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I have 04' MDX with a leak in my power steering high pressure feed line which runs from the power steering pump to the rack. It looks like it weaves in and out of the sub frame and I wanted to know if anyone has replaced this part before or is this something I should rely on the dealer to do. There are two mounting brackets that look really difficult to reach and the connection from the hose to the rack looks tough as well.

If anyone has done this before or has a repair manual they can reference I would appreciate any insight, tips or anything else. Thanks in advance!
 

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I know that some have managed to replace the hp PS line from an over-the-top of engine access. Search will find a few cases.

I tried and cried "calf-roped" and went to dealer shop. The shop procedure calls for lowering subframe to access the lower PS hose connections to the rack.

In my case the lower end connection to the PS rack was the final straw. I just didn't want to tackle w/ such poor access.

good luck
 

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High Pressure Power Steering Hose 2003 MDX

I just changed out the High Pressure Power Steering Hose on my 03 MDX and it was very time consuming, given the fact I didn’t drop the sub frame. The pressure hose can be removed from the top back of the engine compartment. You will need to go on the bottom of the car to loosen and remove the 2 bushing brackets that hold the metal part of the hose onto the rear sub-frame. Make sure you use a boxed ratchet wrench to save you time. Getting this part back on was also very difficult to line back up. It helps to have a person under the vehicle and a person on the top assisting from the top back of the engine compartment. Also loosing the Pressure line into the rack & pinion was challenging too. There is a line in front of the High pressure line that should be removed so you have more clearance to break free the High pressure line. Also removing the Throttle Body and various hoses will give you more access space to work in this tight and crammed area. At this point you might as well clean the Throttle Body before you put it back on, and don't forget to have your computer relearn the warm up cold to normal temp idle mixture, if you don't then you will see the engine light come on randomly. It makes you wonder why Acura just didn't make the line screw apart from the Rubber High Pressure hose to where the metal line is by the sensor. All this non-sense work just to replace this simple line, which will put you back $300.00 to $400.00 USD at your local shop. If you don't have any patients then don't try to DIY this job!
 

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Anyone tried this before? if you cut the p/s line at the flare nut and put a socket in with impact gun, or extent it on the side of the passenger.
 

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The LP return line connection is very near and further forward of the HP line connection and obstructs access to HP connection. I thought you would have to remove the LP connection to have any hope of removing the HP connection. See Duffmaster's post as this is what he did. I could see significant dirt/debris entering the PS system during the operation.

That was when I stopped and drove to a Honda service center for completion. They charged about $250 labor as I recall.

If you cut the HP connection (perhaps difficult itself due to access limits), you are committed to replace and would incur a tow to get help if you can't manage further progress.

good luck
 

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A flare nut socket wrench & a breaker bar or torque wrench is your huckleberry to break lose the LP male hose stem, and HP flared nut. When putting this back together it will help you to torque it back down tight again. I don't suggest you use an open end wrench to break it loose. Don't waste time on breaking your back by trying to cut the flared line in this crammed area between the firewall and transmission. TexasHonda is right, if you damage the HP line more and can't fix it then your MDX will need to be towed, if you don't tow it and drive it then you will burn up your Rack & Pinion and Power Steering Pump. That would be more $$$$.$$ down the drain. Remember this job is a Pickle and will push your attitude limits.<O:p</O:p
<O:p</O:p
On another note, it’s funny that the high pressure line sprung a leak when the mileage was right at 166666!<O:p</O:p
 

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Probably not that bad

... if you don't tow it and drive it then you will burn up your Rack & Pinion and Power Steering Pump.
When I got my '02 MDX, it had NO PS fluid, and I _just_ replaced the low side line where the leak was. (like 20 minutes ago)

I think as long as the PS pump belt gets removed, all will be well. Stopper or clamp off the lines, or plug the holes, and the rack should be fine. I just spoke to the Honda dealer parts dept, and they said they almost never replace racks, but when they do, it's likely because of improper fluid, not _no_ fluid. So as long as the seals are intact, there will be fluid to lubricate the rack, just no hydraulic assist. So you CAN drive it without damage, especially if the pump isn't turning, and you make sure that ALL of fluid doesn't leak out of the rack. After all, cars DID have manual steering at one time.

When I had a Saturn with a broken PS pump pulley, I just removed the pump and connected the inlet to the outlet to keep the fluid in, and all was well for 3 months.

Not sure how long my MDX was run without fluid in the reservoir, so we'll what kind of shape the pump is in. Maybe the seals are dried out, or maybe the pump is worn due to lack of lubrication.
 

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<O:pLet’s see, you got your serpentine belt which drives your Power Steering, Alternator, Tension Pulley / Idler Pulley, Air Conditioner Pump; and on some cases your Water Pump Pulley (on various cases this is driven by the Timing Belt).<O:p</O:p

<O:p</O:pMore work than necessary Golden Eagle to take out the pump or even leave the belt off with all the other accessory drive pulleys. If a person doesn't have the patients or skill set to change the High Pressure line (remember this thread is about the High Pressure line, not the Low Pressure line) then leave it to the experts.<O:p</O:p
<O:p</O:p
Also older cars that came non-equipped with power steering are actually easier to turn the steering wheels, in contrast, to a completely broken equipped power steering vehicle.<O:p</O:p
<O:p</O:p
Some people are not strong enough to turn the wheels on a down power steering system; this could be dangerous and a liability while driving too. This may possibly endanger yourself and others drives / pedestrians, nevertheless, it’s against the law to drive a known defective vehicle on the public streets.

</O:p
 

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Just helped my brother replace the HP line without dropping the subframe. As Duffmaster and others alluded to, it is a total pain in the a$$.

Indispensible tool for the job: crow foot wrench (used both standard and flare). A crow foot with a 3/8 ratchet was used to break the HP line nut at the steering rack (best to find yourself a southpaw to help with the job that has long arms). Lay across the engine and fish your left arm down along the firewall and pop the flare nut loose. After you get it loose, you can get a hand in through the driver's wheel well and use a finger from the top and a finger from the wheel well to spin the nut loose.

There are three brackets that hold the HP hose in place. One is just behind the top of the engine near the firewall. 10 mm wrench with each access. There are two lower brackets that bend around the line. One is just in a bit from the sensor. The other is near where the line makes the second to last 90 turn up towards the engine (you can see this one from the top of the engine when looking down towards the HP line...about 8" left of the flare nut). The bolt nearer the sensor requires a 10 mm ratcheting wrench for easier removal. We couldn't get the bolt closer to the flare nut end to go (tried regular open and flare nut wrench-angle of ratcheting open wrench was not right)...it ended up rounding off and you can't get a socket on it (even a 1/4 drive). We ended up cutting that metal strap with a hand held hacksaw blade/dremel tag team and just slipping the line out.

We could not get the entire HP line removed easily with all those [email protected] twists and turns in the metal section so we cut the line and fished it out in two pieces.

For reinstall, we disconnected the four bolts for the drive shaft and the heat shield and tried to fish the piece in from right there...no go. We then snaked it in from the passenger wheel well (about where the sensor was before the line was removed) and that was the ticket. We could not get the sensor Y joint to fit in past a sway bar mount with the sensor installed (like we had it). We removed the sensor and were able to get the line up and over the mount using a gentle nudge from a large screwdriver. With that line of insertion, it was hard to get the flare nut end of the HP line around the LP hose that also connects to the rack. (We should have removed that sooner, but eventually did during reinstall.) We used some long (4') bars to manipulate the hose around to get it under the flare nut end so it was on the right path.

It was hard to get the flare nut lined up with the rack opening. For us, one person on top pulling on the metal line just a bit towards the front of the MDX while the other was in the driver wheel well using fingers to get the flare nut started.

After that, we used the flare crow foot wrench to tighten the flare nut. One person in the wheel well positioning/re-positioning the crow foot after each series of movements (you can hug the rotor and get one hand on each side of the nut) while the other used a needle nose in the opening of the crow foot wrench. We also used some finger tightening of the crow foot wrench. After we got as much movement out of that arrangement, we used the 3/8 ratchet to give the last 1/2 turn of the flare nut to get it tight.

Reinstalling the LP hose we disconnected from the rack was a challenge. Again, the southpaw would help here. Pad your left hand up with a towel or thick glove, grab the LP hose and brace your left hand against the engine hoist point and pull/twist that hose back on.

We used a couple of zip ties to secure the lower two bracket locations.

After you get the lower flare nut tightened up, make sure you fill up the HP line with some power steering fluid before you secure the two bolts near the drive belt. This will help minimize the air in the system (compared to an empty HP line)...and there will be plenty of air.

This definitely took a decent amount of time and a lot of patience.
 

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Trying to decide if I want to tackle this on my wife's MDX. How much is involved with "dropping the subframe"? I am a capable shade tree mechanic but my experience is limited to old BMWs and my 911, and I've done a lot of work on both. Is there a quick overview of what dropping the subframe entails? I have jacks, ramps, and other lifting tools but if this is a complete PITA I'll just let our local indy guy do it and pay him.
Thanks
 

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Save yourself some time. Remove the air intake tubing and intake manifold before you start. Then remove the Low Pressure hose and fitting (17mm) on the steering block from above. This probably cost me about 6 hours to learn after fighting reaching the high pressure fitting (19mm) on the block. The rest, see posts above, especially Duffmaster and upnorthguy.
 

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Can someone post a photo of where this line is in the MDX? I noticed what I thought was an oil leak but after reading this I think it might be power steering fluid. It looks like a leak from a hose under the serpentine belt and next to the oil filter. I attached a photo of the line I think is leaking. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Hello Dallas2004mdx


I wouldn't drop the subframe unless your also replacing the rack and pinion or perhaps addressing a transmission or rear main oil leak problem. I helped a buddy drop his sub frame and we used a cherry picker to keep the engine and transmission stay afloat, however it's scary and not advisable since you will be working under the car and around the engine and transmission. If the engine and tranny slips off the picker then it could seriously injure you or even worst!!!!


I did the job without taking the intake manifold off, I just took off the Throttle Body and Air Box Intake Tube. However if you took off the intake manifold as krc85aggie pointed out then it would give you more workable clearance between the firewall and the side of the engine.


All I can really point out is if you don't have a high frustration tolerance then don't attempt this job. Patience is the key factor to be successful at this job. I am pretty experienced and still found myself very upset & agitated at various times while performing this job!


The next day all I could feel is my muscle being sore from this job. Before this job my high pressure hose was fatter (swollen up rubber part of the hose by the power steering pump) and my wallet was skinny. After this job my wallet felt fatter (from the money that I saved by taking on this job) and my high pressure hose was slimmer do to completing this job.


I wish you the best if you choose to do this job! You can see all the fun upnorthguy and I experienced.
 

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Skarface2002,


My power steering high pressure hose had a crack in the rubber part of the upper hose. While steering left or right it would leak fluid down towards the bottom and side of my engine, likewise to what your pointing out. See if your loosing power steering fluid or oil. I would monitor it everyday and see which one is always getting low on fluids. That will help you to determine if its your oil or your power steering that is leaking.
 

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Skarface2002,


My power steering high pressure hose had a crack in the rubber part of the upper hose. While steering left or right it would leak fluid down towards the bottom and side of my engine, likewise to what your pointing out. See if your loosing power steering fluid or oil. I would monitor it everyday and see which one is always getting low on fluids. That will help you to determine if its your oil or your power steering that is leaking.
I figured it out a week or so ago. It ended up being the power steering return pipe. It's held onto the rubber hoses with hose clamps. Thanks for the help though. Hopefully someone else sees this and it helps them out.
 

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This thread helped me a lot when I replaced my high-pressure power steering line (also cracked at the top - must be a design weak point). I thought I'd add a few things I learned in the process for those who will be reading this thread looking to do the job themselves.

1) You do need crows feet wrenches to get the high-and low-pressure lines disconnected. I got the flare nut variety, which wrap around the nut more, so will stay in place as you wiggle around looking for the right angle.
2) You can do most of the work on those two nuts from the left wheelwell (wheel off, of course).
3) Back off the clamp on the low-pressure hose, but don't take it off entirely (it's a pain to get back on). Then slide the low-pressure hose down about 3/4" or so. At that point, you can remove the LP fitting, which will give you the room you need to remove the HP fitting. It will also leak the contents of your PS system, so have a pan ready. The fitting will turn just fine with the hose still loosely attached, and this will save you the grief of trying to get the hose back on over the large flare at the end of the fitting.
4) Pay attention to how the two clamps go on. They're not difficult to remove, but are impossible to reinstall unless you get 'em back on exactly the same way.
5) There are bits of the job that seem to be easier when laying on the engine, reaching down behind. I had to break the HP fitting from this position, but didn't find it necessary to remove the throttle body (or anything up top for that matter). It limited my room, but all I needed was room to swing a 3/8" ratchet.
6) Speaking of ratchets, make sure you have a wobble extension. Even better, have extensions of different lengths - working inside the wheelwell sometimes requires getting JUST the right number of extensions (which was more the case for me since I was doing this away from my own garage, and didn't have a wobble extension).
7) I couldn't get the old line out (and am sure getting the new one in would have been worse), until I dropped the rear of the engine/tranny subframe down about an inch. I did this by removing the "stiffeners" from the corners of the subframe, then backed out the bolts. CAREFUL though... back the bolts out a little too far, and you're going to have a real mess on your hands. Once I did this, it was simple to get the old line out, and kind of / sort of simple to get the new one in (I was working solo, and found that looping the rubber end up and over, hooking it over near the throttle body and firewall put a little torque on the line, making it easy to align it with the rack.
8) It might not be the case with other lines, but the Gates hose I got had an oddball size nut on the rack side (5/8"? / 16mm?). Most crows foot wrench sets won't have a 16mm, but happily I had a 5/8" crows foot. Also, the fitting for the pressure sensor is at a right angle, vs. about 45° for the original line. I had to bend the line around quite a bit to get the sensor to the point I could plug in the connector without stressing the wire unnaturally.
9) You WILL need a flat, ratcheting wrench (10mm) to put the bolts that hold the two mounts that hold both the low- and high-pressure line back in. That was probably the most unpleasant part of the job. I was tempted to zip tie the lines to whatever was available, but I'm pretty sure that would lead to "unusual noises" being transmitted to the chassis. Just make really sure that you have the rubber parts fully closed around the lines, and the metal "bands" properly positioned around the rubber mounts, or they'll never go back in. Again, I did this with about an inch extra clearance between the subframe and chassis, which made it easier (a very relative term).

In the end, it's a painful job, but I'm glad I did it so I know it was actually done right. I can imagine a hundred shortcuts a shop could do to save time and aggravation.
 
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