[200q20v] leaking hoses oh my!

Phil Rose pjrose at frontiernet.net
Sat Dec 22 11:02:19 EST 2001

At 2:31 AM -0500 12/22/01, Tomsaudi200 at aol.com wrote:
>I thought it was a simple short in the dash. I thought my wife's complaints
>of stiff steering and hard brake pedal were due to the fact that she rarely
>drives the 20Ver.
>If ignorance is bliss, that's where I've been living. Dropped my wife off
>this morning to pick up her '95 90 since the windshield washer pump and
>suspensions bushings were replaced. It being the holidays, I wanted to drive
>the 91 200, so off she went to the car wash, then to get her oil changed.
>After the service was done, the stern German mechanic is staccoto english
>asked if I'd noticed my parking brake idiot light was lit all the time. I
>told him yes, just thinking it was just a short or something. No such luck.
>Turns out my car is pissing brake and power steering fluid. He said the best
>way to go is to just replace all the hoses, but he did say if he had the car
>for a day he could crimp the parts where fluid is bleeding out.
>Any of you guys had this problem? If so, what did it cost you?And just in
>time for Christmas....

Hah!  This list (and qlist) is full of posts about dead bombs,
leaking PS pumps and replacement of leaking hydraulic hoses. Hard to
miss. The PS and brake-assist hydraulics can be the biggest hassle of
older Audi ownership, IMHO. Just check the archives.

The brake warning light coming on during hard brake-application is a
common sign of a dead bomb. However the light ususally goes out after
a few seconds as the pump repressurizes the system. But the brake
light being on "all the time" could be caused by several things
(stuck e-brake, lack of pump pressure, ...).

What do you mean by "pissing brake and power steering fluid"? Are you
losing Pentosin to the extent of having drippage on garage floor, and
needing frequent additions to maintain fluid level? It'd be hard to
miss that, I'd think.  Some Pentosin oozing from the hose fittings is
not uncommon and is often more of a messy nuisance than a hazard.
However it often can be a prelude to serious, large loss of fluid.
Sometimes, an unsightly mess o' Pentosin can be caused merely by some
low-pressure hose clamps needing to be tightened. These (clamps) are
at the bottom of the Pentosin reservoir and at the bomb.

Is the power steering pump itself losing fluid from the piston seals
(or perhaps just at its hose connections)? If pump seals are leaking,
it needs to be rebuilt--or replaced with a rebuilt pump unit. If a
hose is leaking badly at the crimp, your mechanic is correct--replace
the  hose since they're not _that_ costly, and the labor to try to
"fix" them by crimping is as much as doing complete replacement.
Who'd want to re-crimp 11-yr-old rubber, anyway (Bernie?)? Many
people have re-used the old hose connection hardware and had "new"
hoses custom made at a local hydraulics shop. Maybe that's what your
mechanic actually meant by "recrimping" (?)

As far as replacing "all of them" is concerned--well that depends on
how much value you place on peace of mind and on how fat your wallet
is  (to borrow a Benz-ism). All the hoses are probably the same age,
so there's a high probability others will fail in the next few years.
But may not be much labor-savings achieved by replacing all at one
time. Just a lot less hassle for you.

Cost? Some hoses are $50-$100, but (IIRC) the high-pressure hose to
the steering rack may run close to $150 for the oem part--that's the
one that people tend to have made up at a local hydraulics shop with
the old fittings reused. To rebuild the pump costs under $20 in parts
(plus a couple hours of labor). A complete, rebuilt pump is $250 and
an hour's labor (roughly). A new bomb costs about $210 plus labor.

Merry Christmas.

*  Phil & Judy Rose           Rochester, NY  *
*        mailto:pjrose at frontiernet.net       *

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