Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

Postby frasern » Tue Apr 12, 2022 1:31 pm

Sometimes they fall between the pages, I can find it on my UCP, but can't recover it. Perhaps Dan can dig it out.
Essentially, I just hypothesized about the seal sucking oil and air into the pump. Also suggested Tony check the spindles for previous owner damage, while replacing the wheel bearings.
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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

Postby TonyC » Tue Apr 12, 2022 6:16 pm

papawayne wrote:Yipes, Tony, I feel for you! You've had problems that none of us ever hope to have. Keep us posted. Wayne


I know, right? ALL the weird s**t has to happen to me!! The only thing positive I can say about this jinx is that, hopefully, after I'm long gone (which could be in about 9 years), if anyone has similar problems maybe my own archived experiences will help them out.

The only place engine oil comes close, is the pump rear seal. A suction leak could draw oil and air into the system, hypothetically, but it sure is a weird one.
Glad you made it back with those wheel bearings. I have found a surprising number of bent spindles, left from previous owners, on past vehicles. If your auto shop has a spindle gauge, I would have them checked. Even a few thou. will cause slight pressure on the bearings, causing accelerated wear. I am a little over cautious on this, as I have been stranded before, even though the bearings were recently re-packed.


Oh, so am I, Fraser, believe me! I don't think there is an issue of prior-owner damage; I've had Frankenstein for 22 years, so any damage would have to have come from me; hopefully there isn't any. After the second re-torque to that wheel, at the auto shop before I made the trip, I decided to buy a new set of bearings and carry them with me, just in case. While in Florida, I decided to get another new set for good measure, with the intention of doing a full-fledged replacement on the front wheels once I got home. But when I saw how worn out the bearings were on that wheel during the return trip, I had to do a makeshift field replacement with one of the new sets. Since I don't have the equipment to replace the races, I had to suck it up and just run the new bearings on the old races. Naturally, that means I have to buy a third set to do the full replacement properly. Hopefully, I don't need to buy another seal, which I also replaced in the field environment. Then I have to replace the lower ball joints, because they started making their trademark squeaking, meaning they're on the verge of death; luckily, I have a new pair on hand, just need to figure out what the torque limits are to the bolts (the shop manual does not cover that). And then, I have to find the cause of that low grind/rumble in the driveline, hope I didn't do irreparable damage to that in the last long stretch of the return trip.

It's too windy today for me to try siphoning out all the contaminated fluid from the system, so I'll try that tomorrow or Thursday, so I can limp the car to the shop and put it on a rack for the other stuff. Today I focused on rebuilding my spare pump, which I removed last year. I have to say, I'm very glad that Jack Rosen and Mark II Enterprises sell a kit that includes a new sleeve bushing. This pump had started groaning with a full load of fluid last year, and when I disassembled it the bushing came out with the sleeve. It turns out that bushing was toasted, so warped the rotor sleeve would not go back in after I got it out. The new bushing slid onto the sleeve with zero issues, like a well-tailored boot; now, it didn't help any that the shop manual neglected to mention anything on how to remove and install that bushing. There is nothing mentioned in the '66 or '67 manual on how to tackle that bushing, so I had to wing it. I finished the job on that; now I have to give the pump an overnight leak-down test, make sure the seals are tight. IF it passes that test, then I'll swap out pumps again, see if what caused oil to go into the steering pump is visually evident. There is no doubt in my mind right now that the pump is the culprit...but I know I've been certain about things before, only to learn otherwise. :handgestures-fingerscrossed: :handgestures-fingerscrossed:

---Tony
Last edited by TonyC on Wed May 04, 2022 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

Postby LithiumCobalt » Wed Apr 13, 2022 1:36 pm

Did you or the rebuilder install the seal? Has to be oriented correctly, for one. I also found that they fit rather loosely so I supplemented with some sealant around the lip that snugs up against the timing cover on the outside.
Last edited by LithiumCobalt on Wed Apr 13, 2022 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

Postby ravnlinc » Wed Apr 13, 2022 2:12 pm

Tony, Looking through this thread as well as the new steeing filter thread, it seems like this is the second time this has happened to you. Thinking about things, I have the following thoughts:
1. The only fluid that is in proximity to the steering fluid system is the engine oil at the front of the timing cover
2. The timing cover seal prevents the oil leaking out to the ground but there is contact to the back of the pump
3. Only way to make fluid move is with pressure. There must be a driver to get oil into the power steering system. How is the PCV system working in the engine?
4. The pump seals press fit on the OD and are rubber sealing on the ID to the rotating shaft. Either way could be a leak path under pressurized motor oil
5. As you rebuilt both pumps and both have this problem, could you have installed the pump seal next to the timing cover backwards allowing an easier path for the oil to get in?

Good luck,

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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

Postby TonyC » Wed Apr 13, 2022 2:41 pm

Well, Nick, I did my own rebuild. Even if there were someone local who knew these pumps, I don't have money to pay them. Besides, I'm no stranger to taking these things apart. Driving in the new bushing wasn't very easy, especially since I had to do that with no shop-manual guidance, but it seems to have worked. The drive sleeve still slid in with hardly any jamming.

But you have me curious: What do you mean by correct orientation for the outer seals? All I know about that is to have the flat sides of the seals facing outward, start them in the bores with finger pressure, then drive them in evenly until they bottom in the bores. Is there more to it than that?

This time I decided to forego any sealant, as I discovered there are small fluid passages inside the shell halves, right near the seal seats. I'm wondering if I I may have clogged one or more of those passages with sealant in last year's rebuild. I don't think so, but on the other hand I never noticed those passages until this time (always learning stuff). Taking out the old seals this time was easy...too easy, in fact. I managed to pull them out with minimal effort and no damage to those seals. It makes me wonder whether the person or persons that last rebuilt this pump neglected to check that they were in fact fully bottomed into the bores...and then, of course, that warped sleeve bushing which was likely OE-factory. Well, the overnight leak-down test has been passed, so I'll swap pumps again as soon as I siphon out all the fluid I can from the system, see what happens then. I still did not dare disturb the valve in the pump, adhering to the manual's bold-type warning. Maybe I will tackle that with the pump that's on the car when I tear that down again, which I intend to do once I can afford to buy another kit.

Well, Joe, I must say this is frustrating for me, as I was so sure that last rebuild was successful. But I am 100% certain that I installed the seals the proper way. What I'm not so sure about, though, is whether I may have clogged something inside the pump with the sealant I used last time (which I didn't use this time). And I thoroughly cleaned out the PCV components during the engine rebuild; however, being that there were still some issues with fuel mixture early on, perhaps it's time to spray that valve out again for good measure.

---Tony
Last edited by TonyC on Wed May 04, 2022 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

Postby LithiumCobalt » Wed Apr 13, 2022 3:54 pm

TonyC wrote:Well, Nick, I did my own rebuild. Even if there were someone local who knew these pumps, I don't have money to pay them. Besides, I'm no stranger to taking these things apart. Driving in the new bearing wasn't very easy, especially since I had to do that with no shop-manual guidance, but it seems to have worked. The drive sleeve still slid in with hardly any jamming.

But you have me curious: What do you mean by correct orientation for the outer seals? All I know about that is to have the flat sides of the seals facing outward, start them in the bores with finger pressure, then drive them in evenly until they bottom in the bores. Is there more to it than that?

This time I decided to forego any sealant, as I discovered there are small fluid passages inside the shell halves, right near the seal seats. I'm wondering if I I may have clogged one or more of those passages with sealant in last year's rebuild. I don't think so, but on the other hand I never noticed those passages until this time (always learning stuff). Taking out the old seals this time was easy...too easy, in fact. I managed to pull them out with minimal effort and no damage to those seals. It makes me wonder whether the person or persons that last rebuilt this pump neglected to check that they were in fact fully bottomed into the bores...and then, of course, that warped sleeve bearing which was likely OE-factory. Well, the overnight leak-down test has been passed, so I'll swap pumps again as soon as I siphon out all the fluid I can from the system, see what happens then. I still did not dare disturb the valve in the pump, adhering to the manual's bold-type warning. Maybe I will tackle that with the pump that's on the car when I tear that down again, which I intend to do once I can afford to buy another kit.

Well, Joe, I must say this is frustrating for me, as I was so sure that last rebuild was successful. But I am 100% certain that I installed the seals the proper way. What I'm not so sure about, though, is whether I may have clogged something inside the pump with the sealant I used last time (which I didn't use this time). And I thoroughly cleaned out the PCV components during the engine rebuild; however, being that there were still some issues with fuel mixture early on, perhaps it's time to spray that valve out again for good measure.

---Tony


I think we are talking about two different things. I was talking about the seal that is installed in the timing cover opening and that butts up against the back of the pump. Must be oriented one direction only for it to work and I always had to give it help with sealant to make sure it was totally leak free.
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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

Postby ravnlinc » Wed Apr 13, 2022 4:50 pm

I am thinking that with the fresh engine rebuild and the rings may not be fully seated, you could have higher than normal blow by increasing crankcase air volume. Mix that increased air and pressure to the splashing action of the oil in the timing cover and that could be your volume increase and frothing action. Are you getting air coming out the oil fill tube? Is the frothing and belching after sustained engine load and low intake vacuum or while idling where the higher intake vacuum can pull the cranckcase vapors better?

Flat side out is what I remember for those seals but it has been a while since I have done it.

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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

Postby frasern » Wed Apr 13, 2022 6:45 pm

I think it is more likely for the pump to pull oil in, than for the engine to push it. I mentioned that in the post that was lost between pages that I couldn't recover, but somehow, Tony was able to recover. At any rate, about all you can do is try another pump, as you are doing. The rear pump seal appears to be lip to the inside.
DSCF5341 (2).JPG
This is the pump from my '66, with 56,000 miles, so I expect it has not been apart.
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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

Postby TonyC » Thu Apr 14, 2022 4:51 am

[Duped again. See below.]
Last edited by TonyC on Thu Apr 14, 2022 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid...And Something Else

Postby TonyC » Thu Apr 14, 2022 4:55 am

I think we are talking about two different things. I was talking about the seal that is installed in the timing cover opening and that butts up against the back of the pump. Must be oriented one direction only for it to work and I always had to give it help with sealant to make sure it was totally leak free.


Ah, okay, Nick; you meant the front cover oil seal. I know that is not an issue; I installed it the proper way, and I used Right Stuff on it when I put it in. Honestly, I cannot see how one could put that seal in wrong, unless that someone is a certified idiot; it can only go in one way. Plus, I don't see how that seal could cause engine oil to get into the steering pump; it only prevents oil from falling out of the engine.

I am thinking that with the fresh engine rebuild and the rings may not be fully seated, you could have higher than normal blow by increasing crankcase air volume. Mix that increased air and pressure to the splashing action of the oil in the timing cover and that could be your volume increase and frothing action. Are you getting air coming out the oil fill tube? Is the frothing and belching after sustained engine load and low intake vacuum or while idling where the higher intake vacuum can pull the cranckcase vapors better?

Flat side out is what I remember for those seals but it has been a while since I have done it.


Well, Joe, I became an expert on excessive engine blow-by the hard way, which prompted the rebuild. Oil used to belch out that filler tube (engine, not steering) from the excess pressure going into the crankcase, bathing the whole right side of the engine bay in oil. That is no longer the case, so I know that excess blow-by does not even factor into this issue. When the engine did have that ill, it never affected the steering. The pump did groan, even with a full complement of fluid in the system, but that was an independent, unrelated problem with the pump itself. And it never sucked in engine oil before now. Ironically, I'm now looking to swap back the very pump that did that...but I replaced the sleeve bushing, which I am certain was the cause of the groaning: The old bushing was so warped that it came out with the sleeve when I disassembled it. I've since installed a new bushing, as well as new seals (which are holding for now, not a drop of fluid has leaked out of the pump for the second overnight in a row). The only thing I haven't ever done was take out the relief valve in the pump, just because the manual warns not to disturb it unless a diagnosis confirms it to be at fault (but the manual doesn't elaborate on said diagnosis :smt011 ). I just might disregard that warning when I get the other pump off the engine and tear it down (again!) for another rebuild, once I can afford another rebuild kit.

I think it is more likely for the pump to pull oil in, than for the engine to push it. I mentioned that in the post that was lost between pages that I couldn't recover


Yes, that appears to be the case, Fraser. I still cannot understand how a steering pump can suck engine oil into itself, but the evidence certainly seems to indicate that it did. I'm hoping I can see why once I get that pump off. I siphoned out quite a lot of the fluid in the system yesterday and will get some more later today; I almost filled another empty quart bottle in the process. And that fluid still smells suspiciously more like engine oil than transmission fluid. Also, I think it's a good thing I got another filter from John Brewer; the cork gasket at the top of the old filter separated from the shell when I pulled it out. I know transmission fluid should not do that, but maybe engine oil would. So, I don't doubt that old filter has to be contaminated beyond re-use.

---Tony

Follow-Up, 18 April: Last week I siphoned out as much contaminated fluid as I could from the rest of the system and swapped out pumps again (along with the new filter). As of today, I'm seeing a bit of discoloration after a week of use, but that could possibly be attributed to residue that was still in the system, as my method did not involve a complex flushing of the system; I just used my vacuum pump to siphon out stuff from various spots all across the system. Maybe another draining of the pump and reservoir would be in order; the discoloration is not quite so bad as it was on the road trip (UPDATE: Did that on the 20th, but it may have compromised my vacuum pump). I also think I may have spotted what went wrong with the "old" pump, something I had forgotten about when I did the re-seal last year: The rear fluid seal had some pretty serious denting to its shell, which occurred because I didn't have the right-sized driver tool to sink it in evenly. I remember that now that I've seen it again. I disregarded it because that pump had also passed the overnight leak test...but now I'm wondering if that may have had anything to do with the pump sucking in engine oil; however, I don't know that for sure. I also disassembled the relief valve, a first-ever thing for me, and it was actually quite simple. What prompted me to do that was when I noticed the valve sticking as I moved it in the bore with a flat-head screwdriver. It should be okay now, although I still haven't re-assembled the whole wretched mess. I need to get at least one new fluid seal before I dare try putting that pump back together, maybe an entire new-seal kit. But at least I know I don't need the more-involved kit with the sleeve bushing; the bushing that's still in the pump is still in good shape, the sleeve slides in and out with no binding.

I still do not know whether the symptoms have been remedied with this newly-refurbished pump, as I have not given the car a highway run. It's not only due to the extortionist prices for fuel that I haven't given it another highway run. The car has other problems as well, which I cannot do anything about until the weekend. The right-front wheel feels significantly tighter on the spindle than the left-front...in fact, I dare say too tight, most likely caused by installing new bearings on old races in a field environment. Even loosening the retaining nut has not freed up that tightness, so it's safe to say there is a problem there. I do, however, have two sets of bearings to do the job properly, which I intend to do at the auto shop this weekend. Also, I did notice that the lower ball joints had started to give off their trademark warning squeaks during the travel. They don't squeak noticeably puttering around locally at home, and the front of the car has not been shimmeying yet, but there is a bit of play in the joints when I shake the wheels. So that's another thing I have to deal with this weekend, which I can do as I have a pair of new ones on hand. But the third symptom is the most mysterious and the most disconcerting...

I am hearing a dull clunking/grinding from underneath the car; it manifests only when the car starts moving, and increases in frequency with speed. To complicate matters, it seems to travel all under the car: Sometimes it sounds like it's coming from the back, other times from directly beneath me, a few other times from the front. Last weekend, at the auto shop, I tried to track it down and still have not been able to. What I did last weekend: I put the car on a rack and removed the drive shaft, to inspect the end joints and the needle bearings in the slip yoke. Everything seemed in proper order, no sign of wear or damage to any components; so I ruled out the drive shaft as the cause. I checked the oil level of the differential, which was down by almost a pint, so I added some more; the fluid level in the diff has been ruled out. Plus, I even probed inside the diff with a magnet to see if any debris may have been inside; nothing but oil attached to the magnet, so there isn't any visible sign of a damaged gear. I also did a second check of the rear bearings and brake components; the bearings have no wiggle to them, and the brake components show no sign of wear or damage, so those have been ruled out. One thing I did notice, though, still has me wondering: With the drive shaft still off, I spun the rear wheels, one at a time, to observe the behavior of the differential. When I spun the right wheel, I saw the pinion yoke spin as well, in both directions. When I spun the left wheel, however, the yoke did not spin; it shifted a bit at first, in both directions, but would not turn completely. I'm not sure if this may be normal or an indication of a problem. Just for clarification, the differential is the base 2.8 regular, not limited-slip. I'm still not sure if the noise may be coming from inside the diff...or worse, the transmission. It has been 9 years since the last rebuild, and aside from topping off a quart or two that spilled out during the engine rebuild last year, the fluid has never been changed. And the rear diff has never been opened up. On the other hand, I'm thinking I should delay focusing on those two components until after I do the replacements of the front wheel bearings and lower ball joints, just to make absolutely sure those are ruled out.

'NOTHER Follow-Up, 2 May: To get off the tangent I've caused on my own thread and steer (pardon the pun) back to topic, I've addressed all the other side problems and fixed all but one (the cause is in something I previously ruled out), which is just a matter of time. I also discovered yet another problem developing, but I know what to do about that. Back to the hydraulics problem: As I stated in my long-winded follow-up in April, I rebuilt the spare pump (to include replacing the sleeve bushing in the pressure plate) and swapped it in. I did forget to add silicone to the front oil seal and thus caused an oil leak, but I addressed that this past weekend during an oil change. Still nothing to report on the topic symptoms, whether or not I remedied them with this latest swap, as I still have yet to do a highway run which can't happen yet. When I can do that run, I'll report back the results.
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Re: Gremlin in Steering, Belching Fluid

Postby TonyC » Wed May 11, 2022 3:45 pm

Latest on this mystery: I did a highway run about two days ago, however a short one, to Manhattan and back (about 80 miles round-trip), and the steering is behaving. A longer highway run is upcoming, to Leavenworth, in a week; so that ought to tell me whether the swap cured the belching/discoloration of fluid. If so, then I have a couple hypotheses as to the failure of the other pump.

I'll set the base for my guesses; apologies if anything sounds repetitive to posts I already made. When I examined the other pump after removing it, I was reminded of a gaffe on my part when I rebuilt it last year. The rear seal had some significant denting to its shell, caused by me when I was setting it in, as I did not then have the right-diameter tool to drive it in evenly. Because that seal passed an overnight leak-down test, I figured it was still okay. Now I believe otherwise. Yes, I did do highway runs before the big Florida trip and saw no sign of these symptoms; but they were rather short, either to Manhattan or Salina and back, not much beyond 100 miles per round-trip, if that. That probably would not have been enough to cause the pump to malfunction and start sucking in engine oil...however, a trip down into Texas would (I suspect that started to happen by the time I got to Dallas, although I didn't notice it until Shreveport). So, I think that dented rear seal may have caused the oil contamination.

As for the belching, my hypothesis on that has led me to the relief valve in the side of the pump, the one the shop manuals stress not to disturb unless absolutely necessary. I think it became necessary. If that valve serves the purpose I presume it to serve, it's supposed to relieve pressure from the system when the pump is spinning too fast, to prevent the very symptom I suffered. When I took the pump apart, I tried moving the valve in its bore with a long screwdriver. It moved, but it did not slide back when I released it. Being that valve is sprung, it should have. So, I took that valve out, inspected it and the bore, cleaned it up, yanked out the one new O-ring I didn't use in the rebuild (which goes onto the plug for the valve)...and still have to re-assemble and re-test. But I don't want to do that until I get a new seal kit and do another re-seal job to that pump. Who knows, maybe the valve sticking could have been a side-effect of the engine-oil contamination, being that engine oil is significantly thicker, too thick for certain to use in systems that use Type F transmission fluid. I did notice the discoloring in Dallas, along with a slightly-high marking of fluid on the dipstick; but it wasn't until I got to Shreveport that I realized there was a big problem, when the left side of the engine bay got bathed in oil.

It doesn't look like an immediate need now, but I think it may be prudent to do this pump again when I can, just in case the pump in use develops more issues (I have not removed the valve in that pump, so I suppose issues could still arise with it). At least the disassembled pump does not require a new sleeve bushing; the sleeve goes in and out with ease and spins in place with no issues.

---Tony
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