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Power steering fluid leak

11533 Views 51 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Frank1970
I pulled my Charger HC out of the garage to wash it today, and slipped on a puddle of what appears to be PS fluid on my garage floor when I walked back in. The puddle is near the driver front of the vehicle (maybe a foot or two back from the bumper), and is red in color. The power steering fluid reservoir is slightly below the "low" mark, so I have to assume that's what it is. I didn't pull it up on ramps or anything to try to determine where it was coming from. Has anyone heard of this happening to anyone else? The car is only a week old (560mi). Looks like it'll be making an early trip back to the dealer this week. :(
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Made an appointment at the dealer for tomorrow. I sure hope whatever parts need to be replaced aren't on backorder or something! It hurts to take it back to the dealer after only having it a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm a bit puzzled by the whole thing... Since cleaning the garage floor, I haven't noticed any additional leaking. I'm starting to wonder if it was transported without a cap on the reservoir (and later replaced the cap), or if someone overfilled it and then suctioned out the excess? There is visible fluid down the filler neck and all over the valve cover. The first rule of leaks is to find the highest point with fluid on it, which in this case would be the cap/filler neck. The amount of fluid on the garage floor was impressive. An ounce or two, I'd say. For there to have been that much fluid, the leak would have to be rather significant. However, since cleaning it up I haven't noticed any more leaking. The fluid level hasn't dropped any more, either. I wonder if the factory, transporter, or dealer left the cap off, or was very sloppy when filling it? If the spilled fluid wound up on the plastic panel under the engine, it would explain the "one time" leak. I pulled off the plastic access panel under the engine and looked around. I didn't see any obvious sources of the leak, but there is fluid on the AC compressor (which is under the PS pump), and several of the hoses.

I can't decide if I should take it to the dealer or just monitor it closely. Dealer service trips tend to stress me out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
has the steering wheel been turned with engine off? that can cause fluid to burp out of the reservoir.
It has not (at least not since i took delivery of it). This is good information to have, though.

The garage floor had more fluid on it this morning, so I'm taking it to the dealer. I'll report back with what they have to say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hmm... Makes me wonder if it's leaking something else, and my steering fluid was just low from the factory? It could be an oil or tranny cooler leak as well... I'm not confident on the reddish color comment I made earlier. It only looked like that initially. Ever since, it has seemed to be more of an engine oil color, but it's hard to tell since the fluids are all so clean right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The dealer called me yesterday afternoon to say that they think the fluid is coming from the transmission. He said the fluid appeared to be coming from between the engine and transmission. They acknowledged that the power steering fluid was low (about 1/4" below the "low" line on the reservoir), but didn't think it was power steering fluid. They're going to have one of their Viper techs look at it today, and call me with more info.

I will be very surprised if the leak is originating from between the engine and transmission, because that's not at all where the puddles have been. The puddles (and visible fluid on the car) have been up near the driver front wheel area. I'm hoping it's just a problem with a hose or a cooler line. I'm going to be sad if they have to separate the drivetrain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Various oils/fluids have gone nuts in the past few years. I get engineering fluids for the application but I swear some of this is just to force people to buy OE fluids and spend more money. I mean really, how many antifreeze variations do we really need. Motors are cast iron and aluminum. You would think one or two antifreeze variations should cover them all... ;)
That's a good point. But I remember my 2006 SRT8 having an issue where the coolant turned to cottage cheese because it didn't have some additive in it or something. The overflow bottle literally started filling with white goop. There was a TSB on it, that I had to have performed twice to completely correct the problem. So maybe the different types of coolant are more important than we realize?
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Just got a call from the dealer. The Viper tech has determined that it's the front pump seal on the transmission that's leaking. They're removing the transmission and replacing the seal today, and expect it to be ready tomorrow. I still don't understand how the fluid was getting up to the driver front of the vehicle (it looked like it was all over the AC compressor, and the hoses, etc.). I found no leaks near the centerline of the vehicle, which I would think a trans leak of any kind would have...

I'm sure the tech is correct. I'm just puzzed as to how it manifested itself in a leak near the driver front of the vehicle. I'll report back tomorrow when I get the car back... I hope this fixes it!

Also, I've received no explanation as to why the power steering fluid was low. I don't know if it was not filled properly at the factory, or if there is truly a leak in the power steering system as well (that has not yet been detected by the tech).
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Are you sure it's not the transmission cooler line? Cooler lines will run up to the radiator and back.
I'm not sure of anything at this point. I was convinced it was a power steering fluid leak, because the reservoir was low, the puddle was under the power steering pump, and the fluid was consistent with power steering fluid (which is the same as trans fluid). But obviously I don't know what the hell I'm doing, because the leak is apparently in the transmission itself, and not anywhere near where the puddles were found. I would've bet good money that the leak was somewhere right above where the puddles were found. I guess this is why the tech's make the big bucks!
 
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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I got same leak it's near oil filter passenger side
I was finding puddles on the driver side, near the front wheel/suspension...
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
You sure driver side not passenger side near oil filter ??
I am 100% sure that the puddles in my garage are near the driver side front of the vehicle. But note that the puddle location does not apparently correspond to the source of the leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
It's been at the dealer all week, and I've been lied to a couple of times already. I really don't understand what these service reps think they're going to gain by telling you your car is closer to being ready than it is. Do they not understand that some of us are trying to adjust our work schedules to make ourselves available to get the car when it is ready?

On Wednesday (mid day) I was told that they had all the parts they needed and to replace the pump seal, and the tech was in the middle of removing the transmission, and was going to try to get it done that day. Thursday at 2pm, I still hadn't received a call, so I left a voicemail for my rep. At 5pm I called again and got voicemail. At 6pm I called the main number and had my service rep paged. He answered and told me that the tech took the transmission out today and was able to order the parts that they needed, and that they should be in on Friday. He said the parts make in on the truck "8 out of 10 times." Encouraging.

With the shipping damage and this fluid leak, the car has officially spent more time at the dealer than it has in my hands. You would think the dealer would treat this case with a little more attention than most service requests. They had the car for more than 2 days before they ordered the parts, and they had identified the problem within 6 hours of dropping it off at the dealer. I could completely understand the delays if they had discovered more issues after they started tearing it down, but the rep says it is still just the pump seal (the one they had all the parts for on Wednesday, and ordered the same parts for on Thursday, which have an 80% chance of arriving on Friday).

Dealers wonder why customers get irate, and don't trust them. This is why. I'm not irate yet, but the trust is long gone. And to think I'm supposed to return the car to the dealer next week to have the HK audio problems looked at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Especially when you have bell pans like these cars. Could leak in one place, hit the pan, travel to the low spot and then hit the ground. Leak over here and puddle over there!
You're absolutely right. But like you said, it usually travels rearward, if it's something that leaks while the vehicle is in motion. I removed the belly pan to try to locate the source, and the rear portion of it was dry. Something had dripped on it near the front driver side (directly under the AC compressor and the PS pump), but the rest of it was dry. If the trans itself is really leaking, I think there may be 2 leaks. I don't know how fluid from the trans itself gets on the AC compressor (which had noticeable oil/fluid on it). The other possibility is that the PS reservoir was overfilled at the factory or the dealer before I took delivery, and they didn't clean up the mess.

None of this explains why the PS reservoir was low, either (which, along with the location of the puddles is what led me to believe it was leaking PS fluid). At this point, I assume I won't get the car back until Monday, and it may still have a leak. I'm really trying to stay positive, but it's really hard when I keep getting lied to, or misinformed. Part of me still thinks they haven't even looked at the car yet.
 
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