Topic: power steering coolers

We blew out the power steering cooler in the last hour of the race at Thompson, so now I need to fix it. I hate the stock setup, it's all rigid line that is very in the way of where I want to move other coolers to.

Stock one looks like this and kind of just sits in front of the heat exchanger stack up.

https://www.maptunparts.eu/img-products/L/6294/power-steering-pressure-hose-kit-saab-9-5-98-06.jpg

Basically the cooler is just an extra long hard line right from the pump. So it's under full pressure from the system.


So, does anyone have a decent cooler for this type of application? The kits that come with basic rubber line and hose clamps don't feel right. I plan on pulling the stock line out entirely, and figuring out if I should either cut and weld/braze on some fittings for short hydraulic soft lines, or just replace them completely with custom length hydraulic soft lines so I can move the replacement cooler somewhere that it's out of the way of where I want to put an intercooler.

There's a few on summit that look like they'd fit what I want to do, but worth seeing if someone has a preferred proven cooler.

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Re: power steering coolers

I replaced the tube style on the blazer with this.  https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Derale-1 … 53660.html

I am happy with it so far.  The mounting kinda sucks, I built a sheet metal box to house the unit.  I don't like using the through ties for hanging from the radiator.

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3 (edited by hkerekes 2022-08-10 06:46 AM)

Re: power steering coolers

you can run new pushlock lines on a barbed fitting.   We redid the power steering cooler and all of our trans coolers with pushlock lines and oetiker clamps ( the hose clamps were vibrating loose).      push lock works with most barbed fittings, when you add an oetiker clamp its not going to come off easy though.   There are specific push lock fittings that work better, but with our powersteering cooler it only had barbed fittings and i really didnt want to buy something else when it still worked.


Why do you want to run it on the pressure side?   Put it on the return side with much less pressure, we also added a magnetic inline filter on ours.  The fluid was always so dark no matter what we did.  The filter cleared it all up and we have had no issues with it since.

Re: power steering coolers

We just de-powered our steering rack to prevent these failures. required a bit of cutting of one of the collars and welding to ensure the steering shaft was locked in place, and it made a huge mess, but we're overall happy with the result.

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Re: power steering coolers

I've run a standard amazon cooler in a couple cars for power steering and they've all worked great. Although I believe we set them up in line of the return so the pressure is next to zero.

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Re: power steering coolers

hkerekes wrote:

Why do you want to run it on the pressure side?   Put it on the return side with much less pressure, we also added a magnetic inline filter on ours.  The fluid was always so dark no matter what we did.  The filter cleared it all up and we have had no issues with it since.

I'm looking for the path of least re-engineering. It looks like Saab set it up this way, and the easiest answer is going to be to not mess with routing. I just want to replace some of the hard lines with flexible ones so I can shift the cooler location.



We do not want to delete the power steering. The daytona didn't have it, and the BMW won't have it, but this is a big heavy car. Based on the report from my dad when it went out, this car is a bit too much without the power steering. And I really don't want to make it harder to drive for him. I'd like the car to be easy to drive for him so he can keep coming racing with us.

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Re: power steering coolers

KeiCarMike wrote:

We just de-powered our steering rack to prevent these failures. required a bit of cutting of one of the collars and welding to ensure the steering shaft was locked in place, and it made a huge mess, but we're overall happy with the result.


light cars with skinny tires that is easy, 3400lb car with 295 wide 200 tw tires that is simply not feasable

Re: power steering coolers

99% P/S coolers are in the return line, rubber hose/standard coolers of any sort are no problem, make it like the rest and move on?

Using the A/T cooler in the rad? If not, it works fine.

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Re: power steering coolers

Mount the cooler below the power steering  reservoir. I made the mistake of mounting mine too high. It got air bound and it cost me an hour or so diagnosing and then changing the burned up pump in the snow / sleet ( Pittrace) .  The directions tell you to mount it low -  but  you have to read the directions to get this information.

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Re: power steering coolers

I am going to throw out the totally unasked alternative...get rid of the hydraulic power steering completely.  We have been sidlined over the years a number times, always when it is hot therefore uncomfortable to work on,by power steering leaks.  The lines tend to be in awkward, ifficult to reach locations that are also hot.

Two of our cars have electric, column-mounted power steering for a total investment of about $100 each.  It has created a downtime incident and may be wearing out out lower ujoint at an accelerated pace but man is it easier on the burned hands to workon and diagnose.

11 (edited by DirtyDuc 2022-08-15 06:19 PM)

Re: power steering coolers

I was watching one of the offroad recovery youtube builds the other day, and the guy swears by something that looks like this https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum- … Q9EALw_wcB

And there's surely adapter fittings to switch over to braided line with AN fittings.

That guy

Re: power steering coolers

OnkelUdo wrote:

I am going to throw out the totally unasked alternative...get rid of the hydraulic power steering completely.  We have been sidlined over the years a number times, always when it is hot therefore uncomfortable to work on,by power steering leaks.  The lines tend to be in awkward, ifficult to reach locations that are also hot.

Two of our cars have electric, column-mounted power steering for a total investment of about $100 each.  It has created a downtime incident and may be wearing out out lower ujoint at an accelerated pace but man is it easier on the burned hands to workon and diagnose.


We have 10+ races on our current power steering setup and zero failures, the previous setup had 200,000 miles on it with a minor leak.   There are also zero leaks on the new setup, if its leaking thats maintenance issue that should have been solved before the race.  You can also reroute the lines and convert them to AN braided lines.

$100 electric power steering units were not designed around wide 200tw tires, wheel spacers, and racing conditions.  They will overheat.    Hydraulic units are easily cooled and have no issue with wide sticky tires.

13 (edited by OnkelUdo 2022-08-16 06:41 PM)

Re: power steering coolers

hkerekes wrote:

$100 electric power steering units were not designed around wide 200tw tires, wheel spacers, and racing conditions.  They will overheat.    Hydraulic units are easily cooled and have no issue with wide sticky tires.

And as always...our many races of experience with that electric power steering disagrees with you superior knowledge and experience.  Now is when you tell us how slow we are.

Re: power steering coolers

I know several teams running electric assists, they work just fine. The load on them is not that high as long as the car is moving, all that extra stuff you listed is only a big load multiplier when the car is stationary.

I'm just not looking for that level of re-engineering to solve this problem. Maybe the BMW gets an electric if we decide it needs something.


FWIW, our hydraulic setup had 260k+ miles of use on it, 10k miles of those were race miles. Never had a leak or indication of a leak before this past race. It just let go at one of the couplings in the front cooler loop an hour before the race ended. (see picture in post #1, it's the one in the middle of the bottom most part). Sometimes stuff just breaks, so chill.


I'm going to rip the old lines off and get some new lines made up. I'll decide if I want to convert to a low pressure side cooler or not. I don't love the idea of the extra lines that adds needing to go from the front of the engine to the back, back to the front for the cooler, then back to the tank when the OEM routing was shorter and simpler.

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Re: power steering coolers

hkerekes wrote:
KeiCarMike wrote:

We just de-powered our steering rack to prevent these failures. required a bit of cutting of one of the collars and welding to ensure the steering shaft was locked in place, and it made a huge mess, but we're overall happy with the result.

light cars with skinny tires that is easy, 3400lb car with 295 wide 200 tw tires that is simply not feasable

Our all-steel-body merkur isn't that light, it's actually rather front heavy. Maybe just try driving faster?

World record simca driver, kei car owner, zymurgist
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Re: power steering coolers

OnkelUdo wrote:
hkerekes wrote:

$100 electric power steering units were not designed around wide 200tw tires, wheel spacers, and racing conditions.  They will overheat.    Hydraulic units are easily cooled and have no issue with wide sticky tires.

And as always...our many races of experience with that electric power steering disagrees with you superior knowledge and experience.  Now is when you tell us how slow we are.


The $100 prius units overheat on stock prius cars.   Its a common issue, google it.    i only mentioned the $100 prius units because there are definetly units that dont overheat when abused.

Are you running 295 wide 200tw tires upfront with a wheel spacer which has a terrible scrub radius?       we have gone a 1:53 at CMP    i guess we are slow.

17 (edited by hkerekes 2022-08-17 04:08 PM)

Re: power steering coolers

KeiCarMike wrote:
hkerekes wrote:
KeiCarMike wrote:

We just de-powered our steering rack to prevent these failures. required a bit of cutting of one of the collars and welding to ensure the steering shaft was locked in place, and it made a huge mess, but we're overall happy with the result.

light cars with skinny tires that is easy, 3400lb car with 295 wide 200 tw tires that is simply not feasable

Our all-steel-body merkur isn't that light, it's actually rather front heavy. Maybe just try driving faster?


our car weighs 3500 with fuel and driver

Yours was 500 lbs less from the factory with a full interior.   Do you have 295's upfront?   probably not.  $1 your laptimes are slower

Re: power steering coolers

Man take the pissing contest somewhere else.

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19 (edited by kakarot1232001 2022-08-17 08:16 PM)

Re: power steering coolers

TheEngineer wrote:

Man take the pissing contest somewhere else.

lol, yup!

On the original subject. The low pressure side cooler would be easiest and most logical if you want a flexibility. Can also put it away and have a small fan with a thermal switch to trigger it.

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Re: power steering coolers

TheEngineer: alternative view, and I know nothing about SAAB, but are you sure that line is for cooling? I've seen similar on other lines in domestic vehicles, and miatas have a similar pigtail in the clutch slave hardline. I've heard the function is to trap air, or prevent cavitation, or something to do with fluid flow... or maybe to retain fluid in the lines during a cold start? Honestly, I've heard a lot of theories about what random pigtails in hardlines do, but I rarely hear cooling. Are there any fins on the lines? If the intent is cooling, it wouldn't have costed them more than a few cents to add some sheet metal skirts around those lines. If those lines aren't for cooling, then the vehicle doesn't have a factory cooler (most vehicles don't), in which case you should just add a cooler on the return line which is proven to work great and what everyone else does.


lol, hkerekes at it again with the one-sided pissing contest about how slow we all are relative to him.

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Re: power steering coolers

So that loop lives in the main heat exchanger stackup, and it gets listed as a cooler as well, so I am assuming the primary purpose is cooling.
https://www.saabpartscounter.com/oem-pa … r-32015402
I can only assume they deemed that loop of line sufficient for street driving and didn't ad anything else.

Could it serve other functions? Sure, I guess it could. I don't think the lines are at risk of going dry, both the pump and bottle are above this loop and the rack. But I will never be shocked to learn saab did a weird thing.

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Re: power steering coolers

It's pretty common for the factory "cooler" to be a loop of hard line bolted to a crossmember acting as a heat sink.
The crossmember is often in turbulent air so it may shed enough heat to be effective enough for the street.

I've run a small motorcycle tube/fin oil cooler, and also a small plate/fin cooler on the return line for years.
Both have kept the fluid looking like it was in good shape (still pretty red.) Also, the factory "loop" is still there.

KeiCarMike wrote:

Our all-steel-body merkur isn't that light, it's actually rather front heavy.

I thought about de-powering our Merkur rack, but with a welded diff we need the p/s to just move around the pit.

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Re: power steering coolers

TheEngineer wrote:

I'm just not looking for that level of re-engineering to solve this problem. Maybe the BMW gets an electric if we decide it needs something.

FWIW, our hydraulic setup had 260k+ miles of use on it, 10k miles of those were race miles. Never had a leak or indication of a leak before this past race. It just let go at one of the couplings in the front cooler loop an hour before the race ended.

I get the first point completely.  You will notice I did not mention removing the hydraulic PS in our two cars that still have it.  That said,the team will have to fight me pretty hard if we loose more than 4 hours track time on either of them due to a PS leak NOT to just pull the whole thing and go electric again.

We have had two hose leaks over the years....one at a full 24 hour race which required a partial subframe drop to replace.  It was was a two year old line if I remember correctly. The other one was on a return so we could splice in a hose with coupler but access still sucked.  On the Saturn, the PS pump was the ONLY thing that would hang up if dropping the whole subframe for work so in that case we just elliminated it.  We have a long history.

I think your idea of having AN-ended, quality lines made up is a great call.  Subbing in an old school NPT fitting oil cooler (with AN adapters) from a cargo van would seem an obvious choice as well.

Re: power steering coolers

FWIW, the Jag x-type has a finned loop type PS cooler that is low profile.  Can't hardly walk thru a DIY yard these days without tripping over those cars.

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Re: power steering coolers

OnkelUdo wrote:

On the Saturn, the PS pump was the ONLY thing that would hang up if dropping the whole subframe for work so in that case we just elliminated it.

This line hit me. The saab is similar, except that we can drop the whole power steering system with the drivetrain and subframe, but then you have to pull the pump off the engine to move the engine, and then the loop just sits there trying to flip the tank upsidedown and leak. Thankfully we have not had to drop the drivetrain more than a handful of times.



kakarot1232001 wrote:

On the original subject. The low pressure side cooler would be easiest and most logical if you want a flexibility. Can also put it away and have a small fan with a thermal switch to trigger it.

This is an interesting idea I had not considered really. There is space on the backside of the subframe near the rack, I guess there is no reason I couldn't just put the cooler back there with a fan or a scoop to grab air from under the car.

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