Calling the bit of thin metal line that runs from the power steering fluid
reservoir to the line back to the power steering rack a "cooler" is a bit
of a stretch. And a bit of a stretch appears to be all it took to put a
rather large hole in that piece of line; about 30 minutes from home, I lost
power assist, and after armwrestling the car into a parking lot, I found
power steering fluid all over the recently-cleaned engine bay of the Laser.
I finally got a chance to really investigate what happened yesterday, and it
turns out that it's just a simple leak in that line. We'll probably just
eliminate the "cooler" for now, and install a proper tube and fin cooler on
it when we have a chance. After filling everything up with fluid, there
doesn't appear to be any permanent damage to the power steering pump; it
chattered like crazy when the fluid was low, but it was happy to do it's
thing with a full reservoir.