Power steering leak

Tiny
SLAFAZIA
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 PONTIAC SUNFIRE
  • 2.2L
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 157,000 MILES
Hi, my belt kept breaking because I had to change the idle pulley and the tension pulley. After the second break my power steering started to leak, and within a week I have had to buy about $30.00 worth of stop leak and fluid to keep it going so I could get to work. I need to try to fix on my own but can barely see to see where it is leaking but it is spraying all over that side of my engine and into my alternator. How can I find out where it is leaking? I am trying to save as much money as possible. Single mother of five. Mechanically inclined. Please help!
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Friday, July 14th, 2017 AT 6:05 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Start by washing the area with a spray can of engine degreaser, then water to rinse it off after a few minutes. Do this when the engine is still warm so the water will dry off in short order. Now start with a visual inspection. To have power steering fluid spraying out that quickly, the leak has to be real significant, and will likely cause a wet spot that does not evaporate.

There is a round rubber seal right behind the pulley on the power steering pump's shaft. If that is leaking, you will see fluid running down from there. You may also see a fan pattern of dirt on the backside of that pulley where the fluid got spun out to, then flung off. You will also see a straight line of fluid on the underside of the hood, right in line with the back edge of the pulley.

A leak that bad is more commonly caused by a leaking power steering high-pressure hose. Most of the time those leak right next to where the metal pipe is crimped onto the rubber hose, but sometimes that hose splits somewhere along the rubber part. Either way, it is likely you'll see the area becoming wet.

If you have not found the leak by now, be sure there is some fluid in the reservoir, then run the engine for just a few seconds. Stand clear of the area so you do not get fluid sprayed into your eyes. When you see fluid dripping or running down, look for the highest place you see it, not including what may have sprayed up higher. Fluid always runs down from a leak, so if you see wetness up high, do not bother looking lower for the leak.
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Friday, July 14th, 2017 AT 11:46 PM

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