Piston Slap: Throwing barbs at a Chevelle’s power steering?

Piston Slap Chevelle Power Steering Lead

Dave writes:

Hi Sajeev, I have a small leak at the hose barb on my 1966 Chevelle’s power steering pump. It’s the one on the right, where the barb inserts into the pump. I was thinking I may have to pull that barb out of the pump and see if I can get it tapped.

1966 Chevrolet Power Steering Pump
Dave the OP, photoshopped by yours truly

Does that sound like a good idea to you and, if so, what would you recommend? Something like an AN-6 or an AN-8 fitting? Thanks for your help! I enjoy reading your columns.

Sajeev answers:

I love your idea, in theory. Rebuilding, reusing, and improving designs is right up my alley.

That said, a leaking power steering pump is often better addressed with a replacement unit. Take this brand new pump that’s only $107 on Rockauto, or remanufactured pumps that are less than half the price. Of course, there’s the hassle of shipping your core back, or perhaps your pump’s internals are truly healthy, and the fact your pump doesn’t quite look like the ones I see online for a 1966 Chevelle.

So let’s indulge in your notion. Measure the inner diameter of that braided hose to see what size AN fitting is needed. I’m gonna wager that the AN-6 is the right one for your application, and you’ll have to re-tap the thread to accommodate said fitting. But this introduces the problem of adding metal shavings to your power steering system, requiring disassembly to tap the threads. So here’s another somewhat-irrelevant power steering disassembly video that might help.

Is this really worth all the effort? And what if you can just add teflon tape to the current threads—that’s a BIG if, to be honest—to fix the leak? (EDIT: adding Red Loctite was suggested in the comments below, and that’s a way better idea. – SM) 

How much is a new pump, and what is the time value of money in your life? This quandary raises more questions than it answers!

Long story short, I encourage your efforts to upgrade to an AN fitting, but I have a feeling that buying a new/remanufactured pump is a better idea for your sanity.

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