I thought everyone would like to know that my van is fixed! I now have power steering again. The really exciting part is that I fixed it myself. I am not in the habit of fixing cars, or even checking fluid and changing tires. But I do hand over wrenches quite nicely, so I felt confident I could tackle this project with a little help from Doug.
The part that I needed to replace is a hose having to do with the power steering. When I sound a little vague in this story, it’s because I hope you won’t notice my ignorance. 🙂 I didn’t know where this hose was, so I pulled out the new one and started looking around until I found a hose that looked like it. As you can see in the pic above, this can be a challenge. I am very proud to say that I got black grease up to my elbows in the process.
So I finally located the part and Doug gave me the wrench. What a switch! I loosened the top end of the hose, only to discover that the bottom end would require me getting under the van. (I have a full size van.)
Doug prepared to jack up the van, but realized that he needed the handle for the jack. He couldn’t reach it so he asked me to get it. I leaned over him to reach it, but found out too late that I couldn’t reach it either. My hand slid down the side of the wet van and I somehow dove over Doug and landed in a heap on the other side. (Hey! I didn’t even touch him! I wouldn’t want to hurt him.) I managed to get myself out of the pretzel which involved a leg twisted under the rototiller. I will confess that this took me a few minutes. But I overcame and got on the little wheely cart and slid under the van. Shortly thereafter, I had the hose disconnected. (Woohoo!) It was easy to ascertain the problem. A faulty o-ring. Isn’t it always a faulty o-ring? Even Apollo 13 had problems with a faulty o-ring!
So now I was ready to put in the new hose. Doug gave me a lecture on keeping everything clean so as to get a good seal. (I’m covered in mud, grit, and grease, but I’m supposed to keep everything clean.) Okay, bottom end secured. Top end will not align with the hole. Remove bottom end. Align top end. Resecure bottom end. Discover that to bleed the line, bottom end must be disconnected. Egats! Disconnect bottom line. Read manual! Discover that bleeding can be done without disconnecting bottom line. Resecure bottom line. By the way, we were still very calm at this point, and even enjoying ourselves. (Yeahh!)
Note to self: Pin hair back before working on a car. When I tried to wheely cart myself out from under the car for hopefully the last time, my hair got wound around the wheel. The more I tried to get out, the tighter it got. Doug had to pull me out with the cart hanging from my head, and pull my hair out of the wheel. That’s when I had Gramma braid my hair.
So we bled the system, which involved me watching the fluid burp and bubble up, while Doug turned the steering wheel back and forth. Finally the bubbles stopped and we declared success! Then Doug got the great idea of showing me where some of the other fluids are located and discovered that I was very low on oil, so we took care of that, too.
I fixed my van, acquired black under my finger nails, grease up my arms, a few bruises on my leg, and a very satisfying sense of accomplishment! Praise YHVH!