that I need a rack and pin replaced. But he also told me if I kept the fluids at the right rate, I would be okay. Which was done. Then I noticed that on my receipt he had written my car was a Lebaron, and its not its an acclaim. So I brought it back he said he would replaced it then decided not to and gave me back the parts price, and kept the receipt as well. So my question is this if all the fluids where in the correct place would the wrong pump make it stop working? Any advise thank you. My engine is a 6 cyl
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Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 AT 5:12 PM

16 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The pump is the same for both car models. There are a few different LeBaron models and one is the same as the Acclaim. They came off the same assembly line with different interior trim, and different name plates glued on, so that difference is irrelevant.

If the new pump lasted a few weeks, I doubt there is any other problem. I suspect there was a defect with the replacement pump. Also, what do you mean by "blew again"? What happened to the original pump? What exactly happened to the new pump?
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Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 AT 6:49 PM
Tiny
PAULAM1958
  • MEMBER
Well the old pump and pully burned out I guess someone came over to look at it as the power steering would not move and we had a leak in the bottom of the car under the passengers side of the car. They said we needed a new pump and pully as it was pulling power off the battery as well. But I had gone down the road to this car place to have it put in as I knew if I had a problem he would fix it little did I know. I was so wrong, refused to replace the pump at all. The belt stopPed working as well, Thats when we knew there was a problem with the new pump. I drove it back to the place and it sat in his work place almost a week. Then he said he would not replace the pump as it would die again. I thought that was a bit bizzare. He said I needed new rack and pins as well. I have a leak in the bottom not small. But there was more then enough fluid inside the pump as it was filled all the time to make sure as we saw how much leaked out as well. Why he would not replace the bad pump is not right and I am going to report him doing bad business to the chamber of com. But what I was asking is this a new pump can be bad and it ran for less then 2 weeks then stopped moving, as the belt and the wheel as well as to turn it. Any idea of what I should do. He as the guy gave me back my part price. Which I thought was very strange
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Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 AT 9:56 PM
Tiny
DAVE'S BIG BACKYARD!
  • EXPERT
To me it sounds like you have a leaking rack, and it has a flow problem so it keeps burning up pumps, if it has a flow problem the pump will moan like its empty even when its full.
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Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 AT 11:31 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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First of all, it's evident there has been a lot lost in translation between you and the mechanic so I wouldn't be too hasty in reporting someone when you don't have the facts straight. Mechanics are real good at describing symptoms and problems to other mechanics. They are not good at making car stuff understandable to the rest of us.

It's your job to drive the car and observe clues and hints when things don't work right. No one expects you to understand how all of the parts and systems work together. The fact that the new pump worked at all proves there is likely no other problem. The key word is LIKELY, as there can always be an intermittent problem that doesn't always show up. Those are the most difficult and most frustrating to find.

Chrysler power steering pumps don't fail very often, and I don't know how a rack and pinion assembly can cause a pump to fail. When you have good power steering assist, you know the pump is building pressure, the two hoses are not blocked, and there is no internal leakage in the rack and pinion. If the front seal around the pump's shaft is leaking, nothing else is going to cause that other than a bad seal. When the fluid drips onto the belt, it is understandable that it will slip and cause other problems. The alternator will stop recharging the battery while you're driving, but it will start working again on its own once the leak is fixed. It will take some time for the power steering fluid to wear off. If the belt continues to slip or squeal, you might have to replace it.

If the leakage continues, look very closely for the source. If you don't see any wetness higher than the shaft, it is likely the seal. Understand that some fluid will be flung around by the pulley. If you see wetness right under the fill cap, the fluid might be overflowing. That could happen to the new pump if the belt was still wet and slipping. When you turn the steering wheel, you push fluid out of the rack and pinion steering gear and it goes back up into the reservoir, but at the same time the pump pushes new fluid back down to the rack to provide the power assist. The engine has to be running for that to happen. It is very common on any car for the fluid to overflow when you repeatedly turn the steering wheel with the engine not running, such as when towing a disabled car. That doesn't mean there's a problem. That's normal. In your case, what MIGHT have happened is the belt is wet and slipping so the pump can't push fluid back down to give you the power assist. When you turn back and forth, you push fluid into the reservoir where it can overflow and make a mess.

Without actually seeing it, I could envision there being nothing more wrong with it than a slipping belt, although, now that I think of it, that isn't likely either since it worked fine for over a week. I think my best recommendation would be to replace the pump again, wash the pulleys with some brake parts cleaner in a spray can, and install a new belt. Your car model is one of the last ones made that is easy to work on and uncommonly reliable.
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Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 AT 11:52 PM
Tiny
PAULAM1958
  • MEMBER
Well the man who owns the shop said one thing then decided not to even change the pump at all. So I thought it was rather weird. Now there is a leak under the car close to where the passengers seat is and close to the tire. I had someone come late at night to take a look and said the pump was no longer good and that I needed a pump and pully. As the power steering was not working correctly. Hard to turn the wheel alot of the time. But when he replaced the pump it did run and you could turn the wheel very well. He told me to keep fluids in it and I would have no problems. He said I needed to replace the rack and pins. The man who owns the shop I brought the car to. And when the belt stopped working I called him and he said it probably burned out the pump. The belt does not look bad at all. As they had a look at it in the shop same time they replaced the pully and pump. All I know now is I have to have it re done again and have no clue if that is the real problem. I do not want to throw more money away either. So do not have a clue what to actually do. I can have someone replace the pump but hope that is the only problem. But there is a big leak not small. And we used a stop leak product as lucas. So any other ideas?
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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 AT 12:11 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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The "rack and pins" you are referring to is the rack and pinion steering gear. Some people call it a "rack" for short. From everything I've read here, it sounds to me like nothing more than a bad pump. I don't really see a need to worry yet about other more serious things until the pump is replaced.

Rack and pinion assemblies can leak power steering fluid too but then there would not be any fluid on the pump or belt. You would just have a puddle on the ground near the back of either front tire.
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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 AT 1:15 AM
Tiny
PAULAM1958
  • MEMBER
I do have leaking fluids is what I was trying to say. I know its hard to explain. And its a bit of a leak or as you placed it a puddle. But only at times and depends on where the car was parked as well. So I should replace the pump and go from there. I just don't want to waste more money. The car did drive good for a week or so and we did not go far with it either. So if the pump is replaced and it burns out again then what?
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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 AT 1:37 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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You're confusing "leak" with "burned out". Those are two totally different things. I only mentioned the leaking rack and pinion assembly because that is more common than a leaking pump. The pump is cooled by the fluid, so if there is a leak anywhere in the system and the fluid level gets too low, THAT is what can cause a pump to burn out. That won't happen right away. It can take up to many hours of driving it like that but wear is taking place when you do.

The point of my story was to give you all of the possibilities of what can leak in the power steering system. There are only four parts to look at. You have to find the highest place you see fluid because it doesn't run up, only down, but if it hits the pulley it can be sprayed all over. The pump will only leak on the passenger side and there will likely be fluid sprayed onto the bottom of the hood. From there it will drip onto the ground near the right, (passenger side) tire. Since it's starting up high, the fluid can also run along hoses and brackets and drip onto the ground in other areas. That's why you have to look for the highest spot you find wetness.

The rack and pinion can leak from three places. The least common is where the steering column goes through the firewall right above your brake pedal. That leak can often result in power steering fluid running inside the car onto the floor. The two more common points to leak are on either end under rubber boots that look like accordions. Those boots are only meant to keep dirt out. When the seals start to leak, the fluid fills those boots up first, then when they get full, the fluid starts to get forced out and the leak shows up. If you drain those boots, the leak might not show up again for days or weeks but the leak is still there. Both boots will fill with fluid at the same time. You never know which one the fluid will leak from first. The puddle will show up on the ground about a foot from the back of one of the front tires. If it's on the left, (driver's) side, it can only be from the rack and pinion assembly. If it is on the right side, you have to look to see how high up there is wetness. If the pump is dry, the rack is leaking. If the pump is wet, and especially if fluid has been sprayed onto the hood, the pump is leaking. It is always possible both the pump and rack are leaking at the same time, but that is about as likely to happen as blowing out two tires at the same time. Possible, but not likely.

Here's a real good clue if the rack is leaking. The fluid level will go down so far that the pump draws in air and makes a loud buzzing sound, worse when you turn the steering wheel. There's no apparent leak so you fill the fluid and once the air has bled out, the power steering works fine again for days or weeks. What's happening is the fluid is leaking out but is being caught in those accordion boots so you don't SEE it, ... Yet. Once the boots fill up with about a quart or two of fluid, pressure will build up and force the fluid out where it leaks onto the ground. Besides the location of the puddle, the clue was the low fluid level days or weeks earlier. The pump, pulley, and hood will all be dry.

The last two things that can leak are the two hoses. Fluid can seep from a split in the rubber hose or where the rubber hose is crimped to the metal fittings on each end. This typically happens to the high pressure hose that sends fluid from the pump to the rack. The fluid can spray onto other areas, and it can run onto the frame of the car and go to either side. The puddle on the ground can be anywhere between the two front tires and will usually be only a few inches from front to rear but over two feet wide. The pressure in that hose can exceed 1100 psi so the fluid can spray all over. There is no pressure in the return hose so it doesn't use those special fittings. In fact, the rubber hose just slides onto a metal pipe and a simple spring-metal clamp holds it from sliding off. About the only thing that could happen to him is it slides off a metal tube on one end. That will cause all the fluid to run out within a few seconds. There will be no driving for days or weeks when that hose is disconnected.

So, the bottom line is again to determine exactly where the fluid is leaking from. Look for the highest spot where you find wetness. You can use brake parts cleaner or engine degreaser from a spray can to clean and dry off suspect areas, then watch for fluid leaking out while the engine is running. (Wear safety glasses around the pump when it's running in case the pulley is spraying fluid).
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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 AT 2:50 AM
Tiny
PAULAM1958
  • MEMBER
I have a friend who fixes cars coming over tonight finally to look at what is really wrong with the car. But what I was saying is yes there is a puddle under and right behind the pass, seat tire. And if the pump was replaced and the car was working okay why did it burn out again. Is what I was asking in the first place. And if the belt was no good, not saying it is not good now why would it be bad? Still wondering why that man who owned the car places refused to put in another pump?
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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 AT 8:51 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Let's be sure I'm hearing what you're saying. When you say the pump "burns out", do you mean it's smoking and not working or do you mean it's leaking? They are two totally different things with two different causes and repairs. If the pump burned out, it can only be because it was run for a long time with no fluid to help keep it cool. A leak anywhere in the system can cause that. That means the leak must be identified and fixed, AND the pump must be replaced. A burned out pump will not work again when the fluid is filled. What happens is the bearing around the shaft overheats and that can melt the rubber seal so the pump might leak too along with the original leak.

Burned out pumps are not real common. It is much more common for them to just leak on their own when there is no other underlying cause. That is not a burned out pump; that is a leaking pump. It will work again until the fluid leaks out. If that is what happened, the seal likely just wore out. That's where replacing the pump is all that will be necessary.

Holler back with what is found.
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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 AT 9:29 PM
Tiny
PAULAM1958
  • MEMBER
Okay the belt stopped moving just like it had before and the volts on the dash did the same thing before the pump was replaced. I will let you know what my friend says. But there is a big leak under the car and it seems to be coming from the way bottom. But he will know more. He is coming at 7, its now almost 5
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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 AT 9:48 PM
Tiny
PAULAM1958
  • MEMBER
It turns out it is the rack and the leak is bad so my friend is trying to find a way to by pass the pump and have no power steering pump at all. SO we will see as a rack is very costly and the car is very old. But thank you for all your help
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Friday, April 15th, 2011 AT 6:25 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
These are really nice, under-appreciated cars. You're not going to enjoy driving it without power steering. Rather than bypassing the pump, a rebuilt rack is less than $150.00, and is not real hard to replace. I can give you some pointers.

If you live anywhere between Indianapolis and southern Georgia / Alabama, there is a chain of pick-your-own-parts salvage yards called "Pull-A-Part" where parts are very inexpensive. You pay your buck, throw your tool box into one of their wheel barrows, and you can spend all day there. The yards are very clean and well-organized. All of the cars are well-supported off the ground. By removing the used part first, you get to see what is involved before you start on your car. There are other similar yards all over the country but they charge a lot more for their parts. I've been to at least 12 of the Pull-A-Parts and the people at every one were very nice and friendly. Even the customers running around in the yards were helpful and friendly.

You'll pay a few dollars extra if you want a warranty, which is probably a good idea. If it leaks, they will exchange it but you will still have to remove the second one and replace it in your car twice. Still, the trade-off is the low cost of the part. I see on their "menu", a power steering pump is just under 20 bucks with a warranty. The rack and pinion assembly isn't listed; sorry. If you pull off one of the accordion boots before you remove the rack and buy it, you can look inside to see if it had been leaking. My guess is you will find less than one in 20 or 30 were leaking.

You can also do an inventory search on the internet to see which cars are at which locations. Each yard has over 2000 cars and they bring in two new rows of cars every few days. What they won't know is which parts have already been removed and the color of the body and interior.
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Friday, April 15th, 2011 AT 8:10 PM
Tiny
PAULAM1958
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He is going to by pass the pump all together and make the car like it never had the pump at all. A new part is 145 here, I am in IL
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Friday, April 15th, 2011 AT 11:43 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Check www. Rockauto. Com for a slightly better price.

(I'm in north central WI, sorry to say). I try to get the the yard in Indianapolis once every other year.
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Saturday, April 16th, 2011 AT 12:40 AM
Tiny
PAULAM1958
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Thats good for you but remember I do not have a car that moves correct?
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Saturday, April 16th, 2011 AT 2:33 AM

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