Last week, my wife and I purchased a 2000 Mercury Sable LS Premium for
our daughter who recently graduated from university. It has the 3.0L
Duratech 24V V6, and the AX4N transaxle. The car was purchased from
private party, and has 36K on the clock.
Apparently, power steering pump problems are quite typical for the
vehicle. The PS pump makes quite a bit of noise when the steering is
on center, but more so when turning from lock to lock. From my
experience, it sounds like an aeration and cavitation problem, rather
than an actual PS pump failure. I know the Ford shop manual
specifically goes through the purging/bleeding procedure thoroughly
for this system.
I took it to a good independent shop, and they stated that there's
also a screen in the external PS fluid reservoir that can become
clogged which can exacerbate the problem. Moreover, the specified PS
fluid is Ford-spec MERCON ATF, and I will be willing to bet the
previous owner used standard PS fluid to top the system off in past
The shop's first step is to flush the existing fluid, clean the screen
in the reservoir, and then refill with ATF, and bleed the system.
And, then go from there . . .
Any thoughts on this from anyone more experienced with this on the
Sable and Taurus with the non-integrated PS pump system would be