Xantia Power Steering Gusher
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Thread: Xantia Power Steering Gusher

  1. #1
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    Icon9 Xantia Power Steering Gusher LHM Leak

    Hi Froggers,

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    I thought I'd give my Activa a Christmas Present of some new front discs and pads. These are now all fitted. However after attending a boxing day function that required a difficult reverse park, I noticed a big pool of LHM on the road.

    So I drove home quickly and put the car up on ramps. There is a steady LHM drip at idle speed which turns into a gusher when you turn the wheel under load. I could only look further by taking the drivers side front wheel off. (There is so much hydractive and activa stuff right under the steering rack that the only way you can see it is down the long tunnel behind the front hub.) It appears to be leaking from one of the steel tubes that links the pinion valve to the hydraulic ram. I have taken the tube off and there doesn't appear to be any cracks or splits but it still leaks!

    These were sold as a pipe set by Citroen but have been NFP for some time.

    Any ideas and suggestions on how this has ocurred and what I should do now would be appreciated.

    Ken W
    Last edited by Ken W; 5th January 2015 at 02:17 PM. Reason: add clarity

  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Hi Ken,you could make a temporary! repair by binding the leaking area with stainless wire and then silver soldering Cleanlynes is important ,I have successfully fixed H P pipes on my D spec this way a number of times. 0.6 mm welding wire is fine.
    Woody

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    UFO
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    The bushes on the ram haves worn and the ram has been flapping back and forth and worn a fine crack in one of the pipes - probably near the ram on the nut end. Note these have Pug style flared end nuts with no seal.

    You may be able to get one of the hydraulic mobs to make you copies (eg Pirtek). Take in the originals with nuts on etc and ask.

    When replacing the pipes ensure you replace the bushes too.
    Craig K
    2009 C5 HDi Exclusive

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    You can also build non-original style tubes with a relief coil in them.

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    1000+ Posts Greg C's Avatar
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    Are you sure it is the metal high pressure hose and not the rubber return to tank line. The latter is more likely to break
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    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    Hi Greg, Craig and Adam,

    John from DS Motors has provided the same advice and has managed to find me a set of new citroen pipes and new bushes to fit to the power steering ram. All I have to do now is work out how to get the ram off and out over the steering rack to fit the new bushes.

    So a word of warning to BX, XM and Xantia owners. Put you car up on ramps and then move the steering back and forth to make sure the bush holding the ram next to the pinion valve is in good nick or else your pipes will fatigue and break too and replacements are almost exhausted.

    Greg I think I worked out that my car has had the main LHM return pipe set which includes the power steering return line replaced at some stage when they were still available. However this was the first place I looked and I even tighted up the hose clamp on this connection to no avail.

    Now I just have to wait for the current Brisbane Mossie plague to die down a bit so I don't get eaten alive while replacing these parts.

    Cheers,

    Ken W

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    Remove the rack through the driver's wheelarch after the lower wishbone is swivelled aside. Don't forget to decouple the height corrector plastic link first. It will allow the necessary cleanliness and actually be quite time-effective. I have done it both ways (No, Alexander, not like that!) and prefer removal. I've also noticed some rack mount bolts are a smidge too long and bottom out on the rack housing, which compromises fixing torque. It's a good time to correct this problem.

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    UFO
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    Having never taken the ram out of a Xantia, but did do my BX and XM, I found the ram to be accessible from underneath without having to remove the rack. IIRC, the main securing bolts on the ram are 19mm and tightened by Herman Munster with added Loctite grippiness.

    Removing and attaching the 12mm pipe ends that have about eleventy km of thread is SO much fun.
    Craig K
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg C View Post
    Are you sure it is the metal high pressure hose and not the rubber return to tank line. The latter is more likely to break
    Certainly the V6 Xantias crack the high pressure pipe. Something must move a bit more than the 2-litre cars.
    JohnW

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken W View Post
    So a word of warning to BX, XM and Xantia owners. Put you car up on ramps and then move the steering back and forth to make sure the bush holding the ram next to the pinion valve is in good nick or else your pipes will fatigue and break too and replacements are almost exhausted.

    Now I just have to wait for the current Brisbane Mossie plague to die down a bit so I don't get eaten alive while replacing these parts.

    Cheers, Ken W
    That's good advice Ken, thanks. I'll remember that next service.

    Re the mossies, don't you folk say "Queensland. Beautiful one day, perfect the next!" or something similar......
    FedGrapes likes this.
    JohnW

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    No !! These days they don't reload expired parking meters either !!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fritzelhund View Post
    No !! These days they don't reload expired parking meters either !!!
    What, no gold bikini girls in Surfers these days? What is the world coming to. Ah well, you have an election coming up...... Back to you for action
    JohnW

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    1000+ Posts George 1/8th's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I just recently had the Xantia rack out to change the dust covers. There was no way I could have removed the rack with the ram attached because it just will not come out through the side hole. I separated the ram from the rack first. Then everything was easy. However, the ram was fitted by the large torx bolt and the big Nylock nut on the passengers side, both hard to get at and both tightened by "Herman munster". I almost pulled my arms out of their sockets doing this job. Great fun indeed. Check that the LHM is coming from the pipes and not leaking out from above this point , from the high pressure seal in the pinion, as it was in mine.

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    The rack does come out complete, you must remove the offside wishbone first. I have written the process up before, at least twice.

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    1000+ Posts George 1/8th's Avatar
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    Hi Addo, I guess you could also drop the sub-frame to get access, but I just separated the two parts, the mechanical and the hydraulic, and that worked for me. I didn't undo the wishbone. It was much better as far as I was concerned , to take out the ram first as it meant I wouldnt be underneath the car with LHM raining all over me.
    cheers...

  16. #16
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    You don't need to remove the subframe.

    The Xantia isn't so service-oriented as a C5 but still reflects modern design sensibilities where you can remove a number of major components without having to break down others first. It compares well to something like a Dee where to renew the timing chain and tensioner, you must first remove the motor and gearbox.

  17. #17
    1000+ Posts George 1/8th's Avatar
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    Or, as some have done, you could cut out the entire firewall and replace the timing chain from inside the car. Then just put the firewall back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    Re the mossies, don't you folk say "Queensland. Beautiful one day, perfect the next!" or something similar......
    Pretty close at the moment! Haven't had a bad day yet!

  19. #19
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    Hi Addo,

    I managed to frighten the mossies off enough with a mossie coil under the car on Sunday morning to have a bit more of a look at what I need to do but the heat and humidity still got to me. The nut of the end of the power steering ram comes off alright, but then I looked at the other end and found a huge torx bolt. I managed to get my impact driver torx bit in over the top of the steering rack and into the bolt, but the end was resting against the anti-roll bar - so no room to attach a driver or for the bolt to unscrew. So I agree it is rack out time.

    When I have taken pinion couplings off racks in the past (to replace hardy-discs on BXs), I have always had trouble getting them back on so the steering wheel sits right at straight ahead. Do you have any hints to getting the pinion clamp off and back on correctly besides a good marking effort before disassembly and how easy is it to get the clamp out of the way? I remember that on the BX you loosened the splines on the universal under the dash and that allowed the pinion clamp to slide back into the car but the universal on the Xantia seems to be right above the pinion clamp. Also, any hints about what to do with the supply and return pipes to keep them safe out of the way when you withdraw the rack? Any other hints would be welcome.

    Cheers,

    Ken W

  20. #20
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    OK, it's been a while but you need to start with both front wheels up and off, and the suspension depressurised. Then you unclip the dogbone, remove the rack heatshield and unclip your oxygen sensor wire, disconnect the outer tie rod balljoints and unbolt the RH wishbone - leave the suspension balljoint attached and swivel it to the front - then tie the whole lot out your way.

    In the cabin you remove the clamp bolt on the sliding splined section and tape the steering wheel at dead ahead. Then - as you say - mark the pinion splines, remove the pinion end clamp bolt and push the intermediate shaft right back; it'll clear the rack comfortably.

    Use a 17mm (from memory) crowsfoot or similar to remove the pressure feed from your PAS pump. This might need slightly bending to one side. Cap/plug both sides of the union. Remove the return fitting from the pinion valve also, again cap and plug. You'll find the flexible hose means this part can be flopped about as needed.

    At this stage you should find removal of the two rack bolts allows the rack to become 100% loose. It's now a matter of manipulation to rotate and withdraw through the driver's side wheelarch opening.

    As I always say, RITROR.

  21. #21
    1000+ Posts George 1/8th's Avatar
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    Hey Ken, once you have the rack unbolted and the 2 flexible pipes disconnected from the pinion, the pinion disconnected from the steering shaft, and both tie rods off, you can move the whole assembly to the passenger side where you can turn the rack 90 deg. so you can then undo the large torx bolt. I just used a big allen key. It worked, it's hexagonal. Then you can remove the pinion from the rack , and take out the pinion /ram assembly as a unit. Yours might fall apart at this point if your pipes are broken. Mine came out as an assembly. This is far easier than trying to undo those tough inflexible pinion to ram pipes above your head, with LHM dripping all over you. Also, you will not have to undo the wishbone to get the rack out by doing it this way.
    Ok, it's not how Addo did it, but it worked well for me.
    cheers...
    BTW... it's pretty easy to get the steering wheel straight upon re-assembly. I always find the pinion does not like to go back into the rack because it's under spring tension , so I always reduce that spring tensioner, just loosen off the two 10mm screws on the tensioner plate, then it will pop back in very easily.
    good luck. PS... don't forget to put back the ram return hose when you are finished.
    Last edited by George 1/8th; 12th January 2015 at 12:39 PM. Reason: one more thing

  22. #22
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    Thanks Addo and George,

    That fills in a few of the missing steps in the Haynes manual. Just have to wait for the right day to tackle it now. I'm a bit worried driving my Xantia wagon at the moment that I might be about to fracture its pipes. So now the front wheels are both off the Activa and the ramps are free, I might roll the wagon up on them and have a gander at whether its ram is moving under steerage effort first. Let hope is isn't cause I don't know what I will be driving if it is.

    Cheers,

    Ken W

  23. #23
    1000+ Posts George 1/8th's Avatar
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    Hi Ken,
    the Ram is held by that large nylock nut on the passenger side, and by that huge Torx bolt at it's other end. These should never be loose, they should never have any movement. Someone mentioned that this problem is more common on the V6 Xantias, but still, these parts should stay put.
    Cheers...

  24. #24
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    Well finally got a cooler day with low mossie count to attack the rack. Prior to today, I did manage to get a 3/8 drive T55 bit onto the main steering ram bolt, but I couldn't get the leverage to be able to get it to turn. So no alternative but to take out the whole rack.

    I tried to leave the lower suspension arm in place but in the end I had to take it off so I could get the rack foot low enough to let the top of the pinion pass under the handbrake cable. Probably just as well I did take the rack out as I found the start of some play in the passenger side rack end joint and the floppy rubber gaiter on this end has started to split too.

    The rubber in the main ram bush was almost totally missing. There are a few strands of rubber left - just enough to hold the centre core in place. It does not seem to have been oil affected. The rubber just seems to have gone hard and cracked up into little pieces. The bush on the rack end is not as bad but also needs replacement.

    Maybe I can get it back together on the long weekend.

    Cheers,

    Ken W
    Last edited by Ken W; 23rd January 2015 at 10:47 AM.

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    So you saying you lowered the subframe or removed the RH wishbone? Glad it's all out, please check those rack mount bolts for length.

    I believe it's the exhaust heat which does the rubber in. That, and age plus stress cycles.

    Having paid people well, to patch firewalls hacked for the sake of hasty repairs, I have no time for such approaches.

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