PART OF THE UNION
A recent visit to Auto Umbau in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, gave me a long-awaited chance to show how to deal with the quick-fit connections in the powersteering pipes halfway along the underside of the left-hand sill of a 996 or 986 – and both the 987 and 997 are in this respect identical. (This was the car with the improvised ‘repair’ that I reported on in these pages last month.) And I feel it’s a job worthy of a few photos because otherwise, unless you either know how to get them apart – and back together again – or else have an intuitive feel for mechanisms of this nature, you might never work it out.
Start by easing out of its groove in the rear half of the device the horseshoe-shaped plastic retainer; a pointed pick is the best tool. Using two open-ended wrenches – here 15mm; on the larger of the two pipes you’ll need a pair of 19mm spanners – start to undo the two hexagonal sections relative to each other. (The plastic horseshoe is, as you’ve probably realised, a simple but effective locking device.) Continue to rotate the two halves of the union and they will separate, revealing a tiny metal ‘basket’. Carefully extract that, and pull the hexagonal section off the end of the rear pipe. Job done.
To reconnect the two pipes, take the now separate union and insert the metal basket, tapered end first. Make sure the ‘O’-ring seal is in good condition. Screw the union into the end of the front pipe and, again using your open-ended spanners, tighten it. You don’t need massive force. All you have to do now, as and when the moment comes, is push the rear part of the pipe into the front until it clicks.
Refit the plastic horseshoe, and that’s that: a perfect example of the clever design and selected pre-assembly that would not only have saved countless man-hours when the car was being built, but would also allow that particular job to be done by a semi-skilled worker. Thus did Porsche start to save itself the millions of euros that enabled it to become the world’s most profitable car maker. PW
Easy when you know how. High-pressure lines for power steering in 996 and its variants have these ingenious unions between front and rear sections, roughly midway along the underside of the left-hand sill, designed to allow quick and easy assembly in the factory by possibly only ‘semi-skilled’ workers. Key to undoing them is first to remove tiny plastic locking device (don’t lose it...), and then to use well-fitting spanners (15mm or 19mm, as required) on the hexagonal part of each half of the union. To reconnect them, reassemble the two parts of the union ‘body’, and then just push in the end of the rear pipe, until it clicks and locks. And don’t forget that plastic ‘horseshoe’, of course
With 911 & Porsche World’s consultant editor, Chris Horton