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Can't Find Power Steering Leak #5413688 04/26/20 12:37 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
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92saturnsl2 Offline OP
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I'm fixing a power steering leak on a 96 Grand Prix. It was leaking pretty profusely before I parked the car, fast enough it would drain the reservoir in a trip or two. I had a hunch it was the power steering pressure hose, so I have that off the car and am going to replace it. But just to confirm this was the bad hose (and not the return) I tried pressure testing it with air by capping one end and using my air compressor @ the other. It holds a fair amount of pressure and isn't leaking.

I tried this on the return hose, and it too, is holding pressure... I don't know where else this fluid leak could be, there's nothing else on that side of the car where all the fluid dripped down onto except the two hoses.

Is it possible there is a leak in one of the hoses, but my crude way of pressure testing just isn't finding it? What is a surefire way of telling whether one or the other is bad?


96 Grand Prix SE (project car)
04 Odyssey EX 205k Shell Rotella T5 10w-30
96 Maxima GLE 275k Mobil Super HM 5w-30
07 Chrysler Pacifica Limited 4.0L 151k Mobil1 EP 0w-20
Re: Can't Find Power Steering Leak [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5413704 04/26/20 12:45 PM
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Char Baby Offline
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P/S are a pretty simply system. Maybe getting to or reaching hoses/tubing could be difficult but simple just the same. I've removed high pressure lines and had the made to exact spec at a good radiator & gas tank shop. The return line can easily be homemade with a length of fuel/tranny hose & clamps.

Last edited by Char Baby; 04/26/20 12:47 PM.

Retired 6 yrs now & lovin' it
-----------------------------------

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'15 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV
'15 Honda Civic 1.8 LX
Re: Can't Find Power Steering Leak [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5413711 04/26/20 12:49 PM
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92saturnsl2 Offline OP
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If the return line is holding air pressure (say 90PSI from a compressor), is it safe to assume it's okay and just replace the pressure hose?

I already have a new pressure hose, but I'd have to wait several days on a return hose since nobody carries one locally. I'd rather not build one since the PS cooler is integral to it as are several mounting brackets.

These hoses are a nightmare to get to, so need to do it now while I have the cylinder heads off. Once I put the heads on there's no going back without a major effort smile


96 Grand Prix SE (project car)
04 Odyssey EX 205k Shell Rotella T5 10w-30
96 Maxima GLE 275k Mobil Super HM 5w-30
07 Chrysler Pacifica Limited 4.0L 151k Mobil1 EP 0w-20
Re: Can't Find Power Steering Leak [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5413798 04/26/20 02:34 PM
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Chris142 Offline
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Your ps system operates at very high pressures. 1000 or more at times.80-100 psi from your compressor wont he enougj.


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Re: Can't Find Power Steering Leak [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5413828 04/26/20 03:05 PM
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ripcord Offline
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Some ACDelco 10-5045 fluorescent test dye and a black light will show you all of the places it's leaking.

Re: Can't Find Power Steering Leak [Re: Chris142] #5413842 04/26/20 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris142
Your ps system operates at very high pressures. 1000 or more at times.80-100 psi from your compressor wont he enougj.



Yup, this. 1000 -2000 psi is common. Replace both hoses and be done with it. 24 year old hoses.

Re: Can't Find Power Steering Leak [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5413901 04/26/20 05:08 PM
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JC1 Offline
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Did you get underneath the car to try and trace where it's leaking from? How about jacking up the front end, starting the car and getting underneath where someone is turning the steering wheel lock to lock to see where it's leaking?


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Re: Can't Find Power Steering Leak [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5413908 04/26/20 05:17 PM
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You just have to have a bare gripping all the hoses.
Those high pressure hoses will feel wet to the touch or at the rubber portion near the crimps.
The crimps usually gave out with age.

Last edited by JMJNet; 04/26/20 05:17 PM.

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Re: Can't Find Power Steering Leak [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5413962 04/26/20 06:19 PM
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Nick1994 Online Content
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Sometimes it won’t leak even when running unless you are steering. Happened to my Jeep, I drove over 100 miles out of town to the desert to explore and once I started turning on the dirt roads it would spray really bad and leak. Plumes of smoke because it sprayed the exhaust. I made it back to the highway which is a straight 100+ mile shot back to town and it was fine.


2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0L 61k Dealer Bulk SynBlend 5w20 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 239k Mobil Delvac 15w40 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 150k Rotella Gas Truck 5w30 & Wix
Re: Can't Find Power Steering Leak [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5414102 04/26/20 09:51 PM
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92saturnsl2 Offline OP
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Car is not running at the moment so I have no way to check it under pressure. However before I parked it, I remember looking for the leak and could not pinpoint the exact source, just that the fluid was covering both hoses and leaking down onto the subframe. There's nothing power steering related on that side of the car BUT the hoses and the rack itself, but the fluid was up high enough I'm confident it wasn't leaking from the rack.

Was just hoping I could check the hoses with them off the car with compressed air, but I guess not... I'll go ahead and order the return hose and replace it just in case-- was hoping to keep moving on this project today and that's the one thing holding me up before I can start putting the engine back together. Those power steering lines are completely buried once the rest of the engine is assembled.


96 Grand Prix SE (project car)
04 Odyssey EX 205k Shell Rotella T5 10w-30
96 Maxima GLE 275k Mobil Super HM 5w-30
07 Chrysler Pacifica Limited 4.0L 151k Mobil1 EP 0w-20
Re: Can't Find Power Steering Leak [Re: 92saturnsl2] #5414132 04/26/20 10:44 PM
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Nick1994 Online Content
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I had replaced my return hose when replacing my pump but didn't want to mess with the pressure hose. The pressure hose is what went on mine, I should have replaced both at the same time.


2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0L 61k Dealer Bulk SynBlend 5w20 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 239k Mobil Delvac 15w40 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 150k Rotella Gas Truck 5w30 & Wix
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