power steering

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by caberjim, Aug 12, 2004.

  1. caberjim

    caberjim Stableboy III

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    We recently acquired an 1982 Dodge Ram pickup. Very good shape and only 52,000 miles on it. One major problem - the power steering fluid leaks. Not a little - a lot. The leak seems to be from the connecting metal hoses, not the pump itself. I intend to replace those at some point when I get some time. The question is - how dangerous or bad is it to be driving the truck around with the power steering nearly out. I drove it home and the only real problem was that its hard to make 90 degree turns without both hands on the wheel - and the noise, of course. Is there damage being done?

    Thanks for the input.
     
  2. Hogsubie

    Hogsubie Well-Known Member

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    It will eventually damage your power steering pump, which there is a very good chance the pump is already shot considering the noise. What's happening is the pump is having to work harder (noise) with less fluid. Part of what's happening is friction is being generated around the seals in the pump causing damage to the seal. As far as danger...well it depends on how well you can handle the beast while turning when the pump goes out. If you're in a high speed turn and it goes out and you're not prepared for it, you might lose control. I had a 3/4 ton cargo van and threw the belt while on the freeway. It was fine even when I started down the residential roads. It was just really hard to turn and severely exaggerated my turning radius but there was no real danger.
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    You're starving the pump so yes you could turn a $50 job into a $300 job fairly quickly. How dangerous? At speed it will handle in the OK range and still ugly but it's going to be a bear on slower corners. Could some smart lawyer nail your butt for driving an unsafe vehicle should an accident occur?!! Yes most certainly. If the cost is a factor get yourself to a wrecker and buy used lines for $10!
     
  4. Not particularly dangerous.

    Metal lines are very spendy, perhaps you can swap rubber lines in.

    You are damaging the pump, a slight rebuild is $300, a replacement can be a lot more.

    --->Paul
     
  5. daeve

    daeve Well-Known Member

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    Some of the metal lines have a "O" ring on the end of the fitting where it connects to the steering pump and sector. If one of these little suckers gets a split in it will leak like crazy! Don't know if the Dodge Ram has the "O" rings on the lines though. You can check with a parts house and if they have the replacement line in stock, look at it and if there is a "O" ring, get one of the same size instead of the line and try replacing it it first.

    Trying to save a buck by replacing a metal power steering hose with rubber is not a good idea. The metal lines are used because of the amount of pressure the line has to hold. The return line can be and often is rubber but it only has a small amount of pressure on in and is usually not the one that develops a leak or not a major leak. The high side coming out of the pump can have from several hundred to several thousand pounds of pressure in it. If you do see a rubber line on the high side it is crimped on to the metal connectors and designed by the factory to handle the pressure.
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Running 7 tractors, a combine, & all the related items, I'm pretty familiar with hydraulic pressures in the 2-3000 lb range. Got 4-5 shops within 7 miles of me that will build any hydraulic hose with any end I need for a couple bucks a foot. Rated to 3000 lbs - or can get better hose for better ratings if I need it. Can't see anything wrong with that suggestion?

    Can't make a hydraulic hose out of old used garden hose & some radiator hose clamps, and I wasn't suggesting anything like that. :)

    But steel line is replaced with hydraulic hose all the time - sometimes the hose is better, as it resists rust & vibration a lot better than steel.

    --->Paul
     
  7. daeve

    daeve Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear it. And to have you explain what you were talking about. ;) If you had said "hydraulic hose" instead of "rubber lines" I wouldn't have commented on it.

    You are absolutely correct. I have done it several times myself on construction and farm equipment. I may change the steel tee lines on my Case 310. The lines that are on it seem to be off of something else. Run right over the center of the engine and block the oil fill cap.

    Wish we had someone around here that would do lines for a couple of bucks a foot. Last one I had done was about 3 feet long and cost me $45 and that was just cutting the clamps off and crimping the new line on to the existing ends. And he didn't get it lined up right at that. :(