Question about Pontiac Grand Am

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My power steering fluid reservoir suffered a blow that cracked the top recently. I was losing fluid from the top and sealed the spot with JB qwik weld, it seems to have worked. Unfortunately, I'm still losing a lot of fluid (approx. a litre per day) but it doesn't appear to be from this area. I parked the car in a spot where I could monitor any drips and found a pool under the car. Therefore, it's not just a pressure issue with the engine running. Could it be a hose instead? I am considering replacing the reservoir. How do I do this? Thanks in advance, Emily

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Kudos to you for your repair and diagnostics with the old cardboard trick. You didn't specify what model and engine your Pontiac have, but I can give you some general guidance. If it's the typical GM set up with the reservoir mounted on the pump, I'm afraid it might not be a DIY job. In these situations the pump's pulley will need to be removed from the pump shaft with a special puller in order to remove the reservoir. However, if the reservoir is remote mounted, meaning not attached to the pump, by all means get a new reservoir and change it. In the remote mount situation, you'll only see one hose attached to the reservoir, usually with a plain 'ol hose clamp. Put a drain pan under the car, remove the fluid from the reservoir with a turkey baster (every good mechanic has one in their tool box), remove any mounting fasteners, unscrew the hose clamp and remove the reservoir. Reverse the procedure to install the new part. Once installed, fill the reservoir to the proper level with power steering fluid, start the engine and slowly turn the steering wheel fully from one side to another (do this many times). The pump will probably whine until all the air is bled from the system. Recheck the fluid level and top off as necessary.

Posted on Mar 19, 2011

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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Place the vehicle in park or neutral with the emergency brake. Let the engine idle. Raise the hood and remove the cap on the power steering pump reservoir. The cap will have a plastic dipstick on the end of it. Wipe the dipstick portion with a rag and screw it back down on the reservoir. Unscrew the lid and check the level indicated on a marked scale on the dipstick. The level should read at the top "Hot" mark. Low fluid level will cause the pump to whine. Fill to the appropriate level and listen for noise.
Inspect the condition of the power steering fluid with the cap off the reservoir. It should be translucent red and slightly thick to the touch. Brown, black or sudsy-looking fluid indicates contamination. Power steering fluid that has lost its viscosity (thickness) cannot properly lubricate the seals, bearings and vanes inside the pump, which will cause a high-pitched whine or squealing noise. If the fluid feels gritty between the fingers, it means rust, metal shavings and dirt has entered the reservoir.
Use a slot screwdriver to loosen the low-pressure rubber hose clamp on the bottom side of the power steering pump reservoir. Catch any drippings in a pan. Loosen the high-pressure metallic line nut on the power steering pump body with a fuel line wrench. Let the fluid drain into a pan. Remove the reservoir cap and use a used turkey baster to suck out all of the power steering fluid. Clean the inside of the reservoir with a rag wrapped around a screwdriver.
Reconnect the rubber low-pressure side hose and tighten the clamp with a slot screwdriver. Screw the metallic line nut on by hand and finish tightening it with a fuel line wrench. Fill the reservoir with new (manufacturer's recommended) power steering fluid to the top mark. Start the engine and listen for noise.
Test the tension and condition of the serpentine belt, or the individual power steering belt. The belt should not be cracked or contaminated with oil or power steering fluid. Clean the belt with alcohol. Adjust the (individual) belt for tension, using an end wrench to loosen the adjusting bolt, and a socket and wrench to slightly loosen the pump mounting bolts. Pry the pump outward with a screwdriver to tighten the slack in the belt. Tighten the adjusting bolt with an end wrench. Tighten the mounting bolts with a socket and wrench.
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Hopefully you will find a leaking hose or fractured reservoir, but keep looking, air flow may be blowing the leaking fluid back and under the car. Good luck, hope it\'s not the rack and pinion.

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bleed power steering with engine off pour power steering fluid in the power steering reservoir until fluid stay at full mark on powersteering pump dip stick.wait few minutes then check powersteering fluid again if low add little more when fluid level stop dropping crank vechicle turn steering left to right with out a stop turn steering wheel all the way to the left to all way to right for minute until air bubbles leave the powersteering fluid. when steering wheel feel normal stop engine check check power steering fluid should be at full hot mark if fluid level dont drop air is out the system. dont overfill powersteering reservoir if so you will blow front seal.dont drive vechicle if steering dont feel normal have vechicle towed in garage.

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Can I open the power steering reservoir with the engine running? I cannot see the level from the outside of the reservoir. 1987 Audi 5000 CS Quattro


Sure, no problem. The fluid is not under pressure in the reservoir. Just be aware, do not overfill the reservoir, the fluid expands as it gets hot.

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1 Answer

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Are the power steering lines connected to the oil lines somehow? Just before my power steering crapped out, I would top up the pump reservoir only to blow white smoke out the tailpipe all the way home. How...


Hi. Your power steering pump hoses are closed looped. They run from the pump assembly to the reservoir.They do not run to any of your oil lines. Now, with that said, i would recommend to inspect your assembly for possible leaks. This is a high pressure setup that will produce leaks during hose or clamp failure. The reservoir can crack as well. This will cause fluid to leaks on the engine block or exhaust manifold, thus, causing the white smoke or burn off affect. Use the procedure below to inspect for possible loose hoses or compromised pump seals and reservoir issues.



Once you have staged your vehicle in a safe place, open the hood and locate your power steering system on your vehicle. The easiest way is to follow the part of the steering column assembly that goes through the firewall. Follow the components connected to the steering column all the way to the wheel assemblies and hoses connected to the power steering pump and reservoir. Attempt to scrub wet and dirty components around the steering system, using shop rags if the leak source is not readily apparent. Now,start the engine, rotating the steering wheel all the way from left to right several times to increase system pressure in the pump and hoses. Turn off the engine and inspect the system from the engine compartment, using a flashlight preferably. In some cases, you might have to wait one or two days for the leak to reveal itself . Next, check around the power steering pump, for possible cracks. If you find fluid around the pump case, the case is damaged and should be replaced. Some pumps are equipped with internal seals that may be replaced when necessary. Also, look around the reservoir and make sure it is in good condition. A cracked reservoir must be replaced as well.

Now, look around all fittings and hoses. A loose fitting cannot contain the high pressure in the system. Tighten clamps using a Phillips or flathead screwdriver or ratchet and socket, depending on the type of fitting or clamp used in your system. Additionally, check along the hoses for cuts. If possible, run your fingers along the length of the hose to find hidden wet spots. A hose leaking somewhere along the middle will have to be replaced. If the gash is very close to the end of the hose, you might be able to cut off the damaged part and reconnect the hose to the component. You will also need to Check the metal lines connecting the steering gear assembly to other components. A ruptured metal line must be replaced.

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