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Old 11-18-2014, 02:13 PM   #1
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2001 SL2
Default Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

My power steering pump on my '01 SL2 has developed a small leak as evidenced by the spray pattern on the hood and back of the valve cover. I've been changing the fluid over the last couple of weeks using the turkey baster method, and haven't seen much, if any, of a level change.

Do I need to get a power steering pump now, or is this likely to be a slow leak that I can keep an eye on? Other than the sprayed fluid, there's no other indication anything's wrong - it drives fine and isn't making any noise.

...
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2001 SL2 manual - original owner - remanufactured engine at 228k miles, December 2015
1992 SL1 - bought used in '93, totaled in '00 at 170k miles, drove it cross-country a lot!
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:41 PM   #2
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

It also sprays on the alternator which does not like to be oiled. The prudent thing to do is go to the pick and pull and extract a non leaking pump, real soon.

You have a 3 threaded hole pump. There is another recent thread that covers pump replacement in detail but the Cliff Notes is that the rebuilt draws a 29" vacuum on an onion sack.

Read this.... http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=204499

Last edited by OldNuc; 11-18-2014 at 02:47 PM..

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Old 11-18-2014, 02:41 PM   #3
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

You have a leak at the shaft seal. Sure you can keep adding fluid as long as you like. The only negative is that the alternator (sitting right below it) is not a fan of contaminates.

Easiest option for replacement is getting one off a shelf at a junkyard. I went to car-part.com and found one for $15 w/ 29k miles on it all ready pulled for me. This was after I bought a bad re-manufactured part made by A-1 Cardone and swapped my reservoir and EVO solenoid to it. The JY part will save you the extra labor and will last if you find a low mile part.

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Old 11-18-2014, 05:41 PM   #4
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2001 SL2
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

Thanks for the info, I didn't realize the alternator would be unhappy with the situation. For anyone following along, here's Richpin's video where he makes it look easy, as usual, but I have learned to listen closely and judge the difficulty by the volume of his grunts!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOz4M...ature=youtu.be



In post 5 of this thread, there are directions for just replacing the shaft seal. But since you have to undo everything except the hoses to replace the seal, I would think you might as well go ahead and replace the pump at that point:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=143472



As opposed to Richpin, this person had a hell of a time and ended up taking out the driver's side tie rods and the steering gear (!!!) to get to the other end of the hoses. Presumably he replaced the hoses for good measure, or had a bad one:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...light=steering


Is it really necessary to replace the hoses if they're not obviously damaged?

...
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1992 SL1 - bought used in '93, totaled in '00 at 170k miles, drove it cross-country a lot!
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

I can't remember the year range, but Saturn released a TSB about the shaft itself being out of tolerance on the pump (I read it somewhere on here). So for the years it covers (I know it covered 1998) it is not recommended to replace the seal. It is my guess that the reman pump I put in had a OEM shaft that was no good.

Just swap out the o-ring on the HP hose. I had new o-rings with my reman, but others will comment on the correct one to get. I know OldNuc has this info. I've seen it on here as well.

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Old 11-18-2014, 06:16 PM   #6
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

Do not change the hoses. Why invite a disaster.

MODELS AFFECTED:
1991-1999 Saturn vehicles

Get a pump off of a gen-3. There are bolts and brackets on the back and only 3 bolts on the front and it is real easy to remove a man bracket bolt by mistake.

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Old 11-18-2014, 06:25 PM   #7
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2001 SL2
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

Here is the seal info from OldNuc in a different thread:

Quote:
Go to RockAuto and get a seal kit, EDELMANN Part # 8793 or GATES Part # 348371 Or just sent Autozone back their snafu and order the correct one from RockAuto. Use this discount code for the 5%. 264546508928692

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...ighlight=seals

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1992 SL1 - bought used in '93, totaled in '00 at 170k miles, drove it cross-country a lot!
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:49 PM   #8
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

I think that has all of them as well. On the DOHC You will probably need to pull the engine forward to get the pump out. Tubing wrenches and a hammer to shock the HP hose nut as it will be stuck. That means the top motor mount comes off and you need a ratchet strap and jack.

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Old 11-18-2014, 08:20 PM   #9
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2001 SL2
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

I assume if I can't find a JY pump with a pulley, that I could re-use my existing pulley, correct? Some are listed with pulleys and some don't have them.

...
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1992 SL1 - bought used in '93, totaled in '00 at 170k miles, drove it cross-country a lot!
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:33 PM   #10
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

Go to a pick and pull and take a good one off. Usually the engine is the first to go and the pump is right out there to pluck.

If it is on the shelf then get it with pulley and save the hassle of getting a puller-pusher.

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Old 11-19-2014, 12:47 AM   #11
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1995 SL1
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamping.ap View Post
I can't remember the year range, but Saturn released a TSB about the shaft itself being out of tolerance on the pump (I read it somewhere on here). So for the years it covers (I know it covered 1998) it is not recommended to replace the seal. It is my guess that the reman pump I put in had a OEM shaft that was no good.
I saw that TSB here on Saturnfans after I did the seal only.

At least doing the pump the second time was fairly painless.

I picked up a cheapy, and it's been working fine. I'd do JY when the cars are fairly new, but when the newest model is 12+ years old, personally I think that's a crap shoot I'd rather avoid.

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Old 11-19-2014, 02:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

At the risk of being pilloried , I have successfully added power steering fluid with stop leak additive to two of them so far. Cannot say how long it might last, but I have approx 15K on one, and 20K on the other. At least it should buy you some time.

...
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:33 AM   #13
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Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by el diablo viejo View Post
At the risk of being pilloried , I have successfully added power steering fluid with stop leak additive to two of them so far. Cannot say how long it might last, but I have approx 15K on one, and 20K on the other. At least it should buy you some time.
That's about as low cost and easy as it can get. Even if it only buys a certain amount of time, unless the fluid with additive is expensive as crap you should be still coming out way ahead of the game.

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Old 11-19-2014, 08:15 AM   #14
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Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

If the leak is due to the undersize shaft and not a worn out and/or dried out seal then stop leak will probably work. That is really what stop leak is for.

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Old 11-19-2014, 12:25 PM   #15
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2001 SL2
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

It must be a common problem because when I was recently buying PS fluid, there were lots that included stop leak. I will get some Lucas with the stop leak, unless you think there's a better one.

I have been slowly changing the fluid using my turkey baster, but I'd like to fix this leak sooner rather than later. Is there a way to drain the fluid without removing the pump? Or maybe I should just speed up the baster schedule, since I need it back in the kitchen by next week, anyway. I have been using it about twice a week. Would it work to do it in the driveway by turning the wheel repeatedly with the motor running for a short time, and shutting it down to suction the fluid, then rinse and repeat?


Quote:
Originally Posted by el diablo viejo View Post
At the risk of being pilloried , I have successfully added power steering fluid with stop leak additive to two of them so far. Cannot say how long it might last, but I have approx 15K on one, and 20K on the other. At least it should buy you some time.

El diablo Viejo, it seems as if you have received the same pillory treatment as Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe, among other things), who, as legend has it, was pelted with flowers by the crowd that disagreed with his sentence:

"However, when Daniel Defoe was sentenced to the pillory in 1703 for Seditious libel, he was regarded as a hero by the crowd and was pelted with flowers."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillory

...
.

2001 SL2 manual - original owner - remanufactured engine at 228k miles, December 2015
1992 SL1 - bought used in '93, totaled in '00 at 170k miles, drove it cross-country a lot!
.

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Old 11-19-2014, 12:36 PM   #16
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

As you have a Gen-3 car that does not have the undersized shaft and you have a leak I would suspect a seal failure. Stop leak is not going to fix it long term and any stop leak I have ever used ends up making the ultimately required repair/replace task a mess.

Stop leak is the commercial equivalent of sawdust or hamburger in a noisy differential, or fine ground black pepper in a leaking radiator.

The PS pump is a ~3500psi hydraulic pump and if the mechanical relief fails it will leak profusely.

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Old 11-19-2014, 02:00 PM   #17
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Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Upstate Saturn View Post
El diablo Viejo, it seems as if you have received the same pillory treatment as Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe, among other things), who, as legend has it, was pelted with flowers by the crowd that disagreed with his sentence:

"However, when Daniel Defoe was sentenced to the pillory in 1703 for Seditious libel, he was regarded as a hero by the crowd and was pelted with flowers."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillory
Ahhh, yes, pelt me with flowers....... and then have the maidens deflower me

...
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1989 GMC 3500 454 129 K, 1969 442 455 rat rod

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Old 11-19-2014, 03:43 PM   #18
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Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

Just a quick observation. since the OP mentioned doing fluid changes when the leak started.

From my experience the Saturn PS pump is very sensitive to overfilling. Find and park on a nice level spot, and carefully check how much fluid you've been adding and reference the fill line on the translucent white plastic reservoir. I check my level when everything is cold. (A bright LED flashlight might help see the level in the reservoir; I find the stick level on the lid to be less accurate.) I've found a little bit overfilling results in weeping out the shaft seal and then a sling line on the hood liner.

Also, my fluid was black-ish vs. red before I did 5 cycles of purging of the ATF fluid. In my case, I went with some leftover Transynd synthetic Dexron 3 ATF.

Results have been good in the past 50K miles. No more spray/leaking/seeping, the pump seems to run quieter, and the color has remained bright red.

Just a thought that might be worth a try.

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Old 11-19-2014, 04:50 PM   #19
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Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hholbein View Post
Just a quick observation. since the OP mentioned doing fluid changes when the leak started.

From my experience the Saturn PS pump is very sensitive to overfilling. Find and park on a nice level spot, and carefully check how much fluid you've been adding and reference the fill line on the translucent white plastic reservoir. I check my level when everything is cold. (A bright LED flashlight might help see the level in the reservoir; I find the stick level on the lid to be less accurate.) I've found a little bit overfilling results in weeping out the shaft seal and then a sling line on the hood liner.

Also, my fluid was black-ish vs. red before I did 5 cycles of purging of the ATF fluid. In my case, I went with some leftover Transynd synthetic Dexron 3 ATF.

Results have been good in the past 50K miles. No more spray/leaking/seeping, the pump seems to run quieter, and the color has remained bright red.

Just a thought that might be worth a try.

Good suggestion, I think I will try this first. You can *barely* see the fluid level against the reservoir marks in the afternoon sunlight, and I don't think I've overfilled, but it's certainly possible. The dipstick didn't seem helpful at all.

I am on fill number two or three (about 1/3 of a liter water bottle), and the fluid is starting to be a little bit brown, instead of completely black like squid ink, as it was when I started. I will fill to halfway between the low and high marks and see if that slows things down any, and I may stick a piece of foil to the hood liner to see if the spray is reduced.

...
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Old 11-20-2014, 04:08 PM   #20
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Default Re: Power steering pump small leak - slow death, or change pump now?

I think it took me until the 4th fill to really get the color into the red color zone and the 5th got rid of the off-notes from the old fluid. (Weird when you start comparing ATF to fine wine!). The Transynd is great stuff for this, although I'm sure any good synthetic ATF that Dexron 3-compatible will work wonders.

Shining a bright light into the reservoir from above tends to reveal the fill level best, from my experience.

Let us know how you get on. Hopefully, checking the fill will prevent a trip to the JY.

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