Author Topic: power steering fluid leak  (Read 1226 times)

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Offline Adventure

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power steering fluid leak
« on: May 12, 2022, 10:30 PM »
 Last Sunday our 97 Gas Winni adventurer started to leak power steering fluid profusely it was so bad I called for a tow. Today I got a chance to  find out where the leak is coming  I took a  photo and  some video but I couldn't get too close since I was getting fluid on my phone but it's definitely a rusted line, I could see the fluid spewing out of it, it is right above a certain  part in question that is on the right side of of the hyrdroboost that area is inaccessible unless a rusted old panel is removed, actually I think that might be the motor fan shroud, I don't see any other way of accessing it, I can't even see it with the doghouse open, As far as the hydroboost goes I had a good look at it it looks fairly new has the blue cylinder like I've seen on Oreilly’s and there is no fluid anywhere around it as far as I can tell the only place leaking is that line, could it be a power steering pressure line and if so how is it replaced? A repair shop unfortunately is not an option at this time as it's pretty busy here in Corpus Christi at this time of year and we would be waiting weeks if we are lucky.  I appreciate  any knowledge someone might have on this.

Online eXodus

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2022, 04:59 AM »
That panel around the hydroboost need to come of. It's really only a protective cover to keep road debris from the wheel away from wheel.
Either take the front left tire off - or turn it all the way to the left.   The panel has a row of bolts up against the frame rail and in front of the driver side tire, behind the headlight. And another single bolt right above the suspension.

Just take your time - soak all the bolts with penetrating fluid - a small impact and get that panel out of the way. Easier to get to all the Powersteering parts.

There are many things behind that cover which could leak, so hard to tell until you do more investigation.  I've replaced:
- Hydroboost
- Pressure line from the Pump to the Hydroboost
- Pressure line from the Hydroboost to the Steering box
- No Pressure line from the box to the reservoir, (which was rusted through a clamp)
- Pressure switch for Autopark (yes the switch itself leaked PS-fluid out of the electric connector)

You need to figure out from to where the line goes - the lines with rubber flex pieces you can order online or at the autoparts store.  The fixed metal lines are more difficult, I had a local hydraulic shop make one. - take it out (lot's of screwed clips holding them down)

All the best, let us know which line it was.


Offline Adventure

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2022, 12:24 PM »
From what I was able to see as seen in the picture I was able to take after I posted, it’s a rusted out line, with the doghouse open I was able to see it looks like a line going to or coming from the Hydroboost. My guess would be since it’s leaking power steering fluid with a lot of air pressure, it could be the line that runs from the PS pump to the Hydroboost. One symptom I’ve noticed is it leaks as soon as the engine is started  without applying the breaks or the steering turned  I take it that’s normal? I’ve read on here that some have been able to get away with moving the master cylinder aside to replace the Hydroboost, I think you also mentioned this in a post from Dec 2021. Anyhow I was thinking since that is the case  I should be able to remove the bad line from the Hydroboost in the same  manner, since that line needs to be disconnected to remove the Hydroboost, but it seems that the harder part to access is the PS pump from what you were saying no way to access it without taking out that panel. So based on what you were saying it would seem the metal line is not easy to find at local auto parts shops only the flex  and I would need to have it made at a hydraulics shop like you did? Can you ident  the part in the 3rd photo? The line in question is above  that part. I appreciate the help.

Online eXodus

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2022, 05:10 PM »
All lines in the steering system get some pressure as soon as the engine runs.  The pressure line from the Pump to the hydro and then to the box have a few hundred PSI.
The "No pressure lines" still have a few PSI.  So anything would leak when the engine runs. 

Just it get worse when you either brake or steer.  Leaks when braking is usually the Hydroboost unit itself. 



Your leak is closer to the steering box  (3rd Picture)- and when you traced the rusted line to the hydroboost, then it could be the hard steel line, I had to get made.
Not saying you can't order it today - when I had the issue in 2016 - it was not available.  Doesn't mean that's true today.
You don't need to replace line to the pump if, it's not leaking.



http://dave78chieftain.com/hydroboost_brakes.html


Just giving you a heads up that that there are alternatives in case you are unable to find one.

Taking the panel of is really not a big deal. Takes me with a impact drive less then 10 minutes - and after that it's really easy to work on everything.
Including replacing all lines - or the Hydroboost - like I described in the other thread. 

With the panel on you will be  $@!#@! $@!#@! swearing a lot and try to work in those confined spaces without visibility.


Offline Adventure

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2022, 11:51 AM »
Ok so than that’s normal I take it you saw the photos I attached? For some reason I don’t see them in the post, it does seem that it’s the metal line, I don’t suppose I could just cut the line where it’s cracked and run flex hose from one end to the other rather than replace the line, my guess is no as rusted as the line is it could break again. Yesterday I soaked 5 bolts on the panel with Lucas penetrating oil, did I miss a bolt? I don’t own an impact wrench and can’t borrow one. All I have is a socket wrench set, whatever tools I had I lost in the Oregon wildfires in 2020 and I’ve not replaced everything, I do own a corded Makita drill but to alot good that’s going to do me in removing that panel lol.

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2022, 12:00 PM »
With normal you mean - it's only leaking when it's running?   "normal" in a sense that you only have high pressure when it's running, so the leak is not huge yet.
When the leak progresses it starts dripping even when not running.

Handtools should be fine - just takes a bit longer.

I like my small impact since when working on rusted old parts - it gets bolts and screws open which would have been a lot of work.
Lol I didn't count bolts when I took the panel down.   But sounds about right.


Offline Adventure

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2022, 12:35 PM »
I guess by normal I was referring to there being pressure in the lines with just the engine running. So than I take it by your not mentioning it, my idea of not replacing the line but cutting and joining with flex is a no go?

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2022, 02:07 PM »
yes as soon as the engine is off the pressure is gone within seconds.

You can replace the hard line with a complete flex line. Like a new long rubber line with two screw fittings crimped at both ends.

But trying to "fix" it with a hose clamp and a piece of line, I would only do for - getting somewhere to do a permanent repair.

The Powersteering system is running your brakes and your steering - if it bleeds out you loose both. Not a good day.
Everybody has to do what they have to do but for your safety, I would recommend that don't be cheap on those components.



Offline Adventure

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2022, 02:36 PM »
I certainly don’t want to cut corners I’m more concerned with time and parts availability. Speaking of which I found this on Oreilly’s is this similar to the flex rubber hose you referred to? https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/c/precision-power-steering/precision-power-steering-hose/opr0/13401744?q=Power+Steering+flex+hose&pos=0 If I can get the parts in a reasonable amount of time than so much the better. Do you remember what the socket size is for the panel bolts I don’t want to risk stripping them? Thanks

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2022, 04:06 PM »
The panel bolts had been very close to a 10mm, probably a 3/8

pretty sure at the Hydroboost there had been a 16mm and 18mm.  The 90s  P30 are a mix of SAE and Metric fasteners.
I don't know if the fittings at the steering box are the same, but as I know GM they probably are.

Yep that line at O-Reilly is the style I'm referring to but, it only has one end with a fitting - such is not a pressure hose - but for the return.


this is what I mean.  You remove the hardline and get a matching flex line with the correct ends.

When you got the panel off and verified that the hardline is leaking - you unscrew it from the box and the Hydroboost, undo a bunch of clips holding it in and go with it to the next Autoparts store - there you can match the ends and length.

If you can get it out in one piece, you can cut it, - the ends are the important parts.

Or like I did - Hydraulics store.  Wasn't expensive back then, or at least I remember being surprised that it was less then expected  :angel:




Offline Adventure

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2022, 06:19 PM »
Well looks like Oreilly’s has just the thing close to 50 bucks https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/c/precision-power-steering/precision-power-steering-hose/opr0/13401274?q=Power+Steering+flex+hose&pos=2 I guess I’m going to need the right size monkey wrench to get those fittings  off and on Right now my bigger challenge appears to be those panel bolts as they are really rusty, I don’t have a lot of torque in my socket wrench, I’m afraid if I try to use a breaker bar or a pipe if there is even room I might break the bolt. I try 3/8 socket but it’s too small these bolts are closer to 13, 14 mm. But the socket doesn’t hold so I guess it’s standard and not metric?

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2022, 04:39 AM »
GM transitioned starting in the early 90s from Standard to Metric, but not all at once. So every Model year is different.
Further you never know what the house builder (Winnebago) did modify to make the floorplan work.
80s and earlier P30 are mostly standard fasteners - 2000s are mostly metric fasteners. The 90s are a unpredictable mix.  I got both socket sets by now.

If you can't get the socket on it's probably standard. For rusted bolts that impact I mentioned is really beneficial. If you can get a good fitting socket on there and breaker bar - instead of turning it and risk braking the bolt - you can tap the end of the bar with a hammer. (on opening direction)  Give it a few short wacks and then spray it again with penetrating fluid.

the hammering opens up some gaps for the fluid to get better in.

The hose you found looks pretty good from the ends - just have to check if it's long enough.  Even says from Hydroboost to gear. (Gear = Steering Gear = Steering Box ,just different terms for the same thing)




Offline Adventure

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2022, 01:46 PM »
Yes an impact would make life easier. On a side note yet same note. When I got towed last Sunday it was with a wrecker, I requested a flatbed to avoid the issue I’m about to share. The driveshaft had to be removed to tow, but the driver/owner would not put it back and I got the shaft! Because the ujoint bolts were rusted more like fused he only took one off each clamp. He told me that whoever would be fixing the leak would have to put the shaft back on, that would be at the time,but than he  offered to help me put it back on, well it’s dark and we couldn’t get the slip yoke lined, no surprise since he didn’t mark it when it came out. Anyhow I’ve got the slip yoke in but not the Ujoint because of a rusted stripped bolt head, I think he stripped it when he was trying to get the shaft off, fused bolt on a clamp that broke. The left two of the bolts I bought a strap kit for the other two, lucky I did since one the clamps broke off. So now I have to extract that bolt and  probably will have to replace the other clamp as well.

So here’s the kicker, yesterday I started the engine to charge up the battery, not remembering I had part of the shaft connected. As soon as the engine started the driveshaft started spinning, I immediately killed the engine to avoid any potential damage. Within minutes a young fellow who is in the space behind me comes by to tell me that my driveshaft is off, he agreed that the driveshaft should not have engaged in neutral but I’m not so sure about. I informed him of the situation, it turns out he’s a auto mechanic, his buddy also a mechanic was commenting earlier how my driveshaft is off, so longer story shorter,  he is offering to help me out with both issues. I checked the drive shaft and other than the needle bearings I had recently greased and repacked it was intact, it had hit the muffler but didn’t damage it if had gone to the right instead, chances are it would have hit the propane tank and I wouldn’t be relating this story right now.

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2022, 04:38 PM »
you might want to put this story together in a different threat to keep this one cohesive on this topic.
Sorry that you have to go through this. Poop always comes in piles, it seems some days.

But on the upside, you got some help now! The p30 Power steering system should be pretty straight forward to figure out for a professional mechanic.
I'm just a hobbyist trying to help

Offline Adventure

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2022, 08:46 PM »
Ok where would be a good place to share the story?

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2022, 05:29 AM »
The spinning driveshaft is still p30 related:
https://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php?board=4.0

And just talking about the challenges of the Lifestyle goes here:
https://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php?board=69.0

Offline Adventure

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2022, 01:59 PM »
Ok, thanks for that info about the driveshaft. So, while waiting to see what is going to happen with the auto mechanic I recently met, I spoke with a local RV Mechanic I've been trying to reach since last week, a few minutes ago. He is adamant that he has experienced this type of issue on this type of chasis and according to him the only way to to access the busted line is to remove the front grill, headlight and I think he said radiator I couldn't understand him half the time he sounded like he was underwater. I told him I was in touch with an owner who has a similar issue and similar chasis, and and about access through the driver side after removing the panels and he just kept insisting the front grill has to come, is this guy on the level or just does it the hard way for the big bucks? He said something about how much it would cost and it has to be done in the shop, he asked if I could text him a photo of the front so I will humor him. What do you think?

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2022, 04:55 AM »
https://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php?topic=14357.0



there are 4 lines in the Powersteering system. Maybe that mechanic was talking about a different one. I had my fair share if issues communicating which part is broken.
The most difficult to get to line is the - Pump to Hydroboost (6).   - It's really difficult to get to the Pump side in the engine block.  I think when you described it - it's part number 12 on this diagram. Maybe 13.

But everything else is behind the cover accessible from the Driver side wheel well.  I mean - I don't know what Winnebago did in your model year, maybe the welded in some supports my year doesn't have.  It's not an easy repair to get the lines out and remade - by not $1800 difficult. I've replaced the Hydroboost two months ago in about 4 hours - and I'm just a hobby mechanic. So part of that replacement process is to unbolt in the Hard Powersteering line from the chassis.  It would have been like two more bolts to get the lines out.

Can you get some pictures of the interior of your wheel well posted?  I go through my pictures for the Hydroboost replacement later and see if I have the Powersteering lines somewhere displayed. 




Offline Adventure

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2022, 01:16 PM »
That's a very detailed diagram, I would have to say based on what I saw, it's lines 11 and 12 that I was looking at from the doghouse but it's only one of them that's leaking.  I met with the mechanic I've been waiting on yesterday and I will have to show it to him. By wheel well do you mean from the view from the doghouse? I think I can get some shots with it open. The lines  going to the reservoir are full of rust so I"m going to have the reservoir since the lines are welded to it and the lines replaced just to be on the safe side. The reservoir was only $24 at Oreilly's and the lines are pretty inexpensive.

On a different but related note, he was working on putting my drive shaft back on but clamps that hold the Ujoint in place are rusted as are the bolts so I bought a strap kit but the clamps are a hair too big, I need to figure out the exact size of them so the driveshaft can be installed back. Unfortunately the only Ujoint kit is Dorman Orielly's and Autozone that's all they have, was gonna try Napa and see if they know and have it. Any idea about that partl?

Edit on the assumption that it’s the doghouse, I accessed the wheel well and I can’t say I’m 100% certain but I don’t think it’s the return line there is only 1 line going to the Hydroboost that I could see I took a good picture of it really rusted the fitting doesn’t lol k too good either I soaked it in penetrating oil, the job won’t be done till Sat. so I figure there is plenty of time. I also took some video. I’ll see if I can upload it somewhere and link to it. Now as far as the other end of the line, that most likely going to the PS pump, if the setup is the  same can be accessed from the side without having to take off the front grill? Including a photo of the front outside for comparison. 1 quick question shouldn’t the line that goes to the power steering pump be as easy or hard as replacing the power steering pump itself. So did you have to replace your PS pump at one time or know of someone who did how hard or easy was it? Attached are some photos from the assumed doghouse, line is rusted bad going to the Hydroboost, fitting not looking too good. I hit it with some penetrating oil should be good to go by Sat. when the job is done. Thanks

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2022, 03:34 PM »
Like I said in my first response in this post.

Most repairs can be done through the driver side wheel well.  But the easiest is removing the access panel in the well.

Taking the tire off makes it even more accessible but is not necessary.

I think I understand now you mean the heat shield from the doghouse. That's why you have the large bolts.

I mean the large steel panel which is screwed from the outside in the well

Offline Adventure

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2022, 07:24 PM »
So your saying the wheel well is accessible through inside  the coach from the doghouse? When say heat shield, how different is that from the panel you removed?What the other end of the line from the Hydroboost is tha still doable considering the heat shield?

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2022, 09:39 PM »
Let's reset here.
You can replace the lines without opening the doghouse, at all.


This picture was taken - from the driver side tire. - you can see the end of the power steering lines in front of the brake booster.
The engine is on the right - transmission is behind.

Above you see the frame rail where the driver seat sits on.

While doing the repair I was sitting inside the wheel well - on the ground.

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2022, 10:32 AM »
Is that the line that looks like it's disconnected?

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2022, 05:39 PM »
I'm with eXodous on this one, I too had some exposure to the hydro boost system. First you will need to Jack up the RV to get at the work, dismount the tire and most importantly brace that RV up so it cannot fall on you. I cannot stress that enough.

Once up and wheels off can you get at all the components with the tools you have? You may well have to buy new tools, harbor freight is a good place for such matters.

As to the mechanics opinion, first he's doing the job and he has every right to do it his way. He may very well refuse to do it under tight conditions. (Hard to get at). More than probably there will be a lot of maneuvering around simply to get it out and serviced.

Do you have a good tool inventory are you capable of doing a lot of up and down maneuvering? If you have both of those going for you then move forward..oh and some time this job may require a few days and some patience. A lot of patience sometimes.

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Re: power steering fluid leak
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2022, 05:44 AM »
Is that the line that looks like it's disconnected?
yes, you can see the end of the hardline going to the gear disconnected on the left side of the brake booster
The line which is dangling over the booster is the flex line coming from the pump.

The Hydroboost and all it's mounting hardware is remove in this picture.

Eyez Open is correct, be safe.  It's not a fun job, Jacking up an RV is dangerous when you don't know what you are doing.  The mechanic maybe is quoting to use an option he is familiar with and not endangering him.
Like his work quote states,  there is a lot of stuff to remove to get to the gear from the front. 
Get a second quote, around here I got lucky with Commercial Fleet stops, which are servicing Bread trucks and Step Vans.  Those are more familiar with the P30.  McGee for example.