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Power Steering Fluid Leak ('94 Plymouth Sundance) and CA Roadtrip

1994 Plymouth Sundance Duster (4 door, automatic transmission) with 97K miles.

The power steering fluid leaks every now and then, and sometimes I have to fill it twice in a week. There is some fluid leaked onto the ground.

1. What possible causes could these be? (How to diagnose the problems?) and how much might it cost to repair?

2. I need to drive the car ~2,000 miles from Chicago to LA in August. What major checks do I need to do before the roadtrip to ensure a worry-free ride? (I need to fix the A/C for sure).

Also, is this car able to haul a U-Haul trailer (5' x 8' in size) with household goods worth a small studio apartment? Does anybody have any experience with this kind of a car?

Appreciate any insights and help!

Many Thanks!

The power steering could be anything from a bad hose, a bad seal on the pump, or a bad steering rack. The hose repair is relatively inexpensive, the power steering pump moderately expensive and the rank very expensive for the age of the car. It shouldn't be hard for a mechanic to figure this one out.

I would check the car very carefully. If it has lived in Chicago most of its life, it may have a rust problem. You are talking about a 17 year old car here. You don't want to put a lot of money into the car to make it roadworthy for this trip.

The Sundance shouldn't be used to pull a 5' x 8' trailer.

I have found U-Haul equipment to be rather expensive when rented on a one way basis. The daughter of a friend moved from Montana to Indiana with a U-Haul truck and towed an older Subaru behind the truck. I am certain that this move cost more than $3000.

My temptation would be to sell the car and furniture and find another car and used furniture when you get to California.

I second that opinion! There’s just not enough benefit to doing what will be needed to make this car do this job. If you were mechanically inclined and knew what the problem was and could fix it yourself, then, maybe. But even then, just maybe. Call a mover, find out how much they would charge to move your stuff, then see if you can sell the car for that much money.

To fix the ac and power steering will cost more than the car is worth and even if you spend it, there is no way for this car to make 2000 miles with a 5 x 8 u-haul. Also what were you planning to attach the u-haul to?

The power steering leak could be an easy fix or it could cost several hundred dollars to repair. Some shops will give a car a quick look for free, and it sounds like this leak should be easy to identify.

Don't bother with the A/C. It's a luxury you probably don't want to pay for.

Have all the belts, hoses, and cooling system checked. Also brakes, and tires. Have you ever had the timing belt replaced?

This car can not be used to pull a 5X8 trailer.

There's a decent chance that an 18 year old Sundance transmission may be in sad shape by the time you get to CA, assuming it holds up.

Inspection of brakes would be a must. Once you struggle to the top of a mountain there's always the matter of stopping all of that mass on the way down.

I'm not real familiar with the state of CA emission laws and CARB, but are you not going to run into a problem with registering this car out there? Maybe someone more familiar with that will weigh in.

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Re: power steering fluid leak: I’m going to get a quick diagnosis done to see what the prob. is and if it can be repaired easily/cheaply.

Re: U-Haul: There is a hitch that UHaul provides to which the 5’x8’ trailer can be attached. But the larger question still remains whether this car can actually pull this load. The consensus seems to be that it can’t.

Re: Roadtrip / Move: I’m still evaluating the options (hiring movers, driving myself, etc).

Will update once I get some diagnosis, etc.

Thanks, again!