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Saginaw power steering pump - Resealing....


  • Saginaw power steering pump - Resealing....

    Hi folks! Sorry I've been offline for quite some time. Been working overseas and it's been crazy!

    Anyway I finally got around to fixing the leaking steering pump on my 84 Century.

    As far as I know the PUMP is original to the 1987 year engine (which i bought as a core engine). For quite some time, it has leaked oil slowly, so that if the car sits for a month or so, all the oil is gone out of the steering pump.

    So, today I fixed it. I was quoted a high sum of money for a "rebuilt" pump of dubious quality. Forget the chinese knock-off ones. The seal kit was about $15.

    This is a picture-intense thread, because that's the best way to explain the steps. There is nothing hard about this, but you do need a couple special tools (pulley remove / install tool, and drill press). The puller is available for rental from Advance Autp Parts.

    There are several variants of this pump. The main difference is the shape of the reservoir. The repair procedure is the same for them all, aside from the reservoir removal could vary a little.

    The pump was very dirty, so I put some plugs in the ports and pressure washed it. If you take it apart and get dirt and grit in the pump, it will be irreparably damaged.

    Next, install the pulley remover tool. It simply presses the pulley off the shaft, by the hub groove. It is important that the shaft is never pressed into nor pulled out of the pump. Always press by the pulley hub groove.

    Now, remove the 2 clips and take off the reservoir. The inner 'tabs' pry up, and then the clip can be slid off with a screwdriver.

    Next, the pump cartride has to be pressed inwards from the rear. This will allow the retaining ring to be removed. Set the pump in a drill press, with the shaft down, through the hole in the drill press table. Use the drill chuck (not spinning, just pressing down) to press the pump cartridge into the housing. It goes in about 1/8".

    Pop out the retaining ring.

    Now, tap lightly as shown. The pump cartridge will slide out. Be careful so that the cartridge doesn't fall apart. The vanes need to stay in the rotor in the same slots, in the same direction.

    Cartridge out. Make sure the vanes stay in the same slots, and they are in the same orientation in the slots. It's best NOT to remove the vanes. If they fall out and all get mixed up, you can study the wear marks and make sure they are all in the same orientation.

    Now, for the shaft. Take the retaining ring off, and the shaft can tap or pull out. I used a steering wheel puller, but the shaft pulled out very easily. The shaft is very hard, so if you tap, use a soft hammer on the small end. It could chip off if hit with a hard hammer.

    The pump completely apart.

    This is the repair kit.

    New shaft seal installed. Apply the Loctite to the outside of the seal. It is a metal-clad seal and must have sealant on the outer diameter to seal against the matel-on-metal joint to the housing bore.

    Now for a tricky part. There is a pin in the pump housing, and 2 slots in the cartridge where the pin can go. This must be lined up correctly. When the o-rings are in the pump it is hard to tell if the pin is going in correctly. Before installing any o-rings, make a test-fit to get the pin lined up. Then, make a paint mark. This way, when you are pressing the pump together with the o-rings and spring in it, you can use the paint marks for a guide to ensure the pin goes in the slot.

    Now, take it back apart and install the o-rings and the spring.

    Again using the drill press, this time with the pump in SHAFT UP position, press the cartridge into the housing. The o-rings should easily compress. If there is any binding, stop and check the pin alignment. Be careful so that the cartridge doesn't come apart.

    Your pump should look like this:

    Now, remove the rear seal from the bearing. Clean it, and re-pack it with high temp longterm grease. The bearing is a special one with a very small clearance.

    Now the regulating valve. It regulates the flow to a constant flow, regardless of engine RPM, and limits the pressure to a set level. It is application specific between rack-and-pinion and recirculating-ball steering boxes.

    The fitttin needs to be very tight, otherwise the fitting will come out before the line nut can be loosened.

    Now put the new o-ring on the reservoir and install it.

    Now, install the pulley. Use the installer tool. Do not under any circumstances hammer or press the pulley on!!!

    This should be the finished pump!

    On my car, it looked like the previous owner had replaced the steering gear before I got the car, so it is not leaking. Normally if the entire system was old enough for the seals to be hardened, both the pump and the steering gear would need re-sealing.


    • tribbles
      tribbles commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by tribbles
      What timing! My pump seal kit should arrive from today.
      Got it done yesterday. Mine was out of a '97 Grand Am, and was somewhat similar but at the same time some of the stuff was significantly different. Teardown followed this pictorial up until after the cartridge was removed. On my pump the shaft is secured to the cylindrical piece with the vanes with a circlip that needs to be removed. This means that the shaft isn't pulled out of its end of the pump, but is removed with the vane assembly through the same opening that the cartridge occupied.

      There is no sealed bearing either, just a spring-loaded seal around the shaft. (In lieu of a bearing, the shaft rides in a sleeve bushing with a helical lubrication groove in it.) The old seal can be pried out and the new one driven in with a suitably sized socket until it bottoms out.

      The regulating valve also differed a bit in disassembly, especially since I have the electronically assisted steering on mine. The valve assembly holds what can best be described as a cast-in 'T' fitting to which the high-pressure line to the steering rack attaches. The valve assembly needs to come out of the fitting in order to replace two O-rings inside, but a few light taps will drive it out. The fitting can swivel 360 about the valve assembly so I would suggest marking its orientation with paint before removing the valve assembly from the pump housing.

      I should have taken pictures but it was enough trying to figure it out with only this guide and an exploded parts diagram included with the rebuild kit (I also used a Gates kit).

      I also found on removing the cylinder's circlip that the pump housing has a small hole into which a nail or something similar can be driven, which will displace the circlip enough to get a screwdriver under. (You can actually see the hole, in the picture with the cover being pressed down in the drill press, to the right of the chuck.) It helped in getting the circlip pried out.
      Last edited by tribbles; 03-27-2013, 10:21 PM. Reason: terminology

    • Futures Passed
      Futures Passed commented
      Editing a comment
      I was just about to do this to a Ford Taurus power steering pump two days ago, but I got stuck at the point where the pulley puller needs to be used, since mine was a cheap one that wouldn't stay clamped on. The rental kit at Advance is definitely the way to go; the outer ring of the tool is much thicker than the one on the tool they sell.

    • davida1_hiwaay_net
      davida1_hiwaay_net commented
      Editing a comment
      Glad you guys benefited from this!
    Posting comments is disabled.

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    Hi folks! Sorry I've been offline for quite some time. Been working overseas and it's been crazy! Anyway I finally got around to fixing the leaking steering pump on my 84 Century. As far as I know the PUMP is original to the 1987 year engine (which i bought as a core engine). For quite some time, it has leaked oil slowly, so that if the car sits for a month or so, all the oil is gone out of the steering pump. So, today I fixed it. I was quoted a high sum of money for a "rebuilt" pump o...
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