How to Install a Power Steering Pump on a Nissan Maxima 2003

by David McGuffin
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If you notice a red pool of power steering fluid underneath your 2003 Nissan Maxima, it may be an indication that your power steering pump is failing. The power steering pump enables you to turn the Maxima efficiently and effectively so that you can navigate the roadways safely. Sudden failure of the power steering pump while driving can result in an accident. This makes regular maintenance and replacement of an old pump even more important.

Step 1

Loosen the negative battery cable from the terminal with a wrench or socket wrench.

Step 2

Open the hood on your Maxima. Look at the left side of the valve cover for the drive belt tensioner bolt. Turn the tensioner bolt counterclockwise with a socket wrench so that the drive belt can be removed. Replace the drive belt if it is frayed or shows other signs of wear.

Step 3

Drain the power steering fluid reservoir by using a large syringe or siphon. Slide a drain pan underneath the Maxima to catch any power steering fluid that drips down while you replace the power steering pump and remove the hoses.

Step 4

Place a floor jack underneath the middle/front of the engine. Pump the handle to raise the front end of the vehicle, positioning jack stands underneath the reinforced frame sections at the driver and passenger side doors. Lower your 2003 Maxima onto the jack stands. Unscrew the lug nuts on the right front wheel with a tire iron. Remove the wheel.

Step 5

Crawl underneath right wheel hub and remove the pressure line-to-pump banjo bolt with a socket wrench. The banjo bolt has a small hose running from the power steering fluid reservoir to the power steering pump. Use a wrench to unscrew the banjo fitting bolt from the power steering hose, being careful not to drip power steering fluid out of the hose. Pry off the copper sealing washers with a screwdriver. Loosen the clamp on the return hose and disconnect the hose. Remove the pivot bolt that is located to the left of the clamp and return hose assembly. This process is linear, moving from the right to the left (starting with the banjo fitting bolt, the clamp and return hose, and the pivot bolt). Plug each hose with a piece of cork or use a hose clamp in order to prevent any fluids from draining onto the ground. Wrap smaller hoses in a plastic bag and secure them with a rubber band.

Step 6

Disengage the right tie-rod end from the steering knuckle arm so you can swing the tie-rod out of the way. Use a socket wrench to loosen the jam nut. Use a small piece of tape and a pen to mark the position of the tie-rod end in relation to the threads. Pull out and remove the cotter pin with a pair of pliers. Use a socket wrench to rotate and loosen (but not remove) the nut on the tie-rod end ball stud. Gently pull the tie-rod end from the steering rod on your Maxima.

Step 7

Unscrew the power steering pump's mounting bolts and slide the pump through the opening in the inner wheel hub.

Step 8

Insert the new power steering pump into your 2003 Maxima. Install new copper sealing washers and use a torque wrench to tighten the pressure line banjo bolt to 51 foot-pounds. Reassemble the lines going to and from the power steering pump (reverse of Step 5). Reinstall all of the other parts, such as the tie-rod and drive belt. Use a torque wrench to tighten the tie-rod end to the steering knuckle nut between 22 and 29 foot-pounds.

Step 9

Top off the power steering fluid on your 2003 Nissan Maxima and reinstall the tire. Reconnect the negative battery cable so that it is tight and snug on the battery terminal.

Step 10

Bleed the power steering system on your 2003 Maxima by checking to make sure that the power steering fluid reservoir is filled to the cold mark on the reservoir. Turn the ignition to the “on” position. Repeatedly turn the wheels to the left and then to the right, hitting the extreme left and right positions. This process will bleed out any air that has entered the power steering system so that it works consistently. Continue to check the level of the power steering fluid while the engine is hot as well as before, during and after the next few times you drive the vehicle.

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