'99 Ford Taurus Power Steering Noise, Poor Boost, Overflowing

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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

Any suggestions?


Re: '99 Ford Taurus Power Steering Noise, Poor Boost, Overflowing

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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

Re: '99 Ford Taurus Power Steering Noise, Poor Boost, Overflowing

On my jeep the fluid would come out of the rack cylinder when
the car was moving or the wheel turned while stopped.

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Re: '99 Ford Taurus Power Steering Noise, Poor Boost, Overflowing

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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


Re: '99 Ford Taurus Power Steering Noise, Poor Boost, Overflowing

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.

Good luck!

On Sun, 23 Dec 2007 12:42:47 -0800 (PST), Weldman

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Re: '99 Ford Taurus Power Steering Noise, Poor Boost, Overflowing

Weldman wrote:
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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.

Re: '99 Ford Taurus Power Steering Noise, Poor Boost, Overflowing

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

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.


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