View Full Version : Here's how to change the high-pressure power steering line on a 1990 Thunderbird Supe

04-18-2011, 10:53 AM
Here's how to change the high-pressure power steering line on a 1990 Thunderbird SuperCoupe

Ok, i read all the available threads that I could find, and I thought that it might help to have a more detailed thread. Hope this helps!

Various flare wrenches, sockets, ratchets, universals, long extensions, a pry bar, a small hammer, oil drain pan. I found that I needed both ¼ inch and 3/8 inch drive.

Jack stands, floor jack, fender covers, work lights (you’ll need really good lighting to help you see all the little bits and pieces).

I purchased a KwikLift 2 years ago, and it has proved INVALUABLE! www.kwiklift.com

Disconnect the battery negative terminal.
Remove the oil filter and drain the oil. This step is optional but I found it easier to remove the oil filter so I could more easily remove the high pressure line.

Disconnect and remove the windshield washer reservoir.

Loosen and remove the bolt(s) securing the power distribution box (the fuse box) next the windshield washer reservoir.

Remove the serpentine belts and let them hang. (Not all the belts need to be removed.)

Remove alternator; remove the coil pack and move it out of the way.

Remove the upper intercooler pipe and adapter plate from the top of the supercharger (3 bolts and 1 nut+stud); don’t disconnect the intercooler pipe from the adapter plate itself.

Place a CLEAN rag over the supercharger opening to prevent foreign material and dirt from contaminating the supercharger rotors.

Disconnect the upper intercooler pipe from the top of the intercooler. Note that the pipe will be held in place by one more nut that is holding the pipe to a stud on the power steering pump bracket.

With the windshield washer reservoir out, and the power distribution box loose, I had enough room to wiggle the upper intercooler pipe loose from its mountings.

Disconnect both ends of the lower intercooler pipe. Note that the pipe will be held in place by a bolt that can be accessed from the bottom of the engine compartment using a LONG extension, a universal, and a 13mm socket. You’ll have to snake the socket and extension up through a maze of hoses, but it can be done!

Remove the intercooler and its plenum.

Disconnect the power steering pump bracket from the engine (some folks call this bracket an “accessory” bracket.).

One of the bolts is deeply recessed in the power steering pump bracket and the only way I found to access it was to create a special socket. The bolt has a 15mm head. So I took a cheap 15mm deep socket purchased from AutoZone and cut off about 1/3 of the working end of the socket, using a handheld electric grinder equipped with a cut-off wheel.

After cooling the modified socket in water, and cleaning up the cut end with a file, I was able to get the modified socket on the bolt head, and then turn the bolt using a universal, extension, and ratchet.

Pull the power steering pump bracket away from the engine. Now you can easily access the upper and lower connections of the high pressure line. Use the appropriate flare wrenches and the hose will come right off.

Note that you’ll need to transfer a small “breather” plug from the old hose to the new one.

You may also want to disconnect and change out the power steering return line at this point.

Snake the new into position FROM THE TOP of the engine compartment. It all but falls into position. Connect the lower connection and then the top connection. Follow the instructions included with the high pressure line (i.e., the connections will have some designed-in play).

Reverse the steps to complete the installation.

See Tips below for several important bits of information.


1. Organize all the bolts and nuts that you remove – I used plastic sandwich bags and handwritten notes placed in each bag. Believe me – if you don’t somehow organize all the hardware it will be a NIGHTMARE putting this all back together. I find writing on the back of old business cards is a great way to make notes about the parts. Plus for some parts, it’s better to punch a hole in the card, insert the part, and label the card.

2. The adapter plate located on the top of the supercharger and the mounting flange on the supercharger itself, will have residue on it left over from the previous installation. You’ll need to clean off the residue VERY CAREFULLY with a razor blade. You’ll want to prevent the flakes from falling into the supercharger by using a vacuum while chipping off the residue. When re-assembling the top of the supercharger, you’ll need to use an anerobic sealant like Loctite 510 (as per the Ford Service Manual).

Seal the supercharger and upper tube AFTER the upper tube is completely in place but not yet bolted in place. You’ll need the wiggle room so you can squeeze the Loctite 510 on the flange.

3. The intercooler pipes use a special Teflon tape to create the seal. You may want to purchase new tape prior to starting this project. Other SuperCoupe owners report decent results using black RTV instead of the tape. The tape is expensive! But it can be reused several times whereas the RTV has to be scraped off and re-applied and allowed to cure before the car can be driven.

4. You may need an assistant’s help when installing the upper intercooler pipe. Here’s why. The upper intercooler pipe has a drilled mounting boss (a “hole”) that must slip over a stud that protrudes from the power steering pump mounting bracket.

Lining up both ends of the upper intercooler pipe to the top of the supercharger and to the top of the intercooler while simultaneously slipping the stud into the hole, is well near impossible if you try doing all the work by yourself (OK, that’s how it was for me. You may be luckier than I was.)

But here’s how I made it all work.

Loosely install the upper intercooler pipe to the top of the intercooler. Then slide the power steering pump mounting bracket forward (it will ride on the long lower bolt like a train on a track). You’ll want to align the mounting stud as close as you can with the drilled mounting boss on the lower surface of the upper intercooler pipe.

Then you can have an assist tap on the power steering pump with a small hammer, while you guide the pieces together using a pry bar.

04-18-2011, 10:46 PM
Very nice "how-to" thread. Wanted to comment on how nice it is to see this coming from a new member. Welcome to the club! :)

07-09-2012, 12:55 AM
Bump........Ol Eddie came by just for this!

12-15-2012, 09:33 PM
The stud that holds the upper intercooler pipe on has a 11/32" hex end (tip of stud)on my 95 Tbird SC and can be unscrewed from the power steering bracket making the install and removal of the upper intercooler pipe much easier.

12-16-2012, 06:18 PM
I actually removed all the studs, and cut the tabs off of the IC tubes. makes it much easier.

12-18-2012, 03:03 AM
The stud that holds the upper intercooler pipe on has a 11/32" hex end (tip of stud)on my 95 Tbird SC and can be unscrewed from the power steering bracket making the install and removal of the upper intercooler pipe much easier.

The studs on both of my cars are lock-tighted so much that everything I use broke until I got the heat wrench on it. Even then I melted the alum bracket. The stud is also so hard that it dulled 2 blades in about 15 seconds each.

Just my experience.

01-20-2013, 02:10 PM
yup---gotta do this...

Scott Long
01-22-2013, 01:06 PM
i did this back in May, thought it was the high pressure line, get it all apart and put back together (did solid rubber motor mounts too) and realized it was the frickin' rack that was leaking not the lines. So I had to go buy a rack too and then outer tie rods. Needs aligned before I put it back on the road.

01-22-2013, 09:11 PM
wish i would have found this before doing it on the 90 a little while back. i gotta say it was the worst thing ive done thus far sucked worst than mounts . and taking valve body off to do the accumulators , egr , water pumps , radiators , tubes ,power steering pump all those jobs werent quite as bad as this one.. for some reason.. whew..

01-23-2013, 03:04 AM
Get a power steering pulley puller/installer. Pulling the pulley makes it easy to remove the p/s bracket off the waterpump studs. Saves a lot of work.---NOTE if you use a puller/installer substitute a hose clamp for the sleave that holds the pulley clamp halves together. They usually don't clamp tight enough and can slip-thereby rounding the shoulders of the pulley hub.
Use the Permatex grey rtv sealer, put a thin, uniform coat on one side of the IC connection and let it cure a while. then put it together. Seals great and doesn't make so much of a mess.
I've never had to replace a power steering hose on my '89 or '93. But, I've had to replace a number of water pumps and one steering rack. That P/S bracket has to come off the studs to get the pump off.