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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This morning was a cold one in the midwest USA and shortly after stopping for breakfast at a McRestaurant I smelled a nasty chemical coming from my air vent. At first it smelled like coolant but when I arrived at a coffee shop there was smoke coming from under the hood. My day was now officially F-U-B-A-R-E-D.

Popped the hood and noticed one of the radiator fans had been sprayed with a red fluid and the AC compressor was dripping with the same fluid. My power steering tank was nearly empty but I haven't figured out the source of the leak yet. When I turned the wheel to park I heard a squeal so its definitely a PS issue. Now that its light out I'll borrow a friend's car and take a closer look later today.

Any ideas what would cause this sort of leak? The fluid is definitely dripping off the AC compressor so hopefully its not something on the steering rack. Do any power steering lines ever blow out by the AC system?

Hopefully this is something I can fix/patch in the coffee shop parking lot. Limping home 10 miles is hopefully possible but I'm not going to try it until I have a better idea of whats wrong.
 

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DTC P0606
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Hope that it's the power steering reservoir itself. If it's near empty check the underside. The plastic gets brittle and breaks. It dumps the contents on the serpentine belt and can distribute fluid all over.
Also check the low pressure return hose as it enters the reservoir.
Under the actual pump, in the steel line, is an electrical pressure sensing switch; check that it hasn't popped either (although those usually just weep or leak.)

If it's a high pressure hose that's blown, you need a full hose replacement; there is no "easy patch" that works with a hose that handles 800 - 1000 psi working pressure.

If you run the car with a dry/low power steering system, you will destroy the pump and it sounds like it may have already if it's squealing/noisy.
 

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C2H5OH
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Pulley wore a hole through the return hose gets my vote ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Would the AC comp have been damaged by the PS fluid? My AC has been dead for over two years thanks to a leak that I've never bothered to track down but I don't want it siezeing up and throwing the belt.

99% sure the leak is from under the PS pump. Everything looks dry under the tank. Once I get back to the patient I'll pull the pump and see what I need to buy. Definitely going for a new pump as its definitely factory and it has 200K miles. Hopefully if I need new lines Oreillys will have them in stock.

Thanks for the help so far. I hate field repairs...
 

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The PS fluid won't hurt the A/C compressor since you haven't been using it. The only thing it might have done if you had been using it would be that it could cause the clutch to slip. Just clean it up.
 

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Under the actual pump, in the steel line, is an electrical pressure sensing switch; check that it hasn't popped either (although those usually just weep or leak.)
Yep,
I'm sure that's where mine has a leak !! Leaks on top of a/c compressor.
Is it easy to change out and in with new ?
 

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Yep,
I'm sure that's where mine has a leak !! Leaks on top of a/c compressor.
Is it easy to change out and in with new ?
its just tight quarters to get the bolts out. I attacked it from the top and bottom. ended up removing the AC compressor to make for room. (kept the AC hoses attached, just moved it to the side a bit)
 

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Pull the pass side headlight when I changed the PS pump on mine, makes for plenty of room.
 

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its just tight quarters to get the bolts out. I attacked it from the top and bottom. ended up removing the AC compressor to make for room. (kept the AC hoses attached, just moved it to the side a bit)
OK,
Thanks for the info. However I really don't think I have the skills to fool with the ac compressor in any kind of way. Any special tools needed to try and get it out without roving the ac compressor ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Had the car towed to my driveway once I realized this wasn't going to be a quick fix. Glad I have tow insurance.

My leak is definitely from the high pressure line where it attaches to the pump. The top pair of bolts came out easily. The two lower bolts and high pressure line are still firmly in place. Hit them with some PB spray and will try again in the morning. Will probably have to move the AC comp or p/s headlight to get enough wiggle room.

No easy fix for the high pressure line leak even if its at the connector?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the advice folks. Will order the correct line Friday. From my research the part number should be 1S4Z3A719MA. I think this may cross to Advance Auto 92502 but I need to double check before ordering. FYI AA has a 15% web discount until Nov 8.

Which little hose gasket? I bought something at the Ford dealership which was part number 3r608. It probably isn't what you are referring to.

One final question - when I was pricing out high pressure PS lines they wanted to know if I needed one with a switch port. What is a switch port and do I need the line with one or without? A picture would be very helpful.
 

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C2H5OH
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Without.

With is for the SVT.
 

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OK,
Thanks for the info. However I really don't think I have the skills to fool with the ac compressor in any kind of way. Any special tools needed to try and get it out without roving the ac compressor ?
there are no special tools. there is just 4 bolts to the block. if you keep the hose and fittings on the compressor, and just flex the lines to move the compressor, you dont have to recharge or do anything to the AC.
 

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Are we sure it isn't the electrical 'pressure switch'. There was a time in the earlier years the switches internal 'diaphram' would fail and dump fluid. The switch is just above the high pressure side hose connection. Switches are available at auto part stores and easy to get at. Is it in the same location on a ZETEC?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
When I was removing the pump I discovered the teflon ring in the high pressure line had shredded. Fortunately the replacement pump includes said ring, an o-ring for the sensor and a ring for the high pressure line outlet. The quick disconnect fitting itself looked OK aside from some surface rust. If it leaks when I'm bleeding the PS system then I'll use the new PS line I ordered. I really don't want to have to snake the new line down to the steering rack and mess with that connector.

Removing the pump looked impossible until I bought a 10mm flat ratchet. In case you don't know what I'm talking about it looks like a wrench but on the closed end it has a ratchet that isn't much thicker than a normal wrench. They sell a cheap set at Harbor Freight and it was worth every penny. I could even get at the passenger side lower bolt without moving the AC compressor.

Link to Harbor Freight ratchet set http://www.harborfreight.com/7-piece-metric-ratcheting-combo-wrench-set-95552.html

One thing that I didn't see in any power steering pump replacement threads is that if you're not careful when you are installing the new pump its possible to snap the handle off your oil dipstick. That's what I did and it fell a few inches down into the tube - ARGH! Fortunately I was able to heat up a paperclip and stick it in the sheared-off end of the dipstick. It quickly cooled off and stuck to the stick - pulled out the broken dipstick!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The replacement teflon ring didn't seat correctly after I installed it according to directions (soften in hot water and carefully enlarge with a tapered punch). Given that our weather in the US midwest is getting less car maintenance friendly - cold, wind & snow - I really wanted to get this wrapped up. I had a 3R608 quick-disconnect fitting fresh in the bag and then I found another FF thread on replacing the PS pump. The last comment in the thread mentions a trick where you carefully use a rotary tool with a cutoff disc to sever the quick disconnect snap ring. I dug up my Dremel and pulled the pump for hopefully the last time to try this hack. Short version - the fitting came off after fifteen minutes of nerve-wracking surgical grinding. I still need to reinstall the accessory belt and fill the system but I'm a lot more confident that I won't see any leaks. Took pictures of the patient post-surgery and will post them when I'm done.

How-to replace the Focus PS pump http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=226965&highlight=power+steering+leak
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Its finally back on the road. Getting the accessory belt back on using a rental serpentine belt tool was worthless and a waste of time. My tensioner pulley doesn't have the 3/8" socket hole like the Haynes manual says it should and the crowsfoot in the rental tool couldn't get a good grip on the nut. Used the stacked wrench trick with a 15mm and a 19mm - it took thirty freaking seconds with virtually zero effort. The last time I put one on it took every bit of my strength and nearly got a wrench-smack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here are the pics of the power steering line connector after the Dremel chop. I used a cut-down cable tie to carefully draw a sharpie line across the threads to show where to grind using the new 3R608 as a reference. To keep metal dust from entering the system I stuffed a corner of a paper shop rag in the hose inlet. I would grind down a bit and check to see if I had broken through to the ring. If not I kept grinding. Managed to avoid nicking the hose and the connector just fell off. I still had to remove the retaining ring itself but that was a piece of cake compared to the first part.



Here are the quick-disconnect fitting 3R608 and the factory PS hose. Note that it looks fine aside from surface corrosion past the connector mating area.



Finally the finished product. Its been on the road for weeks without a single drip!

 
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