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When I took my 99 Nissan Almera in for a pre inspection check and they put it up on the lift one thing we saw was a redish fluid leak from the steering column area.

They indicated to me that it was serious and a big job to repair.

Could anyone clue me in to what might be the problem?

Here are two pictures. This first one just shows the power steering reservoir ( passenger side - filled to about maybe 1/4 inch from the top ) and the hose where I saw the leak from the top. I tried to outline in red:

enter image description here

Here is the same hose from underneath. I circled a big drop of red fluid hanging on the hose, and also the screw on the clamp holding the hose to whatever it's connecting to in the back of the engine has red fluid on it:

enter image description here

EDIT

I found the following on an almera owners club site:

Common problems/What to look for when buying your Almera

Power steering fluid leak: If your power steering is running low, or you find a leak on your drive that isn’t oil, chances are it’s the power steering fluid leaking, something that seems to be a common fault on N15’s.

The leak occurs on the offside where the front metal cooling pipe meets the rubber flexi pipe, and just needs the broken bit shortening and a new clip (jubilee etc) sticking on! Job done.

  • When you say "steering column area" are you talking down by the engine or up where you sit? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 12 '15 at 17:03
  • @Paulster2 Standing under the engine when it is on a lift, it is posterior to the engine in the engine bay. – Robert S. Barnes Jul 12 '15 at 18:35
  • A picture here would work wonders. A lot of cars either use ATF or the power steering fluid is red (which can be confusing). I'd suggest you have a power steering leak, but where exactly is the real issue. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 12 '15 at 18:42
  • @Paulster2 I added a few pictures. – Robert S. Barnes Jul 13 '15 at 16:08
  • That looks like the return side. I'm wondering if the hose is just worn out? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 13 '15 at 16:11
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In the top picture, the round thing which is to the bottom right of the image looks like the power steering fluid reservoir. In the bottom picture, this looks like the return line (what you have annotated), which should be attached to the reservoir. You need to clean/inspect these areas to see where your fluid is coming from. If just the connection to the reservoir, it could just be you need to reposition the hose clamp to get the leak to stop. It could also be a stress fracture to the reservoir itself. Or thirdly, your return hose could be worn out. The silver colored (or aluminum) fitting (in the second photo) with the banjo bolt going through it (and hose attached to it) should be the high pressure side. It looks dry as you want it to be. This is actually a good sign in this case. The high pressure side hose is a bit more expensive than the return hose. Hope this helps.

  • The round black thing in the top pic is the reservoir. The reservoir side of that hose is dry. It's the other side of the hose, the one which I assume connects to the power steering pump, which is wet. I'm thinking that's where the ps pump is because there is something belt driven right there. If I'm correct about it going to the ps pump, could it be that they saw the leak and just assumed that it's the pump leaking? If it is the pump that's leaking, what kind of a job are we talking about? – Robert S. Barnes Jul 13 '15 at 17:49
  • You should be able to do the pump yourself, if that's what the issue is. Like I said, clean the entire area up, get it dry, then run the car to see where the hose is leaking from. It's not the pressure side hose. It could be the pump, but I doubt it. I'm fairly sure it's coming from the return side hose, whether in connection or if the hose has a leak itself. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 13 '15 at 18:17
  • The problem with this type of leak is when fluid leaks out from one part, then runs down or across on other parts by contact. About the only thing you can be sure of is that liquid tends to go downwards more than up - and even that notion sometimes needs to be qualified (e.g. when wind does its thing). So, as @Paulster2 says, do clean it all up, run it a little (move the wheel from side to side), and try to see where the original point of exit is. – ALAN WARD Jul 13 '15 at 19:23
  • Could you take a quick look at an edit I added to the end of the post? – Robert S. Barnes Jul 14 '15 at 18:13
  • @RobertS.Barnes - Not only does that seem plausible, it is sound reasoning. It is a no cost option to getting it fixed and along the lines I was talking about. They are saying to trim it back and add a new hose clamp (I assume that last part) should fix the issue. Sounds like a winner. If it doesn't fix it, you may need to get a replacement hose, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I'd do the same. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 14 '15 at 20:18
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Follow the admins advice. You want to use the process of elimination. Its a hydraulic system with seals and it works like a two way car jack. The steering wheel column is simply a big joint and connects directly to it. A wheel as handle bars, the pistons are pushed through a liquid filled tight cylinder, your power steering rack sealed at the rubber end boots. As the fluid squeezes behind the cylinder it equalizes the force removing resistance. Egyprltians once used water. Hoses come in all sizes and lengths. Trim it and use some pliers or a screwdriver depending on your clips, buy a new hose, or bring it to a junk yard and find something similar. You also need to make sure that if there's a bleeder valve that it is tight. Look on the ground to see where its dripping from and you can follow that straight up any hoses. I always leave replaced hoses in my trunk for emergency but hopefully you just gashed it with something in the road. Power steering pumps if belt driven simply have a belt adjustment. The rest unbolts. But anything removed from the power steering system requires you to bleed the air out of it or you won't be able to turn while sitting still which means you can't get stuck anywhere in between lanes without creating a huge danger . The power steering racks has tie rods on each end as extensions to the brake spindle a heavy support which bolts your brake system, upper suspension, and axles together. Removing the rack make require taking any and all of these parts off but sometimes lifting the car and undoing a hundred lb. Subframe underneath is the trick. Labor is intense and technically combines screws, pressure clamps, and centimeters of finger movement along with some puzzling to take any shortcuts.

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