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Power Steering Problem


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i have a 91 ls 400, 95k, which is leaking power steering fluid. i already replaced the p/s pump last year. i was told now that i need to replace the rack and pinion unit? i've also noticed that in the last week or two, that when i start my car after its been idle, overnight or an hour or so, i see some white smoke come from exhaust. it does not smell like oil or anti-freeze. could this be the p/s fluid? i am also replacing the p/s fluid more frequently during this period.

Also, my A/C stopped working right after p/s pump was replaced. someone mentioned to me that the mechanic may have hit something while installing p/s pump. any ideas? i'm new to LA area and dealer here charges 100.00 just to look at A/C.

thanks in advance for any help


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I think you are doomed when it comes to the PS Fluid leak - the forum is full of these stories for all 90-94 LS's.

No fluid changes are ever recommended from lexus, so 10-14 years mean certain death for the system. Also, the system was changed in 95 and up which is much better and more reliable. Really, just a pitiful design on the earlier LS.

Your will most likely need the dealer service - then change that fluid every 30K!


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Here are the events the PO went thru with my Lexus.

Noisy p/s pump @ 68m fixed with pump and pulley $627, p/s line $326, labor $329.

Noisy, leaking p/s again @103m. Tried new valve as suggested above, $225 + $180 labor. Still noisy and leaking.

Noisy, leaking p/s @ 103m. New rack $1305 + $228 labor.

Here is a disclaimer at most internet sites concerning the p/s system:

Note: Remanufactured

Identical to Lexus/OES


Component failure in this power steering system is often due to hose and fluid deterioration which results in contamination of the entire system. It is strongly recommended that all components of the system (pump, hoses & steering rack) be replaced at the same time. Failure to do so may shorten the life of the new unit and the components not replaced. Warranty credit will not be allowed on components for this power steering application if upon inspection any contamination is found.

Try and find an indie to do the work. Dealer prices are way too high. I am in SoCal also and there are plenty of competitive shops to work on Japanese cars.


1990 LS400

1991 MBZ 300CE

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Regarding your AC, it sounds like they didn't connect all of the cables, but I might be wrong. if you're loosing PS fluid even after replacing the unit, it's possible the mechanic didn't connect it correctly.

My philosophy, if you can't depend on anyone else, do it yourself? did you ever buy one the Repair Manuals for the LS? That will show you step-by-step what to do. Try calling link to see if they have the books in stock. A lot of people have been buying them, and they're very rear now.

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thanks for all your help,

at my last service i was told about my P/S rack. It was beginning to show some seapage. when i called dealer to ask about smoking at start-up and losing fluid he said it sounded like problem was VSV switch or valve? quoted repair at 350.00.

havent taken it in yet. Does this sound right?

Also, if anyone in LA can recommend a mechanic i'd appreciate it a lot. havent been here too long, and have always gone to dealer.


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The 2 telephone book sized Lexus manuals are readily available on ebay. They are $120 if you are in a hurry. I waited for a used set for $85.

Your repairs are going the same route as on my car.

I've see rebuilt racks on ebay also.

I have used this Japanese indie since the mid 70's. After new car warranties were over, he serviced my 72 Mazda RX2, 83 Mazda 626, 83 Toyota Camry, and now my 93 Mercury Villager. He handles all Japanese cars and he can work on Mercedes because he owns two himself. Always been fair and competent for me.

Call Haines @ Haines Car Service, 626-300-9269, Alhambra, 2233 W. Valley, just east of Fremont. Tell him Glenmore Wong w/ red minivan and MBZ sent you.

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