1996 Dodge Stratus Power Steering High Pressure Line

Steering problem
1996 Dodge Stratus 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic

How Do I Change a High Pressure Power Steering Line on 96 Dodge Stratus ie. What do I need to take off to get to the connection going to the powersteering pump.
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have the same problem?
Sunday, December 6th, 2009 AT 9:02 AM

1 Reply

Are you prepared to tear your hair out?

First you get the car on a hoist, then remove the bar that bolts on under the radiator and the engine cross member.

Here's where it gets fun. You must unscrew the power steering hose's brass fitting on the front of the rack and pinion assembly, driver's side. To gain access to it, you must lower the cross member. To lower the cross member, you have to unscrew the high pressure power steering hose from the rack and pinion assembly, driver's side because that hose is so short, it won't allow the cross member to drop more than about an inch. You can't get to the fitting unless you lower the cross member, ... See the problem yet?

One fellow coworker had the bright idea to cut the old hose so he could drop the cross member. Worked slick, but how do you get the new hose on? The secret, as I found out later, is to remove the left front tire, and possibly a plastic splash shield, (I can't remember), then use a flare-nut crow's foot wrench, a universal joint, a ratchet extension, another universal joint, another extension, then a ratchet. Fish them up to the brass fitting on the rack. I changed dozens of these nightmares on cars new enough to be under warranty so nothing was rusty yet. Hopefully you will be able to unscrew the nut by hand once it is loose.

There is a 10mm nut holding the hose bracket under the left rear side of the engine valve cover. Can't remember for sure, but I think that comes off from on top, not from under the car. Drop the cross member, then reach up from underneath to unscrew the brass nut from the bottom of the power steering pump. The metal part of the hose does not just go straight down, that would be way too simple. It comes down a few inches, curves forward a few inches, curves up a few inches, then goes over the top of the pump shaft, behind the pulley. You will need to have all other attaching points loose, then you must wind the hose to, in effect, unscrew it from around the pump shaft.

Put the new hose on the pump first, then reverse the order to install it. There was a service bulletin about replacing these hoses for a complaint of transmitting power steering pump buzzing noise into the passenger compartment. That's why, as the alignment tech, I replaced so many. Warranty paid 3.5 hours to do the job, but with much experience, it always took me at least four hours. That's with a hoist and all the right tools at hand. I would never attempt this job while lying on the floor.

There was also a bulletin for replacing the rack and pinion assembly for making a very slight chirp just as you started to return the wheel after cornering. Both of these problems were so minor, no one would bother with demanding repairs if they had to pay the bill themselves. But since it was covered under warranty, demanding customers demanded it must be fixed.

Look very closely at the orientation of that bar between the cross member and the radiator. I had a habit of reinstalling it incorrectly on the cross member, over the top or underneath; I can't remember, but I do know it was a lot of unnecessary work to take it off again to install it the right way.

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Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 AT 3:41 AM

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