Power Steering Fiasco - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-30-2018, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Power Steering Fiasco

Was finishing install on my new aluminum tie rod today, and re-installing my steering stabilizer clamp. I had a buddy cycle the wheel from left to right (full lock) multiple times. Well, on the 4th or 5th cycle BOOM, steam, I'm covered in boiling hot fluid (which in the heat of the moment I assumed was coolant, and that my radiator blew). Long story short, had to call an ambulance, suffered 2nd degree burns to my chin/lip area and neck, 1st degree burns to my chest, upper arms, and forearms.

Just got home from the hospital a few hours ago and took another peek to see what the hell happened. Looks like the line from the pump blew, and I have no idea why. Can anyone confirm this? My JK is a 2015 with 36k miles on it, is this covered under warranty? Has anyone else experienced this? I was planning on going hydro assist later this summer, but am not ready to drop all that coin now. No clue why my power steering line (maybe pump too) would spontaneously blow now?

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2015 JK- trussed and locked 44's, 37's, beadlocks, Synergy/Metalcloak control arms, Genright, Warn, Crawler Conceptz, Poison Spyder...blah blah blah
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-30-2018, 07:22 PM
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That is indeed the power steering high pressure line leaving the pump. Did you have any modifications previously that might have been pushing on the line? Remember that during up-travel the axle, tie rod, drag link, etc all go up and could hit lines although if I recall correctly the power steering pressure line is quite well protected.

Any chance you picked up a big stick at one point off-road that maybe put serious strain on that for some duration of time and it finally gave out?

Otherwise, you're probably just incredibly unlucky with a manufacturing defect at the most inconvenient of times leading to injury.


Without a doubt that should be covered by warranty unless you did some modification that stressed the line, but if you're at 36k miles you might be past the 36k warranty depending on the precision of your 36k number. This would not be covered by the power-train warranty.
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-30-2018, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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There doesn't seem to be anything that could've been making contact with the line, and I honestly haven't been wheeling since December (been building, and life has been hectic). Track bar and drag link are in their stock positions. RK 2.5" 4 door coils netted ~3.25" of lift on my 2 door. 11.5" travel shocks, 2" bumpstop up front. When we burned the artec truss on, we double checked clearances since I had heard some people had issues with the truss contacting their oil pan. There was no noticeable rubbing anywhere, so I'm thinking this was a random failure. The exact number is 36,920 miles, so it's closer to 37k. Dang...it would suck to have to cough up the bill for this in addition to all the burns I suffered today.

2015 JK- trussed and locked 44's, 37's, beadlocks, Synergy/Metalcloak control arms, Genright, Warn, Crawler Conceptz, Poison Spyder...blah blah blah
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-30-2018, 07:29 PM
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Something I forgot to mention is this might have not actually been a bad hose but instead a bad pump. Although it's a pretty rare failure mode, if the pump's pressure bypass failed and the person turning the wheel hit full lock at the end of steering travel, the pump would basically make unlimited pressure until the weakest link blew up, in this case that hose. It's supposed to limit to something like 1000-1500PSI through the bypass valve when you reach end of steering.
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-30-2018, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christensent View Post
Something I forgot to mention is this might have not actually been a bad hose but instead a bad pump. Although it's a pretty rare failure mode, if the pump's pressure bypass failed and the person turning the wheel hit full lock at the end of steering travel, the pump would basically make unlimited pressure until the weakest link blew up, in this case that hose. It's supposed to limit to something like 1000-1500PSI through the bypass valve when you reach end of steering.
The person turning the wheel did hit and hold full lock for maybe 10 seconds each time. I was checking for TRE play, the drag link, and positioning the steering stabilizer clamp. There were no signs it was going to blow, no noise or whining or anything out of the blue. Just boom. Might go ahead and have AAA tow it to the dealer tomorrow and see what they have to say.

If it turns out they won't warranty it, any suggestions on a replacement? Am I going to have to shell out the $600 on the PSC pump? Will this play nice with the stock system until I can afford to make the jump to hydro assist later this year? I'm planning on sending my box to WTO to have it tapped, sourcing my own lines and ram, and hooking it all up. To be honest, I'm a little traumatized so it'd be ideal to have the dealer warranty it and me never touch it again....

2015 JK- trussed and locked 44's, 37's, beadlocks, Synergy/Metalcloak control arms, Genright, Warn, Crawler Conceptz, Poison Spyder...blah blah blah
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-30-2018, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoraBora View Post
The person turning the wheel did hit and hold full lock for maybe 10 seconds each time. I was checking for TRE play, the drag link, and positioning the steering stabilizer clamp. There were no signs it was going to blow, no noise or whining or anything out of the blue. Just boom. Might go ahead and have AAA tow it to the dealer tomorrow and see what they have to say.

If it turns out they won't warranty it, any suggestions on a replacement? Am I going to have to shell out the $600 on the PSC pump? Will this play nice with the stock system until I can afford to make the jump to hydro assist later this year? I'm planning on sending my box to WTO to have it tapped, sourcing my own lines and ram, and hooking it all up. To be honest, I'm a little traumatized so it'd be ideal to have the dealer warranty it and me never touch it again....
Just so you know, holding full lock on a power steering system is really bad for it and generates enormous heat in the fluid. You should never hold full lock for more than a few seconds. Holding full lock for much longer, or even a few seconds at high RPM can destroy a power steering pump. That said this is just an FYI, it is not the cause of this particular failure.

You can replace the hose and pump with OEM, the parts aren't too expensive and the install is fairly easy (nowhere near $600) but the pump would be nice to just upgrade now. You certainly can run the PSC pump without hydro assist from a technical standpoint, it might drive a bit flighty on the highway but I bet it wouldn't be intolerable as a temporary state. There aren't really many other upgrade options for the 3.6L. AGR makes a bracket and pump that's a bit cheaper but I had less than stellar experience with them (pump didn't work, sent it in, didn't hear back for 1.5 months after many unanswered emails finally got a call it would be tested a week ago and then never heard back).

I'm running WTO hydro with a 4.5GPM PSC pump and it's spot on, it's a good combo (although I'm running about 11 degrees of castor so your experience may vary). I ran stock pump for a while and it was so nice going to a higher flow pump!
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-30-2018, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christensent View Post
Just so you know, holding full lock on a power steering system is really bad for it and generates enormous heat in the fluid. You should never hold full lock for more than a few seconds. Holding full lock for much longer, or even a few seconds at high RPM can destroy a power steering pump. That said this is just an FYI, it is not the cause of this particular failure.

You can replace the hose and pump with OEM, the parts aren't too expensive and the install is fairly easy (nowhere near $600) but the pump would be nice to just upgrade now. You certainly can run the PSC pump without hydro assist from a technical standpoint, it might drive a bit flighty on the highway but I bet it wouldn't be intolerable as a temporary state. There aren't really many other upgrade options for the 3.6L. AGR makes a bracket and pump that's a bit cheaper but I had less than stellar experience with them (pump didn't work, sent it in, didn't hear back for 1.5 months after many unanswered emails finally got a call it would be tested a week ago and then never heard back).

I'm running WTO hydro with a 4.5GPM PSC pump and it's spot on, it's a good combo (although I'm running about 11 degrees of castor so your experience may vary). I ran stock pump for a while and it was so nice going to a higher flow pump!
Thanks for this, I'll probably replace with OEM parts. I'm afraid of having flighty steering, especially since I can't run that much caster with the stock 44 housing.

I guess my pump was already on its way out, and this was the final straw. I'm just lucky my head was under the diff/pumpkin when it blew, since I wasn't wearing safety glasses. Could've been way worse...

2015 JK- trussed and locked 44's, 37's, beadlocks, Synergy/Metalcloak control arms, Genright, Warn, Crawler Conceptz, Poison Spyder...blah blah blah
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