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98 Toyota Sienna Power Steering Leak Cheap Fix Experience

4896 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  toyotaDIY
The car has about 145K miles on it and is expected to show problems. Here is one of them. First it produced a squeaking sound which I thought was from the AC belt. Tightening or loosing it a little bit did not fix the problem. Then one day, I lost power steering and then found the reservior was really low. Wife bought a bottle of "stop leak" power steering fluid (recommended by the parts store) and topped the reservior, which temporarily fixed the leaking problem. Took the car to the garage and the guy told her the power steering pump needed to be replaced. I was not fully convinced that was the problem and did not do anything.

We have been topping the fluid for a few months. Then the problem became severe. This time I really tried to figure out where the leak was because the leaking was quite bad now, losing about 1/4" of reservior fluid overnight.

Everything was oily to start with. The power steering was covered with oil. Cleaned the oil with brake cleaner. Checked the next morning. The pump body was clean! Therefore it was not the pump. Then found the value cover on top of the pump had some oil spots, indicating the value cover was leaking oil at one time in the past which made the pump oily. Then I found the steering tie rod end boot was dripping oil and both ends of the boot clamps were clean - GOT IT, it was the rack-and-pinion leaking!!

Checked the parts for a new rack-and-pinion, it costs $350 - $500. And the removal and installation of it is tough because you have to do it under the car.

Then I checked other people for experiences using "stop leak" oils.
Read the web and found the Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak worked well for a few people. Bought one from Pepboys for $10.95. First replaced all old power steearing fluid with new one.

The top line at reservoir is the return line. The bottom line is the feeding line to the pump. Detached the top line, plugged the reservior side, connected an empty bottle to the hose side.

Then started the car for a few seconds while turning the steering wheel to drain some fluid to the bottle. Emptied the dirty fluid from the bottle and refilled the reservoir.

Repeated the above procedure a few times until the bottle comes out with clean fluid. Left enough space in the reservior for the Lucas oil. Reconnected the hose to the reservior. Added half bottle of Lucas oil. Topped the reservior to the cold min mark with normal fluid. Ran the engine for a minute to let the Lucas oil mix in. Bleeded the power steering system by turning the wheel left and right a few full turns. Added a little bit more normal fluid. Drive a few miles. Then top to the max hot mark with normal fluid.

Unlike other stop leak oil, Lucas oil is very thick. For a few days now there has been no more leak. I think the problem is fixed for the moment. I will come back to tell you if this fix stays long. If it happens again, I will go through the pain to replace the rack-and-pinion assembly. :lol:
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