noises from steering

Hi, I was wondering if anyone had an idea(s) about what could be causing these problems, severity/danger, price to fix, etc.
95 Mercury Cougar, 3.8 V6, ~89,000 miles, the last ~13,000/6months of
which are mine. Had the car (don't know much about the history) checked out and various repairs done upon buying it. Lately (the noises have been getting gradually worse), I can hear a metallic creaking sound when I turn the wheel all the way to the right or left (parallel parking, for instance). It sounds like it's from the lower front of the car. Also, when I begin moving from standing still, I hear a slightly different metallic creak from the lower back of the car (car is rear wheel drive). In addition, for a while I had to refill my coolant often (add a liter or so every few weeks, the low coolant light was going on), although for the past 2.5 months it's been fine (no low coolant light warning).
Thanks for any suggestions.
Dave
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Dave, every Ford I've ever owned has had this little "grind" sound in the steering, it's the power steering, IIRC it's aged bearings in the power steering.. but as long as you keep the fluid filled, and changed regularly, and the wheel turns easily, then you can pretty much attribute it to age.. however if the steering takes too much effort, then you may want to replace the power steering pump..
Chuck Burns
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Hi,
I've seen a bunch of Fords with the same concern that your having. The outer tie rod ends are the biggest culprit. They do not have a grease fittings and wear prematurely so the only answer is to replace the defective one. If you listen from underneath the car while someone turns the wheel you should be able to pinpoint the problem. I have occasionally seen squeaking inner tie rod sockets and ball joints.
One way to temporarily eliminate the squeak is to determine the suspected component. Poke a small hole in the rubber boot, then take a can of CRC or WD40 and insert the straw into the hole, spray a small amount into the joint. If the noise goes away you found your problem. Keep in mind this is only a test and could result in grease breakdown.
Hope this helps,
John
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One other thing you can check is the steering stops. If the noise is only when you turn complete turns (as far as wheel will turn) then the steering stops need to be lubricated. The steering stops are just that, a stop located on the steering knuckle to keep the wheel from turning to far. these stops are made of metal and if not properly lubricated will crunch on sharp turns. A very simple procedure.
Good Luck!
John
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Dave opined in

Ball Joint.

Could be one of several things... susp arm bushing, possibly. Even a CV joint.

HAve a shop do a pressure check on your coolant system. 3.8's have a history of head gasket failures.
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