Dodge Ram 2500 Power Steering problem

Tiny
WARHAWK1942
  • MEMBER
  • 2012 DODGE RAM
My 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 4X4, 57000 miles, suddenly lost power steering. I immediately suspected the serpentine belt, however it was OK. Visual check turned up nothing out of the ordinary. I don't know enough about the workings of the system to diagnose it. Any suggestions?
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Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 AT 7:39 AM

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Tiny
DIPWEED23
  • MEMBER
Best place to start is to check the fluid level. If that is ok, run engine and look at the fluid. Should see it swirling in the tank, but their is a baffel in there so it won't create air bubbles.

The first thing I do on loss of power steering is remove all the fluid from the tank as I can with a clean turkey baster. Disconect the return line and let it all drain into a pan. Plug the return port on the pump unit and run a hose from the return fitting on the gear box into a BIG jug. You don't want to seal it, but you want to make sure it's not going to splash all over the place. Make sure everything is away from the fan and belt, and moving parts. Fill tank with fresh fluid and start engine. Keep it filled as it flushes all old dirty fluid out of the system. If it flows but you still have no power, replace the gear box.
If you don't get anything flowing to the jug, you likely have a bad gear box or pump, but you can replace the pressure line first just in case it's clogged and test again.

If no fluid flow, remove the belt from the pump and the pressure line from the gear box. Direct the pressure line to jug and manually turn the pump in the normal direction. It will take a while to get a few drops of fluid, then a slow but steady flow. Keep turning until it flows. If it does output fluid, your steering gear needs to be replaced. If you can't get ANY fluid to flow, replace the pump.

Use the first test method to prime the system after replacing high pressure line, pump or gear box. You need to get as much air out of the system as possible before hooking up the return line to the pump to avoid foaming the fluid. After hooking up the return line, turn wheel to far left and right slowley and holding at stop for 3 seconds each. Repeat three or four times, and recheck fluid, and check for leaks.

Warning: NEVER run the engine with the high pressure hose detached. It can spray fluid all over the place, and can be very dangerous if it starts whipping around. Be sure to secure the low pressure hose to the jug, and weight it down. Tho the pressure on the low side of the PS system is fairly low, it can still spray fluid everywhere!
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Thursday, July 19th, 2007 AT 10:44 PM
Tiny
WARHAWK1942
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Great advice. Followed it to the point where I removed the serpentine belt. At this point the pulley and pump shaft came out. The shaft had broken where the splines begin. Swapped out the pump and put in new fluid and a new belt (old one was cracking), started her up and had great power steering! I did learn a few lessons on the way. The first being the removal and replacement of the pulley on the shaft is no picnic. Having the right tools is key here. The second being replacing a serpentine belt is not so hard if you know what you are doing and again having the right tools.
Thanks,
Bob
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Sunday, July 22nd, 2007 AT 3:03 PM
Tiny
DIPWEED23
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Glad to be of assistance!
Also glad to have an update, and know that you have repaired your truck!
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Sunday, July 22nd, 2007 AT 8:58 PM

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