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Old 01-02-2009, 01:36 PM   #1
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Last time I towed my 04 liberty limited, it lost all the power steering fluid by the time I traveled 400 miles. When unhitching, I was unable to turn the steering wheel without great effort.
A quick check of the PS reservoir revealed it to be bone dry. I could see right down the inlet port of the pump!
The pump whined with a gurgling sound. It was dark at that time and raining so I was unable to see evidence of a leakage source under the steering gear or on the ground

I added sufficient fluid to refill the reservoir. The gurgling sound was replaced with the sound of air mixed with fluid but power assist returned. I topped off the fluid after turning the wheel lock to lock several times. The fluid was foamy pink (with air?).
Letting it sit overnight allowed the air and fluid to separate and the fluid appeared normal color. Steering gear was now quite as normal and no leaks appeared. The rubber Tie rod ends at the rack shaft appeared dry.

Further poking around did reveal some fresh oil inside the rubber bellows on the tie rod ends at the rack shaft.

Drove it for several weeks now and no new leaks were evident. No loss of fluid any where I could see on gear or on the ground.



When the towing was done it was unusually cold (low 30's) and raining. This Jeep has been towed over 40,000 miles with no issues. Very few sharp turns were made other then at normal intersection.

Any body have similar experience? Any thoughts how this happens?

Marty
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:36 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
National RV Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 1,425
Last time I towed my 04 liberty limited, it lost all the power steering fluid by the time I traveled 400 miles. When unhitching, I was unable to turn the steering wheel without great effort.
A quick check of the PS reservoir revealed it to be bone dry. I could see right down the inlet port of the pump!
The pump whined with a gurgling sound. It was dark at that time and raining so I was unable to see evidence of a leakage source under the steering gear or on the ground

I added sufficient fluid to refill the reservoir. The gurgling sound was replaced with the sound of air mixed with fluid but power assist returned. I topped off the fluid after turning the wheel lock to lock several times. The fluid was foamy pink (with air?).
Letting it sit overnight allowed the air and fluid to separate and the fluid appeared normal color. Steering gear was now quite as normal and no leaks appeared. The rubber Tie rod ends at the rack shaft appeared dry.

Further poking around did reveal some fresh oil inside the rubber bellows on the tie rod ends at the rack shaft.

Drove it for several weeks now and no new leaks were evident. No loss of fluid any where I could see on gear or on the ground.



When the towing was done it was unusually cold (low 30's) and raining. This Jeep has been towed over 40,000 miles with no issues. Very few sharp turns were made other then at normal intersection.

Any body have similar experience? Any thoughts how this happens?

Marty
__________________

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2003 34' Dolphin 5342, W22, UP, UPGBrake, F and R Track Bars, Rear IPD sway bar, Koni FSDs, Safe-T-Plus, Scan Gauge II.. 2004 Jeep Liberty, Blue-Ox Adventa..
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Old 01-02-2009, 06:53 PM   #3
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Was there evidence that all the PS fluid came out at one time during that one tow or has it been leaking for a long time? How often do you check the fluid level? Normally people don't check the fluid until something feels wrong. I do know that hydraulic seals on airplanes do not like the cold. They occasional leak then stop. On the floor under where you usually park it is there any evidence of leaks? If it has 40,000 on is only 4 years old is it still under warranty? If so then watch it real carefully and if it leaks again take it in. I wouldn't say it happened while being towed. If not under warranty then I would just watch it over time and see what happens.
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:55 PM   #4
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Thanks Mike,
No way to know if fluid loss was all of a sudden or over time.
After posting today I noticed drops of fresh ps fluid under area below driver side steering rack assembly. So I can say it is leaking now and apparently at the end seal of the rack inner tie rod. No I had not checked ps fluid recently but was under that area doing oil change week before we towed and I do look for leaks as a matter of habit. The car is garaged. An epoxy painted floor makes for easy recognition of any leaks so this is clearly something new.

Makes sense about cold weather seal leakage. Being in Az, we rarely see below freezing driving conditions. This last towing trip was probably the coldest non operating towage so the seals were certainly colder then ever.

I wasn't expecting any great fluid pressures on the seals when the pump is not running as in towing.

Warranty is over so I will keep close watch on fluid loss
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2003 34' Dolphin 5342, W22, UP, UPGBrake, F and R Track Bars, Rear IPD sway bar, Koni FSDs, Safe-T-Plus, Scan Gauge II.. 2004 Jeep Liberty, Blue-Ox Adventa..
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:46 AM   #5
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If it leaks too much then you might want to try some Lucas Power Steering additive that will soften the seals and stop the leaks. Several companies make it and you can get it at NAPA or other stores. It seems to work well. The other option is to replace the whole rack and pinion unit. That expensive to have done. I little cheaper if you do it yourself.
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Old 01-03-2009, 06:49 AM   #6
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I have found replacement rack on a jeep web site and it looks like something I can handle. But I will try your the seal additive first. Thanks for the info Mike.
This is one of those things that gets the full brunt of actual driving wear as well as wear during towing. The total mileage on the steering gear is close to 100k now.
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