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Discussion Starter #1
Summary: Seem to have a very slight PS fluid leak and my steering wheel is intermittently hard to turn. I replaced the fluid and I've also replaced PS pump inlet gasket that often goes bad. Any ideas what this might be?

I went to the dealer for an oil change yesterday...GASP!
I brought my own oil and paid them $20 to change it for me. I got a complimentary inspection and car wash out of it.

One thing they mentioned was that my steering rack and pinion was leaking a little bit. I've noticed some sort of fluid on a rubber boot coming out of that area and wondered if that was PS fluid. Since I bought the car, intermittently the steering wheel has been hard to turn but it hasn't been a big deal to me or anyone else who drives my car.

Changing the fluid seems to help this issue but then it comes back. The weird thing is, the rack and pinion was replaced by the previous owner 40,000 miles ago. It seems odd to me that A) A car with that few miles would need that replaced and B) Why is the steering wheel hard to turn. I replaced the inlet gasket that is often bad with these cars but that didn't seem to make a difference. I don't notice any loss in PS fluid which is also weird.

Basically, I am wondering what this could be, and if it is the rack and pinion I'll probably just try and live with it until it becomes a major problem.

I am also considering calling the shop that had the work done and seeing if they have some sort of warranty because I don't think it should be giving issues after only 40,000 miles.
 

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It's likely a rebuilt. I would doubt there would be any warranty (hope I'm wrong).
The leak points are usually in the line connections. I would verify that each of these lines are tight with a flare nut wrench.
 

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I'm a bit confused because you suggest you have a fluid leak - but aren't losing any fluid...

If you have a small leak anywhere in the steering path it can let air into the system which can then 'airlock' the fluid. This can present as 'steering lock' and also usually results in some type of shudder on very sharp turns. A quick way to check for leaks is to pull the cap on the PS reservoir and look for air bubbles - if you have any frothing on top of the fluid you 99% of the time have a leak somewhere in the system. If you're in a rust area, the metal return line (in a 2oo3 the one that runs under the reservoir and along the frame, not the true high pressure line) can corrode at a connection point and throw fluid anywhere. I had to literally jack up the front of the vehicle and have my wife turn the wheels with them off the groundl to find the pinhole in the tube - but I was losing enough fluid that I knew I had a true leak.

A few other questions - did the PS pump get changed when they did the rack? In addition to difficulty turning, do you have any vibration or shudder? Any hissing or squealing from the pump or rack?

If the pump wasn't changed before or with the rack, my first thought would be to check the lines as NG mentioned and then suspect a failing pump. Bad seals on a PS pump can easily let air into the system to cause problems without losing a noticeable amount of fluid (a few mLs) from the reservoir.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm a bit confused because you suggest you have a fluid leak - but aren't losing any fluid...

If you have a small leak anywhere in the steering path it can let air into the system which can then 'airlock' the fluid. This can present as 'steering lock' and also usually results in some type of shudder on very sharp turns. A quick way to check for leaks is to pull the cap on the PS reservoir and look for air bubbles - if you have any frothing on top of the fluid you 99% of the time have a leak somewhere in the system. If you're in a rust area, the metal return line (in a 2oo3 the one that runs under the reservoir and along the frame, not the true high pressure line) can corrode at a connection point and throw fluid anywhere. I had to literally jack up the front of the vehicle and have my wife turn the wheels with them off the groundl to find the pinhole in the tube - but I was losing enough fluid that I knew I had a true leak.

A few other questions - did the PS pump get changed when they did the rack? In addition to difficulty turning, do you have any vibration or shudder? Any hissing or squealing from the pump or rack?

If the pump wasn't changed before or with the rack, my first thought would be to check the lines as NG mentioned and then suspect a failing pump. Bad seals on a PS pump can easily let air into the system to cause problems without losing a noticeable amount of fluid (a few mLs) from the reservoir.
It seems like theres some seepage around one of the boots. The car has never been nor is currently in a rust area so I am not concerned about that. I have not gotten any kind of whining except for a few cold mornings and that is what prompted me to change the inlet gasket. I'll probably replace the pump and have my mechanic check for any leaks in the system, but if it requires an expensive repair bill I'll just leave it be for a while. Like I said I haven't had to add any PS fluid since I purchased the car.
 

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It's likely a rebuilt. I would doubt there would be any warranty (hope I'm wrong).
The leak points are usually in the line connections. I would verify that each of these lines are tight with a flare nut wrench.
I am not expecting any kind of warranty especially because I am not the owner who had the work done. The previous owner went to a shop that is known around my area as being incredibly expensive and pushy with their repair recommendations. Their timing belt service includes replacing all of the motor mounts. I added up the total repair/maintenance costs the previous owner paid and it totaled like $25,000 over 11 years of ownership.
 

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It seems like theres some seepage around one of the boots. The car has never been nor is currently in a rust area so I am not concerned about that. I have not gotten any kind of whining except for a few cold mornings and that is what prompted me to change the inlet gasket. I'll probably replace the pump and have my mechanic check for any leaks in the system, but if it requires an expensive repair bill I'll just leave it be for a while. Like I said I haven't had to add any PS fluid since I purchased the car.
Jack - I would personally first turn it on and pop the cap on the PS fluid reservoir - if you have any air entering the system you will clearly see froth on top of the fluid. This is done at rest and the simplest and easiest test. If there's no air in the system then I would caution the pump probably isn't the problem because (at least in my experience with multiple imports) when the pump goes the seals almost always leak to the point air gets drawn into the system but not enough fluid leaves to notice.

Something else to consider - Honda doesn't publish a recommended interval to change PS fluid, but my local dealership recommends every 24,000 or 3 years, whichever comes first. Kinda like the ATF drain and fill - almost empty the reservoir and then refill a few times, to mostly replace the old with new (this reduces the change of introducing air into the system). Some people never have any problems, but the new fluid in my '03 (when I changed the line) drastically improved the entire system to the point it was noticeably better than before the leak started. This could also be a quick and relatively cheap start...
 

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I am not expecting any kind of warranty especially because I am not the owner who had the work done. The previous owner went to a shop that is known around my area as being incredibly expensive and pushy with their repair recommendations. Their timing belt service includes replacing all of the motor mounts. I added up the total repair/maintenance costs the previous owner paid and it totaled like $25,000 over 11 years of ownership.
😲
 

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Jack - this link is to an Odyssey forum that give simple directions for draining and filling the entire PS system, if you wanted to go that route. You said you changed the fluid - did you use Honda OEM? My understanding is the pumps and racks really dislike other PS fluids. Look at John Clarke's comments in post #9 for drain/fill the entire system (you really just remove the hose and then turn repeatedly):

 

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Jack - this link is to an Odyssey forum that give simple directions for draining and filling the entire PS system, if you wanted to go that route. You said you changed the fluid - did you use Honda OEM? My understanding is the pumps and racks really dislike other PS fluids. Look at John Clarke's comments in post #9 for drain/fill the entire system (you really just remove the hose and then turn repeatedly):

I will look into this. I did use Honda fluid. I know they are extremely finicky.
 

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Sorry to bring this post back up again, but I noticed some drips underneath my car over the past few days. At first I was thinking it was A/C condensation but realized it wasn't going away later in the day. I crawled underneath and realized my rack and pinion is leaking a lot of fluid. The PS fluid reservoir is showing a little below minimum. I will go buy some fluid tomorrow.

I'm assuming I'll need to rebuild/replace the rack and pinion relatively soon. Is there any kind of "quick fix" I can try? It seems really odd that
A) the rack and pinion would have been replaced at 152,000 miles-- I currently have 195,000 on it
B) Why the heck is it causing problems AGAIN?

I've attached pictures just in case anyone has any additional insight or advice. Thank you!
138525
138526
 

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Sorry to bring this post back up again, but I noticed some drips underneath my car over the past few days. At first I was thinking it was A/C condensation but realized it wasn't going away later in the day. I crawled underneath and realized my rack and pinion is leaking a lot of fluid. The PS fluid reservoir is showing a little below minimum. I will go buy some fluid tomorrow.

I'm assuming I'll need to rebuild/replace the rack and pinion relatively soon. Is there any kind of "quick fix" I can try? It seems really odd that
A) the rack and pinion would have been replaced at 152,000 miles-- I currently have 195,000 on it
B) Why the heck is it causing problems AGAIN?

I've attached pictures just in case anyone has any additional insight or advice. Thank you! View attachment 138525 View attachment 138526
The fluid is not from a hose conection? Sometimes these are not tightened well or the rubber O-ring under the conection was not installed properly.
 

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The fluid is not from a hose conection? Sometimes these are not tightened well or the rubber O-ring under the conection was not installed properly.
I guess it could be. It seems to be coming from above....
I was crawling around in a parking lot so it was hard to look. I guess I should try and tighten those first before I move to anything expensive.
Would I be able to reach those from underneath?
The funny thing is I will be driving 1,000 miles back home on Saturday so there’s not too much I can do right now.
 

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I guess it could be. It seems to be coming from above....
I was crawling around in a parking lot so it was hard to look. I guess I should try and tighten those first before I move to anything expensive.
Would I be able to reach those from underneath?
The funny thing is I will be driving 1,000 miles back home on Saturday so there’s not too much I can do right now.
If it's a small leak not pulling air into the system, you should be fine. Keep it topped off.
Do you have metric flair nut wrenches?
 

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If it's a small leak not pulling air into the system, you should be fine. Keep it topped off.
Do you have metric flair nut wrenches?
At home. I’m gonna swing by the dealer and buy a bottle of fluid before I start the drive. I’m wondering if I should try some sort of stop leak just because I don’t have much to lose at this point. Maybe I should wait until after I check everything is tightened correctly.

I wonder what made it suddenly get so bad. It’s always dripped a little but never like this. Oh well.
 

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At home. I’m gonna swing by the dealer and buy a bottle of fluid before I start the drive. I’m wondering if I should try some sort of stop leak just because I don’t have much to lose at this point. Maybe I should wait until after I check everything is tightened correctly.

I wonder what made it suddenly get so bad. It’s always dripped a little but never like this. Oh well.
Wrench set at harbor freight is cheap?
 

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Is there any kind of "quick fix" I can try?
I’m wondering if I should try some sort of stop leak just because I don’t have much to lose at this point.

If it has to be done, it has to be done, but since rack and pinion repairs can be quite costly, I would definitely give AT-205 a try first if I were you. As you say, what've you got to lose (except more PS fluid)? :)


 

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Since you indicated that the fluid seems to be coming from above hopefully it will just be a loose fluid line connection at the top of the cylinder or as Nail Grease indicated, a bad o ring. Good luck and keep us informed.
 

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Guy in this video removes air intake hose to reach hoses from the top.
Great video showing all the extra disassembly steps just to replace the steering rack on the Pilot. Lowering the sub-frame to gain extra space to remove the steering rack brought back memories of my sub-frame spacer installation.
 
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