by Claudio Sanchez
Symptom: Power steering reservoir was losing ATF fluid very fast.
Before getting underneath your car must FIRST secure vehicle on lift ramps [see picture below], or jack stands.
Then proceed to remove engine splashguard [see picture below].
Now, you can see-through underneath engine compartment to check for that leak. Definitely, you will notice everything is soaked with ATF fluid all over [red]. After cleaning and drying-up there are several power steering hoses [see picture], notice that it required replacing the pump-out to steering rack hose [see picture].
Removal and reinstallation of the hose is a medium to low difficulty DIY job [my opinion] because the hose and both hydraulic bolts are readily accessible [see picture].
There are two identical hydraulic bolts with two aluminum washers to each bolt. These bolts go thru each hole at each end of the hose; to access these bolts are thru one on top and one on bottom [see pictures] of the car/engine compartment. [I buy BMW/OEM parts from BMA Imports -- see www.e38.org for a list of suppliers].
It is an easy task do-it-yourself [DIY]. In spite of removal and installation of new hose my timing was under an hour, which did not include looking for the leak. Note the position of the bolts and washers during removal because it is necessary to reinstall them the same way with the new hose.
Tools needed are as follows: 19mm socket [short is the best], 6-inch flex extension or swivel, and 6 or 12-inch extension [use high quality tools to avoid stripping and damaging bolts or nuts on you vehicle].
This job is very messy. You need to be prepared because ATF fluid will flow and run in every direction. To be environmentally safe, always use oil absorbent sand/dirt under the vehicle, which helps to stop fluid flow and facilitates clean up of any spills. [a 20lbs bag of this absorbent sand is less than $5.00 in Texas, and it goes a long way].
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