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Author Topic: JK power steering pump write-up.  (Read 37078 times)
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« on: July 03, 2011, 09:30:12 PM »

I bought my ‘07 Rubicon in 2009. Shortly after, I noticed that the power steering pump was making a moaning noise most of the time while maneuvering in parking lots and off road. I suspect that the front locker combined with off roading and my poor driving skills had taken its toll on the pump. JK’s seem to have a weak power steering system as it is. I checked the fluid and noticed it was very dark and smelled burnt. I drained the power steering reservoir and refilled it with new ATF+4 fluid (MOPAR required). In my haste, I did not properly bleed the power steering system, and probably further damaged the pump. The pump became even noisier and at times sounded like it was starving for fluid.  

I replaced the pump  assembly and decided to do a write-up for someone that might want to save a few bucks and hasn’t done this before. Although the 3.8 “mini-van” motor doesn’t get much respect, it is VERY easy to mechanically service and repair. Replacing the power steering pump is a simple and very straight forward task. The new pump comes with the pulley mounted so you won’t need a special pulley puller/installer tool.

I purchased a new pump assembly From our sponsor Manassas Chrysler Jeep. Part number: 52059899AE
Total cost with tax: $181.02
There is a $50.00 core deposit that is refunded upon return of the old part.

The tool list:

3/8” ratchet or breaker bar and 13mm socket
16mm open end wrench (optional line wrench)
¼” ratchet and 8mm socket (optional screwdriver)
Slip Joint Pliers
1 quart ATF+4
Small catch container

Lets begin!

Remove the top half of the air breather box assembly by releasing the 4 clips around the edge of the air box. Use an 8mm socket or screwdriver and loosen the large hose clamp on the intake and twist the box top loose.

Use a screwdriver and pry the small breather hose off of the side of the air box assembly. Move the small breather hose out of the way.

Loosen the large clamp at the throttle body and remove the intake hose from the throttle body. This will give you more room to see and work. Lay the hose off to the side.

Remove the air filter. Wiggle the lower half of the air box while pulling up on it. It will pull free of the three rubber grommets that hold it down.

Use a 3/8” ratchet or breaker bar to remove the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt tensioner has 2 square holes in the arm for the ratchet. Insert the ratchet in either hole and push the spring loaded tensioner down (clockwise) until you can slip the belt off the power steering pump pulley.

Inspect the belt for cracks and wear while it’s removed. I chose to replace the belt while I was in there. Keep the old belt for a trail spare. Check all pulleys while the belt is off for excessive wear, side play and worn bearings.
Using a pair of slip-joint pliers, squeeze the constant tension clamp on the large supply hose of the power steering pump. Slide the clamp down the hose and out of the way.

Place a small open container under the pump. Carefully remove the large supply hose and drain the power steering fluid into the container. You’ll probably spill a bit so have some rags handy.

Place a rag under the pressure line fitting to catch any fluid. Use a 16mm wrench and remove the pressure line fitting from the pump.

Make sure that the o-ring stays clean and on the end of the pressure line. It’s a good idea to replace the o-ring, but I didn’t have any problems re-using the old one.

Use a 13mm socket and insert it through a hole in the pump pulley and remove the three bolts that attach the pump to the accessory plate. The pump assembly can now be removed.

The new pump assembly.

If you haven’t already done so, match up the old pump to the new one and make sure everything is the same.

Remove the packaging plugs from the new pumps fittings. Install the new pump assembly onto the accessory plate using the three 13mm bolts. Tighten to 19ft lbs. If you don’t have a torque wrench just snug the bolts “wrist tight”.

Make sure the pressure line o-ring is on the line and clean. Carefully thread the pressure line fitting into the bottom of the pump by hand. Tighten the fitting to 23 foot lbs. Again, snug the fitting but do not over tighten.

Re-install the large pump supply hose. Move the large clamp back in place using the slip joint pliers.

Re-install the serpentine belt.

You’re almost done!

Reinstall both halves of the air breather box, breather hose and intake hose. Don’t forget to tighten the clamps.

Fill the power steering reservoir with new ATF+4 fluid. Fill to the “Min” line for now. The service manual had some interesting things to say about power steering fluid:

“The recommended fluid for the power steering system is Mopar® ATF +4. Mopar® ATF+4, when new is red in color. The ATF+4 is dyed red so it can be identified from other fluids used in the vehicle such as engine oil or antifreeze. The red color is not permanent and is not an indicator of fluid condition, As the vehicle is driven, the ATF+4 will begin to look darker in color and may eventually become brown. THIS IS NORMAL. ATF+4 also has a unique odor that may change with age. Consequently, odor and color cannot be used to indicate the fluid condition or the need for a fluid change.”

There goes my theory about brown stinky fluid being bad…

Now you need to bleed the air from the power steering system BEFORE you start the engine. The method the service manual used for bleeding the air out involved a special power steering pump reservoir cap, vacuum pump, hoses and a remote reservoir. I had a pump but none of the other stuff so I did it another way that is simpler but takes a bit more patience and time.

The other bleed method involves jacking the Jeep up so that the front wheels are off the ground.

Fill the power steering reservoir to the “Min” level.
SLOWLY turn the wheel all the way to the left and right. Each time you turn in one direction, stop and check the fluid level in the reservoir and look for bubbles. Make sure you keep the reservoir topped up above the “Min” level so you don’t introduce more air into the system. Keep doing this until the air is out and the fluid level stabilizes. It took me about 10 - 12 times. You can assist the process by occasionally squeezing the large pump supply hose to move the some of the air up into the reservoir. It also helps to do this in a quiet place. You can actually hear the bubbles being forced out of the system as you turn the wheel back and forth.

Once you’re done bleeding the air out, make sure the reservoir is filled to the “Min” level and start the engine. Check for leaks. Test drive and recheck the fluid level after it’s fully warmed up. ATF+4 will expand when fully warmed.

You’re done and hopefully saved yourself at least a hundred bucks!

« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 09:38:53 PM by micromark »


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