Monday, April 8, 2013

3.1 L GM How to Replace Power Steering Return Hose

  The metal portion of this line had worn through in a spot where it rubbed against the oil pan. The difficulty of this job is mostly in installing the new assembly as it is very difficult to get the twisting tubing routed correctly. I completed the job on a 2001 Buick Century.

1) Drive the vehicle up on ramps. A fair part of this job will be done from under the vehicle.
2) Usually the first step would be to drain the power steering fluid, but the leak took care of that. Put a catch pan under the area where more fluid might drip from the return assembly as it is disconnected.
3) At the pump, the return line is composed of an almost circular section of rubber hose held on by a factory-type spring hose clamp. Don’t make the mistake I made and disconnect here. Disconnect the line further down, where the lower rubber hose section meets the metal tubing coming down from the pump. Take off the factory spring clamp. I always replace those with screw-type hose clamps.
4) Follow the twisty, snaky assembly back to the other end at the steering gear. The tubing is bolted to the gear with a flare nut. The tubing on mine was seized to the nut. I cut the line with a hack saw right near the nut and used a socket and ratchet to remove. If you can, use a flare nut wrench.
5) Loosen several tubing clamps holding the metal line to the cross member. Remove old return assembly.
It wore through at the bend by my index finger

1) It is a frustrating, try and try again, type procedure to get this assembly back in place. From under the vehicle push the upper section up toward the pump. Now take care to route the steel line toward the steering gear. There are multiple obstacles in the way. 
2) Once in place, bolt the metal line into the steering gear with a flare nut wrench.
3) Clamp the rubber tubing end of the new assembly onto the piece of straight line coming down from the pump. Again, I like the screw type clamps.
4) Clamp the line back onto the cross member.     
5) Fill with fresh fluid.  
6) Bleed the system by turning the wheels left and right several times with the cap off the reservoir. Make sure the reservoir doesn’t run low. Road test.


About the "Original Mechanic" 


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Thanks for the couple of tips on this... Have my 2005 Century up on ramps as I type, found the leak last night. Tube has a pin hole in just about the same spot as yours!

  3. The part you're holding has the 1 rubber hose end. There is a part that connects to that which also connects to the pump itself. Can't find this part. Can you help? Part name? Part number? Anything helps.

  4. The trick to putting the return line and high pressure lines back into the steering rack (threaded ends) is that they MUST be installed from the passengers side wheel area. If you look into the vehicle undercarriage (from the right wheel at the tie rod boot area) you can visually see the power steering line connections. There is the a tie rod boot at the passenger,s side wheel area and you have to guide the return line to the right of the tie rod boot (into the rack connections) and the high pressure line is guided to the left of the tie rod boot (into the rack connections). Then connecting them to the power steering rack is the fun part.

  5. One way to screw the threaded ends of the "high pressure line" and the "return line" to the power steering rack is to put on a cotton glove (dollar store) and manually screw the threaded ends into their fittings. After you get the return line (upper rack connection) screwed in by hand (from the bottom of the engine) then you can secure the connection (from the top of the engine) with an 18mm wrench. The high pressure line is the same process and needs to be connected after the return line is connected because of its position. A good practice is to always screw a threaded connection in by hand first because of the possibility of cross threading and ruining the connection.

  6. Curious as to why you didn't just replace the lower tube? Would have made the job alot easier. My 90 Beretta is leaking in the same spot yours did. Looks like 2 bolts to remove the bracket and then 2 hose clamps and then it's off.

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  11. Im ttying this today. Ill let ya know if it works

  12. Hi- trying this. Boy is it difficult to get the low pressure line in there. Any more detailed tips?

    The end is taped, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to buy and reinstall the oring due to all the punishment.


  13. My hose is different it has a longer piece that goes on the end but seems no one makes this now?

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