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  #1  
Old 09-20-2019, 12:48 PM
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Power Steering Bellows — Temp Repair?

The power steering on the passenger side of our 2009 35d has a tear in the upper part of the bellows. Ordinarily I’d repair this myself, but we have to much going on just now. The closest shop is 50 miles away. So I’m looking for a temporary fix to get it to the shop.

I’m thinking that the pressure on the bellows is not huge. So I may be able to shape a small bit of metal into a U shape clip and squeeze it tight enough to shut off or at least slow down the leakage. Do you think this might work?

Do you have any other/better ideas?

Thanks in Advance — Funf Dreisig
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2019, 02:33 PM
ard ard is online now
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clean off the grease, a bunch of wraps of self-sealing silicone tape? Not just that one spot, but along it, down into the valleys too, prolly will seal for a while
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:25 PM
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Thanks ard. I’ll give the silicone tape a try.

The more I think about this leak, the more I’m convinced that there shouldn’t have been any power steering fluid in this bellows/boot. The seals at each end of the “power steering” part of the rack should have kept the fluid out of the boots at both ends.

So what looks like a simple boot replacement, may quickly turn into a much more costly rack replacement

FWIW this small hole is almost certainly the source of the clear power steering fluid which got flung around by the rotating CV joint just behind this steering boot. The failure of the seal and/or the boot must have happened during a 100+ mile round trip into the city for shopping. We hadn’t noticed any fluid in the garage when we left for the trip. But the next morning it was a mess.

Funf Dreisig
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Old 09-20-2019, 06:21 PM
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Loosen the clamps and rotate the boot so the rip/tear/opening is up. This will likely stop the leak. Then attempt to seal. I wouldn't worry about a little oil in the boot.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pshovest View Post
Loosen the clamps and rotate the boot so the rip/tear/opening is up. This will likely stop the leak. Then attempt to seal. I wouldn't worry about a little oil in the boot.
Thanks for the advice. But the tear was/is already on the top side of the boot. And the power steering reservoir was almost empty. So this isn’t a small leak.

Yesterday AM the passenger side of the lower engine compartment and the wheel well was dripping with fluid creating a good size puddle on the garage floor.. After wiping up the floor, I removed the plastic panels in search of the leak and wiped them clean before re-installing them. The little tear in the boot is the only thing I found that could have leaked power steering fluid.

Funf Dreisig
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:01 PM
ard ard is online now
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Yeah, there should not be fluid inside that boot. Its only a dust shield. If fluid is indeed exiting that tear and getting distributed .... I think you'll be doing more than a new boot
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Old 09-21-2019, 06:12 PM
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OK. I'd use a can of leak sealer before I replaced the rack.
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by pshovest View Post
OK. I'd use a can of leak sealer before I replaced the rack.
Thanks again for your suggestions.

I’m concerned that grit has gotten in through the hole in the boot and damaged the seal. So leak sealer may not work very well, particularly longer term.

FWIW our X5 is the tow vehicle for our small Airstream. So it needs be be very reliable on the road, even if that requires a pricey new rack

Funf Dreisig
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FunfDreisig View Post
Thanks for the advice. But the tear was/is already on the top side of the boot. And the power steering reservoir was almost empty. So this isn’t a small leak.

Yesterday AM the passenger side of the lower engine compartment and the wheel well was dripping with fluid creating a good size puddle on the garage floor.. After wiping up the floor, I removed the plastic panels in search of the leak and wiped them clean before re-installing them. The little tear in the boot is the only thing I found that could have leaked power steering fluid.

Funf Dreisig
After you cleaned everything up did you start the vehicle and turn the wheels to see if you could identify the source of the leak? Seems like an awful lot of fluid being loss. I'm thinking it might be coming from a power steering system line or fitting as well.

Not sure how much investigating you want to do but you could also un-clip the boot covering the suspected leak and pull it back and take a direct look at the end of the steering rack. If you pull that boot back and a bunch of fluid gushes out then you've found your leak. Use a zip-tie to reseal the boot and head to the shop.

Hope this helps and you get your leaked fixed asap!
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Victorious4.8is View Post
After you cleaned everything up did you start the vehicle and turn the wheels to see if you could identify the source of the leak? Seems like an awful lot of fluid being loss. I'm thinking it might be coming from a power steering system line or fitting as well.

Not sure how much investigating you want to do but you could also un-clip the boot covering the suspected leak and pull it back and take a direct look at the end of the steering rack. If you pull that boot back and a bunch of fluid gushes out then you've found your leak. Use a zip-tie to reseal the boot and head to the shop.

Hope this helps and you get your leaked fixed asap!
Thanks for posting your thoughts on the problem.


Yesterday after refilling the PS reservoir we turned the steering back and forth without any indication of the leak. But the front was on jack stands . So there was very little resistance. So I reinstalled the plastic panel that hides nearly all of the PS bellows, mounted the tire and let it back down.

Today I drove it 50 miles to the shop. I stopped several times to check the PS fluid — there was almost no PS fluid loss. So the trip was safe and not very messy

Here's my take on what happened….

https://picclick.com/2007-2013-Bmw-X5-50I-Xdrive-E70-44L-V8-303096285917.html#&gid=1&pid=2

This a link to a BMW PS rack with the passenger boot off that confirms that the rack is sealed inside the cylinder and the boot protects the extended rack from dust/debris.

This means that an end seal would leak into the boot until the boot was full. What happens next is up to the structural integrity of the boot. For example…

Since the tie rods attach in front of the wheel, the maximum pressure on the passenger end seal is when you turn left. And that is also when the bellows of the boot on the passenger side are compressed the most. So if the passenger side end seal is leaking, it would try to leak fluid into the passenger side boot at the same time that the volume in the accordion shaped boot was being reduced. If the boot was already full and had a hole in it, like mine does, the extra fluid would be squeezed out by the boot. At first this small spillage would probably be “contained” on the surfaces of the the various parts and plastic panels etc.. But eventually the leakage would start dripping onto the garage floor.

Note: any power steering leak puddle on the garage floor can be delayed until the boot is full. IOW nearly a quart of power steering fluid can leak into the boot(s) before you see evidence of leakage on a garage floor In my case it took nearly a quart of PS fluid to refill the almost empty reservoir. So regularly checking the power steering reservoir has become a much higher priority maintenance item for me.

Funf Dreisig
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