2000 Chrysler Cirrus Power Steering Line Stuck.

Tiny
KRUSTYKHRYSLER
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 CHRYSLER CIRRUS
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 159,000 MILES
I am in the midst of replacing my rack & pinion and need to disconnect the power steering fluid input and output lines from the rack (steering gear, as Haynes calls it). The topmost one will not budge. I am at an impass because I fear that if I try to much longer I will round out the fastner and really be screwed. For this same reason, I am wary to test to see if it might for some reason be reverse-threaded. The first line came off easily. Does anyone know if this fastner for the power steering fluid line is reverse-threaded or have any suggestions on what I should try next? Much thanks for your help.

EDIT: The line is in a tight spot and seems to be a special size, but I have managed to try the following: small vice-grips, small crescent wrench, 11/16" and 3/4" stubby wrenches.
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Saturday, March 20th, 2010 AT 11:42 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
It's an 18mm normal thread. Isn't it neat how you have to get to the nut by dropping the cross member, but you can't drop the cross member because the hose is too short? I replaced dozens of hoses and racks for transmitting noise into the passenger compartment. I was the alignment specialist at a very nice family-owned dealership. I worked on a drive-on hoist, so I never noticed until years later that the lines were fairly easy to reach from behind the LF tire!

Use a flare-nut crow's foot wrench with extensions and swivel adapters. The little expense of a good quality tool is worth avoiding the heartbreak of rounding off the nut.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, March 21st, 2010 AT 12:03 AM
Tiny
KRUSTYKHRYSLER
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Where would I find such a tool?
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Sunday, March 21st, 2010 AT 12:11 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
It's called an "18mm flare nut crow's foot wrench" and you'll find it pretty much any place that sells sockets and ratchets and other hand tools. The highest quality will be found on the tool trucks that visit repair shops every week. Snapon is the most expensive. There is also Matco, Mac, and Cornwell. Sears has them in their tool department. They will be the least expensive while still being good quality. If you have a Harbor Freight tool store, they will have them too, but quality is questionable. Any hardware store will also have them. You don't have to go nuts with the highest price you can find, but this tool is designed specifically to prevent rounding these soft nuts so stick with something good. I think for the money, and the fact you might never use it again, Sears would be your best bet. You don't need to buy a whole set either. Just get the 18mm.

Regular flare nut wrenches are real common. They grip the nut on four sides instead of two. They are also referred to as "line wrenches". The problem is you're working in a space that doesn't give enough room to get a regular wrench on the nut, let alone have room to swing it. That's where the crow's foot part comes in. A crow's foot wrench is only about two inches long, but instead of a handle, you turn it with a ratchet and an extension. You will probably need two extensions and a swivel, or universal joint, in between.

You can get all these tools in 1/2" drive, but buy the less expensive 3/8" drive. The jaws for the 1/2" drive crow's foot are pretty wide and might not fit between the two nuts.

I should mention too that when you install the lines into the new rack, start both nuts by hand at least two full turns before you use tools on them. They are very easy to cross-thread. The rack housing is made of soft aluminum and the nuts are soft brass. They can be cross-threaded and forced easily many turns before you realize it. At that point the damage is done and you won't be able to tighten the nut enough to prevent leaks. Be sure both nuts spin freely on the lines so you can turn them in by hand. You can use penetrating oil or a propane torch to loosen corroded nuts, but once they spin freely, wash the oil off.

Don't use this trick on brake lines. Petroleum product in brake fluid destoys all the rubber parts. Once the nut is started, wiggling the line will make it easier to spin by hand. If you feel it suddenly get tight, back it up and start over. They will not warranty a new rack assembly if the fittings were cross-threaded.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, March 21st, 2010 AT 3:27 AM
Tiny
KRUSTYKHRYSLER
  • MEMBER
Got the flare nut and it still won't budge. I resorted to cutting the line and I will replace it as well I guess. Can I get the rack out with the tie rod ends on, or do I need to take them off first? I'm not sure what the deal is on them. Am I supposed to turn the 'Jam nut' clockwise first to loosen it and then the tie rod end unscrews independently? Or are they attached to one another and turn together? What is the best way to remove these?
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Sunday, March 21st, 2010 AT 3:47 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The easiest is to loosen the jamb nuts, then twist the inner tie rod ends to unscrew them from the outers. You can leave the outers on the steering knuckles. That way you don't have to fight with the cotter pins.

Put a little grease on the threads so they will not rust tight. That will make it easier for the alignment technician.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, March 21st, 2010 AT 7:09 PM

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