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How-To: Power Steering Pump Replacement

Discussion in 'Vortec 4.2L I-6' started by fishsticks, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. fishsticks

    fishsticks Well-Known Member

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    Chances are you're here because your rig just got a whole lot harder to steer, or maybe there's a godawful squealing noise from under the hood when you try to turn your wheel.


    Our PS pumps generally fail for two reasons:
    1. Simple age/wear (generally due to not changing the fluid)
    2. The pump shaft breaking, caused by high RPMs and cranking the steering wheel to lock. Doing doughnuts in your truck is a very easy way to end up with a dead PS pump.
    I ended up with a broken pump shaft, caused by dog walking up a snowy hill with heavy go-pedal usage. Moral of the story: once you break 4WD, jump in someone else's truck. Don't try and get the truck to keep going unless you HAVE to.


    The pic of shame, 3 wheel drive and no power steering, needed 3 people pushing the front end to turn around.
    [​IMG]


    Back to the point. However you lost your pump, you'll want to replace it. Fortunately it's not hard to do!


    Things you will want:
    • a QUART of power steering fluid (the little bottles won't be enough)
    • a 13mm deep socket/ratchet (3/8 drive)
    • a PS pump pulley puller (rent one from a parts store)
    • an impact gun and sockets, or a vise and large ratchet/sockets (for using the puller)
    • a hammer
    • 16mm wrench or adjustable wrench
    • a pair of needle nose pliers
    • a flathead screwdriver
    • a bucket or a large turkey baster (to remove old fluid)
    • a lot of rags
    • a small screw type hose clamp (optional)
    • you will most likely need a jack and lugnut wrench to remove your passenger front tire if you aren't lifted
    What to do:

    Remove the serpentine belt. It can be loosened by inserting the square end of a 3/8 drive ratchet into the tensioner and rotating clockwise. If you have a turkey baster, remove the PS pump cap and suck all of the fluid out of the reservoir. Replace the cap when done.
    [​IMG]


    If your shaft is broken, you'll be able to pull your pulley out of the pump. You'll get fluid behind it, so be ready with rags.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Remove the three bolts holding the pump to the bracket. If your pulley is still attached, you can reach these by inserting your deep socket through the holes in the pulley.
    [​IMG]


    Next you will disconnect the high pressure line, shown in the center of this picture. This is most easily accomplished through the passenger side wheel well. If you have removed your wheel well liners this will be easier. If you have a body lift you'll feel like you're cheating. :biggrin: It simply unscrews. Expect more fluid.
    [​IMG]


    Once the high pressure line is disconnected, you can rotate the power steering pump a little and get to the return line, which is held on by a clamp. Also open the wire retainer and remove the wire loom from it. More fluid incoming!
    [​IMG]


    Return to the engine bay and pull the pump out from the top. You may need a twist it around a little but try to keep it right side up. Once it's out, remove the cap and invert it into your bucket.


    Now you need to remove the pulley and the reservoir.

    Assemble the puller on the pulley as shown. Apply an impact gun to the puller if you have one. If you don't, wrap the jaws of a vice in rags and clamp the pulley into it, then use a large ratchet and socket to turn the screw on the puller.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Once the pulley is off the old shaft, place it on the new shaft as shown. Use a hammer to firmly (but carefully) tap the pulley onto the shaft of the new pump.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now you'll need to remove the reservoir from the old pump. There are two clips holding the reservoir on. In the middle of those clips are small tabs that you must bend up with a screwdriver. After they are bent up, you can tap them off of the old pump. (a couple of these pics didn't turn out, my apologies)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    After the clips have been removed, the reservoir simply pulls off the old pump.

    There is a small plastic tube with an o-ring in it which will be left in the old pump. Pull it out and replace the o-ring with one that comes with your new pump. Push that tube into the new pump.
    [​IMG]


    Push the reservoir onto the new pump and tap the clips on to keep it in place.

    Installation is the reverse of removal. You can optionally replace the silly clamp GM uses with a screw type hose clamp. The hardest parts will be lining up the bolts through the pulley (not too bad) and getting the serpentine belt back on (which takes about 6 hands).

    Once you're reassembled, open your quart of PS fluid and fill the reservoir to about 1/2" from the top. Start the truck and let it idle WITHOUT touching the steering wheel for about a minute. Keep an eye on the level of the reservoir and add fluid as needed. You may hear some noise from the new pump as it works the air out of the system. Once a minute or so has passed, turn the wheel from lock to lock several times.

    If all is quiet and the steering wheel turns easily you're home free!




    If this post was helpful, please hit the "Like" button and also rate the thread. Thanks! :biggrin:
     
    yugrus, Mark20 and Mooseman like this.
  2. jbones

    jbones Well-Known Member

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    I had thought about stopping off on the way home from the Lake Steven, WA meet today and getting some PS fluid for a change.

    You know when I turn the steering wheel slightly left or right, I get a short actuator/hydraulic sounding noise. That is normal right?

    Time to hit the road in my TB:salivate:
     
  3. Billdaman

    Billdaman Active Member

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    Thanks great writeup!
     
  4. Mark20

    Mark20 Well-Known Member

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    Much clearer description than one I read on the OS. Though I hope to never have to do this myself. I've recently sucked the reservoir dry and refilled, still have to do it a few more times. Thanks for taking the time to write this.
     
  5. CaptainXL

    CaptainXL Well-Known Member

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    And don't forget that there are two different pumps. One for short wheel base and one for EXT/XL.
     
  6. LordBear

    LordBear Well-Known Member

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    if u have a ps fluid leak and it apears to be coming out around the pully shaft ..does that mean ..... or is a good indicator of a busted shaft?... havnt been hard on it but have done a couple of sharp u turns.... from another thread i read earlier..sounds like these things break just looking at them wrong. and since i dont got the stuff to do the job myself wonder how much this job costs plus parts...maybe find a used one some where.....
     
  7. CaptainXL

    CaptainXL Well-Known Member

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    Can I just make a suggestion. You should never pound the pulley back on with a hammer. Use the installation tool that came with the rental kit. You risk no damage to the pump whatsoever doing it the proper way.
     
  8. '03EXT

    '03EXT Active Member

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    the remanufactered pump came with a pulley installation kit.......just consisted of a long bolt a nut and a wide washer , worked great
     
  9. kennjame62

    kennjame62 New Member

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    Just a note to you all,
    I had a squealing issue, and used dowels, which led me to believe the power steering pump was bad (after replacing the tensioner pulley). Needless to say, after all that wrenching, it was found to be the belt!!!!! Would have never guessed!

    Therefore, if you have a squeal, CHECK YOUR BELT FIRST--- Spray some WD40 on it, and if it goes away and comes back, you can more than likely ELIMINATE the power steering pump as the cause.

    Not trying to go off track from this thread, just trying to help others learn from my mistake!
    ~James:raspberry:
     
  10. dla442

    dla442 Well-Known Member

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    Word to the wise is to flush out all the old fluid if possible and if your old pump shaft is not broke. I did it by disconnecting the return line at the cooler down on bottom left side of the radiator. Let the reservoir drain with the line disconnected. While the car is in the air, turn the wheel from right to left and fluid will expel out of the cooler. Reconnect, fill Rez and do again until all is clear. The reconnect the return line and fill system Rez to proper height. Before you start the engine, Turn the wheel from right lock to left lock and circulate it a bit to see if more fluid needed to fill to cold mark on the dip. Also when new pump installed, turn the pulley clockwise to prime the ps pump before the high side line is attached. Put on serp belt and start turning right to left again. As far as diagnosing the pump or a bad belt, I would not put wd40 on my belt...take it off and run engine for a short time...listen if anything has changed. A visual inspection of belt tells me just fine if glazed, hard n cracked etc.
     
    Mooseman likes this.
  11. infamouz

    infamouz Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know the size of the o-ring that goes over the pressure line? I need to replace mine. I had a spare but cant find it. thanks
     

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