How can I replace the power steering pump in my 2000 Outback?
January 17, 2013 3:43 AM   Subscribe

I have a 2000 Subaru Outback. It needs a bit of work, the most costly of which is replacing the leaking power steering pump... shop says $360. Is this a repair that I can do myself?

The pump is in a rather accessible part of the engine compartment and seems easy enough to remove. However, given the fluid has leaked out of the pump over the hot engine, I worry that I might need to replace belts / clean the engine somehow to really do the repair properly. I am looking for good reference material on how my 2000 H4 Outback is best maintained, and where to obtain necessary parts and tools.

If you have a similar experience, please share! Am I crazy in trying to do this myself? Time is no issue but cash is tight. I'm good with tools and always interested in learning something new.

Answers appreciated. Thanks, Mefi!
posted by roygbv to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (5 answers total)
It should be a relatively simple job to do if you're somewhat handy with tools. I found a Youtube video that runs through the basics here.

Whether or not you're going to save money will depend on if you already have a semi-decent set of hand tools. The part itself seems to be around $130 (at least for my location) but adding another $60-80 to buy some tools will quickly close the gap between doing it yourself and having the shop do it.

Like the guy in the video said, a lot of parts stores will loan out some of the more specialty tools but generally they either require a deposit or they only loan them out in the store so you'd need a second vehicle to bring the pump assembly to the store.
posted by Gev at 5:27 AM on January 17, 2013

Go to the Subaru Outback forums and search for how to replace the power steering pump. Most likely they have the answer to most everything already posted.

I own a classic car that needs repair here and there, and I've found that most posters and vehicle forums are happy to help if you need additional assistance, but searching first for what you need is sort of the initiation right to ask further question.
posted by lstanley at 6:59 AM on January 17, 2013

You could get a Haynes manual and get an idea what is involved. Also, check enthusiast forums - most likely, you aren't the first one to have this problem. You might be able to find Subaru service manuals, too, and those are even better.

You're not crazy for thinking you can do it yourself, it can be a pretty simple repair - but do some research. If you have to remove half the engine to get at it, then I'd probably just pay someone to do it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:17 AM on January 17, 2013

You're not crazy at all. The only way you learn this stuff is by diving in and trying something new. Worst case you have to do the tow-of-shame.

A PS pump in an accessible area is pretty straightforward. A couple lines, maybe some seals, a small handfull of nuts and bolts. It can be messy, so buy a box of disposable nitrile rubber gloves and put some plastic sheeting down under the car.

Hit up the forums and find a howto. It should list the tools you'll need. Even if the job winds up a financial wash because you have to buy a bunch of tools, hey, you got some tools out of the deal.

I wouldn't worry about deep-cleaning it unless there's a truly huge amount of PS fluid. It's not necessarily *good* for rubber, but a little bit is not going to destroy it. OTOH, it definitely wouldn't hurt to do the belt(s?) while you're in there, of course, since you'll be removing 'em anyway. Unless it's due for a timing belt replacement I wouldn't do that one as that's getting a bit more advanced...
posted by pjaust at 8:12 AM on January 17, 2013

Nthing the youtube and forum suggestions. Replacing a power steering pump is fairly easy on many cars as it's usually a couple of bolts, two hoses, and a belt, but the trick is usually placement in the engine compartment. I had a heckuva a time replacing an alternator on a Mazda recently until I found a youtube video showing how to rotate it up and under some hoses. Popped right out.

You might also consider replacing belts while you're there if they've never been replaced or are old.
posted by Big_B at 8:57 AM on January 17, 2013

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