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Steering Fluid Leak -- Follow-up
Thought the group might like to know the cause of the power steering fluid
leak in my '93 90 Quattro I posted some messages about last week.
The dealer's man drove 75 miles this morning to pick up the car, leaving me
a nice '93 100 CS loaner (Uggh, automatic transmission! But, after all, it
*is* an Audi.) The dealer called this afternoon to let me know that they
traced the leak to the high pressure hose, and that it definitely was not
leaking from the seals in the rack.
Evidently (and you folks would know more about this than I), this hose runs
from the pump to the right side of the rack, which explains why the fluid
appeared to be leaking from the vicinity of the right side of the steering
-- where it was leaking on the exhaust pipe. This hose has metal ends
crimped to rubber, and that interface (at the rack end) is where the fluid
is coming from. When the steering is turned hard in either direction,
there's more pressure in the hose and the fluid leaks out. I don't have the
car to look at it, but it sounds to me like the reason I only saw smoke
when the steering was turned hard right is that this position brought the
faulty hose end or some section of the steering mechanism that was heavily
coated with fluid, directly over the exhaust pipe. The fluid was probably
leaking when the steering was turned hard in either direction (I've been
avoiding that for a week, which saved a lot of fluid.)
BTW, one of my theories had been that the big blowout I had on the right
front (at 80 MPH) was somehow related to the fluid leak -- there was a loud
clunk from the underside of the car that immediately preceded the blowout.
The consensus on the list was that the problem was leaking rack seals and
that something (like a nail) thrown by the tire wouldn't cause this. Could
it have damaged the end of the hose?
Anyway, the dealer said they don't carry the part, but should have one in
tomorrow AM. I should have the car by tomorrow afternoon.
Another interesting note. I thought my three year warranty ran out on
September 8. Well, the dealer says Audi's computer has it at June 23! The
car had about 1000 miles on it when I bought it. The Honda dealer told me
that the dealership owner had been driving it around, but that it was
legally a "new car" and was entitled to full warranty coverage. Evidently,
as a demonstrator, it was put into service a couple of months before I
bought it, which meant I only got a 34 month warranty. Lucky that it wasn't
the steering rack, eh?!? But, and this is great, the Audi dealer says,
"Audi will honor the warranty anyway, as a matter of goodwill, seeing as
how you're only a few weeks out of warranty and the mileage is under
50,000." Really nice! I love my Audi again, and feel pretty good about this
dealer (and worse and worse about the Honda dealer.) Maybe I'll buy that
Quattro wagon for my wife after all, instead of the Volvo 850 (does the
Quattro wagon only come in automatic?)
Wonder if they would have been so nice if it *had* been the rack...