Power steering fluid leaking?

Tiny
INDIKA69
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 PONTIAC GRAND AM
  • 3.4L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
Twice now I have had the same problem with steering fluid leaking. Last time I was able to get it to stop by adding fluid with stop leak in it. It will leak out while sitting overnight and either have enough to make pump whine or it won't make any sound but no steering. I don't see any big amounts of fluid on the top side that would indicate the reservoir or pump to be the leaking problem. However, I do not have anything more than a jack on the dirt driveway to get underneath. So, I have yet to be able to inspect the rack and hose connections. Last time I had an oil changed they said it was leaking a fair amount of oil as it is all wet underneath. But they didn't say where it was leaking or if it was steering or engine. However, the leak started again after the oil was changed just like the last time. Oil change steering starts to leak couple days later. My question is what is the source of the leak or the main problem that will cause the leak.
I know that it can't be diagnosed without actually visually looking for the source. I just want to know what I possibly need to purchase to repair this issue. I almost ordered a steering rack and pressure line to have at the time I am able to get it up in the air and fix the problem rather than having to wait for parts and then the chance to get it up on a lift again.
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Sunday, November 20th, 2022 AT 1:39 AM

7 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

It's odd that it starts leaking after the oil changed. The engine oil filter is on the side of the engine facing toward the front of the vehicle, so in my mind, they shouldn't be hitting the hoses. However, anything is possible. I attached a pic below showing the location of the oil filter. Check around that area to see if you notice any hoses leaking.

Next, the idea that it drains overnight leads me to believe it is the low-pressure return line. If the high-pressure hose was faulty, it would be spraying when the engine is running. I attached a pic below showing both power steering hoses. I highlighted the low-pressure hose, so see if you can follow that.

As far as access, since you are working outside, I would safely lift the right front tire off the ground and remove it. You should be able to see the rack from that point.

Let me know what you find.

Take care,

Joe

See pics below.
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Sunday, November 20th, 2022 AT 9:07 PM
Tiny
INDIKA69
  • MEMBER
Sounds easy enough to check the lines, but from the pictures it looks like the hoses attach to the driver's side of the rack. Which would make me think that the driver's tire would have to be removed and not the passenger tire. Is there just better access for a visual check from the passenger side? I really need to get this leak fixed. It's taking almost two quarts a day to drive now.
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 AT 2:01 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

That is the best way to see them unless you have a rack to lift the vehicle with. As far as the side to remove, you are correct as far as where the lines attach, but the pump should be on the opposite side. I thought it would be a good idea to start there so you can see where they are running and if there is a leak on the supply side.

You can do either side. That is just what I would likely do first. It's just a thought.

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 AT 5:56 PM
Tiny
INDIKA69
  • MEMBER
Okay, it makes sense now. Follow from pump to rack and hopefully find that I don't need to replace the rack. I was looking earlier around the pump after I shut it off for leaks and I was almost sprayed by the fluid coming out of the vent in pump fill cap. It's obviously building up pressure after shutting it off and leaking. I also noticed that when turning the wheel, the pressure hose I'm assuming moves around a fair amount. Thinking that is not really normal either.
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 AT 6:31 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

I wonder if there is an issue with the flow control valve causing excessive pressure. The flow control orifice is a component of the pressure line fitting. A pressure relief valve inside the flow control valve limits the pump pressure.

Take a look below. I attached the directions for removal and replacement. You may want to consider removing it and inspecting the components to make sure nothing has failed. It's only a theory at this point, but it makes sense.

When you turn the steering, does it feel like the assist is there and then not? If that is the case, the rack itself may have failed. There are bushings that wear out and cause too much resistance on the gear. That's another theory. When this happens, the rubber boots where the inner tie rods enter the rack are usually filled with PS fluid and leaking. So, check that as well.

Let me know what you find.

Take care,

Joe

See pics below.
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 AT 7:20 PM
Tiny
INDIKA69
  • MEMBER
Okay, I'll check that as well. I appreciate your help and insight on this issue, and I hope to have not been too long winded in my explanation. Just want to give as much information as possible so that you have a good idea of what is happening. Was hoping to be able to inspect it a little bit today but it started to rain and that is a problem with no garage.
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 AT 8:45 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

Thanks for the update. No problem with what you are writing. The more information you provide, the more likely I'll be able to help.

Let me know how things turn out for you or if you have other questions.

Take care,

Joe
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Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022 AT 6:49 PM

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