Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Replacing power-steering vacuum suction hose on 2001 Honda Civic

On a non-computer note, I had the misfortune of not replacing the power-steering reservoir in its bracket after changing the left headlight on my civic. The hose connecting it to the power-steering pump rubber one of the belts, eventually puncturing the hose. The fluid ran out of the system and my steering started making unhappy noises. Then followed seven hours of me figuring out how to fix this on a Sunday when shops were closed. The upshot was that I learned that the name of the hose is the power-steering suction hose, and it is a part available only at the dealer (costs < $5). It is a curved, molded tube about a foot long. It looks a bit like a question mark. It is distinct from the high-pressure hose and the return hose. Here are the steps I took to replace it (after my temporary hack of duck-tape and epoxy):

  1. Turn off engine
  2. Suck as much fluid as you can out of the power-steering reservoir with a turkey baster (literally) or some other such device. I used a turkey baster with a straw on the end to reach a bit further in. Deposit this fluid in a container that you can bring to an auto parts shop for proper disposal.
  3. Take a pair of pliers, grab the spring-clamp attaching the suction tube to the reservoir and lower the clamp down the tube so it is no longer clamping the tube onto the reservoir.
  4. Place a receptacle underneath the hose and reservoir to catch any fluid that spills out when you remove the hose from the reservoir. I used a disposable plastic cup.
  5. Remove the hose from the reservoir. It comes off moderately easily. A fair bit of fluid will drain out of the reservoir.
  6. Place reservoir on a towel or something to catch any remaining drips.
  7. Empty plastic cup
  8. Repeat procedure for other end of hose. Less fluid will spill out this time, but it may spill on the alternator, which probably is not good.
  9. Remove hose from car, remove clamps from hose, and slide clamps onto replacement hose.
  10. Reverse detachment procedure to reattach hose to pump and reservoir and move clamps back into place clamping the hose at each end.
  11. Place reservoir back into holding bracket.
  12. Fill up reservoir to min fill line with honda-compatible power steering fluid.
  13. Start engine and turn off after a few seconds. The fluid level in the reservoir will have dropped a bunch.
  14. Add more fluid to reservoir to bring it back up to somewhere between min and max level.
  15. Start engine and turn steering wheel stop to stop a few times. Don't hold at a stop too long - this strains the pump. The purpose of turning wheel a lot is to work out any air bubbles from the system. I could not tell if this was effective.
  16. Evaluate fluid level with engine off.