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Ford Taurus SES power steering fluid leaking behind front

power steering fluid leaking behind...
power steering fluid leaking behind front left tire. Connection at bottom of PS pump seems to have oil also.
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
6/17/2011
Brad B
Brad B, Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 1,091
Experience: ASE Master Certified & ASE G1. Ford Senior Master
Verified

Brad B :

Hello:

Thanks for choosing Just Answer!

Brad B :

If you notice fluid near the front left tire and see the line below the power steering pump to be leaking the line could be where the fault is at. The issue would either be the power steering line or the pump itself. Look where the pulley is and make sure it is not leaking from behind the pulley (if leaking at this point the pump is faulty). It would not be uncommon to have a leak from teh screw in line at the pump which has a teflon seal. It's not real common to see a line leak but make sure the rubber does not have a hole in it or is rubbing on something.

Brad B :

Most common to have a leak from the power steering teflon o-ring.

Brad B :

The lines with the rubber clamps are the low side and do not generally leak. The lines with the screw fittings are the high side and are common to see the teflon seals leak over time.

Brad B :

The older Ford Taurus were also known to have faulty pumps over time.

Brad B :

(Very common for a whining pump)

Customer:

After adding fluid,its completely gone after a 20-30minute drive. I'm guessing its the lower hose? It has 144,000 miles and had been sitting for a year. I guess its the hose since the fluid is gone so quickly.

Customer:

Are there special tools needed to replace the hi-pressure line?

Brad B :

When you have a pump leak generally it takes time for the fluid to be lost. If you have a pressure line leak its more common to lose fluid at a rapind rate. Check to see if the leak is from the screw fitting at the pump and if so you will need a teflon seal to fix. It's not uncommon to see a line leak so it would be advised to check out the hose to be sure.

Brad B :

It can be hard to diagnose a leak without seeing it, but from experience it's more common to see the teflon seal to leak. Will see the fluid come out of the threads if this is the cause.

Customer:

So is the teflon seal replaceable,or would it come with a new hose?

Brad B :

The seal is replaceable by itself, their is a special tool to ad in installing but is not required. The old seal will most likely need to be picked out with a tool or knife. To replace if you put the seal in warm to hot water for a few minutes this will soften it up, then will need to work it onto the line.

Brad B :

I have never tried to order one from an after market auto store (Napa, Car Quest, O'reileys, Auto Zone, etc...) but know for sure the Ford dealership has them. Always in stock at the one I work at and should be at almost all store I would imagine as the seal is common to fit on a lot of different vehicles.

Brad B :

May be best to get two just in case you tear the first one.

Customer:

So if I have some mechanical ability (subject to opinion) I might be able to replace the seal?

Brad B :

If you have a pick you could start the seal on the line at the threads then use the pick to work it the rest of the way. If you have a little bit of mechanical knowledge you will be fine to do this yourself.

Brad B :

It's just a hard o-ring

Brad B :

Made of teflon

Brad B :

Softening up the seal will really help

Brad B :

(warm to hot water)

Brad B :

Tried to find some pictures or a video to help but came up with nothing. Once you see the seal you wil understand

Customer:

Ah okay. I do have a pick/hook tool. I was a Snap-On dealer ten years ago,but dont have all the tools.

Brad B :

Will try to explain the best I can. Take a pick then put under the seal where the pick is in the middle of the power steering line threads and the teflon seal, work the pick around the threads in a circular motion as you work the teflon line down.

Brad B :

The hardest part is starting the seal which once you have the seal and the line out you should be able to figure out that real fast.

Customer:

Is that for putting the new one on?

Customer:

So remove the whole line to get at the seals?

Brad B :

Yes thats the best method to put the seal on. To take it off you can cut it or it might just come out on it's own. It's not too complicated as it may seem.

Customer:

Does the system need bleeding when done?

Brad B :

Remove the line at the pump by unscrewing the line then the seal will be at the base of the threads (white seal).

Customer:

do both ends use the same seal?

Brad B :

You will lose fluid, so you will need to refill the system. May need to jack the front tires off the ground then start the car. Turn the wheel back and forth from lock to lock to bleed the air if needed. Then all will be good.

Customer:

Okay,doesnt seem too difficult then.

Brad B :

Off the top of my head I cannot remember where the other end attaches but for some reason I want to say the line goes into the power steering rack which uses a rubber o-ring and will be on the drivers side on the back of the engine or may go to the cooler. If I remember correctly the other end does not use the same fitting.

Brad B :

Will have to double check the set up of the lines to be sure.Hold on one moment.

Customer:

okay

Brad B :

From what I can tell the line goes to the steering gear (steering rack).

Customer:

If its leaking from behind the driver side wheel,couldn't it be the o-ring?

Brad B :

Sorry misread the question was thinking of passenger side when it said left front. (need to get my left and right side figured out). Yes for the drivers side their are two possibilities which I have mainly seen the line leak right on the frame rail to the steering gear.

Brad B :

Theirs a line that sits on the frame rail that tends to rub on the frame rail and will start to leak. If the car was in the air or on jack stands you would see the leak point most likely fromt he pressure line.

Brad B :

The rack has been known to leak but almost always will have a steering issue along with the leak. Their are two lines to the steering rack (gear) that can leak but mostly always the line on the frame that rubs a small hole.

Brad B :

For the pump part the teflon seal will need to be replaced.

Brad B :

The parts book does not show pictures to break down the lines to show you the location.

Customer:

So then its the high pressure side hose? i looked and saw alot of oil on the driver side of the trans pan/frame in that area. There arent any steering issues,just leaks a lot of oil. My wife added PS stop leak,will it hurt

Customer:

...will it hurt the pump?

Brad B :

If found directly behind the 'left' tire this is where the line rubs on the rail. This line is fairly easy to replace with the right tools. Adding stop leak will not hurt the system, most of the fluids that stop leaks are just a thicker fluid and cause no harm.

Customer:

Was afraid they'd have sodium-silicate in there to help stop.

Brad B :

Running the pump empty will harm the pump, stop leak almost never does unless the pump had issues before. If you've ever heard horror stories from transmissions going out from them being flushed this would be the same principle.

Brad B :

Power steering stop leak is not the type of sealant that seals when exposed to the atmosphere its a thicker fluid that will just slow the leak in most cases. Possibly the cheaper stop leaks may be different but all I have seen are just thicker and do not harm anything.

Customer:

Actually the wife Sebring tranny was "flused" at AAmco,that has to be THE worst operat

Customer:

ion.

Customer:

So i can use open end wrenches to remove the hose?

Brad B :

Anytime fluid is extremely dirty (black or thick) flushing causes seals to blow out as the pressure difference of the thinner fluid destroys the system. To remove the line all I tend to use are open end wrenches, they are not too tight (unless done by a shop and was over torqued). Flare nut will not be required, using cheap wrenches may cause a problem but most open end wrenches are fine.

Brad B :

The statement of the flushing was for the transmission and not the power steering.

Customer:

As far as I know its never been done before.

Customer:

I understood you meant the trans. the wife had her Sebring done and it quit in less than a week. It took alot of calls,but she got Aamco to pay the cost for replacing it.

Brad B :

I am attaching a picture of the line diagram so you can get a better idea on what is most likely the cause.

Brad B :

The line you need most likely is #7

Customer:

I dont see an attachment...

Customer:

Okay i have it,that looks like the part I was looking at ealier.

Brad B :

For the leak near the left front tire would suspect #7 has rubbed a hole

Brad B :

You will see the breakdown of that line with the 3 attachment points it usually leaks around the one at the bottom right

Brad B :

Being you were an old snap on dealer you should have the needed tools

Customer:

Well I should,but these days... It doesnt look too difficult though.

Brad B :

May have a few tight spots but not too bad to remove the line.

Customer:

So i should replace the whole line?

Brad B :

Although be glad this is a 2001 and not a 2010 as new cars are a pain in the butt

Brad B :

To fix the leak you will need to replace the complete line (power steering gear to cooler line), then will need the teflon o-ring and approximately 2 quarts of fluid.

Customer:

I have done some mechanical work with friends (ASE shops) and I miss All-Data or whatever it is now.

Brad B :

ALLDATA does come in handy but when it comes to electrical diagrams they seem to miss a few needed pages.

Brad B :

I would post the information to help with the job but theirs no pictures or data to help. Says to refer to picture for routing diagram

Customer:

True,there was another that had alot more info..if you had the money.

Brad B :

This is a picture to show where the teflon seal goes when installed.

Brad B :

Ford has an awesome shop manual but anything over ten years they tend to get rid of and have to refer to ALLDATA or Haynes ot something else

Customer:

I think the pic you added is pretty good. without a hoist its hard to see unless I jack it up and remove the wheel.

Brad B :

With some drive on ramps it will really help with this job

Customer:

Still better to remove the wheel,I have a jack & stands.

Brad B :

The wheel may help if you need to reach your arm through the fender well to remove the line at the steering rack, jack stands will also be fine to get underneath.

Brad B :

Having smaller arms is a plus too, lol

Customer:

Okay,unless there's something else you can recommend I think I've got it. Yeah well if I had smaller arms I wouldnt need bandaids in these cases lol...maybe if I lost 60lbs?

Brad B :

Ahhhh just hire the neighborhood kid to remove the line at the steering rack, lol.... Can't think of anything else you will need to get the job done. Highly suspect #7 / the teflon seal to be the cause of your concern!

Customer:

Thanks very much for your help. Hope it didn't overstay the time alotted.

Brad B :

Glad I could help. No problem on the extra time, I work on here as a hobby to help people out to save hassles and money. Theirs no specific time to the question / answer process.

Customer:

As much as I'd prefer to use a friend who taught me some mechanics and does teach ASE courses,I can't afford it right now.

Brad B :

Well your money hopefully was well spent, you should have no issues. If you do need help leater feel free to let me know and I will help you out. If you accept you can still come back and ask questions for this concern if needed.

Customer:

Okay Thanks.

Brad B :

No problem, thanks once again for choosing Just Answer! Have a good night.

Brad B
Brad B, Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 1,091
Experience: ASE Master Certified & ASE G1. Ford Senior Master
Verified
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Brad B
Brad B, Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 1,091
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