2000 Sable PS Pump Noise

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 years.
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 greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Don
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Ford sells a additive to quiet them down. At least they did. Almost all of that style pump makes that whining sound. At 36K miles I doubt if that much fluid has been added. Doubt the screen is stopped up. If it was mine, I'd change the fluid and add the additive and see where it is.
Al
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Ford parts has an additive that will usually quiet it down. 2 oz. Lube Gard Red will will also quiet it. It may take a few miles with either. Those pumps are typically a bit noisy. A replacement pump is likely to be just as bad or worse in some cases. Although flushing the system and installing known correct fluid is not a bad idea, I would not even bother with that if the fluid looks clean at your mileage - just put in the additive. The reason I say thart is that fresh fluid is more likely to aereate causing more noise than the used fluid.
Lugnut
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