Power Steering Cooler (and other problems)

01-26-2007, 11:28 AM
When I last brought my car into the shop to have the transmission worked on, I had the guys once-over everything, just to be sure everything else was in working order.

Aparantly, they found that my power-steering cooler was cracked open, leaking like a siv.

I recently drained, flushed, and re-filled my power steering fluid becuase it was a metalic-brown (caused by the rusty gash in the cooler).

It has been about a month, and my power-steering fluid is back to that lovely amber-metalic color. Not only this, but I notice when I turn the wheel to the RIGHT I hear a rubber-on-rubber squeaking/groaning. Almost like the tire is hitting against something, but it's not. I don't know if the right-side of my power-steering rack is getting fluid.

I can't find an el-cheapo after-market power-steering cooler, and I really don't want to simply just cut the old one out and loop a piece of copper pipe or brake-line in-line. I'd rather get a good quality replacement.

I've searched online, but I can only find ones for different models with no dimensions given. They look about the same, but how can I be sure?

Not only this but NO PARTS STORE ONLINE OR OTHERWISE carries power-steering coolers for a 95' Park Avenue... Thus leading me to belive I'd have to go through GM and pay out the wazoo.

This is beginning to worry me considering I drive considerable distances and it's beginning to get really, really cold out. (-2 in Athol, MA today!)

It was so cold that my key didn't even want to go into the ignition, and once I got it in, the ignition barely wanted to turn... (FREAKIN' COLD!)

So any help on locating a good, used... or new... power-steering cooler would be amazing... and any help on the diagnosis for that odd wheel-groan would help as well.

I don't personally know wether or not the power-rack is set up so that one side COULD be deprived of fluid or not... nor am I absolutely positive that my fluid is running brown due to the rusty hole in the cooler.... It could very well be something I'm not seeing... however I won't know until I get the known problem fixed.

Thanks again guys. Any help would be amazing!


01-26-2007, 12:50 PM
Perhaps the pump is working its max and the drive belt tis squealing where that turn draws more drive from the pump.
The pump proubbly should whine not squeal. Try spraying brake cleaner on the grooved side of the belt. The belt may have glazed and hardened and lost its traction.

As for the dark fluid you may have a pump or rack going out.
It is possible residue is getting cleaned out back into the new fluid.

I think there is a way to cycle it completely out.

Put some graphite in the ignition switch tumbler area.

Good luck

01-26-2007, 11:56 PM
Well, I ran some dry-lubricant in the tumbler, that's all-set.

As far as the power steering is concenred the pump does whine a tiny, tiny bit... barely audible... but that's not the noise I'm hearing... This noise is a groan, it almost sounds like the tire rubbing on the passanger side floor-board. Basically... it's the rack. It only happens when the wheel is turned over half-way to the right and then back... I think it's the poor fluid.

I just found a universal power-steering cooler... it's aluminum, 2.5 inches by 9 inches... I'll have to custom mount it, but it's better than nothing. After I mount it, I'm going to completely flush the system, run new fluid, and then flush it again.

I want to be able to have clear-clear-clear fluid for once... not just different shades of amber. So the only way to do that is to completely flush the system entirely.

Then, after I get a completely clean fluid, I'll be able to tell if that amber color comes back. If it does... then I have a whole new row to hoe.

The belt is brand new as of 3 weeks ago. I know it's not the belt at all. Plus, brake cleaner promotes dry-rot... not the best thing to use on a rubber surface. Gum-out engine cleaner or de-greaser works well though.

Thanks... any other ideas as to what the groaning is?

01-27-2007, 10:33 AM
Well you never said groaning.. and brake cleaner is designed to not erode seals and such things brakes are made of.

I THOUGHT>. oh well

But.. your sure the air is out of it..

Its Saturday and Im just Forum Trolling.


01-27-2007, 11:22 PM
Lol.. yeah, I hear ya. Yeah, there's no air in the system. Sorry... I thought I mentioned it as a groaning. Whoops.

02-02-2007, 07:14 PM
Problem fixed!

I got a Car-Quest Transmission cooler. Part #77431. It's 3/4" high, 2" wide, and 9" long. Total cost was 35 bucks. Came with hose, 4 clamps, 3 radiator-mount-zips, and 3 rubber (to go in-between the cooler and the radiator).

I simply took the bolt out of the bracket mounted to the crossmember and cut the lines going into the original cooler with a pare of dike-snips.

I then popped the cap off the PS reservoir and about a cups-worth of brown, burnt fluid poured out.

I simply popped the new cooler into the freshly cut lines, double-clamped on the hoses, and zip-tied the cooler-lines together so that the new cooler didn't bump into anything. It's tucked up nicely out of the way.. unlike the original one.

When I got to take a close look at the original cooler the U-bend on the end was crushed slightly.. so when the part began to rust, it flaked off causing a hole... then the rust started contaminating the fluid, turning it sludgy and brown.

After i was done, I filled the reservoir, did a couple full-turns with the wheel and then let it sit. All done!

The fluid is clear-as-glass and the power-steering pump makes absolutely NO noise at all!

I'm so psyched. All-in-all the operation took about 45minutes.

Thanks for everyone's help! Hope this helps someone in the future if they have the same problem. (Much cheaper than getting a GM replacment part!)


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