Problem - Power steering hose or Oil pan Leak?!?

Hi! I want to first thanks for the previous help! This again is in regards to the 2000 Taurus "What's up with this car? - June 7th" which blows smoke from
under the hood (only on passenger side) when making a hard left. It was assumed to be a leaky power steering hose. I have not yet found the leak but there is residue on one of the hoses and quite a bit of oil spray around the power steering unit. One of the belts is now sqeaking as well. The power steering fluid is down somewhat (a fair bit, but not significantly) but again the oil level is fine. So it sounds quite possible that this is where the problem originates - unfortunately my mechanical skills are somewhat limited and the weather is not co-operating :( Now the downside - my husband brought it for an oil change that night at one of those discount shops attached to a department store (I don't trust this one) in the hopes they would catch the problem - Nope. Undeterred he brought it to the dealer who diagnosed it as a neoprene half-moon seal on the oil pan which is out of place. I'm not quite convinced & and wondering if it indeed was the seal a) Why aren't we losing oil? b) Why wasn't it noticed when the oil change was done and c) Could this have happened during the oil change? I would really like to know if it is oil leaking from the oil pan, is it possible for it to be blown upward and forward onto the engine, oil pump, power steering unit, etc????? The only time it will drip (and it does a bit now) and smoke is when we make the hard left. Does anyone know if this makes any sense or should I still be focusing on the power steering? I know it's only an educated guess, but it would be such a great help!!!! Thanks for your help and time!!!!!!!!!!!
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Only of the hardest thing to find in a congested space is a high pressure pinhole leak... think about it; The fluid is 'atomized' and dispersed immediately AND just a little causes a lot of smoke and wet.
Thus you're on the right track.
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Backyard Mechanic wrote:

Don't rule out an oil pan leak. 3.0L Tauri are known for the front of the oil pan gasket pushing out of place(the half-moon piece that you mentioned). That would be why it only seems to leak on left turns. It would leak almost directly onto the front exhaust pipe and the crankshaft pulley will sling it all over the front of the motor.
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Tom Adkins wrote:

Sure enough the gasket has pushed out from the oil pan - it's quite visible and leaking like mad now. Never heard of this one before - I'm really quite curious as to why this happens, but I'm sure it's an enigma as with most car- related problems. We tried to fix it, but surprise - two of the bolts are directly underneath a cross beam, so the engine will have to be lifted. What a bloody pain - I guess we will have to enlist some outside help. I just hope that once this is done it'll be the end of all this nonsense!!! Thanks to all for the help, it's much appreciated!!!
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Twyster via CarKB.com wrote:

I believe the silicone compound of the old gasket was too soft so it would tend to "squirt" out after a bit of oil seeped into the sealing area, just my opinion. I recall a statement from Ford saying it was from slightly overfilling the oil and thus keeping too much oil in that area too often. Don't try to reposition the old gasket, it will squirt back out in short order. The pan is easy to R&R if you feel you can lower the exhaust pipe yourself. That's the hardest part. The engine doesn't need to be lifted.
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Twyster via CarKB.com wrote:

my taurus almost fooled me once into changing the oil pan gasket. It turned out that the oil sender on top of the motor was leaking and runing down the back and dripping on the floor. needless to say what a releif. the sender on mine (don't know if yours is the same) is on the rear of the motor (drivers side) on top and very hard to see. Also, if you suspect a ps leak have someone crank the wheel way over with some pressure on it and watch fo a leak at the hoses. I've seen high pressure lines leak like crazy when under pressure (wheels cranked over) and not even drip when going straight.
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ShoeSalesman wrote:

The pan leak I was referring to is a very obvious "spitting out" of the silicone gasket at the front of the engine. Yep, That oil sender can be a real fooler. It often appears to be a rear oil pan or rear main seal leak.
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Tom Adkins wrote:

no kidding, the pan would have been bad enough (having to lay on the garage floor), but the rear main----ouch... I'm glad I took the time to diagnose it correctly thats for sure! :) IIRC it took a finger to find the sender leaking, thats how hard it is to see.
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ShoeSalesman wrote:

Yea. And rear main seal leaks are common too. Removing that pan is a major expense. I think the lady should hold out for a difinitive diagnosis before doing anything.
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Twyster via CarKB.com wrote:

Drive the car around in counterclockwise circles in a parking lot for about 10 minutes (hard left turns). Bring a used pizza box and place it under the engine/power steering pump/hoses after you have finished driving in circles. Wait a half hour or so and look for fluid drops on the pizza box using a flashlight if necessary. Don't move the box until you've made a mental note of the area in the engine compartment directly above the fluid drops. Maybe you'll get lucky and actually see a drop forming on a hose or something. When you get back home drive up some ramps and see if you can follow the fluid back to the source.
Just a suggestion... seems like the places you've been are just guessing.
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hehe... I wonder if I could stay in my own seat for 10 mins of that.. sounds like a good way to get real dizzy;)
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True story: I bent the front end of an old Dodge in a snowstorm, hit a curb real hard. I put the spare on and the driver's side front wheel was on such an angle if I let go of the wheel all it did was left turns. So we all piled in and did donuts in a parking lot somewhere for about an hour...
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Aaaahhh yes, misspent youth. I once spent 20 minutes doing right hand circles sprawled across the front clip of a late 80's Buick LeSabre with the hood up. The engine made clanking noises only on right hand turns. Any guess what the problem was? " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " "" Broken Bendix spring! It would slide into the flywheel on right hand turns. It wouldn't do it consistently.
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wrote:

You have a tiny pinhole rusted through one of the metal portions of the power steering line. The spray will be so fine you can ALMOST see it. By adding a bit of flourescing die to the fluid reservoir and using a black lite you will see the spray. Helps to wash it down well first so all you see is the new oil.
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