BX steering leak
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  1. #1
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    Default BX steering leak

    I've got a pretty serious LHM leak (approx 2-3 drips per second with engine idling - enough to get the low level alarms going over 8-10km), and it seems to be coming from the power steering.

    As far as I can tell it's one of the two metal pipes from the ram to the power steering valve, it's dripping off the lower part of one of the bends.

    Took the pipes out, no obvious damage or cracks etc. It doesn't seem to be leaking from somewhere else onto the pipes either - although it's hard to tell in the dark by torchlight.

    The pipes had no rubber rings at all - is this the correct fitting??

    Also the far end of the ram seems to be vey loose - it slides up & down a pin an inch or so. I presume this is also not normal.

    Any suggestions as to what might be leaking?

    Thanks,

    Barry.

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    Barry,

    Are you sure it's not leaking from the pinion seals and travelling along the outer casing?
    I had a leak in mine that was making a hell of a mess everytime I parked the car. It turned out to be coming from the pinion seal brought about by someone not reftiiting a heatshield and destroying the top seal.
    If it's that, it can be fixed by removing the actual pinion and replacing seals and rings as a kit. There's a few tricks involved but it isn't all that hard to do; the biggest drama seems to be removing & refitiing the actual pinion assembly from the rack assembly.
    Better drop me a line if you need to do the seal kit and I'll give you the clues to fitting the catual sealing rings and hopefully save you the embarrassment of fitting them to the wrong grooves (which you'll do if you follow a certain website on the net) which then means you have to remove & refit it all over again....

    It's a great job


    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

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    Thanks Alan,

    I'll have another look tonight. If it does leak because of the pinion seals, does the fluid exit where the shaft from the 'flector' (that's what Peugeot call the rubber thing) enters the power steering valve??? I looked at that & it seemed pretty dry.

    I agree it looks like a pig of a thing to undo - but it has to be done.

    Is it normal for the other end of the ram (i.e. not where the two pipes go in) to be a loose fit? I initially thought the movement here had buggered the pipes.

    Barry.

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    Barry, you'll find the 'flector' as referred to by Peugeot, is referred to as a hardydisc in Europe by Cit owners and below that you'll find a splined shaft that connects to it. Under that there is a plastic cover with a small hole in what appears to be a lug moulded into the top of it and if it's the pinion seals, they'll leak from below that. Mine was dropping oil across the crossmember so it seemed to come out in all sorts of places.
    I've just been up the yard to have a look at one we've got here with the engine out and it appears without delving too deep into it that there are 4 pipes associated with it.
    Two from the pinion valve to the ram and one supply plus one return. The return connects to a rubber hose and appears to run under the motor. I think I know the movement you are referring to; between the rack and the ram? It tends to move around a fair amount to allow for the ball joint in the rack end to swivel if I'm reading it and you right.
    I may be able to get a pic of this area in the next day or so & post it if that's any help.

    Alan S
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    OK, Just been under again for a good look, this time with an assistant.

    I'm convinced it's one of the pipes, I can't see how it could be coming from anywhere else.

    What I did was by using a cloth around the base of where the pipes screw in proved to myself it's not coming from the housing onto the pipes, but rather seems to be leaking where the pipe screws in. I got my assistant to gently rock the steering, and what was drops turned into a small river of LHM. I must have missed something when I took the pipes out - I reckon there has to be a crack there somewhere.

    Oh well, there goes another weekend....

    Thanks Alan for your suggestions - it helps me a lot when I'm unfamiliar with the lay of the land.

    Cheers,

    Barry.

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts George 1/8th's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barryg
    OK, Just been under again for a good look, this time with an assistant.

    I'm convinced it's one of the pipes, I can't see how it could be coming from anywhere else.

    What I did was by using a cloth around the base of where the pipes screw in proved to myself it's not coming from the housing onto the pipes, but rather seems to be leaking where the pipe screws in. I got my assistant to gently rock the steering, and what was drops turned into a small river of LHM. I must have missed something when I took the pipes out - I reckon there has to be a crack there somewhere.

    Oh well, there goes another weekend....

    Thanks Alan for your suggestions - it helps me a lot when I'm unfamiliar with the lay of the land.

    Cheers,

    Barry.
    Hey Barry, what you are describing sounds very familiar to me. I recently removed, reconditioned and refitted the steering rack in my CX. Not exactly the same but similar to your car.
    It sounds like the rubber seal where the pipe (one of them) fits in might have been damaged or fitted incorrectly. These can be difficult to fit properly, especially when lying on your back under the car ...with LHM dripping in your face. Not much fun. Dirty too.
    If the metal pipe has been bent even just slightly out of alignment it can be difficult to seal properly.
    From what I've read lately about some mechanics, some will just stuff it in, and do up the nut, and not even check to see if it's sealed properly.
    A Cardinal sin in any Citroen.
    If you very carefully remove the seal, turn it over and re-fit it carefully, and don't overtighten it, and the threads are not stripped...you may be lucky enough to stop the leak.
    I'd try that first anyway. Good luck...usually the engineering is so good that a crack is far less likely to be the cause...and most likely to be a worn or broken or torn rubber seal, or an incorrectly fitted one.
    Remember, in Citroens pipe fittings are different to "normal" ones. Bundy pipes found in all other cars don't necessarily have a rubber seal. Sometimes a plumbers taper thread or something like that is commonly used.
    Citroen use a system where the nut holds the pipe in place, but the rubber seal is under just enough 'persuasion' to seal off the join. It's unusual, but very effective...when fitted properly.

    Cheers...George 1/8th.
    Last edited by George 1/8th; 20th August 2004 at 12:08 AM.

  7. #7
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    Hi George,

    Quote Originally Posted by George 1/8th
    Hey Barry, what you are describing sounds very familiar to me. I recently removed, reconditioned and refitted the steering rack in my CX. Not exactly the same but similar to your car.
    It sounds like the rubber seal where the pipe (one of them) fits in might have been damaged or fitted incorrectly. These can be difficult to fit properly, especially when lying on your back under the car ...with LHM dripping in your face. Not much fun. Dirty too.
    If the metal pipe has been bent even just slightly out of alignment it can be difficult to seal properly.
    From what I've read lately about some mechanics, some will just stuff it in, and do up the nut, and not even check to see if it's sealed properly.
    A Cardinal sin in any Citroen.
    If you very carefully remove the seal, turn it over and re-fit it carefully, and don't overtighten it, and the threads are not stripped...you may be lucky enough to stop the leak.
    I'd try that first anyway. Good luck...usually the engineering is so good that a crack is far less likely to be the cause...and most likely to be a worn or broken or torn rubber seal, or an incorrectly fitted one.
    Remember, in Citroens pipe fittings are different to "normal" ones. Bundy pipes found in all other cars don't necessarily have a rubber seal. Sometimes a plumbers taper thread or something like that is commonly used.
    Citroen use a system where the nut holds the pipe in place, but the rubber seal is under just enough 'persuasion' to seal off the join. It's unusual, but very effective...when fitted properly.

    Cheers...George 1/8th.
    Here's what I think has happened. Looking at the history, the ram has been replaced at some stage, thus the pipes have been removed/replaced at least once. The bushes on the ram are, to put it bluntly, stuffed, so the ram can move & put stress on the pipes. At some stage they started leaking, and some gorilla did them up tighter, distorting the cup ends on the pipe. A bit more movement, and we get to where I am now.

    There are no rubber o rings on these pipes - they rely on the cup fitting metal to metal for a seal.

    The fix is to replace the bushes & pipes - luckily this doesn't look too bad a job.

    Barry.

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    Barry,

    To my knowledge ALL pipes on the HP side of a hydraulic Cit have these rubber seals that look just like a piece of rubber tubing that fits over the end of the pipe.
    When connected, they are just nipped up not tightened.
    Can I suggest that you consider replacing the gaitor on the steering rack whilst you have things off also unless it's brand new as they are a **** of a job by themselves but reasonably simple if you're already working in the area.
    Peter Routley can point you in the right direction on where to purchase them as he works for a supplier of them and I used his on my car and found them much better and cheaper than the "genuine" parts.

    Alan S
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    Quote Originally Posted by barryg
    Hi George,



    Here's what I think has happened. Looking at the history, the ram has been replaced at some stage, thus the pipes have been removed/replaced at least once. The bushes on the ram are, to put it bluntly, stuffed, so the ram can move & put stress on the pipes. At some stage they started leaking, and some gorilla did them up tighter, distorting the cup ends on the pipe. A bit more movement, and we get to where I am now.

    There are no rubber o rings on these pipes - they rely on the cup fitting metal to metal for a seal.

    The fix is to replace the bushes & pipes - luckily this doesn't look too bad a job.

    Barry.
    Hi Barry, it's normal for the pipe to have a ridge around it near the end. It's not a distortion...and you will not find a taper. These Citroen pipe seals are not conventional. The nut just puts pressure against the pipe via the ridge, and the whole lot compresses the rubber seal so it closes off the surrounding area so it stops any leak. Genuine Citroen seal rubber will have either white or green paint on it's outside, denoting that the rubber is suitable for contact with LHM.
    Have a look how it fits together in any Citroen car manual.
    It's definately not metal to metal contact for any type of seal in these pipe unions.
    These things run at about 3000psi in the pipes, especially in the steering. If the old rubber is not in the pipe union socket, (check by trying to fish it out with a small crochet hook) then you will definately need a new one. Remember these unions are not standard....and work perfectly for year after year when fitted correctly.
    Cheers...George 1/8th.
    Last edited by George 1/8th; 20th August 2004 at 10:46 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan S
    Barry,

    To my knowledge ALL pipes on the HP side of a hydraulic Cit have these rubber seals that look just like a piece of rubber tubing that fits over the end of the pipe.
    When connected, they are just nipped up not tightened.
    Can I suggest that you consider replacing the gaitor on the steering rack whilst you have things off also unless it's brand new as they are a **** of a job by themselves but reasonably simple if you're already working in the area.
    Peter Routley can point you in the right direction on where to purchase them as he works for a supplier of them and I used his on my car and found them much better and cheaper than the "genuine" parts.

    Alan S
    Alan, I seem to recall the steering having standard flare seals. That's probably where our problem is, it's a crappy 405 poogoe stearing rack, not **proper** citroen stuff. Personally I htink the quality of hydraulic components took a downhill dive since the CX

    I agree, he'll need to replace the bushes and the lines as they are standard flare fittings.

    seeya,
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    Barry,

    Tell me precisely which ones are leaking (the ones that face towards the front of the car or the two that face downwards,) & if you like, I can pull them off the car up the back & give them a close examination for you to confirm whether or not they should have the rubber sleeves in them.

    Alan S
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan S
    Barry,

    Tell me precisely which ones are leaking (the ones that face towards the front of the car or the two that face downwards,) & if you like, I can pull them off the car up the back & give them a close examination for you to confirm whether or not they should have the rubber sleeves in them.

    Alan S
    Hi Alan,

    The pipes I am referring to are the two pipes that go from the steering "box" to the ram. These are the ones that are easily accessible from under the car. Shane is right, they are different to all the other filltings in that the pipes are larger diameter & have the flared cup type ends rather than using rubber seals, like say the pipe going into the top of the strurs from inside the engine bay.

    I went to Auto France this morning and bought the bits - seems to be a fairly common thing to happen when the ram bushes go yuk & are left that way long enough.

    Barry.

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    Barry

    Everyone is close to the cause of the problems but no one has quite nailed it in one post.

    My ex BX went through the same things.

    1/ The PS bushes wear and you don't realise it until you realise the steering is sloppier than it used to be as the ram is now slapping around everytime there is steering movement. Hence the ram is not securely attached to the back of the gearbox (I think) and the pipes are the only anchor point.

    2/ The solid pipes are now merrily flexing their little heads off. Not a good thing for a solid pipe. This of course leads to stress fractures usually around the nut as this is a point of firm resistance.

    3/ A leak occurs.

    4/ You now find out what sort of rack you have - usually easiest to ring a dealer such as Continental or Auto France and provide a VIN

    5/ Order bushes (set of two) and it is CRUCIAL you have the correct type, two new pipes and while you are at it one hardydisc for the steering column as you may as well replace it while you are there because you would only have to undo the PS pipes later on anyway. Get some rubber grease as it makes fitting the new bushes very easy. Also have some Locktite for reattaching the fixed bolt on the PS ram to the gearbox casing.

    6/ Get some LHM as you will need it anyway

    7/ Read your Haynes manual as it is pretty accurate on this whole job IIRC.

    8/ Proceed to get used to the taste of LHM as you will consume enough of it doing this job. Not difficult, just fiddly.

    The PS ram pipes DO NOT have seals as Shane pointed out it is a Peugeot ram that has internal seals for LHM. The flared pipe fittings and finer thread do the sealing job. If you look carefully you would realise you could not put a seal over the flared end.

    Be aware that with that fine thread they are an absolute mongrel to get started but once you do they will be easy.

    There, a beautiful summary if I say so myself!
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    Sounds like Craig may have nailed it but can I again remind you to take a good close look at the steering rack boots; if there's any doubt whatsoever about their condition, replace them as it's one hell of a job to do particularly on the side the ram is on when it's done as a one off job. This way yout 80% there before yu start and split boots are what usually cause damage to the rack bushes they tell me.

    Alan S
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    Time for an update.

    Both ram bushes were completely stuffed, i.e. almost no rubber left at all. I checked both rack boots; they seem fine. I think a persistent oil leak or maybe even LHM from the brake doseur is what did them in.

    Interestingly the ram was replaced some three years ago, and new pipes fitted. No mention of bushes though - either they were free (not likely) or second hand bushes were used. This was done by a well know Citroen specialist, and they also did the roadworthy three weeks ago. I guess I know where not to take the car for service - I would have expected new bushes to be fitted & it should have failed the roadworthy check.

    I'll have it back on the road in the next couple of days - I want to wash as much of the oil slick as I can else I will be looking at doing it again.

    If there is a lesson here it's fix oil leaks or be prepared to replace rubber parts. As a comparison, the TZi looks like it has all the original rubber bushes & they are in fine condition - but then it doesn't look like it has even leaked oil.

    Barry.

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    Just in case anyone is thinking of using a poogoe in a cit or vice versa they may look the same externally and have the same dodgy pipe fittings but the cit ram has a much bigger diameter piston rod.Difference between a real hydraulic pump and a power steer pump would account for this. From memory the bushes are around $20 from Citroen. Interesting that the photo in haynes shows a longer pair of pipes than any I have seen fitted with a reasonable expansion loop. May be worth considering when asking the local brake pipe maker to make up a new set of pipes.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW
    Just in case anyone is thinking of using a poogoe in a cit or vice versa they may look the same externally and have the same dodgy pipe fittings but the cit ram has a much bigger diameter piston rod.Difference between a real hydraulic pump and a power steer pump would account for this. From memory the bushes are around $20 from Citroen. Interesting that the photo in haynes shows a longer pair of pipes than any I have seen fitted with a reasonable expansion loop. May be worth considering when asking the local brake pipe maker to make up a new set of pipes.
    Hey Guys, I never considered the possibility that a citroen would have a peugeot rack. What a bugger. It sounds like they stuffed the mounting system too when they went in that direction. The CX rack is firmly bolted into a holding frame which is bolted to the body.
    They were probably trying to cut production costs.
    Don't you just love the way they do things like this...to keep us guessing.
    This is not the first time I've heard of Citroen "Specialists" missing vital problems etc.
    Cheers ...George 1/8th.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George 1/8th
    Hey Guys, I never considered the possibility that a citroen would have a peugeot rack. What a bugger. It sounds like they stuffed the mounting system too when they went in that direction. The CX rack is firmly bolted into a holding frame which is bolted to the body.
    They were probably trying to cut production costs.
    Don't you just love the way they do things like this...to keep us guessing.
    This is not the first time I've heard of Citroen "Specialists" missing vital problems etc.
    Cheers ...George 1/8th.
    The RHD XMs couldn't have DIRAVI steering fitted, either because it wouldn't fit or they couldn't be bothered re engineering it (I would suspect the first if you have seen behind the engine of a V6 XM). Anyway, they trotted down the hallway to the nearest Pug parts bin and used a Pug PS rack with LHM compatible seals in it.

    Now if you think it is tricky to get the ram out of a BX, just try doing an XM

    I reckon an XM with DIRAVI would be a damn near perfect car.
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    OK, it's now back on the road. Total cost was some $55 for the pipes, $12 a piece for the bushes & 1.5 litres of LHM.

    As car repairs go, this one is pretty easy except for the oil dripping over you. Everything is accessible - must be the only thing that is under the car I would think.

    I'm not sure I'd blame poor engineering for this problem - it really takes a good consistent oil leak to make the bushes go yuk and really one should keep on top of those anyway. If the bushes stay good the pipes don't get stressed and all is well.

    What I do find disturbing is that this wasn't picked up at service time, let alone rego check time. I'm pretty good at diagnosing & fixing things - but what would happen to someone who is relying upon this well known Citroen specialist to keep their car roadworthy? It's enough to completely turn me off purchasing a car these guys have looked after.

    Cheers,

    Barry.

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    What I do find disturbing is that this wasn't picked up at service time, let alone rego check time. I'm pretty good at diagnosing & fixing things - but what would happen to someone who is relying upon this well known Citroen specialist to keep their car roadworthy? It's enough to completely turn me off purchasing a car these guys have looked after.

    Cheers,

    Barry.[/QUOTE]

    Hi Barry, I agree with you, this just does not instill any feelings of confidence in these guys, does it? You expect these "specialists" to be aware of the problems and to at least check that everything's ok BEFORE issuing a RWC.
    I bet your steering now feels better.
    Cheers...George 1/8th.

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    Barry

    What alerted you to the bush problem? A leaking pressure pipe. I would think it would be very difficult to pick worn ram bushes on a standard effort rego check. The amount of play in the roadwheels would be negligible when they jack up each side to wobble the wheels to check balljoints. Also, if the car is on high possy when jacked up it "locks" the wheels into an almost imovable state as the system is at the extremes of its movement.

    Mind you, it may be worth mentioning next time you go to the dealers. One major Sydney dealer I know appreciates this type of feedback if done in a corteous manner and to them rather than the grapevine.
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    Seems to be a bit of uncertainty on the piping from pinion valve to ram.

    Have 2 sets of PAS rams for BX'es on stock in my workshop, and both have the standard flared pipe ends - NOT the usual Citroen compressed rubber seal dingies. No pipe seals are shown here in the BX partslist either.

    So please note, that on the BX pinion/ram piping you have an exemption to the rule of Citroen hydraulic pipe seals

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndersDK
    Seems to be a bit of uncertainty on the piping from pinion valve to ram.

    Have 2 sets of PAS rams for BX'es on stock in my workshop, and both have the standard flared pipe ends - NOT the usual Citroen compressed rubber seal dingies. No pipe seals are shown here in the BX partslist either.

    So please note, that on the BX pinion/ram piping you have an exemption to the rule of Citroen hydraulic pipe seals
    As it is actually a Pug ram and therefore did not have seals. Mind you, once it is tightened you know you have a good seal, unlike "sometimes" with Citroen seals.
    Craig K
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