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CUMan

Power Steering - Yet Again

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I am a long-time follower of this forum; however, this is the first time I have entered anything on it.

I have a 1993 LS 400 with a bit over 123,000 miles. I am the second owner, having purchased the car in 1998.

The car has had the usual LS 400 problems. (1) wiring harness problems in the trunk hinge - repaired first by the Lexus dealer and then by me when his work didn't hold up; (2) transmission shutter on downshift at low speeds - solved by a transmission fluid change; and (3) flickering indicator needles and non-illumination of dash display - solved by shipment of the dash unit to Jim Walker.

Now I am having the power steering problems.

About a month ago, I noted that the steering wheel seemed harder to turn. I checked the fluid, noted it was low, and added Dexron fluid. This solved the hard steering; however, the power steering pump started whining each morning when I started the car. A few turns of the wheel back and forth, and the whining always stops. Then I noticed that the car was showing bluish-white smoke on startup. I checked the fluid again, and it was low. I pulled the two air hoses connecting the power steering to the air intake and the engine, and both had fluid in them. I ordered the air control valve from a Toyota dealership on the internet, installed it, and replaced the two air hoses.

The power steering does not appear to be losing fluid now; however, the whining noise continues.

My question is this: should I have the power steering pump resealed (this was done under warranty by the Lexus dealer in November, 2000)? They will do this for about $260.00. Or should I have a new power steering pump installed? The Lexus dealer wants about $800.00 to do this job; however, the pump is available at Iron Toad for $494.00. I think I can install it myself.

My concern about the reseal job is this: the power steering pump has a bearing which now has 123,000 miles and 11 years on it. Would it not be a better use of my money to go ahead and replaced the pump?

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yeah u def should get a new pump, you just dont have to waste so much money on new pump, get a reman pump from autozone for 100$. couple of people from the forum did that and they are happy with the pump so far.

the thing is that sometimes simple pump change might not help becuase pps system is contaminated with particles from the pump seals and it might take more then the pump to bring your sterring back to normal

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One other thought. You need to consider that the power steering pump is only one component of the system. The steering rack also has the same fluid circulating. The racks are prone to problems as well as the pumps, but perhaps not on the same level. I think it would be a good idea to carefully inspect the rack for leaks. If it looks fine then you should be fine if you have the complete system flushed. Otherwise, all of the dirty fluid in your rack will circulate through your new $500 pump.

Good luck with the project, you certainly sound competent to handle the job.

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Agree strongly with Denny & VMF!

I also feel you are at a crossroads. The fluid really should be flushed from the system - and now may be a good time since the PS is on the "bubble". You could "draw out" ps fluid with a turkey baster and refill with new fluid about 5-10 time over the next few weeks. This will help condition the seals with some new fluid if they are not already beyond repair. Use a synthetic ATF (Dex III) fluid.

See if any more leaks develop along the hose connections & rack- because if they do, you won't be out the $ for the PS pump and you can re-evaluate; I believe these leaks could happen if you changed the pump in the first place (because you'll have to add new fluid then!).

If all is well in a month, go for the PS pump from Autozone. That is if you can wait a month?.........

99

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I have had similar problems with my 92 with 101,000. About three years ago I rebuilt or should say installed a new seal kit in the power steering pump and all was well until I couldn’t keep the pump quite and finally decided to find out where the fluid was going. I just assumed that it was the pump again but after investigating closely, found the power gear assembly on the rack to be leaking badly.

Anyway, I decided to go with a new pump, new high-pressure line and new rack. Clean out the low-pressure line and the whole system is new. I’ll have the car another 3 years and may give it to my daughter so, the car could be in the family for quite a while. I may have damaged the pump as it ran noisy on my wife quite a few times. Like the guys are saying, the contamination of the fluid is a real concern when only replacing one component. I’m spending about $650 on parts.

For me, it was a question of how long I’m going to have the car and how many times do I want to mess with the power steering system. I enjoy working on this car, but hate doing something more than once.

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CUMan-- I just joined the forum yesterday because I am having p/s problems

myself. If you prefer to get a new oem pump you may want to try Spartan Motor

Mall out of Lansing Mich. They are considerably less than any other vendors

especially the dealers. Ask for Gary if you want to get a quote.

Re using remanufactured parts, I guess it is a toss of the coin. My friend had his

p/s pump replaced, exact same car as yours- 93 LS400 with abt same miles, and

he used a remanf and it just did not work. So he had to replace with oem new

and it worked fine but of course he was out double on labor charge.

About six months before my system developed the current leak I had whinning

problems about a year ago and did the draw out- refill of the resevoir as mentioned by 99|sguy 15 times and the noise stopped completely and the fluid was crystal clear whereas before it contained lots of debris.

I am still in the process of determining if it is my pump or the hi press hose that is leaking.

Good luck

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The power steering does not appear to be losing fluid now; however, the whining noise continues.

My question is this: should I have the power steering pump resealed (this was done under warranty by the Lexus dealer in November, 2000)? They will do this for about $260.00. Or should I have a new power steering pump installed? The Lexus dealer wants about $800.00 to do this job; however, the pump is available at Iron Toad for $494.00. I think I can install it myself.

My concern about the reseal job is this: the power steering pump has a bearing which now has 123,000 miles and 11 years on it. Would it not be a better use of my money to go ahead and replaced the pump?

Replacing the PS pump should be your last resort.

Since you mentioned the pump wasn't loosing any fluid, remove the air pockets that may be still in the system.

Start the car, remove the PS Pump cap, and turn the steering wheel to all the way. Keep on doing it until it stops whinning. If it does, you don't have to replace the pump, yet. I would definitely keep an eye on the fluid level though.

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About six months before my system developed the current leak I had whinning

problems about a year ago and did the draw out- refill of the resevoir as mentioned by 99|sguy 15 times and the noise stopped completely and the fluid was crystal clear whereas before it contained lots of debris.

I am still in the process of determining if it is my pump or the hi press hose that is leaking.

Good luck

Lexie, UCF3, (and others),

Just curious, do you feel like the "fresh fluid" attributed to the leak at all??

I was planning to dissconnect the return hose from the reservoir and do a complete "flush" with Mobil Syn ATF. (K9CREW has post on this and did a great job...). But, my silly theory is: it might be better to SLOWLY add fresh fluid for a few weeks to get the seals conditioned a little slower - and thus prevent any leaks from forming....

Or is all this nonsense and just do the full Flush???

99

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99--

You have a very valid point about the new fluid causing the p/s leak. I had wondered about that myself because I had inspected the whole area for a sign

of a leak when the whinning first started and there wasn't a drop of fluid to be seen. Only shortly after the changeout did it show up. I used a water clear

product made by Havoline which may have been a mistake but it was supposed to have great lube properties for reducing noise level which was my concern at the time. But, it also stated not to be used on Honda products which may well have applied to Lexus also since most Japaneese parts seem similar in nature.

It definitely is not nonesense in my opinion.

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