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Power Steering Pump Replacement '97-'03 SII 3800

12-09-2006, 07:38 PM
Series II 3800 engine

Make sure engine is cold. Disconnect battery negative cable. You'll need a droplight to see what you're doing.

Remove strut tower cross brace, if installed.

Remove the coolant reservoir. If you have a Grand Prix with one mounted on the passenger side strut tower, remove it.

Remove the serpentine drive belt by loosening belt tensioner.

At this point, I highly recommend jacking up the passenger side of the car and removing the tire. Support with a jackstand. Remove the plastic splash guard. This will make getting to the pressure and return lines easier.

Remove the 2 power steering pump mounting bolts. Size = 13mm or 15mm. The bolts holding the PS pump are in the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions. You'll need to move the PS pulley and line up the large access hole in the PS pump pulley with the bolts. Once lined up, using a deep well socket remove them.

Remove pressure and return lines from PS pump. The pressure line is on the bottom of the pump itself and has a metal fitting. The return line is attached to the reservoir and is just a piece of tubing with a hose clamp on it. Remove pump. The pump will start leaking fluid all over the place once the lines are disconnected. Try to tie the two lines up, if possible, so that they don't fall over and start pouring out fluid.

The new pump may or may not come with a pulley and reservoir. If not you will have to transfer them from the old pump to the new one. The replacement should come with directions on how to do this but you will probably need a gear/pulley puller to get the pulley off the old pump.

Install new PS pump. Attach the pressure and return lines to the new pump. Re-mount PS pump by replacing the 2 bolts and tightening (20 ft-lbs).

Re-install plastic splash guard. Re-install tire (lug nut torque=100ft-lbs) and drop back to ground level.

Re-install the serpentine belt. This may be a good time to install a new belt.

Re-install coolant reservoir, if applicable.

Re-install strut tower cross brace.

Make sure everything is tight and properly torqued.

Re-connect battery negative cable.

Refill and air bleeding procedure (rack n pinion system):

NOTE: To relieve steering tension when engine is off, you can raise and support the vehicle with front wheels off the ground. Use good quality power steering fluid. A small funnel with a long hose attached should be used to add fluid.

With ignition off and in steering unlock position, turn wheel to the left. Now add power steering fluid to the FULL COLD mark on the dipstick. Leave the cap off. Turns wheels side to side several times without hitting the steering stops. Check fluid level again and add to maintain level at FULL COLD mark.

Start the engine and let idle for approximately 5 minutes. Turn the wheels all the way to the left and right several times without hitting the stops. Turn off engine and check the fluid level again. Make sure that it is at or near the FULL HOT line. Replace cap.

Road test car and then check for leaks. Also you can re-check fluid level again just to verify.

01-17-2007, 05:59 PM
I followed this procedure tonight on a 1997 GP 3800, it's an excellent writeup. A few notes on my install:

-The only way I could get the old pump out of the engine compartment was to loosen the two top engine mount struts and rock the engine forward. This simple process granted enough clearance to remove the pump.

-The strut tower bracket wasn't in the way and was left in place.

-Borrowed a "pulley puller" kit from AutoZone, it's a 10 minute process to remove & reinstall.

11-04-2008, 01:29 PM
-The only way I could get the old pump out of the engine compartment was to loosen the two top engine mount struts and rock the engine forward. This simple process granted enough clearance to remove the pump.

Funny, mine just slipped out. I just did this on a 2000 GTP, and was pretty straight forward. Thanks Bob for the good writeup!

One thing I might add though is to not forget about unhooking that little wire clip on the back of the resivore. I was able to get mine unhooked from the bottom using a long flat head screwdriver.

01-21-2012, 10:42 PM
I had to replace the power steering pump on my 99 GTP. I tried to follow Bob's procedure above, but had to do things a little differently.

I could not break the pressure side fitting from the pump after dismounting the pump. I had to remount the pump, then break loose the fitting. I could not get a tubing wrench on the fitting, so just used an open end wrench. So I recommend one break the fitting loose before dismounting the pump.

I also had to remove the alternator and tensioner assembly to get the pump out of the vehicle. Remember that the tensioner pulley bolt is reverse threaded (left-hand). I forgot and created an even bigger job by shearing it off. :mad: But you don't even have to remover the tensioner pulley if you're taking out the whole assembly. I was trying to remove as little as possible.

I was going to replace the high pressure line while I was in there (It's original.) But I could not get to the fitting on the rack-and-pinion. How do I reach it?

A much bigger job than I anticipated, and I ain't done yet. Still have to flush and fill...and find that darn reverse-threaded tensioner bolt. I hope my local NAPA store has it.

01-22-2012, 06:26 PM
Hi Lloyd,

I'm sorry you had all those problems.

You're right, removing the lines from the pump has to be done before removing it from the engine.

When I did mine I played with it turning and rotating it so it could fit between the engine and the strut tower. I had to remove the windshield water reservoir and put aside the fuse junction block on the strut tower. All this provided enough space to get it out, as I just said, I had to "play" a little with it.

On the bolt, I would just go to a junkyard and try to find one. If a dealer or autoparts store carries it I'm sure they will need to order it.

To remove the pressure line you need either an 18mm short open end wrench or (better yet) an 18mm crow's foot wrench. You have to reach your hand between the firewall and the engine to get to the line. With the crow's foot wrench is "easy" because you only attach several ratchet extensions and a breaker bar to it and there is no need to lay on the engine, just lean a little over it. I found it easier to do it while standing at the passenger side and reaching towards the steering column on the driver's side.


01-24-2012, 10:27 PM
Thanks for the feedback, Oscar.

NAPA was able to get the reverse-threaded bolt. For anyone else that may need it, it is made by Dorman and their part number is 45358. I found that it can be bought online as well.

I just got everything back together and I'm still getting a whining sound when turning. The dipstick shows there's enough fluid in the reservoir. I'm going to check fluid level over the next few days, hoping that there's just some air in the system that will flush out.

I decided to skip replacing the high pressure line. It's not leaking (that I know of) and I don't really save much labor doing it now. If I ever have to do it, maybe I'll know how to lower the subframe by then. If not, I'm farming the job out.

01-25-2012, 06:26 PM
Hi Lloyd,

Good to know you found that bolt; it would really suck not being able to drive your car just because of it!.

Will the whining sound increase with RPM's?. I used to have the same sound on mine it started out of nothing and wouldn't stop, even after replacing the pump 3 times.

It lasted until, finally, I decided to have the steering rack rebuilt, installed a new pressure line and new rubber parts on the return line. After that the noise is gone but now I have an ugly chattering which I'm still trying to figure out. Unfortunately I've been busy to work on it...

Removing the pressure line DOES NOT involves lowering the subframe. You only need the 18mm crow's foot wrench to remove the fitting from the rack while working FROM THE TOP of the car. After that just remove the passenger side front wheel and remove with hose from the pump with a 16mm open end wrench.

Lowering the subframe is only required when replacing the entire rack as seen in this great tip:


01-25-2012, 10:03 PM
It's great to know that I don't need to lower the subframe just to replace the power steering lines. I'll have to get a set of crow's foot wrenches. Thanks again for the info.

It was raining today so I didn't hear the whining nearly as much. Don't know if that's because it got better or was just hidden by the rain.

I wonder if I should have started a new thread. Hopefully Bob won't be too upset about cluttering up his useful tip...:uhoh:

01-26-2012, 03:12 PM
You're very welcome my friend!

I really suggest you to get those crow's foot wrenches. They help a lot in different applications other than steering. Plus you can properly torque any type of fitting with them.

I don't think there is a problem. After all it adds information to the original post.

Neither Bob, Rich or Tim have been around lately; in any case I hope they are all fine!.


03-17-2012, 06:16 PM
For a 1999 Buick Lesabre: Get to both fluid lines through the right wheel well skirt. The pressure line takes a 16mm wrench. No need to remove anything else, except the reservoir cap, the pump with reservoir will lift out from the top with a bit of twisting to find the right fit. The idler pulley takes a 15mm and the pump is mounted with 13mm reached through holes in the pulley as described in the first post.

07-07-2012, 12:58 PM
I am in need of help with the power steering on my wifes car I just had the pressure line replaced about three weeks ago we left for a week on a trip two day after it was fixed came back to find a huge spot whwere all the fluid seemed to leek out im under it right now but im just not sure where the work could be steaming from any sugustions would be very helpful

Tech II
07-07-2012, 01:04 PM
You don't say what year or vehicle......if the line was just replaced, that is the spot to be looking first......

07-07-2012, 01:08 PM
It a 2000 sorry bout that and would it be helpful if I added fluid had her turn the wheel and look for a spray of fluid or would it be slower than that?

07-07-2012, 02:38 PM
Tenacious: All the fluid leaked out? There is probably already enough fluid already leaked to find where. As TechII suggests, look first at the line you recently had replaced and especially the fittings and most likely at the pump as that is the hard one to get to. If you had someone replace the pressure line, ask about their guarantee. Let us know with a post when you have it figured out.

07-09-2012, 11:56 AM
Is there any chance that there was still some air trapped in the lines? It happened to me; it would seem that all the air had been bled out but after some use most of the fluid got pushed out form the reservoir through the cap.

Take a look from above to see if the reservoir looks oily.


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