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post #1 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
carynickel
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Blowing power steering pumps

Howdy all,

I own several Jeeps from the 1960's through 2004, but I haven't posted on the Grand Cherokee forum yet, so here goes.

I have a 2004 Grand Cherokee Overland that I've owned for about 2 years. It's been a great vehicle, purchased with 67000 miles on it, and currently has 91000. Excellent condition.

It has the hydraulic cooling fan.

However, this last month with it has been something out of a nightmare n the Grand Cherokee. We use it to pull a 24 foot travel trailer, and have taken several long distance (1000 mile round trip) vacations pulling the trailer. Last month, on the way to Nevada from New Mexico, it blew the power steering pump. The front seal blew and we lost our fluid. Of course, with the hydraulic cooling fan, this meant we had no cooling either. In July in Arizona it was 100 degrees. Luckily, if we kept moving, it stayed cool, and we were able to get to an auto parts store that had a pump in stock. I changed the pump, which was apparently the original, and all was well. We finished that trip, driving another 700-800 miles, and I forgot all about it. I chalked it up to an aging original 15 year old power steering pump. By dumb luck, I used fluid that met the specification for the Grand Cherokee of that year.

This month, we set out on another trip, this time to Reno, again pulling the trailer. Second day out, the power steering pump blew the front seal again. I got online and read all I could, and chalked it up to a bad rebuild. Got a warranty replacement, installed it, and again all was well.

The next day, that pump also blew. Front seal again. This time we were stuck in Ely, Nevada for three days waiting for another power steering pump. Everything I read about the pump seemed to indicate that the first two replacement pumps, from Autozone, had the incorrect flow control valve in it. The one we waited for, from NAPA, had the proper one, and we thought we'd found the problem and fixed it.

We flushed the system and put all new Valvoline fluid of the proper specification in, which I had to order with the pump, and again all seemed well. Indeed, we pulled the trailer the rest of the way to Reno, several hundred miles, put the trailer in a state park, and continued to drive a few hundred miles touring the area. Then we hooked up the trailer again and started for home.

That day the power steering pump blew again. We ended up having to leave the trailer in Nevada, drive straight home 10 hours, because as long as we kept moving the vehicle stayed cool, and I had to make a 1300 mile round trip with our pickup truck to retrieve the trailer. Got home yesterday afternoon.

So far, no one I've talked to, including the Jeep tech in Ely, Nevada, nor any internet source, can explain blowing 4 power steering pumps in a month's time. Each time a new pump was installed, the power steering and cooling worked perfectly. In fact, the NAPA pump with the proper flow control valve seemed to work extremely well...until it blew. Now, taking all things into consideration, it appears the pump blows while the Grand Cherokee is in 2nd gear for extended periods of time pulling grades while pulling the trailer. I did plenty of mountain diving..up to Virginia City Nevada and such, without the trailer, with no issues.

Needless to say, I'm thoroughly disgusted with the idea of hydraulic cooling fans...as that appears to be the only thing out of the ordinary from any other vehicle I've ever owned. If the power steering fails, you have no cooling. I'm 55 years old, and I can remember only changing one power steering pump ever in my life until now. Having no cooling fan after a power steering failure is a true design flaw, as far as I can see. Ironically, the hydraulic cooling fan is supposed to be part of the "heavy duty" cooling package for towing. Well, it didn't work for me.

Prior to yanking out the entire power steering/cooling fan system and converting the whole thing to mechanical and/or electric cooling fans with a standard power-steering only setup. Or perhaps just putting a pump in and getting rid of it, as the next owner will likely never tow a travel trailer with it, I figured I'd run this past you all all and see what comes up.

Thanks.

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post #2 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 08:40 AM
smokeyyank
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I'd suggest looking at Lares or getting a a rebuild form someone in the states vs China/India. Secondly, you're putting some heavy strain on it tugging a 24ft trailer. I'd highly suggest adding a cooler and an inline filter. You''l increase your fluid capacity and cooling ability.

Also did you make sure after putting in the pump to properly prime it?

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post #3 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
carynickel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokeyyank View Post
I'd suggest looking at Lares or getting a a rebuild form someone in the states vs China/India. Secondly, you're putting some heavy strain on it tugging a 24ft trailer. I'd highly suggest adding a cooler and an inline filter. You''l increase your fluid capacity and cooling ability.

Also did you make sure after putting in the pump to properly prime it?
Thanks for the reply!

Yes, the pumps were properly primed. And the first one that blew was the factory installed pump, with the fluid that came with it, so there's got to be something that happened relatively recently that is causing this, as we towed with no issues for a year.

I'm the second owner, and the original owner kept meticulous records and receipts (which I have) and had everything serviced by professionals (I know that doesn't mean they are GOOD professionals), but much of the previous work was through Jeep dealers. There are no papers indicating any issue with the power steering/cooling in the past.

The trailer is 4500 lbs, and the advertised towing capacity of the Overland is 6500 lbs. It wouldn't appear we are anywhere near towing capacity, unless the the Overland just really isn't up to the task.

I've read that in this system the pressure control valve is in the hydraulic fan unit, but the Jeep tech in Ely, Nevada said the pressure control valve is in the steering gear.

I'm really stumped by this.
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post #4 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 09:35 AM
FanTech
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What is the condition of the hydraulic fluid (power steering) cooling radiator?
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post #5 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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I will take a look. From what I understand, the power steering cooler is the top part of the A/C condenser. I know there are no leaks, and the A/C works wonderfully, so the condenser part of the unit seems to be sound.
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post #6 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 10:16 AM
Double E
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This is odd. I think something else is going on and the PS pump is the victim.

I tow a 5300# 25ft boat all over. Towing Florida to NC in dead hot summer, local boat ramp all summer for many years and have had one issue with it leaking. Swapped it with an Advance Auto unit and it was still fine. I realize towing in high elevation is a new level of strain though.

I'm wondering if there's a restriction in the cooling system plumbing of the PS fluid circuit.

In any case, never seen anyone report blowing out PS pumps like this.

'04 Freedom Edition HO & '04 Overland HO (previous '00 Laredo 4.7)
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post #7 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
carynickel
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I took a look at the cooler/condenser unit and it's not obstructed in any way. Externally, at least, it looks fine. Air must be blowing through it OK, as the radiator is behind it, and I drove 650 miles with no power steering and no fan and as long as I was at speed, it never got above 210 on the gauge, which is where it normally sits. And that was in outside temps approaching 90 through western Utah.

I agree there must be some kind of internal blockage, or if there is a pressure regulator in the hydraulic fan motor, or elsewhere, it might be malfunctioning?
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post #8 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 03:17 PM
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When you looked at the front of the AC condenser did you see an external power power steering cooler in front of it? There should be when talking about the 04 4.7 here.

The hydraulic fan likely has a pressure regulator and flow control valve built into it while know the PS pump has both. On the power steering pump they're in the hex-nut fitting the high pressure line screws into.

Do you have the 04 FSM (factory service manual)? If so there's all kinds of tests in Sec 19 you can do on the power steering system along with hydraulic fan lines to see if the relief pressure along with gal per min flow meet spec. Only problem is it takes a specialty tool plus some adapters.

Have you ever had to replace any of the hyd. fan or power steering lines? Only reason I ask is the high pressure line between the PS pump and hydraulic fan is known to leak. Makes me wonder if maybe the rubber hose on this line has somehow weakened internally causing it to collapse and raise the pressure where the pump seal blows? Only guessing on this one and that line's expensive for Mopar but they redesigned it.

Think maybe I'd use a gallon of the Valvoline power steering fluid and see if you can change all the fluid out in the hyd fan, PS pump and PS gear. But maybe you've blown so many pumps most all the fluid has been changed out anyhow? Difficult one w/o testing equipment and good luck.

96 4.0 ZJ Laredo, 2004 4.7L WJ Limited, 96 4.0 XJ (son's)


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post #9 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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According to this thread:

(well, the message system made me delete the link or it won't post my message, but it's here on this forum under the topic: "Power steering cooler location '04 V8HO?")

it appears the power steering cooler is built into the AC condenser. The description in the thread matches what I have.

When I put the last P/S pump on, we did flush the system with three quarts of Valvoline...it was pretty much empty when we did so from gravity when I took the low pressure hoses off, and we flushed it with the engine on...it went pretty quick. The fluid practically gushed from the low pressure hoses all over the drivers side of the exhaust system, etc.

I don't have a factory service manual. I've not had any issues with this vehicle until now. Come to think of it, I did have the power steering leak at the pump end of the high pressure hose where the internal teflon seal failed. I installed the redesigned hose about a year ago, and that stopped the leak.

If I can't figure out a specific part or issue, I'm just going to have to replace the entire power steering/cooling system...pump, hydraulic fan, steering box, lines. Perhaps if I can easily prove the power steering cooler isn't plugged I'll leave it because it's also the A/C condenser and the A/C works great...I don't want to touch that if I don't have to. But I need this vehicle to be dependable or I need to get rid of it. It's just so nice in every other way that I hate to get rid of it if I don't have to.
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post #10 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 07:46 PM
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Maybe it's a good thing you don't have the FSM since they're wrong saying there's an external power steering fluid cooler in front of the condenser! And I should have checked my 04 4.7 first and indeed the PS system is plumbed into the side of the top driver's side AC condenser like yours.

There may be a thing in the forum in place where new members can't post a link until you reach 10-12 posts but thought that many had to do with photos. Below is the link on the PS fluid cooling system being in the condenser on the V8 you mentioned.

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f310...-v8ho-1228766/

It's too bad the testing equipment is so expensive but it's cheaper than all those parts you mentioned.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Miller-6815...oAAOSwdChc0IA3

You may want to check with your local parts stores to see if they have any loaner tool kit similar to above.

Below is diagram from the 04 FSM where they were wrong showing there should be an external power steering fluid oil cooler on the 4.7.
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96 4.0 ZJ Laredo, 2004 4.7L WJ Limited, 96 4.0 XJ (son's)


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post #11 of 62 Old 08-16-2019, 11:55 PM
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There's been an enormous number of issues with WJ power steering pumps. I've stopped selling them as a result because it's too expensive to keep shipping warranty replacements.

I had one customer go through four of them until we got a good one. We tried one from Crown, two from Mopar (one brand new and one remanufactured) and then lastly a brand new one from Cardone. That was has kept on living.

Thought the Cardone one was going to be the solution but then I sold two more of them to different customers and both failed.

So I gave up. Best to buy them locally so at least they're easy to swap out.

I don't know what the common issue could be but it's so frustrating
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post #12 of 62 Old 08-17-2019, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
carynickel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uniblurb View Post
Maybe it's a good thing you don't have the FSM since they're wrong saying there's an external power steering fluid cooler in front of the condenser! And I should have checked my 04 4.7 first and indeed the PS system is plumbed into the side of the top driver's side AC condenser like yours.

There may be a thing in the forum in place where new members can't post a link until you reach 10-12 posts but thought that many had to do with photos. Below is the link on the PS fluid cooling system being in the condenser on the V8 you mentioned.

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f310...-v8ho-1228766/

It's too bad the testing equipment is so expensive but it's cheaper than all those parts you mentioned.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Miller-6815...oAAOSwdChc0IA3

You may want to check with your local parts stores to see if they have any loaner tool kit similar to above.

Below is diagram from the 04 FSM where they were wrong showing there should be an external power steering fluid oil cooler on the 4.7.
Thanks for the info! When I was investigating towing ratings I did see that pictured power steering cooler as a replacement part and initially was looking for one of them on my Grand Cherokee, but never found it. It was confusing because every description of the Grand Cherokee Overland said it came standard with the heavy-duty towing package, which included upgraded power steering cooler and tranny cooler too, I think, along with the factory 7-pin trailer connector already installed and wiring for trailer brakes (And that infernal hydraulic fan)...and mine did have that..so I was wondering if mine only ended up with part of the two package. Then I found the link to the description here (thanks for posting it!) that answered my question about the power steering cooler. It's pretty troubling when even the factory service manual is incorrect.

The only two stores we have locally (several of each) that have loaner tool programs are Autozone and O'Reilly's. Neither show that power steering tester in their online lists of loaner tools, but I'll have to go into a store and check for sure.

Since I would do most of my own wrenching it would be a tough call on whether to purchase said power steering tester and probably never use it again. I'd probably be money ahead to just use the money to buy the parts and have a totally new power steering/cooling system.

I also see write ups and youtube videos on converting the entire setup to an electric fan system with standard power steering, and getting rid of that ridiculously priced hydraulic fan unit altogether.

I went shopping for different tow vehicle yesterday, so my other option is to slap another power steering pump on the sucker and trading it off. Since it only blows when towing, it just could be that it's simply not suitable for the task, despite what Daimler/Chrysler said.
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post #13 of 62 Old 08-17-2019, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolak View Post
There's been an enormous number of issues with WJ power steering pumps. I've stopped selling them as a result because it's too expensive to keep shipping warranty replacements.

I had one customer go through four of them until we got a good one. We tried one from Crown, two from Mopar (one brand new and one remanufactured) and then lastly a brand new one from Cardone. That was has kept on living.

Thought the Cardone one was going to be the solution but then I sold two more of them to different customers and both failed.

So I gave up. Best to buy them locally so at least they're easy to swap out.

I don't know what the common issue could be but it's so frustrating
I have read a lot about folks going through many power steering pumps before finding one that holds up. There's a thread, on this website also I think, that describes how many rebuilts are going out with the incorrect flow control fitting installed. The "wrong" ones have one hole in the side, while the "right" ones have four holes drilled around the circumference inside the fitting. I think I mentioned it above, but I know for a fact that the last Autozone pump I got had the "wrong" flow control fitting, and the NAPA one had the "right" one. It didn't matter in my case, though. They both blew.

From what I understand, Cardone does the rebuilds for practically everybody these days. I'm pretty sure both the Autozone and NAPA rebuilts I've used in the last month came from the same factory. The paperwork that came with the pumps, and the labels attached, were identical, and the fellow at NAPA in Ely, Nevada told me they are Cardone rebuilts. He was pretty skeptical of Cardone himself, saying he's had to warranty a lot of pumps since NAPA started using them.

It seems extreme, but it more and more appears that the hydraulic cooling fan might just need to go away if I want to keep the Grand Cherokee. Or perhaps the whole Grand Cherokee needs to go away. Warranty is great but, I can't have power steering pumps blowing on me in the hinterlands of Arizona or Nevada while towing my travel trailer. I've got to have a vehicle that's reliable. It may seem like sacrilege (it kind of does to me because the last last four of my daily drivers, over the last 25 years, have been Jeeps), but I was looking at a Chevy Tahoe and Nissan Armada yesterday. It will be tough, but I might just have to let Jeep go.
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post #14 of 62 Old 08-17-2019, 01:06 PM
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So I just went out and looked at my wife’s 01 JGC w/4.7 and the water pump does have a threaded snout to accept a manual fan and clutch. So you could install manual fan and clutch and ditch the hydraulic fan setup.

You could also possibly switch it over to the inline 6 manual cooling fan setup/ steering pump & lines.
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post #15 of 62 Old 08-17-2019, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chris Radley View Post
So I just went out and looked at my wifeís 01 JGC w/4.7 and the water pump does have a threaded snout to accept a manual fan and clutch. So you could install manual fan and clutch and ditch the hydraulic fan setup.

You could also possibly switch it over to the inline 6 manual cooling fan setup/ steering pump & lines.
Thanks for the info!

I took a look at mine and I think I see what you are talking about...the large threaded fitting in the center of the pulley on the water pump?

I have been investigating the possibility of converting the whole thing over to a mechanical fan attached to the water pump. That tech worked for decades with very little issue. Why engineers need to make things more complicated than they need to be is beyond me.

I've also read just today that a late modal electric fan from a Jeep Liberty is a direct fit? Does anyone have any experience with this? I don't care at this point about the check engine light..which I've read will turn on if you disconnect the hydraulic fan. The check engine light has been on for a year for a tiny evap emission lead (.004) that I can't find. My state has no emission (smog) check, so the check engine light is not an issue.

If the Jeep Liberty electric fan will bolt directly on in place of the hydraulic unit, that would be pretty sweet. Switching the power steering pump to a unit from a Grand Cherokee without the hydraulic fan and replacing a couple power steering lines would be easy.
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