Is heater hose really safe for use as low pressure power steering return lines?

Joined
Apr 28, 2021
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Location
Baton Rouge, LA
I couldn't find any definitive information on this topic, just people saying "don't do it" or "it wont last long"....well I got into the situation while I was replace my power steering pump and decided to also replace all the hoses (high pressure and low pressure). Hauled myself to my local auto parts store and found 5/8" power steering line at one store, but they didn't have 3/8". Next stop was to their competitor and I asked for 3/8" power steering hose and boom, they have it and I'm all set.....supposedly.

After I finish installing the pump and all the hose, I was looking at a drop piece of the 3/8" and noticed it said "heater hose"....o crap. I started searching the forums and was reading warnings about it not working and not lasting long, but after 2 days in the truck, I didn't see any swelling or leaking so I decided to run a little test.

I placed a piece of heater hose in the ATF that I used for my power steering fluid and let it sit. after sitting for 24 hours, I don't see any swelling or feel any gummyness.....but I measured using a PDF editor and there seems to be some very minor swelling (about 10% or less), but it could be just the in accuracies of my mouse clicking. I'm going to let the piece sit in the fluid for the next few days and see what happens and continue to monitor my 80, but it appears to not be a problem. I would have expected to see some sort of swelling or deterioration after 24 hours, but nothing.

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Last edited:
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
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Location
Olathe, KS, USA
I couldn't find any definitive information on this topic, just people saying "don't do it" or "it wont last long"....well I got into the situation while I was replace my power steering pump and decided to also replace all the hoses (high pressure and low pressure). Hauled myself to my local auto parts store and found 5/8" power steering line at one store, but they didn't have 3/8". Next stop was to their competitor and I asked for 3/8" power steering hose and boom, they have it and I'm all set.....supposedly.

After I finish installing the pump and all the hose, I was looking at a drop piece of the 3/8" and noticed it said "heater hose"....o crap. I started searching the forums and was reading warnings about it not working and not lasting long, but after 2 days in the truck, I didn't see any swelling or leaking so I decided to run a little test.

I placed a piece of heater hose in the ATF that I used for my power steering fluid and let it sit. after sitting for 24 hours, I don't see any swelling or feel any gummyness.....but I measured using a PDF editor and there seems to be some very minor swelling (about 10% or less), but it could be just the in accuracies of my mouse clicking. I'm going to let the piece sit in the fluid for the next few days and see what happens and continue to monitor my 80, but it appears to not be a problem. I would have expected to see some sort of swelling or deterioration after 24 hours, but nothing.

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That hose is not rated for oil contact, temperature it could see (400°F) combined with any pressure.

It is for coolant up to 250°F and pressure to 20 psi.

It will work for an emergency trail fix, but needs to be changed ASAP.

It will deteriorate and fail.
 

Godwin

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Joined
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That hose is not rated for oil contact, temperature it could see (400°F) combined with any pressure.

It is for coolant up to 250°F and pressure to 20 psi.

It will work for an emergency trail fix, but needs to be changed ASAP.

It will deteriorate and fail.

As it deteriorates I would expect that the failing hose would introduce contaminants into the system.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
1
Location
Brisbane, Australia
I had the same problem and eventually found someone who referred me to a truck parts / accessory shop and ask for "red hose". It seems to be the "go to" hose for any truck problem. It did the trick and that must have been eight years ago. It's stuill going strong.
 

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