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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My power steering pump is shot, the bearing is making a lot of noise and trying to turn the car results in the steering wheel fighting you or not turning much at all (AC off). It started as the bearing making intermittent noise but now I can hardly steer the car. You cannot run the AC on the car now, it simply drags so badly that it causes the RPMS to drop constantly, resulting in bucking or stalling.

The questions are which lines do I need to loop together? I do not have a chilton's manual and don't have the car with me at work (got a ride), so I don't know which is which. Will the AC still function with the power steering pump bypassed? Do I need to remove the PS pump to bypass the lines or can I loop them with it in place? I really would like to not have to remove the serpentine belt or the pump if possible, it was a royal PITA to get a new belt and tensioner on there 2 weeks ago.

If this causes premature wear on the PS rack, its not an issue. I really don't plan on keeping this car more than a few months more if that, less than 10k probably. Thanks for your help.
 

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You can loop the lines pretty easily, a look at the steering rack from underneath should give you a good idea as to which lines need looped.

The issue is, what you're describing sounds like a seizing PS pump or a rack that is already damaged. Just bypassing the lines is unlikely to produce any real improvement.

A couple of tests may help narrow this down:

First, check the level of power steering fluid. Low fluid can cause all sorts of performance problems in the pump & rack.

Compare turning the wheel with engine running, and with engine off, which is harder? Does the steering wheel still fight when the car is not moving?

Jack the front end up and set it on jack stands, (NOT ramps) place a large piece of clean cardboard underneath the steering rack and pump (to check for fresh leaks), and repeat the comparison.

while the car is on the jack stands, repeat the test with the AC on.

There is no need to have the car in gear while doing these tests. (and it's somewhat more dangerous to do so, as well)

If the steering still fights you with the wheels off of the ground,( minimal load on the pump while turning) and the bucking/stalling issue is also still present, something in the pump or rack has failed and is causing additional loading on the engine. (well duh, right?)

I expect that you're going to need to replace the PS pump, but damage to the rack is also a possibility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Odd thing is that it is now easier to steer again and I can drive it. The day it became a challenge to steer, I was on the road for 6 hours of mostly highway driving the day prior. Letting it sit for two days must have done something good as I took the car down the shore this weekend with minimal issues, though the bearing noise still remains.

Did some tests though:

The fluid level is fine, it hasn't moved at all. I do remember that over a year ago I had a high pressure power steering line spring a very minor leak, probably from moving it too much changing the alternator. It would spray power steering fluid on the radiator if driven for a long period of time. I flushed the old fluid out with guidance from a post on here and used telflon tape on the on the fittings for the lines. The old fluid was black and dirty and is dark in color now despite new fluid.

I was underneath the car while it was on ramps, but did not have it running on jack stands. I don't have a lot of faith in the jack stands I have and only have a cheesy pepboys floor jack that is probably worse. I couldn't find any leaks or see any damage to the rack.

The car is very hard to turn when not running so the power steering is working. No noises are present to indicate suspension, steering column, or drivetrain issues when not running.

When turning the wheel in a parked position engine running, you can hear hissing/squealing coming from the steering column. This is not audible outside of the vehicle.

Whenever you are turning, even the slightest amount, it sounds like the power steering pump is straining as if you had it at full lock.

The "fighting" problem was actually the engine kicking the rpms back up to keep the car from stalling. If you turned the wheel about half-way to the left, the rpms would drop to 300-400, forcing the engine to raise the rpms to keep itself running.
 
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