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Always Watching...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright guys, I'm going to need some assistance with this one...
2000 Firebird 3.8L V6
Left work this evening and as I back out of my parking space, I noticed a large puddle of fluid left behind from the car. Said to myself, "guess the paint flaked off, and the oil leak is back" (if you don't get this, I have an oil leak and when I painted my exhaust it magically disapeared:dunno:) Anyway...I didn't put too much thought into it. I drove to my parent's house which is like right down the street. As I slowed and pulled into the driveway, I heard kind of a...hm... not sure how to describe this... like a struggling noise. Almost a whining? Again, didn't know what to think. Well I stayed for a little bit, then drove back to work to meet my gf. We then left and drove to her dorm. Long story short, didn't notice anything different, except when we're pulling into the parking garage. I noticed with every slight turn of the steering wheel I heard a whining/grinding/struggling noise. No issues with steering or anything, I don't feel any pull or struggle in the steering wheel, just hear a noise. I thought it was maybe my tire rubbing the wheel well or something.
Well I backed into a spot and popped the hood. Gf turned the steering wheel while I listened in the engine bay. Seemed to be coming from all over. Started checking fluids. I'm totally lost. Something told me to check my Power Steering. Not sure how to judge this fluid, so I noticed the cap had some wetness, so I figured it was full. I touched it and the fluid is kinda brown-ish. I smelt it to see if it was burning. Smelt gross, but kinda like oil. Reminds me of what a mechanic shop smells like. I was discouraged at the poor lighting and started to give up, and as I looked down, I noticed a trail of fluid left on the pavement. It was a trail left behind as I backed into the spot. I touched it and smelt it. It seems to be Power Steering fluid. Same smell, color, consistency. I'm going to go jack up the car and see if I can locate where it may be leaking from. I'm worried that at the rate it's leaking, I'm going to be completely out by morning. I have work in the morning, so I'm going to try and patch it or something, somehow... Help guys... please! If I cant seem to stop the leak (which is HIGHLY probable) and I drain all out of fluid, will the car still be driveable?
Review:
Power steering fluid likely to leak?
Easy to repair? Costly?
Driveable if all fluid drains?
Will be back to check for answers (figured it's late so it's unlikely many of you are even on).
Thanks in advance (sorry for the novel).
 

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Wow... sounds like a bad deal. If the cap was wet, though, maybe it overheated and bubbled out? There are a lot of pipes coming in and out of that things so good luck finding the leaks. Only place I can think of is that silver pipe running across the front of the car, right on top of the k-member and under the oil filter. And of course check the entire pump, but it sounds like its coming out the top due to high pressure or temperatures... no idea what would cause either situation.

I believe the car should still be driveable, but very hard to turn. At any rate, get it fixed as soon as possible. A new pump looks like it'll run you about 80 bucks without the reservoir.
 

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Always Watching...
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The cap was wet, after I took it off and checked the inside. The top of the cap was not wet. Honestly, the car hasn't been running hot at all. It hasn't been hot outside either so the car has been staying cool. I'm going to try and check under the car. Yeah, I know it's going to be tough, since it's dark outside, and the lighting in the parking garage isn't the best. We'll see what I can do...
 

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sorry to hear that, don't have a clue, good luck
 

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Well the power steering fluid's temperature is not monitored by any thermostat, and the outside temperature would not affect it.... It's temperature would raise if it was under extreme pressures. It's probably a long shot anyway, and not the cause of your problems, but it's something to think about. Just seems odd that your cap would be wet.
 

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Just clean up your power steering pump really good, or at least where you think it might be leaking and then give it a chance to leak some more out, this will at least give you a location. Just visually and grab/feel the hoses coming out and going into the pump and maybe you've just got a hose that's leaking and try to get back to us if you find out where it's leaking. :icon15:
 

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Always Watching...
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alright guys, I jacked up the car (luckily still had jack-stands in the trunk from when I installed the DRLs) and crawled under there. I have a little flashlight so it helped, but still failed. It was hard to find where it's leaking from because it's all gunky/wet/black down there. I grabbed a wad of napkins (all I had in my center console) and started drying/wiping the gunk off. Here's some pics...




 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I found a couple of things really odd. Look at pic #3. That's the hose that runs from the black box that holds the Power Steering fluid. I thought it was weird that the hose is wet the last half. I pulled that protective plastic tubing or whatever away and dried the hose, but couldn't find a leaking point. In pic 5, where the hose meets that really really thin metal piece (sorry for my poor ling/lack of knowledge, I hope you're following along...) well, when I went under the car, there was a drip ready to fall, so it seems that's where it may be leaking. But, I don't know how it could be moving to the front of the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh by the way guys... no more leak...because I'm completely out of fluid. Opened the cap after I lowered the car back down and shined the flashlight in there and it's completely empty. Sigh... I turned it on, and drove it forward a little bit. Runs fine, but makes that weird noise as soon as I even touch the steering wheel in any direction. My gf describes the sound as "it's trying to move and it's too dry". Would it be safe to drive this way? The steering doesn't seem to be effected in any way. I guess, I always thought that if I didn't have powersteering fluid, I'd have to steer the car like I was driving a bus or something. Like if the car is off but the key is in the "on" position and you try turning the steering wheel, it takes a whole heck of a lot of effort. But it's not like that at all. To be honest, it's all the same, just with the noise.
Need some serious help guys...
 

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well then it appears that your pump still has a lot of fluid in it, but its the reservoir that's dry.

Fluid has a habit of going all over the place under the car. I had oil coming down all over the place after I finished my engine teardown and before I realized the valve cover wasn't on tight enough. I mean... the only place left for it to drip would've been the tailpipe and even THAT wouldn't have surprised me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
well then it appears that your pump still has a lot of fluid in it, but its the reservoir that's dry.

Fluid has a habit of going all over the place under the car. I had oil coming down all over the place after I finished my engine teardown and before I realized the valve cover wasn't on tight enough. I mean... the only place left for it to drip would've been the tailpipe and even THAT wouldn't have surprised me.
Did I happen to catch the pump in any of my pictures? I'm lost when it comes to under the hood stuff like this. I just checked and I had recently (december-during winter break) got my power steering fluid changed at Pep Boys. Could they have messed something up? I cant understand why this would suddenly just start leaking, well... completely drain my entire reservoir! So what do you recommend my next step be? Is the noise I hear common, or what does it mean? Tomorrow is Sunday, so probably not too many, if any, shops open, and I've got work all day (10-6) so... I'm pretty screwed. I considered calling in, but my gf has work all day as well, and if we're planning on carpooling to work. So... even if can get out early, I'm stuck there, and if I stay home and the car becomes undriveable... I'm definitely SOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Alright, so I called into work today so I could take the car to Pep Boys. I really hate that place, but there's one not too far from my gf's dorm, and since they did a power steering flush, I'm wondering if maybe they screwed something up. I'm hoping, that way it'd be covered under warranty. Will try post tonight, when I get it all squared away. I really hope it's nothing major...
 

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drop top cruzer
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you could have a bad pulley to...when my idler pulley went bad it cause my fluid to come out the top and all down the sides like in your pics...just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well I just got back. Pep Boys took fooorever and a day, but all seems well now. They charged me 38 bucks to do the UV test to find the leak. Turns out it was coming from the high pressure hose the one pictured in #3 and #5. They replaced it for me... also took forever... 27 dollar part I believe, 6 dollars for fluid, and god knows how much for labor. Came out to be in total $159.69! Omg, I know. Guy wanted to charge me another 50 bucks or more to do a power steering flush. I just had that done back in December, so I told him to skip out on that part. So anyway, I'm broke and everything seems good so far. I notice a kind of rubbing/grinding when I turn the steering wheel sometimes. Guy told me it's to be expected for awhile, as the fluid circulates, and the airbubbles get out. Is this true? He said if it keeps up or gets worse to bring it back.
 

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drop top cruzer
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maybe, if you turn the wheel to far it wheel also make that rubbing/grinding sound..
 

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do not drain the power steering fluid you will burn the pump up. just keep a bottle of power steering fluid in your car till you find the leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
do not drain the power steering fluid you will burn the pump up. just keep a bottle of power steering fluid in your car till you find the leak.
I didn't have to drain the fluid, it drained itself. There was still some fluid in the rack and pinion or pump because the car was still steering fine. The noise was attributed to low fluid, because the reservoir was nearly tapped dry.
I got it fixed though. So thanks anyway!
 

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glad you got it fixed, labor nowdays is ridiculous
 

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Yeah man... you can join my "Hate mechanic" club. I get turned around and spanked every time I hand over those keys.
 
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