Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Power Steering "groan" question - pressure hose leak / replaced - now rack noise

Hey all, Mark again.
1996 Acura Integra I’ve been fixing up a bit.
Just got the suspension sorted, assorted noises and clunks repaired / ignore[able] running great… but…

Car had a BAD power steering leak, tracked to the pressure hose. It was dribbling fluid with the car off after a… 6 block drive?

Anyway - replaced the hose. Still have to get ALLL the bushings back in, as the new hose had none, and there was no way to transfer them but to cut them off the old hose, and fit them in the brackets…

Anyway - the line mounts are in place, and all but one of the bushings are back in. Of course the reservoir was empty after the hose change. Finished after dark, so the next day after work went to fill things up, move the steering stop to stop etc.

Not a good sign - the car has a [incorrectly diagnosed and at least a year old because the car SAT] new PS pump, and I found about 6 empty bottles of the cheapest NOT RECOMMENDED FOR HONDA PS fluid bottles in the trunk, under the seat, center console etc.

I used generic Honda / Acura fluid. It took almost a quart.

I drove 15-20 miles before I changed the hose. Kept it full-ish of fluid during that time. Used Honda/Acura fluid. NO noise from the rack.

Replaced the line. Put honda fluid in, turned wheel stop to stop etc. drove around, topped things off, etc. Got another 15 miles or so, no leaks.
I am not loosing any fluid so far unless I magically lost some between my last drive and a short drive last night.

I didn’t check fluid levels after my short drive last night - but while parking the car, I noticed some quiet groaning from the rack.

Steering felt fine.

Gotta check the level - but it drove [a short bit but still…] with the wrong fluid and somewhat low - no noise. Dunno how long it was driven with the wrong / low / leaky fluid - but I will mention again, it sat for over a year before I got my hands on it.

So - Is there something else I should do? Unhook the return line, drain ALLLLLL the PS fluid and fill with correct Honda/Acura fluid is my first thought.

TBH this is gonna be a total winter beater car, but I want it to be at least decent. I’m not TO opposed to $15 worth of new PS fluid. But I’d rather save my $15 [I’m cheap] - if anyone has any suggestions specific to the Acura Integra [1996, 4 door auto to be specific] - or in general, that may point towards a possible issue, I am all ears. I am not opposed to spending a few bucks, but I don’t want to waste $15 on fluid if that’s not my issue at all, even if I may need to spend the money later.

Also - both inner tie rod boots were shot. grease was mostly road grime. NO noise, both have been extensively cleaned, purple-greased, and re-booted [OK I used zip ties, sue me] - but I haven’t quite put enough distance on the car to tell if the re-greasing etc may have contributed to the rack groan. However I did put 10 of the 25 miles before I fixed the PS pressure hose on the car after the inner tie rod “fix” with no groans. And a good 5-10 miles after the PS line swap before I heard any sounds.


Thanks all!


Yes,you should use the proper power steering fluid for your car.Spending $15 now could save you hundreds later because of the risk of damaging the rack and pump.If the groan is still there after you change the P/S oil,you may still have air in the system.

And if you bleed all the air out and then it starts groaning again, replace the inlet hose o-ring.

1 Like

I’ve had power steering in my most of my vehicles since the early 70’s & the only time I’ve had a steering related groan like that, it was caused by the movement of the tie rods and steering knuckle, never the power steering pump or the steering rack. I’ve had high pitched squeals come from the power steering pump, but that tends to occur when the engine is stone cold and unrelated to turning the steering wheel.

… mostly non PS here. or rack swaps to manual (Ilike small cars with
limited under hood room & easily sourced manual racks) - but - good tie rod
good bearing, new upper ball joint & good lower on the side that was apart
for the new upper CA. Although… I was fighting some semi seized rear
calipers while my buddy did most of the upper CA. guess I’ll give it a check

Although I was maybe 3 to 4 oz low on power steering fluid with no leaks
so I’m assuming that was due to air in the system I did top it off drove
maybe 5 miles round-trip 35 mile an hour max and I didn’t hear any groaning
so maybe it was just air keeping my fingers crossed

1 Like