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Chrysler, Plymouth, and Dodge Neon power steering pump repair

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Perry's car is a 1995 SOHC Neon with 94,000 miles - he reports, "I drive my Neon very hard, if it will break, I will break it."

Removal and installation is about twice as difficult as an oil change (totally and completely do-able!) Try not to drive the car without power steering it is bad for the rack and pinion (my mechanic's advice)

Needed:

  • Ratchet/socket/ wrench set and torque wrench (breaker bar)
  • Vice grip pliers (clamp pliers)
  • A couple of bottles of power steering fluid (Mopar recommended but not necessary)
  • A nice size siphon pump
  • A couple of shirts (to wear)
  • A bunch of rags (to clean)
  • Some aspirin for your headache from reading this article :)
  • About 2-3 hours of time.

Congratulations to all of the Neon owners who read this, because though your power steering pump may be broken, it is not hard to replace. First things first, your belt has probably popped off your power steering pump and AC unit, and you take the car to the local mechanic, where he is delighted to tell you that your power steering pump is broken and needs to be replaced. Here are some prices you can expect:

For installation:

  • $99-$140 but since i am going to tell you how to install it yourself, you don't need this information, only helpful to know.

Now the part everyone with a limited budget like myself enjoys, getting a price straight from the Chrysler dealership.

  • $280 for a brand new pump (in my opinion too expensive).
  • $170 for a rebuilt one, and
  • $50 dollars plus shipping ($65) for a used part w/28,000 miles.
  • According to other sources you may be able to pick one of these used pumps from a local junkyard. Also I searched the internet and found a company that gave me a price of $65 plus shipping for a rebuilt pump.

So depending on your budget, and time you have to get the part, is the option you should choose. I was able to get the pump from a local store for mechanic's cost, $90 with core exchange. Make sure if you get a rebuilt or even used one, that the pulley, the mounting bracket, and the piece where the power steering fluid supply hose attachment is on the pump is installed on the unit you are going to install on the car. The local part store I purchased the pump from installed the pulley, bracket and hose attachment for ten dollars. Be sure to replace the O-ring on the fluid supply hose fitting. Warning, there will be fluid inside the pump, don't spill it all over yourself like me. c'est la vie 

Now that you have a working pump to install, or found one to buy, you are ready to remove the old power steering pump. (Make sure the engine is cold, or else you will burn yourself)

Before I continue I would first like to promote the Chilton's repair manual for the 1995-1999 Chrysler Neon models for their fine job in explaining the removal and installation of the power steering pump (as well as many other repairs), because I followed the instructions on how to do it. If you own 1995-1999 Neon buy this repair manual for like $15 it has saved me hundreds. So here are the instructions.

(My apologies, because I can't remember the size of the bolts, but trial and error, you will find the right size socket.)

  1. Siphon out as much power steering fluid as you can, and discard the fluid at a proper facility. Try to do this job outside if possible, you will make a big mess!
  2. Disconnect and isolate the negative battery cable
  3. Remove the banjo bolt and power steering fluid pressure hose from the fitting on the power steering pump. (out comes the fluid, try to keep some rags handy)
  4. Remove the hose clamp attaching the power steering fluid supply hose to the power steering pump suction fitting using the vice grips/pliers. Remove the power steering fluid supply hose from the power steering pump fitting. (out comes the fluid, try to keep some rags handy)
  5. Discard all used O-rings (2) from both of the hoses
  6. DOHC Engines Only (didn't do): Raise and safely support the vehicle, and remove the bolt attaching the coolant tube to the intake manifold
  7. I am adding this part: SOHC remove the upper coolant tube to engine, you will need to do this in order to get access to the two bolts that secure the bolts to the bracket in the engine. use the vice grips/pliers to do this (fluid will come out quickly, try to stuff a rag or something in the hole)
  8. Remove the mounting and adjusting bolts (the two bolts on the right side of the pump)
  9. Loosen the bolt attaching the power steering pump front mounting bracket to the front engine mount. Only loosen the bolt enough to slide the bracket out from under the bolt. (on the left and behind the pump)
  10. At this point the belt should be totally loose, now remove the belt.
  11. Remove the power steering pump assembly

Installation Time (lots of fun)

At this point your back should be aching and your entire body covered in grease and power steering fluid. Great fun.

Before continuing, make sure all the bolts on the pump itself are tight, 40 ft-lbs should be sufficient.

  1. Slide the power steering pump assembly into the engine, make sure all bolts necessary are secure on the pump itself.
  2. Slide the bracket on the engine mounting bolt but do not tighten, make sure washer is on the outside.
  3. Install the 2 pump bolts to the sliding bracket and get them just to the point of being tight on the bracket but still loose enough to move the bracket up and down.
  4. At this point if you don't have a torque wrench, or breaker bar, you could go to the local mechanic's shop, and he/she could put the belt on for less than 20 dollars or so, this might save time, but you don't want to drive the car to far. 
  5. Get the belt on the pulley, crank, and AC unit, the car should be jacked up and safely supported at this time, if not, do it now. Remove the plastic cover underneath the AC unit, one bolt should do it, don't remove the whole thing just to get around it in order to make sure the belt is around the AC unit and crank pulley and the power steering pulley. make sure belt is on all three pulleys.
  6. Get your 1/2 inch breaker bar/ torque wrench and insert this into the square hole in the mounting bracket (you will see it) using two hands, or the help of another set of hands, get the breaker bar/ torque wrench to tighten the belt to 100-135 ft-lbs, and then tighten one of the pump bolts on the side, then tighten the other. tighten these two bolts to 40 ft-lbs
  7. Attach the power steering supply hose to the pump suction fitting, install the hose clamp using the vice grips/pliers, remember the new O-ring
  8. Install a new O-ring on the banjo fitting, make sure all O rings are lubricated with some power steering fluid, and install the banjo bolt back on the pump to about 25 ft-lbs of torque.
  9. Wipe up and clean all hoses and pump itself, AC unit as best you can.
  10. Fill the power steering pump reservoir with the power steering fluid slowly!!! or you will make an even bigger mess like myself and tighten the cap to the power steering fluid reservoir.

Time to bleed the system.!!!!!Yeah

  1. Connect the negative battery cable
  2. If the car isn't jacked up, do it now
  3. Start the engine, let it run for a few minutes, then turn it off, and check the fluid. Keep adding fluid until it is at the proper level, and repeat this step until you no longer need to add more fluid.
  4. Now turn the car on again, and turn the steering wheel to the left and right a few times slowly, and keep checking the fluid level.
  5. Lower the vehicle, and keep turning the steering wheel from left to right, from lock to lock, and keep checking the fluid, the fluid will get foamy, not to worry this is normal. turn the car off, wait a few minutes, then repeat the preceding steps. and you are finished.

May God bless all who attempt this procedure, Keep those Neons running — Perry Smolen

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