Power Steering Fluid Rupture at Gear Box - Chevy Impala SS Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-29-2017, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 418
 
Power Steering Fluid Rupture at Gear Box

I have been working too slowly on my 96 Caprice. I have had it inside one of those portable garages since last November - so for 1 whole stinking year - I have been removing and replacing the radiator core support, both fenders, the radiator, the hoses, the water pump, the plugs & wires, the coil, the ignition module and trying to reassemble it all and searching for bolts and clips, etc. Ugh!

Well today I finally got the hood back on and lined up and I started the car for the first time since last November! Anyway, the car was running for a few minutes and I was checking all radiator connections, hoses, oil cooler and tranny cooler lines and then WHAM! I either blew a line at the steering box or some seal in the box itself has blown. Fluid went everywhere and the power steering reservoir emptied - quickly!

I'm hoping that the pressure line or the return line at the top of the steering box is what blew out. However, is it possible that some seal on the steering box itself could have blown? I've never had something like that happen to me before so I figured that I would ask.

I ran out of daylight and it has been raining all weekend here so I have packed it in for now. The car is a 1996 Caprice Classic Sedan with the power steering cooler line. Both the high pressure and the return lines have been replaced once already on this 21 year old car. I forget when but I might guess that these lines are 10 years old. It has 139,918 miles on it. It's a Pittsburgh, PA car so it has seen it's share of winters and road salt.

Any help or suggestions are welcome.
rwd4evr is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2017, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 418
 
Fluid Spray Pattern

The fluid was all over the inside of the driver's side front tire and the outward side of the frame. There was also power steering fluid dripping from the inside surface of the front bumper cover. I'm guessing that I'm looking for the high pressure line going into the top of the gearbox because I find it hard to believe that a ruptured seal would put out that much fluid.
rwd4evr is offline  
post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2017, 08:47 AM
Senior Member
 
Blue Wail's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: EFI Performance, MD
Posts: 5,222
 
Send a message via AIM to Blue Wail
I'm with you on the line blowing rather than a steering box seal
which would just be a drip leak.

Nab
Blue Wail is offline  
 
post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2017, 11:28 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Moorpark, CA
Posts: 8,432
 
Garage
OP

after sitting for a year maybe the high pressure line or box got clogged and with PS pump running fluid had nowhere to go....then boom.

On close inspection of the lines at steering box you should be able to see WTF happened.

PS fluid is like acid on paint so clean up any areas ASAP

\'96 BBB 383/T-56
BALLSS is offline  
post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2017, 02:50 PM
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: northeast
Posts: 3,437
 
I never had this leak problem but in the past a few owners did have the PS line rust out that runs from the box to the pump next to the radiator ..........
j cat is offline  
post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2017, 03:24 PM
Senior Member
 
thebigbadWOLF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: La Puente
Posts: 9,190
 
i myself have never rebuilt the steering box, but have been told its easy to do


hope you dont have to take it all apart to clean now

Cali-SS


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocko350 View Post
Go fix your fleet of 91's. I wipes my tushy with TBI.......
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needles.Kain View Post
Much like date night with BK, this isn't about what you prefer.
thebigbadWOLF is offline  
post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2017, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 418
 
Thanks for the information. I have to start removing things so that I see the top of the steering gearbox to see what the two lines look like that thread in there. With the amount of fluid that "escaped" as quickly as it did, a line had to blow - I hope. I do not want to have to try to remove the gear box.

I've wiped up all of the dripping as best as I could. I don't think that any exterior painted surfaces got sprayed. We'll see.

I'm now in the wrong season for working on a car. Losing daylight and falling temperatures are my enemy.
rwd4evr is offline  
post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 06:02 AM
Senior Member
 
Blue Wail's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: EFI Performance, MD
Posts: 5,222
 
Send a message via AIM to Blue Wail
It's actually brake fluid that will eat paint off, not PS fluid
which is just hydraulic oil (not acidic) similar to trans fluid.
So no need to worry about that.

Nab

April's Sparkle Cat
383 LT1 12:1 flat top + 75 shot
11.66 @ 117 at SSHS17 Nov 11, 2017
2017 12.0 Index Champion
4140 lbs. w/ driver. front sway bar ON
Powered by 4L80E! (controlled by LT1 pcm)
Blue Wail is offline  
post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 418
 
Update on Power Steering Leak

It appeared that the high pressure line had enough rust just above the the fitting screwed into the gear box that it blew under the pressure of trying to turn the wheels after sitting unused for 1 year. I replaced both the high pressure line and the return line. I had to wait for the lines to arrive. No one near me had them in stock so I ordered them from Advance Auto Parts and they were delivered to my house.

I forget when the lines arrived and I started putting them in. Fast forward to the weekend before Thanksgiving through Sunday Nov. 26. I got the system all back together and jacked the car up to get the wheels off the ground to start the long task of bleeding the air out. Well, I would guess that between me and my wife, we have turned the steering wheel a few hundred times and I still am hearing sloshing/gurgling noises and the reservoir has bubbles. There are no fluid drips, spray, or running out of any of the fittings. I've rechecked the fittings and they are all threaded nicely and they are tight. I don't think that any of the 3 threaded fittings are cross-threaded. The hose clamps on the two lines at the reservoir are nice and tight.

I replaced the power steering pump in August 2011 and the system was working great after that so bleeding the air out of the system is not new to me. The pump replacement did not take this many turns of the steering to chase the air out.

So, where is the air coming from? Fred Kiehl (sorry Fred if I spelled your name wrong) suggested that I make sure that I put the pressure line in the correct location. The car is not at my house, it's at my parent's house because I don't have the room for a "disabled" car to sit for 1 year. I'm scratching my head on mixing up the location of the lines. I just finished checking the FSM and the high pressure line threads into the port toward the front of the gear box and the return line threads into the port at the back of the gear box. I can't visualize which line is threaded in where. I have the return line with the power steering cooler so that isn't easy to mix up with the high pressure line. Not sure if the threaded fittings are the same size. The hex heads are different. I can say for 100% certainty that I have the fitting that takes the 18MM wrench at the front port and the fitting that takes a inch/19MM wrench at the rear port. These are etched into my head because of reaching through the driver's side wheel well to get the wrenches on the fittings to break them loose on Sunday afternoon.

Oh and for one more detail, the level in the reservoir has not changed. It's been sitting at "full cold" this entire time.

Since the pump ran for 1 or 2 minutes while the system was evacuated at the leak point, I hope that the pump is not damaged.

According to the FSM, down inside each threaded port in the gear box is a check valve. Since I see no fluid leaks but hear sloshing and gurgling, if the lines are in the correct locations, I'm wondering if one or both of the check valves are shot?

Any help is, as always, appreciated.
rwd4evr is offline  
post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 418
 
Pet Peeve

Sorry - this is a minor rant. Why doesn't the FSM tell you what size wrench or socket to use to remove/install something? It would make life so much easier!!!
rwd4evr is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Chevy Impala SS Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome