Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What now?

As I approached the Rolling Steel Tent a few days ago, sunlight was illuminating the front driver side wheel well and I could see a wet patch on the chassis. At first I thought it might be from all the WD-40 used when replacing the pitman arm, but that had been two months ago. It shouldn’t be that wet, if at all.

The laws of gravity tell us liquids run downward, right? So the source of the mystery fluid had to be somewhere higher in the van. I opened the hood and saw the brake master cylinder and power steering reservoir were above the wet spot. And some of the fluid was also on the fuse box.

The brakes hadn’t seemed the least bit mushy, but the fluid was down a little. I added more. The steering hadn’t seemed any different, yet the fluid was low. I didn’t have any to add. Luckily, I was near good old Ernie’s Garage.

Ernie listened to my symptoms and looked under the hood. “Yeah, it might be brake or power steering fluid. Let me pull it over the pit so I can also check for any other brake leaks.” So with one assistant behind the wheel pumping the brakes and turning the wheel, another assistant looking at things from above, and with Ernie underneath they found the source of the leak: the coupling on a power steering hose.

“Order yourself a new power steering pressure hose online (about $25) and I'll install it when it arrives.” Cool. In the meantime, I just need to keep an eye on the fluid level.

As before, there was no charge for the diagnostic work.

From now on, my life with the Rolling Steel Tent might be a series of these little repairs. I can live with that until the engine or transmission dies. With luck, that won't be for a few years.

This might be an appropriate time to remind my readers of the donation button above. Help keep the Steel Tent rolling.


  1. Even small leaks can sink a great ship.

  2. Hi Al...you can get a great van from NYC Craigslist for around $3500. EASY..under 70k EASY. Spray the bottom with soap at a carwash, then buy 3 cans of rustolium, done. There's. A 2003 Chevy 2500 with 22k for $3500. My 2005 has 420K runs fine. Fluids, belts, seals, small shit.

  3. Same issue. Mine is a 2006 Express van... I have the power steering pump, but have not found a mechanic I could trust yet. But I have no leaks anywhere. I just keep feeding it fluid. Hopefully I can get it fixed soon. Where did you find a good mechanic, Al?

    1. See the link in the text for Ernie's Garage in Ajo.