What to know about the Power Steering Input Shaft Seal:
In order for your power steering system to work, it has to attach with the steering shaft. This runs down from the steering wheel, and provides driver input to the power steering system (motion of the steering wheel).
The steering shaft joins with the power steering system at the gearbox, and there are two seals that are used to ensure that dust does not enter, and that power steering fluid is retained.
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The first seal is just a dust cover; the second seal is the input shaft seal and is in charge for preventing power steering fluid from leaking out.
All seals are subject to wear and tear, and replacement is unavoidable. The amounts of use and system age are the largest decisive factors in how long the seal will last. If you notice excessive power steering noise or a fluid leak, your power steering input shaft seal may be leaking.
Facts to Note:
The input shaft seal is not checked during normal maintenance, and cannot be examined without significant effort/teardown.
If the seal fails, power steering fluid will begin to leak out, causing low fluid in the system, as well as the chance of fire (power steering fluid is flammable).
How to Fix:
The steering column lower yoke to rack and pinion input shaft is removed
The defective input shaft seal is removed and shaft checked and cleaned
The new input seal is installed and the lower yoke is reconnected
The power steering system is refilled and purged of air
The engine is run and the power steering system operation is tested
Over time and through wear and tear, your power steering input shaft seal can crack and begin to leak. It must be substituted before the leak becomes problematic. Low fluid levels can cause injury to the power steering rack and pump, and the fluid itself is flammable so contact with a hot exhaust system can be dangerous.
Common symptoms indicating you may need to change the Power Steering Input Shaft Seal:
Low power steering fluid with no obvious visible leaks from hoses
Power steering fluid leaking on the ground under the back end of the engine near the firewall
Whining noise from the power steering when turning
Importance of this service:
Without a functioning power steering input shaft seal, your system will lose fluid. This can be harmful to the power steering pump and other components. Have your system inspected and repaired by a one of your expert mechanics if you suspect there are any problems.