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2002 chevy trailblazer_ltz
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My 2002 Trailblazer LTZ keeps blowing the power steering (PS) return line about 6 inches above the rack. This will be the fourth line I'm replacing so it can't be faulty/weak lines. I originally replaced the rack & pinion (R&P) because of a leak from the boot near the Left tie rod end. I followed manufacture's R&P install guide & flushing/bleeding directions. Everything went smooth & vehicle worked great for about 1-2 weeks the. The return line blew for the first time and the following nightmare began...

I Replaced just that line thinking it could have been just a bad/weak line.

The same line burst again after another 1-2 weeks of working fine.

Thinking it couldn't be the line again I replaced the pump and added a PS fluid filter. I also replaced all the other lines and cleaned the fluid cooler including blowing it out making sure there were no clogs backing the fluid up. I even replaced the gasket/seals on the rack where the lines go in.
No leaks were found anywhere and no air bubbles were in the reservoir.

Problem was solved until now (5 months later). Our first freezing temp weather that same line burst again in the same spot!

Has anyone had this problem or have any idea what to try next?? Could the R&P that I replaced be bad or the new pump creating back pressure somehow? How could it be the return line be the one bursting?

Any Help would be really appreciated!

Jim
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_lt
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210 Posts
Did you use the correct replacement parts, and not just use metal tubing and fuel line hose to make the repairs?

I replaced all the power steering lines on my 2004 TrailBlazer last year using Gates replacement lines with no post installation line failures. As an aside, I would only use ACDelco OEM or Gates parts for this repair.
 

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A couple of possibilities for any who are still suffering this situation...................

Pressure is ultimately controlled by the bypass valve inside the PS pump. It is what you hear when you peg the steering to the extreme and keep on pulling on the steering wheel. It's normal - but stop it! You can't get any more outta the steering so just back off when you hit the limit! OK?

Return circuit resistance to the fluid coming out of the rack --- here's where I think you've got a problem.

IIRC- the return has to go through the auxiliary cooler before it goes back to the pump reservoir. No... that's wrong ... 'cause I KNOW that's the way it goes.... I made a mistake there......(first one this year too!)
  • Check for the obvious first---> crushed return tubing in the cooler. It lives in a very hazardous location and can get hurt pretty easily.
  • The actual cooler is steel tubing and some fins - but it has neoprene hose to and from it. Make sure there are NO kinks in any of the flex-hoses. Check the full length.
  • Your problem is NOT the pump, the rack, nor the hoses, since really ---> there isn't a whole lot of pressure in the return circuit - lest it would be steel lines all the way to handle high pressures! Right?
  • Here's the 'out-on-a-limb' thought for today: I'd make sure that the viscosity of the PS Fluid is GM-specifically correct - since you stated that cold weather seems to bring out PS problems.
  • Isn't the return-to-the-pump return hose nipple, cast on the plastic reservoir? I think so..... so check that there's no restriction in that nipple - 1) too small? 2) partially crushed? 3) foreign object that you somehow inserted in the return line? 4) something organic in the nipple?
Nipples should have no restrictions. Write that down - it'll work for a few other situations that you'll run into in the rest of your life. I can think of two right now - at this moment.
 
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