I have a '99 Taurus' that has the following symptoms:
The power steering pump is making a lot of noise.
The boost is less than it should be at idle, making the steering wheel harder to turn than it usually is.
Fluid has been "disappearing" from the system for several days now but there isn't a puddle under the car or leaks that I can find. Today, I topped it off while the car was running only to have it overflow the reservoir and make a huge mess when I shut the engine off.
The fluid in the reservoir is very foamy and frothy.
From reading some posts here, it appears that the rack might in fact be bad. Would a bad rack also cause the noisy pump operation? I noticed one of the tie rod boots was torn on the passenger's side, but there isn't ANY leakage of fluid from the rack; the only leakage appears to be coming from the overflow of the reservoir.
I don't want to replace the rack if it is in fact the pump that is bad.
The PS pump drives a mechanism that is geared to the rack. That is where the leak may be coming from & could be the source of the air bubble foam "bath". The noise most likely is the vane chamber running empty & not having the damping effect of the fluid. PS fluid should only be added with the engine off.
On my jeep the fluid would come out of the rack cylinder when the car was moving or the wheel turned while stopped. Fred
So does this sound like a rack problem or a pump problem? The pump is awfully noisy and it does appear to be loosing some fluid somewhere....
My daughter happens to have a 99 taurus that had the same issue. I replaced pump, and it still whined. When I added power steering fluid, then shut it off, spilled out everywhere. Turns out my fluid was leaking out of the rack and into the boot. Only when I punctured the boot, did it actually leak out. I replaced the rack, and then got all the air out of the system, and now all is well. The foaming is air in the lines.
I was told that if a rack was replaced, then chances are that you will be replacing a pump too.
Took about an hour to change pump, and 2 and a half hours to change rack. Rack is not a hard job if you can come up with a lift. It actually would have taken less time to replace rack if we didn't try to put power steering hose into the plugged hole.
On Sun, 23 Dec 2007 12:42:47 -0800 (PST), Weldman
loosen clamps on the boots and check for fluid in them. If there is fluid in there the rack is leaking.
If the pump has a remote mounted reservoir check for crud blocking the screen inside that will starve the pump making it whine.
If neither of the above is true I would try changing the fluid in the pump to see if it quiets it down.
Thanks for the replies, fellas.
This is a follow-up to my post from last week. As was suggested, I removed enough of the power steering fluid last week in order to refill with Lucas' Power Steering Stop Leak formula, bled the rack with the front wheels elevated and drove the car around the block a few times and all seemed well.
After going out of town for a few days, I started the car yesterday and drove around town. Initially, I thought all was well, but as I drove the car on a few errands, the pump started getting louder and louder. I parked the car last night and when it was started this morning, the pump was very loud and I could see that the fluid in the reservoir was foamy and frothy. I cut the car off and then had the foamy fluid overflow the reservoir again and make another mess. Yesterday, during the errands, I checked the fluid level and it looked good with no foaming...nice clear fluid at the proper level was in the reservoir.
Obviously, the system is somehow getting a lot of air entrapped in it. Is there some way in which air can get into the system other than a low fluid level? I'm still not seeing any leakage around the rack boots, etc. I understand that the racks can leak into the boots and not be obvious on the outside.
At this point, I'm still not certain if it is a rack issue, a pump issue, or something else. I hate to start throwing parts at the thing and especially hate the thought of having to swap out the rack as that looks like I real pain to swap out.
By the way, the reservoir isn't a remotely-located one; it's attached to the back of the pump.
Stuart, why do you suppose the pump AND rack will need to be replaced if that rack is bad? Do any of the other power steering components need to be replaced typically?
Any other suggestions would be appreciated.