MVS Contributor coflynn writes up a fantastic How-To DIY on replacing the power steering lines on his 2002 S60 AWD. It’s a Class A writeup with photos, comments, lists of tools, detailed procedures and all the other things that make working on your car easier.
His lines are certainly more of an “edge case” condition because of his location — Halifax, Nova Scotia — which naturally is a salty environment. He chose to do the repair in-situ — meaning leaving the rack in rather than removing it.
I had a leak in my PS system. Originally I thought maybe it was seals & was going to dump some leak-stop in to see if it stopped. Luckily I decided to take a look anyway. The hard lines on my rack instead had corroded away. Leak-stop may have temporarily plugged the pinhole leak due to thicker fluid, but I’m almost positive that later I would have instead had a catastrophic failure instead. So better to check the issue!
The issue – the hard lines on your SMI power steering rack are leaking. Perhaps due to your salty environment, combined with your lack of using rust-proofing spray. Or you use rust-proofing and they didn’t reach the lines, since they are almost perfectly masked by the subframe. Now your lines look like this:
If you go anywhere they wanted to replace the rack, which the local aftermarket part was $900 for. I could get a better deal by mail-order but still had shipping to deal with (along with core return). I’d also just gotten an alignment & new inner tie rods so would have wasted that money too. I quickly tried getting a quote on replacing just the lines, but it was too risky for them to quote (what if the fittings broke off?). So instead was forced to mostly DIY.
However I was (almost) able to do this without removing the rack, and it is possible. This saves you a bit of hassle I think, but it’s still a very time-consuming job. If I was doing it again I would have tried harder to convince a mechanic to do the work instead. Overall I suspect it would have been as fast to remove the rack & replace the lines with the rack off the car.
Doing this you’ll need a few tools:
- Engine Support Bar
- Ratcheting Socket
- Metric Thread Restorer (if re-using fittings), or M12 x 1.00 die
- M12 x 1.00 bolt or tap for cleaning thread in PS rack
- Angle Grinder + Spare 12mm socket (not 100% needed but useful for making special socket to get flare nut started)
The metric thread restorer, which I bought at princess auto, looks like this: