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I bought my '99 Dodge diesel Ram 2500 new in October '99 and now have about 212,000 miles. The power steering has always been fine but lately has faded out while trying to park or making rapid turns in opposite directions. It doesn't seem to do this when the engine and power steering system is cold. I drive 30 miles to work and it will sometimes do it while parking at the office. At times it only acts up for a moment but at other times the steering stays difficult until the truck is parked and the engine turned off. During all of this the power brakes seem to be OK. The power steering fluid got low a couple of months ago but I simply refilled the pump. A leak was never found and the fluid level has stayed up since I refilled it. Any ideas? Thanks. ------- Jim

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When did you flush the power steering system last? (Required every 30K miles) Over a period of time the fluid breaks down and doesn't function as well. If the fluid is dark color (tan to brown) its time for a flush. New fluid is nearly clear to a honey color. Also take note of the smell of it you can tell when P/S fluid is burnt or has been over heated.

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Well, I guess I have to admit that the power steering fluid has never been changed or flushed. I never thought of that, but then again, this is the longest I have ever kept a vehicle that had power steering. Is there a trick to draining the power steering system? I will attempt to change it this weekend. Thanks. ---------- Jim

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Well, I finally got the power steering fliud flushed and changed at a local mechanic shop that I trust. The steering is a little better but not much. My mechanic thinks the hydro-boost is getting weak. What happens if this unit goes out completely? Will both the steering and brakes work but require much more effort or will I lose all braking? Thanks. ------ Jim

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Separate systems... If the nydro boost goes out techincally the brake would loose the booseter thats all the brakes will still function but take more effort to stop. But there is another problem if there is a system failure with debris involved then the debris is pumped system wide and both systems will take on damage including the pump. Remember the only thing that lubes the part is the fluid... Then there is is no filter in the system... so it best to change PS fluid about once a year or 30K miles...

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Sorry about bringing up an old thread but I have been driving around since last May with the same power steering problem. It has gradually been getting worse. I've decided that now is the time to replace my weak hydro boost unit. An estimate from a local diesel repair shop was around $1,700 (I think - going by memory) for parts & labor with a new hydro boost unit from Dodge. Is this an item that can be purchased rebuilt? If so, any suggested suppliers in the Gulf Coast region? Is this a job that a shade tree mechanic can tackle over a weekend? Thanks. -------- Jim

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To follow-up on this thread, I could not find anyone that offered rebuilt hydroboost units so I called the shop that diagnosed the problem and scheduled a time to bring my truck in for repairs. By the way, the estimated cost of $1,700 I mentioned in an earlier post was incorrect. It should have been $800-$1000. For the better part of the last 3 weeks, the truck has remained at the repair shop. After the first new hydroboost from Dodge was installed (total cost $950), the steering initially felt good but almost immediately deteriorated back to having the same problems.:cry: I don't think I was a mile from the shop before I brought the truck back. A second new hydroboost unit was ordered from Dodge and installed. This time the truck was driven about 8 miles when the power steering problems returned intermittently. :mad: My opinion is that the original hydroboost unit was fine and something else is causing my steering issues. After another week at the same repair shop, they now think something is wrong with the gearbox.:spend: As you might guess, I'm skeptical because while driving at cruising speed the steering seems to be fine. It is only when parking, making turns at intersections, or having to make a combination of turns (usually in parking lots) in rapid succession when the power assist fades out. What are your opinions? Is the shop right or could it be a failing pump or fliud line? To be fair, I have used this shop for repairs/upgrades to this truck on 4-5 other occasions over the years and have been very pleased with their previous work. I appreciate whatever input you may have. ----------- Jim

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Check this article out. I did this to my 02 shortly after buying it due to having weak steering in parking lots and short slow speed turns it would stall out. has worked like a dream for close to 100K after doing it and no problems either. I think it will help as the screen in mine was about plugged and it only had 30kish miles on it. http://westtexasoffroad.homestead.com/powersteering.html

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Wild & Free, Thank you for the link. I read through it quickly and have printed it to go over more thoroughly later. You mentioned a screen. Where is this screen that was plugged in your unit? That sure sounds like something I want to check on my truck but didn't see a screen shown in the article. -------- Jim

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The latest news in this saga is the shop checked the screen in the Saginaw pump and said that it was completely clean. They are convinced that the steering gear box is the culprit. I agreed to let them change the gear box because I need the truck repaired. However, I also told them that something needed to be adjusted on the repair costs :broke: since I feel the original hydroboost unit was perfectly good and did not need replacement. We will have to see where this goes next. --------- Jim

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The steering gearbox has now been replaced and the trucks has been driving as it should for about a week now. It is probably safe to say that this issue is now closed. While I still probably came out a little on the short end from a cost perspective, the repair shop did not charge me for the gearbox replacement which I think was good on their part. Wild & Free, I would have liked to have gotten the gearbox you suggested but since the shop was covering the cost I didn't want to rock the boat. They installed a Dodge gearbox purchased from a local Dodge dealer so I'm assuming that it is new and not rebuilt. If it lasts as long as the original, I'm good shape for another 230,000 miles!:) Hopefully by posting this solution to my steering problem it may help another Ram 2500 owner in the future. I do appreciate the responses offered by the readers here while I was working through this ordeal. ---------- Jim

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