Hey guys, I just wanted to post a small how-to for anyone that ever get's a leak from their power steering. I hear it's quite a common problem and although looking on Google and seeing people having much the same problem, I couldn't find anyone that's really done a step by step or any definitive explanation usually because they'd paid a garage to fix it. Expensive!
Hopefully if your unfortunate to have this problem, then this could save you money and time if you do it yourself.
This job was carried out on a 52 plate Alfa Romeo 147 2.0 Twinspark Lusso, however the same setup applies for the majority of this variant of engine.
Time to complete job, approx 3 hours if you have the right tools.
Tools needed for job:
Jack + Axle stand
17mm? socket for wheel + locking wheel nut
17mm short or cut down spanner
New power steering fluid
Pot or drip tray to drain old fluid
Step 1 - Locating the leak.
Obviously the easiest way to do this is by looking under the car, you can see where the fluid is dripping and get a rough idea of where it's coming from. The most common place for this leak to occur is from the high pressure pipe where it's attached to the bracket.
For some strange italian reason, the pipes love to corrode here and doing a bodge job like this with 'liquid metal' definitely won't work. There's too much pressure....
That's the same for cutting the section of pipe out and replacing it with a rubber pipe and some jubilee clips, it'll just end up popping off and probably knackering your pump. It's time to bite the bullet and buy the new pipe. Buy cheap, you buy twice. You should know that by now especially being an Alfa owner!
Step 2 - Purchasing your new replacement pipe.
The only place to get the replacement is from your local Alfa dealer, nowhere on the net I could find a cheaper alternative and I tried all the usual EuroCarParts 247spares even eBay, nowhere has them. Hopefully you might have more luck though.
Cost £100 plus vat, so about £120. Pretty expensive for a pipe, but notice how the new ones are coated in rubber to prevent the corrosion from occuring again. (Hopefully)
Step 3 - Removing the old pipe.
Please excuse the lack of pictures from here on, I got abit carried away working and forgot to take many more.
So first job, jack the car up and USE AN AXLE STAND!
my jack failed whilst under the car but luckily I had my axle stand right next to it otherwise I probably wouldn't be writing this review. Take the front right wheel off and the 2 plastic panels in the wheel arch (the 1 smaller plastic panel to the right of the suspension arm and the larger 'wheel arch' plastic panel that exposes the whole wheel arch, just a screwdriver needed there)
It should now look like this:
The next step is to remove the brackets from the pipes, 2 in total, you can see one clearly in the picture above where all that gunk is, use a 10mm socket and the same again on the back of the suspension arm there's another 10mm bolt and bracket hidden behind.
You should be able to wiggle the pipes around a little bit now, get a small tub that you can drain the power steering fluid into and place it underneath the coil ready to disconnect the quick release connectors like so:
*tip* take note of which connectors from which pipe join onto which end of the coil for fitting of the new pipes.
that's the connectors released and let the fluid drain out, it may help to open the reservoir up and let the air get in easier.
The next step is to remove the pipe that goes from the back of the hydraulic reservoir down the back of the engine and connects the hyd reservoir to the coil, this is the pipe located at the back of the reservoir to the left, follow it down and you'll see where it goes, just to make sure your disconnecting the right one. It's a small clasp that holds it on, try not to ruin that too much as I used it to reconnect the pipe. Pop that pipe off with some man strength.
The last step to removing the pipes is the hardest, you have to remove the hydraulic union from the steering rack. To do this, I didn't remove any surrounding component it is possible to get a hand in there just had to use a stumpy 17mm spanner as there wasn't enough room to get a normal 17mm spanner or socket in there, I got underneath the car and pulled through a gap by the manifold whilst a friend got his had through a small gap to the left of the suspension arm and pushed, after the initial crack of undoing it, it is easy enough to undo the rest by hand.
Your pipes should be loose and are now free to remove! Congratulations if you've got this far, the hard stuff is out the way. A perfect time to have a cup of tea.
Step 4 - Fitting new pipe.
On the new pipe, it came with a brand new metal bracket that was meant to go underneath the engine mount and replace the bracket that's in the first picture up the top where all that gunk is. Rather than do all that work, it's easy enough to just use the old bracket.
Can get rid of that if you'd rather not disconnect the engine mount and just use the old bracket.
Now it's time to jiggle the new pipes into position, this can take a few minutes and is abit fiddly, be careful not to exert excessive force onto your new pipes as they do bend and that's not good when you've just spent £120 on them.
Once in place, connect the push to fit connectors back onto the coil at the front and route the pipe that doesnt have any fitment on the end up to the power steering hyd reservoir and fit that back onto where it should be, making sure the pipe isnt rubbing on the timing belt on the side of the engine, it can take abit of manning up and swearing to get the pipe back on the reservoir but it does go on, just use some pliers. Once on, glasp the pipe with a jubilee clip or the clip that you took off when removing the old pipe.
Next step is to reconnect the pipes back onto the 2 brackets. Again simple enough, 2 10mm bolts on 2 seperate brackets remembering the hidden one behind the suspension arm.
Last step to fitting is to connect the banjo union onto the steering rack, this goes on alot easier that it comes off, put the bolt into the new union on the pipe with the washer that came off and wiggle around until you feel where it needs to be screwed into on the pump, do it up tight enough so it doesn't leak with your short 17mm spanner.
Well done, the pipe is in and you've saved yourself a few hundred £'s in labour.
Put the wheel arch panels back in and put the wheel back on.
Axle stand out drop the car off the jack.
Now fill the reservoir up with power steering fluid until it's full.
Turn the car on keeping an eye on the level of the oil, the pump will suck through the new oil and the reservoir will empty itself almost instantly
, turn the engine off and fill back up.
Repeat that process until no more oil is being induced into the system and you can drive off, your steering should feel back to normal and no more oil is being dripped out the bottom.
Any questions or if you've had the same problem please post your comments.
Hope it helps.