Project VehiCross Part 4: The Single Worst Repair…in the World


Next, you'll need to drain the fluid from the reservoir and lines.  If you removed the radiator like we said, draining the fluid is easy.  Just break the fitting holding the cooler line and soft line together, point over a drain pan, and wait.  With the radiator out of the way, there is plenty of room for tools and (skinny) arms.  If you're pig headed (or blissfully ignorant like we were), you'll do it from the banjo bolt holding the soft line to the pump (buried way in the back of this shot, behind the steering column and rack, as well as a few A/C lines).  Unfortunately, there is an engine mount and a bit of frame just below this bolt and you will end up with two fluid paths to catch.  This will make a big mess which you will later have to lay in.  First, you'll need to jack up the driver's front wheel and remove it to access the service window so you can reach the banjo bolt.  
Speaking of that banjo bolt, this was the only way we could figure out of removing it.  Once again, our handy socket adapter set came to the rescue, as we used the 1/2″ drive adapter on a 24mm socket.  The frame rail below the bolt means going at it from the bottom with a socket and U-joint is impossible.  This view does not show it very well, but the bottom of the fender prevents a wrench alone from going on cleanly; the wrench will hit the fender before you can grab the head of the bolt.  And a ratchet is too fat to slip over the steering box.  The wrench is skinny enough to work and there is enough play to wedge all the tools into the tiny opening Isuzu gives you.  An articulated ratcheting wrench may fit, but we didn't have any of those handy at the time.  This does the job and you can tap it with a mallet to loosen the threads.

With the radiator out, you can now remove the old hose and install the new one (attach the banjo end first), put everything back together, bleed the system with fresh ATF, and be on your way.  If you're silly, you did not remove the radiator and are now about to experience automotive hell.


>Once the fluid has peed out of the high pressure hose, you'll need to get back under the fender and loosen and remove the two fittings going into the steering box.  The near line is the return line for the reservoir.  First, unhook it from the reservoir (a spring clamp and a bit of tugging pops it loose).  The fitting down here is not a swivel fitting, so you'll need to spin the hose to remove it once you've broken it loose with a wrench (thanks for cheaping out Isuzu!).  This has to come out so you can reach the high pressure hard line behind the return line.  With the return line in place, there is no way of getting a wrench on the high pressure line.  
Next, you'll need to go under the bumper and loosen the steering fluid cooler.  There is a bracket that mounts below the radiator.  Unfortunately, the oil filter gets in the way of any wrenches.  You'll need to remove the oil filter to get access to the 10mm bolt.  Luckily only half a quart or so of oil will come out when you pull the filter, so if you've just changed your oil (like we had) you won't waste it all.  Removing the bolt is very annoying as you can only get about 1/8 of a turn before having to adjust the wrench.  Also, the filter mount will slowly drip on you as you do this, so best plug it with a rag.

Now you'll want to unplug these three plugs for the engine wiring harness so you can get some wiggle room for the hoses.  On a 15 year old vehicle, the plugs are a bit sticky and don't want to come apart.  A small screwdriver will probably be needed to encourage the clips to release.  Literally everything in the VX is conspiring to make this the most difficult job in the world.  Isuzu must have installed the power steering system right after the body came out of paint.  Or used magic to fit everything in.  I'm going to go with magic.

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