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Ron
Ron, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 23001
Experience:  23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
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2003 F250 superduty blow power steering cooler lines already

Customer Question

2003 F250 superduty blow power steering cooler lines already replaced pump,steering gear and multiple hoses about ready to get rid of the truck
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is Bob. It is apparent that you are having power steering issues, how can we help you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Trying to solve this tired of changing hoses only happens when it's cold
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

Are you having a repeated failure of your cooler hoses?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

so, tell me a little about how often and where the failure occurs. How long does the new hose last and before the hose fails, does the power steering seem to work properly when the hose is intact? Is the failure always in the same part of the same hose? Are you replacing the hose with a ford part or aftermarket hose? Is the failure in an area that can contact any part of the frame or anything else? I don't know of any known concerns that could cause this, so I must start at ground zero and help you figure this out based on how and when things happened. Is your truck a gas engine with a vacuum brake booster or a diesel engine with a power steering fluid actuated brake booster?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Gas 5.4 only when temps get close to zero outside always one or the other cooler hose and just blows out as soon as you start it
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

one of two things come to mind right away, #1 I wonder if your replacement hose is not a power steering fluid rated hose, but a vacuum hose that does not have the correct type of rubber to handle a petroleum based oil and no internal cords as a proper hose would? #2 if the hose is the correct type, the only other explanation that comes to mind is a restriction at the inlet nipple at your power steering reservoir! If you were to remove the return hose at the fluid reservoir, fluid should run out immediately! Those cooler hoses run directly back to the reservoir and there should be no resistance to fluid flowing! If the cooler hose is currently ruptured, I would suggest adding a little fluid to the reservoir and then check to see if it runs out of the ruptured hose, if it doesn't then disconnect the return hose at the fluid reservoir, if the fluid does not run out of the nipple at the reservoir, remove the reservoir and inspect the inside of the nipple for a foreign object lodged inside of it.

Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

also, I am still unclear as to weather your gas engine 5.4 has a vacuum brake booster or a power steering actuated hydro boost brake booster. Your truck could be equipped with either, do you have a power steering fluid pressure and return hose running to the booster that the brake master cylinder is bolted to or is it a vacuum booster with a single vacuum hose running to it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Vacuum brake booster
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

ok, that makes it simpler. Will you have time today to put some fluid in that reservoir to see if it runs right out? also check for possible kinks in the return hose between the cooler and the reservoir

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will have the hose fixed already again I'll have to pull the hose off the reservoir
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
All hose is fuel power steering rated
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

These hoses can withstand very high pressure, I would definitely look for a kink in the hose or debris in the return nipple at the reservoir

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will let you know shortly
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

ok, I will be in and out today but will check periodically to see if you reply

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just pulled return line off reservoir fluid pours out immediately no links in line
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Kinks
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

You sir have a bizarre one here for sure! If I had this truck in my shop at this point, I would disconnect the cooler inlet side that comes from the gear box to see if fluid flows out freely from the reservoir side. There is a restriction somewhere! have you ever replaced the actual cooler?

Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

what type of fluid are you using when you fill the system?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Atf
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Did not replace but pulled and cleaned it out with brake cleaner and flushed with clean fluid and reinstalled
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

inspect that cooler real good and look for ding or dent in the tube that might restrict the fluid flow, perhaps even remove and cap both hoses and then attach a separate free hose to one of the nipples of the cooler and see if you can freely and easily blow air though the cooler. Also have you noticed any water in the fluid that could possibly freeze?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Did that when I pulled and cleaned the cooler no restrictions on air flow
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

though the hoses do not have kinks, do either make a sharp turn 90 degrees or sharper in the routing to the reservoir? Also, when you replaced the ruptured hoses, did you replace the entire length of hoses, from the gear to the cooler and from the cooler to the reservoir? or did you splice in replacement pieces at the failure location?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Full length hoses routed same as factory
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

I am also wondering as a long shot, have you inspected your serpentine belt for a frayed rib? It is possible that the belt could have a rib torn loose that is slapping the hose like a whip! Is the failure area in line at all with the serpentine belt?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not even close to in line with belt
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

Do the hose failures always fail in the same location, and where exactly do they fail?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The two lines from the cooler are 18" clamped on the cooler and run down past the radiator and clamp to steel lines next to the frame and its always in the 18" rubber hose somewhere but not always in the exact same location
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One steel line is to the gear box the other changes back to rubber 10" from reservoir
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Little more info it sits in a insulated garage usually goes for coffee early in the morning and if its close to zero when I come out from the cafe and start the truck it blows as soon as it starts if I leave it run it never blows never has happened otherwise,not while driving just on startup when it's cold outside
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

I have an 03 f250 on the lot, give me a few minutes to look it over and see if can come up with something, back in a bit

Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

ok, up till now I have been referring to memory and shop manuals on this system and did not realize the system had that steel line between the cooler and the reservoir on the return side. have you tested that portion of steel tube for restriction or replaced it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
pulled it off blew through it no kinks or sharp bends other than factory
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

if the rubber hose between this steel tube and reservoir has a tear inside that is behaving like a flap and intermittently folding over causing a restriction, could cause this! Though it is a long shot, I would run a new hose as an overlay, connect one end of a new rubber hose to the outlet of the cooler and route it securely to the return line inlet at the reservoir! leave the original hose/tube assembly in place, just bypassed (not connected at either end). test the system on a cold morning and see if the problem reoccurs.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will try that but not supposed to be that cold here again until next week so will have to get back to you
Expert:  SuperBob replied 1 year ago.

Also, if and when you do this as the reservoir will most likely be drained out, take a drill bit of similar size to the inside diameter of the reservoir nipple and by hand twist the drill bit to verify that there is not a plastic casting issue causing even a slight restriction of fluid flow back into the reservoir. I will check back in periodically to see what your results are. Thank you for the challenge, sorry we didn't get to the bottom of it today.

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