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My 2001 Xterra started leaking power steering fluid. I pulled the driver side wheel off and it appears that the leak is coming from the bottom of the pump. Is this a bad gasket/o-ring or is it a bad pump?
Any help is appreciated!

 

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That's a leaky pitman seal on the the steering gear. It's pretty easy to change out and can be done without removing the steering gear from the vehicle.

Basically you mark your pitman arm and the splines so it goes back together lined up correctly. Use a pitman puller to get the arm off the gear. Then you remove the snap ring etc and the seal. I found the easiest way to get the seal out is to put a catch pan under the gear. Turn the car on and turn the steering lock to lock once or twice. The pressure will pop the seal out. Be sure to count the number of turns so that you get the steering wheel back to center. You'll know if you mess this up and you'll have to pop the pitman off again and turn the steering wheel another turn to get it centered.

The steering gear pitman shaft seal kit is between $5 and $10 on Rock Auto. Super easy to do. I've done both my Frontier and my Xterra. It takes me about a half hour.

And of course you'll need to refill the steering system with ATF not power steering fluid to complete the job.

Oh, and you can borrow the pitman puller from Pepboys, Autozone, Oreilly's etc through their tool loan programs. You pay a deposit and they return it when you return the tool.
 

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On the plus side... The ATF dripping out of the seal is a great penetrating lubricant for that big nut that you'll have to remove. :D
 

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2003 XTerra SE/XE RWD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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And of course you'll need to refill the steering system with ATF not power steering fluid to complete the job.
Do you mean that Automatic Transmission Fluid must be added to the power steering fluid reservoir? Why not power steering fluid itself? Could you please explain...
 

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The factory fluid and recommended fluid in the factory service manual is ATF. That's why the fluid dripping from your steering gear is red. You can switch to power steering fluid if you like and it shouldn't hurt anything. I used power steering fluid in my Frontier for a number of years (It's what had been put in it before I bought it used), and then switched it back to ATF when I did the pitman seal and realized that the factory spec was ATF. Basically, both are hydraulic fluids, which is really the requirement. I just choose to use what Nissan recommends. ATF is also easier to see if it's got a leak.
 
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