phantom leak


Old 12-10-10, 11:39 AM
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phantom leak

My wife has an 03 merc sable. She called me from work this morning and said sometime after she got to work she noticed a small puddle of oil under the right front of her car. She said when she went out yesterday to a burger joint that there was some smoke coming from under the hood.

So I went and got her car and the power steering pump was growling. Got it home and can't find any leaks. The outside of the pump and the compressor directly below are clean as are the pump lines. The bottom radiator hose has a molded tee that was oily. The pump reservoir was down a tad so I added maybe an ounce of fluid, slightly over filling it. That did eliminate the pump noise.

I've drove it a little over 20 miles today. I've rocked the steering back and forth each time I've stopped and checked for leaks but can't find any. There is a slight moan in the steering but you can't hear it outside of the vehicle. Any ideas??
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Old 12-10-10, 07:06 PM
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get a black-light and contrast die; add to oil and check it out; they have ones for oil and for ATF, which is ur PS fluid.

What's Leaking Under My Car - Car Fluid Leak Help - What is This Fluid
btw, there should be no oil lines etc in front of the engine; so, front of the car sounds unlikely. you may have transmission fluid cooling lines coming into radiator.
personally, i had several palpitations, thinking that somebody else's oil leak, that happened to be right underneath my engine, is mine. happens. give her a good run, and park overnight over a cardboard or something.
Old 12-11-10, 04:46 AM
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Her bottom radiator hose is oily along with then splash guard under the radiator but it's so crowded I can't find where it's coming from. I don't like front wheel drive cars

I set some white cardboard under that corner of her car but haven't went out to check it yet...... it's still cold outside

I've also come out of stores to find a puddle under my vehicle. Even though I'd know it wasn't mine - it would make my heart skip a beat until I verified my vehicle was ok. If I can't find the leak this morning, I'll let her go back to driving it and just keep an eye on it
Old 12-12-10, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Nov 2002
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I'd also look for pinhole leaks in the hoses usually will only leak when the system is under pressure with the car running and won't leak when engine is off.

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