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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Gang,

My 06 MDX is in the shop for an oil change and I indicated to the mechanic that the power steering felt tight. Or rather not as much assist.

He just called and said it looks like the power steering high pressure hose was leaking and quoted $475 for parts and labour. I asked him to hold off on that for a bit (I want to do some research and get your opinions first).

Is it possible that the leak may be coming from the O ring and that O ring may also be contributing to the reduced assist in the power steering?

Much rather spend a few bucks rather than $475.

Any other input is always welcome.

We have just over 300,000 km on the Acura and is now my daughter's daily driver.
 

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If it really IS a high-pressure power steering hose, that's not a bad estimate. It's NOT a trivial job at all - you'll need special tools (crow's foot wrenches for disconnecting the line going into the rack), will have to drop the front subframe down (I did it by gingerly loosening the bolts until I was certain they were just about ready to fall out...) and you'll be lying on your back cursing the concept of a vehicle designed for right-hand drive with everything running all the way across the vehicle for no reason. ;-) I did it in my sister-in-law's driveway in the rain in New Jersey in (IIRC) November or December. Great fun.

If it IS the hose, it should be pretty obvious, and they DO go bad (mine split right down the middle where it heads over the top of the engine). The fluid will be leaking along the length of the hose, with the high point being the actual source of the leak. An unscrupulous mech might dribble some fluid on the hose to simulate a leak, but if there's any sign of cracking, you can probably satisfy your curiosity / anti-chump defense by having someone saw the wheel back and forth a few times with the engine running. Unless it's nearly out of fluid, it should pump out a noticeable amount from the leak.

If, OTOH, the "high point" does seem to be at a fitting, then pursue that approach - but it's not a classic O-ring scenario, given that that line has a ridiculous amount of pressure (in the thousand(s) of PSI, IIRC).

If there's no obvious leak, and the pump is noisy, THEN check the O-ring at the inlet of the power steering pump, as it's a very common failure on the (now old) 1G MDXs. More than a few folks here have replaced the pumps only to find out that a $1 O-ring was the real problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Habby, your response is exactly why I have this page linked.

And thanks for the feedback on the cost of the repair.
 

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I highly doubt that O-ring leak would have a significant effect on the stiffness of the steering. You must have a huge gushing leak to cause that. Or, most likely, the pump itself is the culprit.

But, of course, you can replace the O-rings (both of them) first. It'll cost you a couple of bucks and 30 minutes of your time (plus a quart of PS fluid, if you don't want to make a complete mess and deside to pump out some of the old fluid from the reservoir and the connecting hoses first).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I highly doubt that O-ring leak would have a significant effect on the stiffness of the steering. You must have a huge gushing leak to cause that. Or, most likely, the pump itself is the culprit.

But, of course, you can replace the O-rings (both of them) first. It'll cost you a couple of bucks and 30 minutes of your time (plus a quart of PS fluid, if you don't want to make a complete mess and deside to pump out some of the old fluid from the reservoir and the connecting hoses first).
Thanks for the input Acruaaddicted.

The mechanic said the power steering hose is leaking but we don't have any drips on the driveway, so it can't be an overly significant leakage.

We also have a bit of a squeal in the serpentine belt area. The mechanic believes it is just the belt and it needs to be replaced anyway cause I can't remember the last time that was done.

Is it possible that maybe the squeal we hear is related the power steering pump?

I think I will get the belt changed first and we will see if that was the squeal culprit.

And if the squeal continues, the power steering pump may be the next thing to investigate. And if we need to switch that out I'll get him to do the hose at the same time.

Does that sound like a reasonable course of action?




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Sure, if the belt has not been replaced for a while, it needs to be and this will likely help getting rid of squealing, but I don't think it will improve the steering stiffness. In any case, that's a good place to start.

Here's my video on the O-rings replacement (there's also a short clip of the symptoms in the intro). Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great video AcuraAddicted.

Thanks for the input. I'll update you as this unfolds.
 

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If the belt is squealing and slipping enough, that could cause stiff steering.

To check the squeal, Harbor Freight has a low cost stethoscope. You could probe the pump housing while it’s running but be extremely careful and aware of the moving belt and pulleys.


I also recall someone on the forum tested the belt squeal by spraying water on it to see if it would go away. If the rubber on the grooves is glazed, that would indicate the belt is slipping.

Good luck!
 

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If the belt is squealing and slipping enough, that could cause stiff steering.

To check the squeal, Harbor Freight has a low cost stethoscope. You could probe the pump housing while it’s running but be extremely careful and aware of the moving belt and pulleys.


I also recall someone on the forum tested the belt squeal by spraying water on it to see if it would go away. If the rubber on the grooves is glazed, that would indicate the belt is slipping.

Good luck!
Yeah that was me. I installed a new aftermarket Goodyear belt that started squealing intermittently, and got progressively worse to constant, in the first 100 miles.

You can spray water on it to diagnose squeak from a belt and it should silence instantly, but come back to squeaking in seconds. You can lightly spray Armorall on it and that will generally stop it for a day or two.

This assumes your tensioner is good and not tired. The bearings in the tensioner are also a frequent source of squeak as they get old that could be checked with that stethoscope.

I gave up and got the OEM belt. The Acura dealer charged her $70 for the belt, but I understand it should be more like $50.



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Discussion Starter #10
Picked up the MDX today. The squeal is gone so replacing the belt took care of that.

Now with the belt quieter I think I heard a similar noise from the power steering pump that AcuraAddicted noted in his video. So the Oring will be next to be changed. I'll try that myself.

Unfortunately, the steering is still the same, i.e. Not fully powered for lack of a better phrase. I doubt a leaking High pressure hose is responsible for reduced power steering assist so figure the pump is nearing the end of its life.

So we will monitor the fluid level and drive it for another month or two then perhaps take care of the pump and high pressure hose at the same time.

Thanks to you all for your input.


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If there are no obvious leaks, and there's plenty of fluid in the system, I'd be more likely to suspect a bad filter screen in the reservoir, or in a pinched line. I believe (but could be wrong) that a bad pump will have other symptoms other than no power assist - at least it would tend to be a long, steady decline in assist as the pump wore out. Of course, if the pump IS worn out, it's likely contaminated your system with shrapnel, most obviously the filter screen in the reservoir.

You could probably test the possibility of a clogged filter screen by disconnecting the hose that leads through it, and seeing what kind of flow you get - but the new reservoirs are under $20, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to just swap it out as a convenience and a start on a full system flush (probably a good idea, too). AND a lot easier than swapping out that high pressure hose - trust me! ;-)
 

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Hey Gang,

My 06 MDX is in the shop for an oil change and I indicated to the mechanic that the power steering felt tight. Or rather not as much assist.

He just called and said it looks like the power steering high pressure hose was leaking and quoted $475 for parts and labour. I asked him to hold off on that for a bit (I want to do some research and get your opinions first).

Is it possible that the leak may be coming from the O ring and that O ring may also be contributing to the reduced assist in the power steering?

Much rather spend a few bucks rather than $475.

Any other input is always welcome.

We have just over 300,000 km on the Acura and is now my daughter's daily driver.
 

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Hey Gang,

My 06 MDX is in the shop for an oil change and I indicated to the mechanic that the power steering felt tight. Or rather not as much assist.

He just called and said it looks like the power steering high pressure hose was leaking and quoted $475 for parts and labour. I asked him to hold off on that for a bit (I want to do some research and get your opinions first).

Is it possible that the leak may be coming from the O ring and that O ring may also be contributing to the reduced assist in the power steering?

Much rather spend a few bucks rather than $475.

Any other input is always welcome.

We have just over 300,000 km on the Acura and is now my daughter's daily driver.
Hey Drtbk, I thought I'd chime in as I am the official owner of Satan's old MDX. I've become very good at working on the damn thing because I'm not in a position to fork out $400 a month for a car payment, and price wise it's not to bad if you spread things out. The only thing I really worry about keeping OEM are gaskets, transmission and transaxle fluid, and sealant. The power steering probably isn't a leaky hose, you'd notice the fluid level dropping and the pump itself would start whining. Get the rebuild kit (which is 4 o-rings I believe) from any OEM place then order the bearing from an auto parts store (~$6). You DO NOT want to do a rebuild without replacing the bearing, it just doesn't make sense. You can get loaner tools from any auto parts store (you just have to leave a fully refundable deposit, use a credit card not a debit card) for any speciality tools you need which include a torque wrench, and a pulley/bearing puller. Do a You Tube search and there are several videos that will walk you through the process, it took me about 30 minutes at a leisurely pace, you DO NOT need to take anything out of the pump, you just replace the o-rings and the bearing. Everything is really pretty simple to fix, rebuild, or replace you just need to get familiar with You Tube, buy yourself a Chilton's manual, and take your time. I'm hoping to find someone who might be willing to share an electronic version at some point
 

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If there's no obvious leak, and the pump is noisy, THEN check the O-ring at the inlet of the power steering pump, as it's a very common failure on the (now old) 1G MDXs. More than a few folks here have replaced the pumps only to find out that a $1 O-ring was the real problem.
 
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