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So this is just GM messing with me isn't it?

I recently posted asking about flare nut wrenches (http://act… I’ve got those.

I was finally buying a set to do the power steering lines on my '00 Oldsmobile Silhouette.

I’ve got a return line fitting that is slightly larger than 11/16" and slightly smaller than 18mm.

I assure you that the 11/16" won’t go and that it isn’t a 17mm. The 18mm is what goes on, but there is a lot of play, and this fitting doesn’t want to go easily.

The pressure line fitting on my new hose is 18mm - I put the wrench on it and there is no play at all. (I can’t really check out the return line fitting on the old pressure line until I get the return line out of the way).

The nut itself is not rusted, or degraded or beat up. It has no crud on it - its not shiny clean but it has no build up.

So that’s why I figure this is just GM messing with me. I hate when things don’t make sense.

I already am being overly cautious in case “take it to the shop” turns out to be the smartest thing to so. So other than that, any thoughts about it?

How many “real” mechanics will just cut a line that they are replacing to whack a socket on the fitting & get it out that way?

Since you are replacing the line anyway, why not?


Well, that’s what I was thinking except I can’t seem to get rid of that lingering paranoia having to do with what I do after I cut the line and I still can’t get it out…

Having my shop do it was actually my first choice but they wanted $400. I’ve got more time than $$ right now, but if push comes to shove I do want to be able to drive it in if that’s what it comes to. It just shouldn’t be this weird…

You can get it out, if worst comes to worst you can lock a big vise grip on it and whackit with a hammer. Besides you can drive it to the shop without power steering. If you can’t, better hit the gym.

If it feels like the wrench is going to round off the tube nut, I would go ahead and cut the line and put a socket on it. I have seen many “real” mechanics do this, and even did it myself many times when I was a “real” mechanic to brake lines, power steering lines, etc. A socket will fit much more securely than a line wrench and will be much less likely to round the fitting. If there is room for a socket, and you are concerned about rounding the fitting with the wrench, I would go ahead and cut it off and use a socket.

Well, I thought through cutting the lines for a socket - but I doubt I’d be able to get one on there b/c of a complete lack of room to work. I’d have to hammer and 11/16" on and there is literally no room within which to accomplish this.

I did slowly & patiently (though with much frustration & foul language) manage to get the return line loose. The pressure line has exactly the same problem and so far I’m on the same clumsy slow & patient route. (Some jiggling, some pb blaster…)

I am absolutely convinced that somewhere on the GM line (at least back in '99 if not still) are a bunch of 17.5mm wrenches. This is insane b/c if I had a good fit I could just wail on the buggers.

Your getting rid of it, so have at it. I have an assortment of pipe wrenches, from 12-in to 36-in (I call him Big Mike). When faced with this exact situation, I get the biggest pipe wrench that will fit in the area, and crank it loose. It does damage the nut, but I’m replacing it anyways, so to he!! with it.

My favorite story for Big Mike is the parts car I purchased for my Supra. There were no keys for it, and the steering was locked. Since I had no intentions of putting it on the road (too much damage), I put Big Mike on the lock cylinder housing (side of the steering column), and broke the housing off the column. The steering lock bolt just slid out of what was left of the column housing.

So this doesn’t go down as one of my better chosen jobs. (Of course, I’ve said that before & about 2 days later I’m glad I did it anyway).

Its a good thing I’m not a “real” mechanic since I’d starve. Nine hrs to undo 2 fittings. I’m stylin’.

Cutting the lines wouldn’t work b/c of a lack of room - I am shoulder deep through the hood (past the exhaust, over top of the transmission, under the master cylinder) with all of about the size of my fist to work in. Going through underneath gives even less access. There’s also no room to get a pipe wrench or anything similar in there.

I ended up soaking w/ PB blaster, getting the wrench on with the best bite possible (which was terrible), lodging my jack handle against the end of the wrench and rapping on it with a hammer until it broke loose.

Complete PITA. Thankfully my replacement lines have decent fittings on them. Thanks all for the input.

Have you considered removing the pump to give you a little more room to work? It’s just the belt and three bolts (accessed through the holes in the pulley) to get the pump off this one.

Sorry, I misunderstood your last post. You’re struggling with the ones on the rack and pinion. In that case, removing the driver’s side wheel may help. Putting the jackstand under the crossmember or some other location that is not a ‘loaded’ suspension component will maximize your available work space.

I actually scouted this job 2 weeks ago when I scouted the leak. I thought you’d need to go in underneath - given the workspace, hampered by a set of A/C lines I couldn’t really see a way to do it. So then I pulled both wheels - there’s just no way to get there that way either. Those AC lines are in the way (and not easily moved), and the fittings face toward the passenger’s side. Even without the AC lines I don’t think there’s a way in. From the passenger’s side there’s simply zero access given all of the junk in the way. That’s when I decided I couldn’t do it and would have to take it in.

The $400 price tag had me looking again, and I saw I could get in from the top if I pulled the air intake tract. So I went for it - I’m still convinced its the only way it can be done, though I suppose if I had a lift rather than jackstands, and a more interesting assortment of specialty tools, going in from the bottom could be feasible. Some part of my day did involve looking at every possible angle again.

In any case, I did finally manage it & now have the lines out (see above. The other end of the pressure line was a perfect and very tightly fitting 16mm, btw). But I did decide to close shop before proceeding to reinstall everything - at least partly b/c when I’m tired and annoyed I get sloppy & don’t do things as carefully as I should. Because of the complicated hose routing and the tangled mess this van is under the hood I’m not expecting a picnic, but the rest of the complication is reasonable & manageable.

I really appreciate the help.