Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose
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Cadillac SRX First Generation Forum - 2004 - 2009 Discussion, Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose in Cadillac SRX Forums; My 2005 V6 SRX w/ 118k mi recently developed a power steering fluid leak. Driveability was unchanged, but required topping ...
  1. #1
    jcobz28 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    My 2005 V6 SRX w/ 118k mi recently developed a power steering fluid leak. Driveability was unchanged, but required topping off fluid. It leaked out the entire resevoir in 1 week, so I figured it was severe enough to fix. I put a fluorescent dye in the resevoir which easily identified the culprit as the 2 hard lines where they feed into the gear on the steering rack. Because these two hard lines attach using a common retaining plate / bolt, it is hard to tell which one is leaking, but I would assume it is the top one (pressure side) and not the return (low pressure).

    So this weekend I took the drivers side wheel off and detached these two hard lines. The 2 O-rings on them looked perfectly fine, no obvious defects or tears, yet they were clearly leaking. I carefully removed the O-rings and brought them into the parts store to match them up. It was unclear if they were metric or standard dimension, so I purchased a "full kit" of both standard and metric o-rings (like a 175 piece kit, $6/ea). Figures something in one of these kits would work. First I tried the metric o-rings since everything else on this car is metric. I want to say the pressure side was a 7mm O.D. / 6mm I.D. by 2mm thick and the return side was a 6mm O.D. / 5 mm. I.D. by 2mm thick, (but don't quote me, going by memory here). They looked to fit real nice. Installed the hoses, torqued the retaining bolt to spec, and started it up - still got a really slow leak.

    So I pulled it all apart again, and tried the standard-size o-rings. It was a 5/16" O.D. x (? I.D.) x 1/16" thick on the pressure side and 1/4" O.D. x (? I.D.) x 1/16" thick on the return side. Looked like a good fit as well, and really couldn't visually tell any difference in fit between the standard and metric O-rings. All appeared to fit well, to the naked eye. But with high pressure applications, we all know it has to be precise, or else... Anyways, started it back up, and same thing, very slow leak.

    So at this point I am stumped. Upon close inspection of the GM o-rings I removed, they do appear to have a more "square" shoulder, than a rounded radius shoulder that the O-rings I purchased have. If so, that is a totally custom O-ring and not an off-the-shelf available part. The guy behind the parts counter thought that the squared-off shoulder appearance of the old O-rings was just due to having been used and compressed into that shape for 100k miles. I'm not so sure...

    Anyways, I caved in and just bought a new high pressure hose and return hose from gmpartshouse for $208 shipped
    Purchase the hose to get the O-rings. ack.

    I hope that solves my issue. I will also be replacing the PS pump while I am at it since it was making whining noises and is quite old. I was wondering if other forum members have successfully replaced just the O-rings, or run into similar problems as I have described. I'll try to snap some high resolution macro photos showing a side-by-side of the OEM-removed o-rings next to the standard type o-rings I purchased, for comparison purposes.

    I know there is a TSB that GM put out on this issue for 2004's. Anybody have access to the full TSB language?

    TSB Number: 01292004
    NHTSA Number: 10013036
    TSB Date: January 29, 2004
    Date Added to File: April 6, 2005
    Failing Component:
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist System
    Summary:
    Power steering noise and low fluid level due to a leaking o-ring seal at the power steering pressure hose to steering gear fitting.

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  3. #2
    glake89's Avatar
    glake89 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    I am very interested in this as mine seeps at that connection. The lines are 3/8" so that is the size O-ring I was going to try. Your thread got me to searching and I found this thread Re: Power Steering leak, fooled by residual oil in crossmember. Nascarnation said he got the O-rings at NAPA. I also know that hydraulic systems use square cross section O-rings, so a supply place or a farm equipment dealer may be a source.

    As to the noise, save you money and try Lucas Oil power steering additive. It saved a pump for me that had run completely dry.

    Pls keep us apprised of your quest.

  4. #3
    jcobz28 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    I was not aware that hydraulic systems typically use a square cross-section "O"-ring. That would explain why the OEM ones looked that way and why my parts-counter o-rings are not sealing. Thanks for making me aware of this. After doing a web search, I found this, which explains it well:
    http://www.rfcarlson.com/sqrrng.html

    Looking at this sizing chart, my best guess is the square-rings needed are likely a -011 for the pressure and -010 for the return.

    I'll keep the board posted on what happens once I put in the new lines from GM. I'm not going to mess around trying to find the right square-rings. My pressure hose was showing some leaking at the crimp points as well (althought extremely minor), so it's probably best I get a new hose alltogether anyways.

    I read that thread about "residual oil in crossmember" - it didn't give much useful info other that to point out that fluid leaking from the cross member could be from PS pump. Mine was doing that as well.

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    jcobz28 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    Update - ordered the new GM hoses (pressure and return) from gmpartshouse.com and put them in a few weekends ago. I was surprise to see that the new GM hoses came with O-rings that had a standard circular cross-section. They were NOT square cross-sectioned hydraulic O-rings as hypothesized above. The square appearance of my old rings must have been due to years of compressed use. I put the new hoses on and zero problems with leakage from the spot where they bolt to the rack.

    Now, the new problem is I STILL have a PS leak coming from somewhere, and I can't find it for the life of me. The leak from the connection to the rack was definitely the "big" leak, as I could see that one leaking, and now it is bone dry at that junction. But the underside of my car is still dripping PS fluid (I know it is PS fluid cuz I put a fluorescent dye in it). It is dripping down off the cross member. I have cleaned the cross member well several times over the past few weeks, and it keeps getting oily again with PS fluid. So there is obviously a slow leak coming from somewhere, I just can't see it. The connections from the pressure/return hoses to the rack are new and clean/dry. All of the hard-line connections on the rack look clean and dry. The pump is brand new and I can't see any leaks coming from it. I'm stumped. The only thing I can think of is maybe it is residual fluid in the crossmember as described in this post. I'll clean the underside of the car a few more times and see if the fluid keeps coming back or slows down and goes away.

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    conedoctor is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    Well I will chime in here seeing as I am sitting at my desk at the hydraulic repair shop I own

    It comes down to compression and less about size, we use metric and imperial orings all the time to fix issues.

    Lets use the 011, it has a cross section of about .070 so if it does not seal use a 2mm cross section oring for a bit more crush. The square o ring may be a square cut oring or quad ring but they all fit in the same groove and interchange, unless of course it is an oddball made for GM but unlikely.

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    036.6turbo is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    The 2008 I just put back together has a PS leak, did you ever find the problem with the remaining leaks you have? And do you feel you needed the new lines to get the correct o rings, or are there a over the counter item? Thanks.

  8. #7
    jcobz28 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    I tried a variety of metric and imperial O-rings on the old PS-hard-line but none of them would seal completely. I ended up biting the bullet and purchased a new set of hard lines from GM for a couple hundred bucks (pressure and return lines). They were a bi0tch to install. Required removing lots of stuff to snake them into place. But once I got them in, the leak was totally gone. I'm not sure if it was something with my hard lines (corrosion?) or just the wrong kind of off-the-shelf O-rings that precluded my success earlier. Frustrating, but glad it got fixed. Zero problems since. While I was at it, I also replaced the power steering pump since it had a whine. So essentially, I replaced everything in the PS system, minus the rack.

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    036.6turbo is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    Quote Originally Posted by jcobz28 View Post
    I tried a variety of metric and imperial O-rings on the old PS-hard-line but none of them would seal completely. I ended up biting the bullet and purchased a new set of hard lines from GM for a couple hundred bucks (pressure and return lines). They were a bi0tch to install. Required removing lots of stuff to snake them into place. But once I got them in, the leak was totally gone. I'm not sure if it was something with my hard lines (corrosion?) or just the wrong kind of off-the-shelf O-rings that precluded my success earlier. Frustrating, but glad it got fixed. Zero problems since. While I was at it, I also replaced the power steering pump since it had a whine. So essentially, I replaced everything in the PS system, minus the rack.
    Thanks, I looked where my lines attach to the rack, no sign of leaking there. Also where they exit / enter the pump appears dry. But it is losing a lot of PS fluid., and it is coming out of the protective sleeve on the hose. So I think new lines are in my future also.

  10. #9
    jcobz28 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    You definitely need a new hard line then. There is a crimp-type fitting underneath that foam sleeve that is not serviceable. Mine had fluid saturation of that foam as well, although the leak was very minor at that point compared to the stream of fluid loss I was getting at the O-ring attachment point on the rack.

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    036.6turbo is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    Quote Originally Posted by jcobz28 View Post
    You definitely need a new hard line then. There is a crimp-type fitting underneath that foam sleeve that is not serviceable. Mine had fluid saturation of that foam as well, although the leak was very minor at that point compared to the stream of fluid loss I was getting at the O-ring attachment point on the rack.
    Crimped where the hard meets the soft portion of the line?

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by jcobz28 View Post
    You definitely need a new hard line then. There is a crimp-type fitting underneath that foam sleeve that is not serviceable. Mine had fluid saturation of that foam as well, although the leak was very minor at that point compared to the stream of fluid loss I was getting at the O-ring attachment point on the rack.
    Crimped where the hard meets the soft portion of the line?

  12. #11
    mo_focus is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    How hard is it to replace the power steering? My steering has been acting up lately. Fluid was low, so i added some, but made no difference. I have not lost any fluid since last week. Could it be that previous owner used a different fluid and when i topped up with oem fluid it messed it up?

  13. #12
    jcobz28 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    So I go to start the SRX this past weekend, now at 150k mi and 1.5 yrs later, and I have a catastrophic PS failure which leaks out almost all the fluid over the driveway. I popped the hood and saw the plastic splash-guard under the radiator full of PS fluid. It is fun to come back to this thread and remember that I replaced the pump and both hi-pressure and return hard lines. So I doubt those are the source of the leak, they are too new. Will take things apart this weekend to see what broke now. The below diagram shows everything I replaced 1.5 yrs ago in green. Red items are original. Based on the fluid puddle location towards the front of the car beneath the radiator area, I am betting that it is item 22 (upper return hose) or item 20 (p/s cooler tube).
    SRX-PS-diagram2.jpg

  14. #13
    jcobz28 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    Well THAT was unexpected! Jacked up the SRX tonight to investigate the cause of the leak and here is what I found:

    hosedetached.jpg

    This puzzles me as it appears that the OEM-style clamps failed to provide sufficient tension and the hose popped off the hard-line. I could possibly accept this as clamp fatigue if the clamps were original from 2005, but these would have been part of the new return line I installed 18 months ago. So, I am now wondering if perhaps the crazy cold sub-zero Chicago weather we have been having has anything to do with this. Any ways, here was the fix:

    repairparts.jpg

    If only every repair on this car was this cheap and easy. New clamps, filled with fluid, and test drove. Everything appears to be working just fine.

  15. #14
    The Wrench is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    Interesting. I've had two separate slow leaks for the last few years, which I incorrectly diagnosed as oil spillage when changing the filter, and a slow leak from the timing cover. The cold weather recently made both worse, and I discovered they both appear to be leaks from the pressure hose, at both points where the two rubber hoses crimp to the metal lines. sounds like that hose was made on Monday morning. Got the new hose on the bench, will install it tomorrow and cross my fingers. If it turns out to be the $100 hose and not a timing cover leak, I'll celebrate the happiest I've ever been over a fluid leak.

    DG

  16. #15
    toddkellogg is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Power steering leak - O-rings on pressure hose

    I replaced my rack for a ps leak too. Twice!!

    Mine had a leak at the nodule w/ the plug on the rack (drivers side of rack).

    I had to replace it twice as the "rebuilt one " leaked in the same dam place weeks later!

    My car is an 04 v8 srx. Rwd. I have 128k miles.

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