Power steering lines rotting away

gruvedaddy

Original poster
Member
Dec 28, 2011
30
Hey all. Well, i'm back. My power steering system has developed a massive leak over the past few days. I narrowed it down to a section of the lines underneath a support clamp on the drivers side fender well that have essentially rotted away. :mad: It appears that water has collected there within the clamp over the years to cause this issue. I would take a pic but my camera is on the fritz at the moment. Anyone else heard of this issue before? I believe i will have to replace both lines back to where they come from, but i'm not sure what they are called and what to look for as i shop around for replacements. Any tips or suggestions are much appreciated.
 

gruvedaddy

Original poster
Member
Dec 28, 2011
30
View attachment 18956

Here's a pic of my power steering lines (drivers side top of strut mount, with rubber holding clamp removed). The line on the right has a leak for sure (there is a steady stream of fluid that continually squirts out for a bit after the engine is off). This changing of the lines seems like it's going to be a real pain in the ass. First of all, the lines that need replacing are the ones going to and coming from the power steering gear. However, when i look at rock auto or any of the other parts stores online i'm not sure if the lines they have are the one's i'm looking at. I am seriously questioning whether i should attempt this job or bite the bullet and take it to a garage. I downloaded the manual from one of the other threads (thanks btw) and it looks like i need a seal extractor. What's the going rate on labor to replace these lines at a garage? (i'm NOT taking it to a stealer!) Thanks again for any advice. :smile:
 

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gruvedaddy

Original poster
Member
Dec 28, 2011
30
Thanks Brewins. 900$ is way more than i want to invest, but i figure that's around what it would be. I'm gettin back under the hood here in a minute to see if the line that i know is leaking is a return line or not. If so, i'll be looking at a way to cut out that section of line and replace it. Anyone do this before?
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
I know I'm probably going to get some flak for this, but...

The previous owner of my TB had the factory PS cooler rust out, so he bypassed it right at the cooler. So yeah, my lines still exist but they really do nothing at all. Just a large loop doing nothing. I have no idea how long it was that way before I got the vehicle, but I've had it nearly a year and a half and it has been just fine. I really do wonder how necessary the cooler really is on these trucks, at least with stock wheels and tires? A lot of other vehicles don't have an external PS cooler.

Anyway, my thinking is maybe at least in the meantime you could cut the lines (since they are shot anyway) and just run a bypass on it for the time being, buying yourself some time until it is more convenient to do the repair.
 

Boricua SS

Member
Nov 20, 2011
3,080
Ohio
my best friend had this very issue in his '03 Voy and his mother in laws '04 Voy as well...

he replaced the lines himself with supplies bought from the local auto parts store... he is a member on here, but hasnt posted much... I'll call him and see if he can chime in and or just text me the pix of how he fixed it...
 

Boricua SS

Member
Nov 20, 2011
3,080
Ohio
ok, i got a hold of him.. and here you go...

first the pic...
imagejpeg_2.jpg



and now the explination...

i had to disconnect the battery, remove the 3rd back computer harness, disconnect the plug from the brake resevoir, REMOVE the master cylinder(while lines were still attached) disconnect one hold down bracket for the P.S. lines, all that just to get room to get to the lines, then cut the return line with an air saw, and section in a piece of 3/8" line with compression fittings then put it all back together, thank god i remembered to take pix of the settings on the pioneer deck in my truck, i hate ressetting everything after i got it all dialled in lmfao

he also stressed to leave at least an inch if not more of the original line intact, or you may have issues with leaking again... my friend did this in Sept and just reported that he hasnt had any leaks since...

hope this helps...
 

gruvedaddy

Original poster
Member
Dec 28, 2011
30
Thanks Sparky and Boricua SS. Curious that this corrosion is so prevalent on this short section of line. Possibly galvanic action? :undecided: Looks like cutting the line and retro fitting a new one in will be the path i also take. I appreciate the help you all have given and I'll let you know how it turns out. At least i know how I'll be spending Presidents day. Boricua SS, thanks for contacting your friend and let him know i appreciate his assistance too. :smile:
 

Boricua SS

Member
Nov 20, 2011
3,080
Ohio
gruvedaddy said:
Thanks Sparky and Boricua SS. Curious that this corrosion is so prevalent on this short section of line. Possibly galvanic action? :undecided: Looks like cutting the line and retro fitting a new one in will be the path i also take. I appreciate the help you all have given and I'll let you know how it turns out. At least i know how I'll be spending Presidents day. Boricua SS, thanks for contacting your friend and let him know i appreciate his assistance too. :smile:

no problem :thumbsup:... thats what we're here for...
and ill be sure to pass on the thx to him for ya...
 

gruvedaddy

Original poster
Member
Dec 28, 2011
30
Well, it's been 5 days since i repaired the power steering line and i am happy to say it's good to go! No leaks and no problem steering. :thumbsup: Thanks to all who helped out!
 

Boricua SS

Member
Nov 20, 2011
3,080
Ohio
gruvedaddy said:
Well, it's been 5 days since i repaired the power steering line and i am happy to say it's good to go! No leaks and no problem steering. :thumbsup: Thanks to all who helped out!

thats awesome man... glad to hear the success... :thumbsup:
 

eightshot627

Member
Aug 8, 2012
79
I'm thinking of doing this over the weekend. It looks like this one was the return line. I have figured out which line is bad yet.

Would the same fix work for the pressure line?

Thanks,
Walt
 

C-ya

Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
I don't see why not. I have used compression fittings in brake lines and there is quite a bit of pressure generated there for sure!
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
946
I wonder if the rust is from brakefluid somehow getting spilled from the mastercylinder resoivoir on the metal and corroding it out.
 

McGMT

Member
Jun 17, 2012
621
Jkust said:
I wonder if the rust is from brakefluid somehow getting spilled from the mastercylinder resoivoir on the metal and corroding it out.

That would cause a major issue for all those metal brake lines running to your brake calipers...
 

Cmccarty

Member
May 4, 2013
1
McGMT said:
That would cause a major issue for all those metal brake lines running to your brake calipers...


how in the world did you get the clamp off?

what type of line did you use to replace the old line.

thanks
 

kickinkz

Member
Aug 17, 2013
2
Had this happen last weekend down in Milwaukee....could hear the pump whining badly and checked it at my next stop...the whole driver's side was soaked above the wheel.

The pressure line is in bad shape also, but not leaking, not yet...I cut the bad section out and spliced in a piece of 3/8 brake line. Seems to be working. Not much room in there to work though.

Why those idiotic engineers had to do that is beyond me....the salt and road crap builds up there and eats away the plating and the steel... an inch on either side of the rubber clamp was good metal.

From what I see, putting in new lines is no easy task.

Phil
 

kickinkz

Member
Aug 17, 2013
2
Cmccarty said:
how in the world did you get the clamp off?

what type of line did you use to replace the old line.

thanks

The two pieces of metal just lay over the rubber piece. I pried them away and pulled the rubber out....3/8" brake line is what you need, plus two 3/8 compression fittings.

Oh yeah....lots of patience also.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,664
Ottawa, ON
I just did this to my low pressure line too. Only thing is that I used a pipe cutter instead of a saw so that it won't introduce metal filings into the line (which could be very bad for the pump and R&P). It's the same type of cutter used by plumbers.
 

snipe1080

Member
Sep 17, 2013
10
dumb question: do I need to rent a flare tool to do this or no?

Ok nevermind, Compression fittings don't need it
 

MichEnvoyGuy

Member
Dec 3, 2011
523
Did I just read this correct - you guys are patching in pieces of new metal line and compression fittings on your pressure side of the power steering line?

I know you could do it on the return line, because it has little pressure but its possible to patch in a piece on the pressure side?? I thought that it was way too much pressure for that kind of repair..... ?
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
If you can patch brake lines you can patch PS lines :biggrin:

Just use the right parts rated for it and it's fine.
 

MichEnvoyGuy

Member
Dec 3, 2011
523
Sparky said:
If you can patch brake lines you can patch PS lines :biggrin:

Just use the right parts rated for it and it's fine.

:undecided:

While I'd never attempt to patch in a piece of line with compression fittings into my brake system (what are the line pressures when the ABS pulses?), the idea of patching up my high pressure PS line interests me.

Back when I was ~16 or so, I repaired the high pressure side PS line of my first car.. it lasted exactly 2 minutes :frown: I ended up replacing the whole line, a dealer part. My dad and brother laughed at me because I tried patching it, and the high pressures of a PS system.

Buuuuut if people here have done it on their Trailvoys, Im game. :biggrin: Both lines on my Bravy at the shock tower are severely corroded and now that its getting cold = thick viscous PS fluid, Im expecting it to speaketh soon, lol. And this time, instead of replacing both of the lines like I did on my last Envoy, which was a shame because the rest of the PS lines were not rusted, Im going to patch in pieces this time.
 

linneje

Member
Apr 26, 2012
404
MichEnvoyGuy said:
:undecided:


Buuuuut if people here have done it on their Trailvoys, Im game. :biggrin: Both lines on my Bravy at the shock tower are severely corroded and now that its getting cold = thick viscous PS fluid, Im expecting it to speaketh soon, lol. And this time, instead of replacing both of the lines like I did on my last Envoy, which was a shame because the rest of the PS lines were not rusted, Im going to patch in pieces this time.

So, are you saying that when it gets cold the leaks appear (perhaps the pressure increases)? Last winter the dealership was doing an coolant flush and they detected a leak of power steering fluid, said it was coming from the rack (they were correct). But I said I would monitor it. They topped it off, and I never saw another leak. Have checked for 9 months now, and haven't needed to add a drop. Now that the cold is hitting again, I am wondering if the leak will return ... Perhaps a seal problem, and the seals shrinking in the cold weather?
 

xxfile

Member
Dec 28, 2011
10
Mine rotted thru in October they looked just like the ones in the pic... I would recommend everyone who has this vehicle remove the clamp and spray the crap out of those lines with some type of oil to keep them from rusting thru.
I patched with a piece of fuel line for temporary rescue... of course its been on there for 3 months now but new lines from Rock auto arrived today.
The stealership wanted $450 for pressure line and cooler to pump. plus 6 hours at $105/ hour. plus tax and shop supplies.
I dont have a warm spot to do it myself so im looking for a decent shop with reasonable labour and have found one we shall see how much it costs I DO know they are a PITA to change.
 

gruvedaddy

Original poster
Member
Dec 28, 2011
30
Just an update. I see i never did post exactly what i did to repair the job. I used a metal cutoff wheel on my air grinder to cut the lines out and got some 3/8" tubing from the auto parts store and (4) 3/8" compression couplings. It's been working great ever since the repair, 18 months ago, no leaks. :thumbsup:
 
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Boricua SS

Member
Nov 20, 2011
3,080
Ohio
gruvedaddy said:
Just an update. I see i never did post exactly what i did to repair the job. I used a metal cutoff wheel on my air grinder to cut the lines out and got some 3/8" tubing from the auto parts store and (4) 3/8" compression couplings. It's been working great ever since the repair, 18 months ago, no leaks. :thumbsup:
Nice! Since my posts last year, my friend, nor his mother in law have reported leaks. All is still ok. Glad to read yours is holding up as well.
 
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ohiodave53

Member
May 20, 2018
1
akron
I know this is an old thread and a sore subject to boot so I apologize in advance. I am also a member of the rusted out power steering line club on my 02 TB. I've read a whole lot of comments about this, visited ytube etc etc. I've crawled around my TB and nominate this system to the hall of fame for bad engineering and design. Anyhow, I'm debating about trying this repair and I've read that some of the thing guys have done is to remove the air box, battery, LF tire and inner fender liner and even the master cylinder and this isn't the whole list. I feel pretty good about most of what I have looked at on my own TB with exception of the where the lines terminate at the rack end. I can barely see where it looks like the lines connect. I would love some info on how one is suppose to access this connection. Is this the reason for removing the LF wheel and fender liner? Is there some secret way to get to this connection? I'm close to just throwing in the towel on this one! I had to replace the radiator this past winter and that was more fun than I wanted.. : (
 

tyler

Member
Aug 25, 2017
58
Boston
Mine have three inches of rubber on each line held tightly by two clamps on each side...four clamps total...looking to replace all my power steering lines this summer.
 

BrianF

Member
Jul 24, 2013
1,215
West central Sask.
Will see if these pictures work....

This is the patch I used for the pressure line flex section last year or was it the year before? Anyways it was about 30 bucks and uses compression fittings. I did some looking and if any more of the pressure or return line rots out I will pretty much run this for full length.

And it still does not leak and holds great.
 

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gmc4flash

Member
Mar 25, 2015
58
I know this thread is specific to the leak caused by corrosion over the wheel well, but has anyone had leaks where the 2 lines go into possible the rack? I will probably need to crawl under mine and take pics to show what I am talking about but I thought I would ask.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,664
Ottawa, ON
There have been instances of the seals at the rack ports. They're a PITA to replace and can be cheap if the newer style O-rings or expensive if the older style cups.
 
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gmc4flash

Member
Mar 25, 2015
58
Thanks for the reply ... 1 more ?? can they be replaced with the truck on jack stands or ramps? Also do those lines have to be disconnected when the engine is replaced?
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,664
Ottawa, ON
Yes, but I had to lower the rack and pinion to get to them. And that's a PITA.

I don't think they have to be disconnected for engine replacement but you have to lower the R&P regardless (PITA).
 

adgedenkers

Member
Oct 17, 2018
1
Oxford, NY
I have a '07 Trailblazer that has the same PS leak above the front driver wheel well. After reading this whole thread, it sounds as if you can chop out the rusted pieces of both the high and low-pressure lines, and replace them with 3/8" brake line with 3/8" compression fittings. 2 sections of the line, and 4 compression fittings. Did I summarize that correctly? The TB PS lines have got to be one of the most poorly designed systems in any vehicle. A lot of high-quality planning went into putting them where they are - that's for sure. Thank god for forums like this.
 

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