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Joined: Jul 12 2016
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I'm getting fed up with it now!

Found a new coolant leak a few days ago.

The gearbox in the Freelander decided it no longer wanted a reverse gear last night.

Now I think I have a power steering fluid leak!

The metal pipes beside the radiator look like this:

enter image description here

And the area around what I guess is the steering box looks like this:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Bah.

Hopefully it's just a loose union.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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You sure that's power steering fluid? Looks more like coolant to me.

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Joined: Jul 12 2016
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It's definitely some kind of oil dripping off the pipe. I suppose it could be two different leaks in that corner but I can't see any evidence of a coolant leaked from the top, besides this:

enter image description here

That's dry and there's no wet streaks running down from it. It looks like it's somehow weeping out through the threads in the hole.

What fluid does the steering take? I assumed it would be some sort of ATF which can be red?

I have noticed that my steering can sometimes be momentarily heavy when maneuvering at low speeds and gives an occasional whine at full lock.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Yes, red ATF. If you unscrew the cap it has a level measure on the underside with two marks on it. When not running the level should be up to the top mark.

Groaning steering is usually a sign the level is low.

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Joined: Jul 12 2016
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Well...there's fluid in the reservoir but none on the stick. Eep.

Time for a top up and look for a leak.

Dexron 3 is the same as the fluid that goes in the gearbox right? I have some of that left over from when I changed the gearbox oil.

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Yup, same stuff. If it's not even reaching the stick, if you start the engine and turn the steering from lock to lock, the reservoir will be filled with aerated fluid.

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Joined: Jul 12 2016
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I topped it up before starting the engine/steering this morning.

Will keep an eye on it and see how quick it leaks out. In daylight the top of the steering box looks fairly dry and covered with crud so think it might not be big or fast leak.

Is there a rebuild kit available for the steering boxes? I can get hold of a used steering box the wasn't known to leak before it was removed but if I swap the box out I'd prefer to do it with one that's been rebuilt.

I can see kits for Series vehicles, Defenders and Discovery/RRC but not the P38.

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Joined: Mar 22 2016
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I’ve never had one leak, so a 2 nd hand one is most probably ok.
I understand what your saying about rebuilding it, but surely if a kits available, rebuild your one..
I remember Marty fighting to get the arm off his one.

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I've got the original steering box, it doesn't leak and is perfectly dry and has done 368,000 miles. So either you've never driven in a straight line in your life and have worn it out or it isn't PAS fluid. The pipes can rust/chafe though and leak but the steering boxes don't.

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Joined: Jan 16 2017
Posts: 455

I'd have thought if it was able to leak, you'd know about it as the fluid would be pressurised there. Having had a sensor mounted onto the pump of another car give up and squirting fluid straight onto the exhaust, you'd soon smell it if it gets anywhere hot.

I'd get a piece of clean tissue and dab at it just to check the colour - Whilst new ATF is red, I've usually noticed it to be closer to black after its been in the system a while. The red bit to me looks more like antifreeze than ATF, so if its leaking, its probably from somewhere else (the pump or pipes are much more likely, are you sure it isn't leaking from somewhere further up?)

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Joined: Jul 12 2016
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The fluid in the first and third photos is a murky, dark grey oil.

The second photo does show red so there must be two leaks in that area.

My steering is now silent again after topping up and the occasional, momentary lack of assistance at idle is gone too. Every so often it would feel like it was caught on something and was then able to overcome it.

Looking at the photos more closely it does look like there's some red crusty stuff around the thermostat. Might need a closer inspection for the fluid in the second image.

I'll get a photo of the top of that area in daylight.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Either that and just conclude that your car is slightly incontinent, live with it and just top up the fluids every so often. It's nice to have a leak free car but unless it is serious then the effort involved in curing the leak will outweigh the pleasure and costs. If you can see it and the source is obvious, deal with it but otherwise don't waste your life trying to find it. Mine has had a slight oil leak ever since the engine rebuild which I suspect is from the rear of the valley gasket (the bit that I did and not V8 Developments) but it needs a litre of oil about every 5,000 miles so I just live with it. As an oil leak is now part of the MoT I just crawled underneath with degreaser and a pressure washer before it went in for the last test.

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Joined: Jul 12 2016
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I know is what you're saying about leaks, I know you'll never get all of them completely :)

I was under the car again today and I don't think there is a coolant leak in that corner. The red spot in the second image above isn't liquid. It's something on the metal under the oil, possibly a rust spot. I rubbed at it and it didn't go away.

All of the wet areas shown above and in the link I'm about to post is some kind of oil, dark in colour.

This is what I saw/found today:

http://imgur.com/a/N3eM53h

Looking at those what would you think the leak is? It's significantly wetter underneath than it is from the top.

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Joined: Jan 16 2017
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Given how much is covered, its very hard to say. Personally I think I'd be trying to clean it up and see where it starts from before trying to fix it at this point. You might also find its easier to locate if you remove the fan when you have cleaned it if your able to (As the fan will blow the leaked fluid all over the place making it harder to trace - obviously don't run it for too long or drive it like that). If it is steering fluid (the dropped level in the reservoir would suggest it will be) then moving the steering about with the engine running should give you an idea where its coming from - ideally get someone else to move the steering while you look at whats going on.

Is it possible its actually the transmission oil cooler leaking and getting blown onto the bits behind? I'd expect you'd see oily gunge over the radiator fins if so?

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Joined: Jul 12 2016
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I did consider the transmission cooler when I first saw the pipe close to the radiator but given how thoroughly coated the steering box is I switched my thoughts to that. There's hardly any oil anywhere else.

You're right though, I do need to get a nice big tin of brake cleaner and hose it all down.

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Joined: Dec 29 2016
Posts: 198

One of my Vogue SE’s had a red fluid leak from it when I bought it and I assumed it would be gearbox oil... i was kinda right as it was ATF but it was from a power steering pipe.

It was the pipe that ran from the steering box to the reservoir that had rusted out on the 90 degree bend on the drivers side of the radiator. I replaced the pipe which once the viscous fan was removed was pretty easy. If that is your cause, make sure and clean the flat surface where the dowty washer will sit against the steering box impeccably as there was a spot of crap on mine that stopped it sealing and I had to take the pipe back out again to clean it and refit it.

If you look down the side of the battery box you can see the top of the steering box. Squirt that with brake cleaner and check both of the pipes. Is it possible that the unions on the top might just need nipping up and the fluid is running down the steering box?

David.