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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday, my 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan sprouted a power steering fluid leak. It appears to be coming from above the rack. The metal lines are badly corroded. If these lines are bad, how difficult of a job will it be to replace them? Can it be done without removing the rack itself?

Any input would be appreciated. I'll either be taking it to the shop tomorrow or attempting this job in my driveway.

I really like this van. Aside from rust issues, its been a great vehicle with the 3.8L engine. We're rounding out 150K miles.

I just stumbled into this forum and love it! Thanks!

David Stickney
 

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it is a bit tight, on one ov my posts I got a pic of the engine out PS still on you can see what you are looking at, I'll take a few pics for you over the weekend.
 

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Well It didn't sound like a picture will answer your question. I would think a fellow with a flaring tool set could buy some of the same size lines and make his own. I am thinking stainless steel lines, no more rust. Just dont know about the lines turning into a high pressure rubber line half way up. I used to get an outfit to make mine for power steering pumps that held up really good at an affordable price. Maybe you could find some company to make you a set if that's the case, and then just change them out. Its easy when you have the proper tools like line wrenches that will not round the corners on the fittings and crow foot wrenches for the tight spots.
 

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. there are 4 lines that could be failed. Pressure supply, return and the lines from the pinion valve to the piston. it is common for the piston supply lines to rust and fail. I've replaced a lot of them. These lines don't use a standard flare end. I have not been able to find a source for just these lines so I usually replace the rack. Depending on the customer I'll install a reman or a used rack or I'll just take lines off a used rack and put them on the exsisting rack. as for doing this yourself... well it's not for the inexperienced. It is very tight to get at the fittings. laying on your back is no fun when you open the lines and get soaked in PS fluid. Then there's always the safety aspect of laying under a car (even when properly supported) where it could fall on you. Pushing/pulling yanking on the lines to get free, trying to get a good position to get at the fittings is a bear to say the least. If you don't have a hoist, I'd really recommend taking it in for service.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm leaning toward heading to the shop for this job. I just hope that their first reaction is to replace the rack. In my (novice) opinion, it looks to be in pretty good shape aside from the corroded lines.

I have no lift. I'd be working under a set of ramps and it does not look like much fun. I really appreciate the input. I wish I had found you guys a few years ago. Some of the feedback offered here I figured out through the school of hard knocks...

I'll let you know how it goes from here...

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #6
As I suspected, the shop (that I trust) feels that that rack should be replaced as these lines are part of the rack. It's underway with an $800 estimate. $370 part + alignment + labor. My van is making me broke lately...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update: The return lines broke while trying to dismantle the old rack. Add another $200 for parts and labor. Oh my...
 

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that should have been included into the bill. I figure I'm going to replace everything when I quote a job and if I don't have to replace a part, the bill is cheaper. I find it's better to start high and have the final bill come under quote. customers sure seem to appreciate that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the input on this thread folks! When I got it home, I put the van on ramps to admire my new $1000 PS rack. It is lovely.

el conquistador, I'll have to look you up when I run into a problem with leaky lines on a PS rack. I like your deal much better!

Off to deal with my water pump replacement on my 2006 Grand Caravan.

It'll be pasta for awhile...

David
 
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