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Brad, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
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Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician
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2000 dakota: 4.7 Power steering leak @ reservoir..pressure switch

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2000 dakota w/ 4.7 Power steering leak @ reservoir o ring. I have replaced the pump twice, checked the o ring multiple times on each pump installation. Replace pressure switch. Both new pumps whine. Reservoir seems to be pressurized after driving with engine off. If I dont put the cap on tightly the leak stops. Can this be the rack? Could it be the computer signal to the pressure switch? or what, not much hair left to pull out!
Hello and welcome to!

That o-ring isn't designed to hold pressure, so something is causing pressure to build up where it shouldn't be which is why it is leaking.

I'll be honest, I've never seen this happen on the Dakota, but it IS very common on the Dodge minivans. What happens is the internal lining of the power steering hoses deteriorates, and flows through the system. In the return hose assembly there is a restricter which prevent fluid from flowing too fast (to eliminate noise and vibration) and this restricter gets plugged up with this debris, which backs up the works.

This results in a pressurized reservoir, leaks, and noise.

I would replace all of the Power Steering lines and go from there. I have no reason to suspect the Rack as being the cause of this.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok, this restrictor is it inline in the hose? How do I make sure it is clear?
It's built into the return hose assembly. It's usually easiest just to replace the hose as they aren't very expensive.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The return hose has no resistor, it's just a cut to fit hose.
I have to apologize.. I was thinking of the system on the minivans. I assumed that the Dakota used a similar setup (with a restricter in the return hose) but I guess that's not the case.

I still have no reason to suspect the rack. I'm thinking you have a collapsed section of hose, or debris build up in one of the metal lines. I would still recommend replacing all of the rubber hoses in the system.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The pressure hose was replaced with the pump. I forgot to mention that. I think your on the right track. The return hose is free and clear and seems to be in good condition. What else can I do to clear the system? How does the line pressure switch activate what controls it?
The line pressure switch only tells the computer when the power steering is loading down the engine, so that it can raise the idle accordingly.

Some of these came with a power steering cooler from the factory, does yours have one? Maybe you can flush it out.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No the lines go directly to and from the rack. I just dont know what else to do but, the leak is eating up my rubber parts below. My front end guy says the rack has play in it but i dont want to replace it until I get the leak stopped

If there is play in the rack that changes things. When the internal rack shaft has play, it can block off the internal valves restricting fluid flow. When the flow is restricted, it can back up through the pump and cause issues.

Otherwise the only thing left is the reservoir itself. On some vehicles there is an internal filter in the reservoir that can get plugged up. This was a serious issue with a lot of Toyota and Lexus vehicles.. but to be honest, I'm almost positive that isn't the case with Dodge.. but it's worth checking to make sure there's no restriction in the reservoir just to be sure.

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