Aerostar power steering leak

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Hi folks,
I have an 97 Aerostar and noticed a leak around where the high pressure hose connects to the PS pump. The metal tube was loose. I assumed that was the problem and had it replaced at the local mechanic. The new hose is also loose there at the fitting and he tells me that this hose is always loose at that connection there. The nut is tight, but the tube moves around. I've never heard of such a thing on a pressure line. Is he right?
Second question -- it still leaks. If it's supposed to be loose, is it worth trying one of the 'stop leak' fluids before spending the $XXX replacing pummp and/or rack & pinion?
Thanks!
Barney
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It's supposed to be loose....sort of. These lines take a special O-ring that's available from the Ford dealer, or a parts store that isn't manned by a 17 year old inexperienced kid. The new hose should have came with the correct O- ring and I'm going to assume that the mechanic used it. The "StopLeak" products will not do anything to stop these O-rings from leaking as they are not the normal black, round O-rings that a tech will grab from a display case. Quiz your mechanic on what type of O-ring was used. If he's worth his salt, he knows all about the special O-rings that are needed on Ford power steering hoses. At least make sure that he didn't use a common run-of-the-mill black one. If the new hose was installed correctly, with the proper O-ring, and it still leaks, you may have to replace the pump, as the fitting leak may be a problem of the pump fitting instead of the hose.
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Thankye Kruse. I will check on it tomorrow and post what drops out. I noticed today that the fluid was about the same level as last night. The other day is lost about 2 oz over niight.

It's supposed to be loose....sort of. These lines take a special O-ring that's available from the Ford dealer, or a parts store that isn't manned by a 17 year old inexperienced kid. The new hose should have came with the correct O- ring and I'm going to assume that the mechanic used it. The "StopLeak" products will not do anything to stop these O-rings from leaking as they are not the normal black, round O-rings that a tech will grab from a display case. Quiz your mechanic on what type of O-ring was used. If he's worth his salt, he knows all about the special O-rings that are needed on Ford power steering hoses. At least make sure that he didn't use a common run-of-the-mill black one. If the new hose was installed correctly, with the proper O-ring, and it still leaks, you may have to replace the pump, as the fitting leak may be a problem of the pump fitting instead of the hose.
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On Sun, 2 Jan 2011 13:08:23 -0800, "Guv Bob"

today that the fluid was about the same level as last night. The other day is lost about 2 oz over niight.

You might have just purged the equivalent of 2 oz of air out of the system? Wash the pump/fitting area down with brake-cleen and then keep a sharp eye open for any sign of leakage.

connects to the PS pump. The metal tube was loose. I assumed that was the problem and had it replaced at the local mechanic. The new hose is also loose there at the fitting and he tells me that this hose is always loose at that connection there. The nut is tight, but the tube moves around. I've never heard of such a thing on a pressure line. Is he right?

trying one of the 'stop leak' fluids before spending the $XXX replacing pummp and/or rack & pinion?

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On Sat, 1 Jan 2011 21:06:10 -0800, "Guv Bob"

connects to the PS pump. The metal tube was loose. I assumed that was the problem and had it replaced at the local mechanic. The new hose is also loose there at the fitting and he tells me that this hose is always loose at that connection there. The nut is tight, but the tube moves around. I've never heard of such a thing on a pressure line. Is he right?

trying one of the 'stop leak' fluids before spending the $XXX replacing pummp and/or rack & pinion?

connection. First thing is check the "O" ring on the fitting, and the bore where the fitting goes in to be sure there is no roughness damaging the "O" ring.
Wash the area down with brake-kleen and see exactly where the oil is coming from. The "stop leak" fluids just rejuvinate (soften) rubber seals. If you have a seal leak it might be worth trying. If the leak is only at the pump, you don't need or want to replace the rack and pinion.
Now, from MY personal experience with my own 2 Aerostars, the major leak problems with the automatic transmission and the power steering are where the factory crimped rubber and steel lines join. Second most common problem is the cheap ( and I mean CHEAP, not inexpensive - never confuse the two!!!!) steel lines perforating from rust where they follow the frame across the front roughly below the radiator.
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Thanks, clare. Took your advice and saw that nothing is leaking from the pressure hose fitting. If I feel up under the reservoir, I can feel fluid leaking. Can't find any illustrations on line - is there a seal between the reservoir and pump that could be leaking?
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On Tue, 4 Jan 2011 00:16:11 -0800, "Guv Bob"

connects to the PS pump. The metal tube was loose. I assumed that was the problem and had it replaced at the local mechanic. The new hose is also loose there at the fitting and he tells me that this hose is always loose at that connection there. The nut is tight, but the tube moves around. I've never heard of such a thing on a pressure line. Is he right?

worth trying one of the 'stop leak' fluids before spending the $XXX replacing pummp and/or rack & pinion?

pressure hose fitting. If I feel up under the reservoir, I can feel fluid leaking. Can't find any illustrations on line - is there a seal between the reservoir and pump that could be leaking?

3 lter or 4 liter engine? Could very well have an "O" ring. (will for sure if it has a plasic reservoir)
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Yes, it's a plastic reservoir. I just wiped it clean, ran down the road and then let it sit and there's fluid under the reservoir and on the bottom of the pump. Pretty much tells the story I guess. Stupid question but can't find the answer -- how do you loosen the belt?
Here's a cell phone photo just for fun... https://www.yousendit.com/download/RlRvZHl0WkIrV3l4dnc9PQ
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Yes, it's a plastic reservoir. I just wiped it clean, ran down the road and then let it sit and there's fluid under the reservoir and on the bottom of the pump. Pretty much tells the story I guess. Stupid question but can't find the answer -- how do you loosen the belt?
Here's a cell phone photo just for fun... https://www.yousendit.com/download/RlRvZHl0WkIrV3l4dnc9PQ
And.... are there any brands of pump that don't whine? I heard that the whining is caused by a restriction on the inlet of the pump. Also heard that the best way to get all the air out of the system is to remove the dipstick and rig up a vacuum pump, and run the engine while the vacuum is pulling. Ever heard of that?
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Finding a rebuilt pump that doesn't whine is a crap shoot, but your best chance is to get a genuine Ford rebuild, even if it is rebuilt in Mexico. Yes, they are expensive, but Ford has printed several publications on why the cheapie rebuilds whine and theirs is quieter. If the Ford dealer no longer can get a genuine rebuild, get a Motorcraft from RockAuto. Their listing shows the same pump for a 3.0 or 4.0 liter. Rebuilt units that you get from your discount part stores WILL whine. One of the noisiest pump rebuilders on the market starts with the letter "C", despite their fantastic write-ups on their web page. Remember that if you want to tackle this yourself, you will need to get a puller to take off the pulley. Pay close attention and carefully inspect the special O-ring on the high pressure hose. Best fluid for this application is a name-brand synthetic Dexron with a small shot of Lube Guard Red additive. Or, if you've got lots of money, buy power steering fluid. Flush out the entire system before installing a new pump to remove all the old fluid. The vacuum system works okay. If you don't have this gizmo, fill the system with fluid and with the engine off and the front wheels off the ground, turn the steering wheel back and forth a few times to suck some of the new fluid into the system. The initial start up will have a noisy pump no matter what the brand you decide to buy. I used to have a co-worker who would initially run the pump (before installing the engine belt) with a variable speed sewing machine motor with a makeshift belt. This allowed him to refill the reservoir before it would suck air. I'm sure somebody will jump in here and tell me that this writeup is completely wrong, so as far as advice, you are getting what you paid for. My $.02. YMMV.
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wrote:

whining is caused by a restriction on the inlet of the pump.  Also heard that the best way to get all the air out of the system is to remove the dipstick and rig up a vacuum pump, and run the engine while the vacuum is pulling.  Ever heard of that?

BEST fluid is synthetic power steering fluid. One thing that often quiets them down is a bit of Ford Friction Modifier (made for ford LSD differentials) added to the oil - but whatever you do, don't waste your money on a Champion rebuild.

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On Tue, 4 Jan 2011 15:53:03 -0800, "Guv Bob"

hose connects to the PS pump. The metal tube was loose. I assumed that was the problem and had it replaced at the local mechanic. The new hose is also loose there at the fitting and he tells me that this hose is always loose at that connection there. The nut is tight, but the tube moves around. I've never heard of such a thing on a pressure line. Is he right?

worth trying one of the 'stop leak' fluids before spending the $XXX replacing pummp and/or rack & pinion?

pressure hose fitting. If I feel up under the reservoir, I can feel fluid leaking. Can't find any illustrations on line - is there a seal between the reservoir and pump that could be leaking?

then let it sit and there's fluid under the reservoir and on the bottom of the pump. Pretty much tells the story I guess. Stupid question but can't find the answer -- how do you loosen the belt?

whining is caused by a restriction on the inlet of the pump. Also heard that the best way to get all the air out of the system is to remove the dipstick and rig up a vacuum pump, and run the engine while the vacuum is pulling. Ever heard of that?

requires a half inch drive "breaker bar" to crank it back and take off the belt.
Second question - if it whines it';s either got air in it or it's bad (worn). Bleading it is very simple. Just tske the load off the wheels (jack it up) and crank it from left to right with the engine running and good fluid topping it up. I'd flush the whole thing before replacing the pump so you have only new clean fluid in the new pump.
Using a vacuum pump is like using an atom bomb to swat a fly.
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On Tue, 4 Jan 2011 15:53:03 -0800, "Guv Bob"

hose connects to the PS pump. The metal tube was loose. I assumed that was the problem and had it replaced at the local mechanic. The new hose is also loose there at the fitting and he tells me that this hose is always loose at that connection there. The nut is tight, but the tube moves around. I've never heard of such a thing on a pressure line. Is he right?

worth trying one of the 'stop leak' fluids before spending the $XXX replacing pummp and/or rack & pinion?

pressure hose fitting. If I feel up under the reservoir, I can feel fluid leaking. Can't find any illustrations on line - is there a seal between the reservoir and pump that could be leaking?

then let it sit and there's fluid under the reservoir and on the bottom of the pump. Pretty much tells the story I guess. Stupid question but can't find the answer -- how do you loosen the belt?

whining is caused by a restriction on the inlet of the pump. Also heard that the best way to get all the air out of the system is to remove the dipstick and rig up a vacuum pump, and run the engine while the vacuum is pulling. Ever heard of that?

I have found that adding 2 oz of Lubegard Red to the fluid is very effective at reducing or eliminating the Ford buzz from the steering. Some of their transmissions are just as bad. The Lubegard additive is also very effective on them. It is one of the damn few additives I have ever found that did something beneficial. Lubegard does not claim to be anything other than a modifier and booster of lubrication qualities. But, it does seem to be quite good at quieting PS systems on Fords.
BTW, Your local Ford dealer has a pump seal kit that includes the special teflon joint seals, and o'rings for the reservoir and cap. Most of the leaks around the joints and reservoir will greatly increase in cold weather for some reason.
Lugnut
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wrote:

My 89 ford power steering pump would buzz if it was filled to the top line, couple of ounces low and it was quiet.
--
They can have my command prompt when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.


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- Ah so! Thanks George and Lugnut.
I have been driving and checking the fluid each day now for 3-4 days. Adding the "fix anything" fluid each time. Level is now dropping only about 1/2-inch a day. It was 2 or more inches. No not that -- the level was 2 inches. Also not whining much. If that stops the leak in a few days, I'm home free. If not will swap pumps.
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- Ah so! Thanks George and Lugnut.

Leaking and whining getting worse and don't have time to fool with it right now. I don't mind spending a little extra for a pump that's not going to whine, so I'll get a Ford rebuilt unless it's a lot higher than Motorcraft.
I wonder if the Fords made in the last 5-10 years are still using the same design?
The ps pump design is real pr headache for Ford. In all the years they've used that particular pump, you'd think they would have redesigned it.
I'm still leaning toward Ford for my next car. For a 14 year old van, I can't complain about repairs. Still gets 20+ mpg on the highway and 14-17 around town.

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On Sat, 8 Jan 2011 11:32:45 -0800, "Guv Bob"
.

the "fix anything" fluid each time. Level is now dropping only about 1/2-inch a day. It was 2 or more inches. Also not whining much. If that stops the leak in a few days, I'm home free. If not will swap pumps.

now. I don't mind spending a little extra for a pump that's not going to whine, so I'll get a Ford rebuilt unless it's a lot higher than Motorcraft.

in 1997, then stopped making it (it was pretty darn good in 1990 already, except for some rust issues, and just got better. The 1999 and earlier were somewhat problematic
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QUOTE: "In all the years they've used that particular pump, you'd think they would have redesigned it." UNQUOTE
It's actually not a bad pump....when it's brand new.
There are too many rebuilders out there that sell a product on cost instead of the quality of the rebuild and sell a "rebuilt" pump that will fail within 25K miles because they didn't take the effort to rebuild it properly. Anybody who shops for replacement parts by getting the cheapest part is guilty of keeping these rebuilders in business.
I've got an Aerostar that hit 200K miles during the Christmas holiday with the factory original pump and it's as quiet as any pump out there.
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QUOTE: "In all the years they've used that particular pump, you'd think they would have redesigned it." UNQUOTE
It's actually not a bad pump....when it's brand new.
There are too many rebuilders out there that sell a product on cost instead of the quality of the rebuild and sell a "rebuilt" pump that will fail within 25K miles because they didn't take the effort to rebuild it properly. Anybody who shops for replacement parts by getting the cheapest part is guilty of keeping these rebuilders in business.
I've got an Aerostar that hit 200K miles during the Christmas holiday with the factory original pump and it's as quiet as any pump out there.
Thanks for that info, Kruse. This bad one is stock also. What could have caused it to go bad? I've always been careful about keeping the fluid level up. No other leaks that I can find in hoses or R&P other than the pump itself.
One mechanic told me that one cause could be a restriction in the return (low pressure) line, causing the pump to cavitate. Don't see that in this one though.
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