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Old 03-03-2006, 11:13 PM   #1
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Steering Gear Leaking/Failing?

I fear I may be chasing one of those, fix one thing, break three more goose chases.

As you may know, I recently replaced my power steering pump (side of the road, messy, etc. see Water Pumps, Hydroboosts and Automobiles). Got the rig home and parked it for a while. About three weeks ago I noticed some fluid in my parking spot under the Steering Gear. Looking at it it's wet. There do not seem to be any leaks in the high pressure feed hose or fittings. It almost looks like it's leaking from the top (where the steering wheel shaft connects). I fired up the engine and had my friend turn the wheel from lock to lock, no sprays, drips etc. Test drive confirmed everything was working.

It really didn't think too much about it as it was more of a weeping than a leak...until today.

I started up the 345 for its weekly winter drive today and headed out. When I was pulling out of the parking lot (left turn) I got a pulsating sensation on the steering wheel. I run a short 1 mile loop every Friday which includes both left and right hard turns. Despite the pulsating, everything seemed OK until the first hard left turn. Coasting/braking into the turn (engine at idle) I basically had no power steering. Plenty of power braking but I needed to increase the engine RPM to get the PS working again.

Brought her back to the parking lot and tried some low speed lock to lock turns and again, left turns were a problem at engine idle (< 800 RPM)

Since I had good braking the entire time and I know I have a leak somewhere on the steering gear I figure it’s the hose, the fittings or the gear. Perhaps I introduced some contamination (particles, incompatible fluid) or the gear is giving it up.

Maybe the introduction of all brand new fluid at presumably higher pressures from the new PS pump has "blown a seal".

A replacement gear is about $160. Not a biggie, but they also carry rebuild kits, seals, etc. It appears to be one of the more “rebuild-able” components on the motor home.

Has anyone had this happen before? Any things to look for, is there a way to tell for sure what is wrong - or at least determine repair/replace.

As always - thanks!
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Old 03-04-2006, 06:59 AM   #2
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Steven, I had to replace the high presure hoses on my old P30 but never had a problem with the box. Got my hoses from www.millsupply.com cheap.
Have you considered all the other components of the steering equation? Needing a bit more boost may signal a problem outside of the box itself. Perhaps time for a look at the complete front end just in case.... reminds me of the weekend I spent under my highway tractor years ago. Replacing the air chamber distribution system only to find out the S-cams needed to be lubed.
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Old 03-04-2006, 10:43 AM   #3
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Did you check the oil in your pump for correct level before you drove it, Sounds like you have a air lock in your steering gear sector. when you instaled new pump did you run the steering with return line off to push air out of the steering sector if not try that. You can also just replace the seal for the steering input shaft. if you replace the gear inside steering sector I would bring it in to be done, those need to be in time and if you have never done one the odds of you doing it right the first time are slim.
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Old 03-04-2006, 12:04 PM   #4
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Steve,
I had my steering gear replaced at Henderson Line-up in Grants Pass Or. They are the same company that designs and sells the SuperSteer bell cranks for the P30.

http://www.hendersonslineup.com/p1products.htm

They told me that they have had lots of problems with rebuilt steering gear so now only use new gears. I don't think the steering gears are a product they make so I don't think they are just trying to sell their own stuff.

They are very helpful, you could give them a call, or if there is a specific question you would like answered, I could ask them.

I have no relationship/interest in these guys except a customer who feels they really know what they are doing.
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Old 03-04-2006, 04:16 PM   #5
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davidH - thanks for the checklist. I'll get in there and see what the deal is. Air in the lines makes sense to me.

Guy - thanks for the info and the source.
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Old 03-18-2006, 10:11 PM   #6
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The leak and issue seem to have left as mysteriously as they appeared. I've been driving it around the parking lot in big figure eights (I must look like I'm drunk) and it's gone. So is the leak.
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Old 03-19-2006, 05:23 AM   #7
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The erratic behavior may have been air in the lines. But the leak may have been residual from a spill while filling.
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