Wait for it to fail?

My 1992 Taurus wagon has a steering rack that creaks and groans in cold weather only. Yesterday I happened to be under the hood and noticed a black rubber line
running to the power steering pump is apparently leaking fluid. Is this one of those things I can let go or is failure imminent? It's not my primary vehicle.... I just use it to haul crap home from Lowes and the grocery store.
As far as the actual power steering goes, with the exception of the leak and the creaking noise, it appears to work just fine.
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN
mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com
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Ford's steering pumps have a very distinctive noise too - Taurus, CV, they all sound the same :)

Well, it's not "apparently" leaking fluid - it is either leaking or it isn't. If you see fluid there then it's either leaking (most likely), or it's being dripped on from someplace else.
Check the level in the reservoir. You WILL notice the difference when the fluid starts to run low; the steering will get intermittently hard to operate as air bubbles move around inside the hoses.
If the hose blows out completely, you'll still be able to steer the car, but it will be difficult. If it happens unexpectedly, it will be hazardous.
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"Mortimer Schnerd, RN" <mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com> wrote:

If you want to invest a bit in that oldie, a flush of the steering system may help. A few years ago my Chrysler blew the hose at the rack on a full lock turn, big bucks for a rebuilt rack. Apparently if I had flushed it I may have not had that failure so soon.
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"Flushes" are often a waste - just drain the fluid from the reservoir with a turkey baster, and fill with fresh fluid. Usually ATF is fine, but check the manual.
(ATF has everything in it the steering system needs, and it's a whole lot less money than the Secret Sauce from the car maker. You are out of warranty...)

A whole raft of erroneous conclusions here:
Flushing the PS System would have had nothing to do with a hose failure. The hoses deteriorate with age, the fluid condition is a very minor component, practically a non-factor.
Hose failure would have nothing to do with needing to replace the steering rack with a rebuilt unit - the hoses are easily replaced separately without touching the rack.
Then again, if you left it without fluid for six months and let a bunch of crap come in through the dangling broken hose, and the hydraulic parts of the rack were damaged internally by being driven 'dry' for months... The rack failure would be traced directly back to the delayed repair, not the initial hose failure.
And if you ran the steering pump dry for months (without removing the belt) you didn't do it any favors either.
--<< Bruce >>--
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Bruce L. Bergman wrote:

Bruce, I agree completely about the hose failure, but flushing Ford power steering systems has shown to help their longevity and help reduce the "whine" that many develop over the years. It will not "fix" a worn or defective part, but as PM on a well used Ford product it has merit. I proved it to myself some time ago. My 84 Mark VII had a "whiny" pump and "morning sickness" of the power steering and Hydro-Boost when I bought it. The fluid was brown and sludgy, like many get with time. I suspect this is due to breakdown of the additives in the OEM lube. I flushed the system on a whim, faced with a very costly repair. The cold loss of power steering and brake boost disappeared completely, as did the whine. That was just over 3 years and 60K miles ago and I just recently replaced the pump due to a leaking shaft seal. It performed well in our recent sub-zero temps. For the OP, flushing is worth the $10 try. (After he replaces the leaky hose, of course). " the hoses are easily replaced separately without touching the rack". On the OPs Taurus, the hoses are quite a chore to replace, pricy, and require "touching" the rack. It does need to be done, though.
In answer to the original question, replace the leaky hoses, flush the system and you will probably be ok for the life of your "hauler". If you let it go, it will cost more to fix. The "groaning" noise you hear is likely the pump aerating due to the leak. If it runs dry or very low, even for a short while, it will destroy the pump.
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Tom Adkins wrote:

Looks like it's going to run me about $250 installed. I looked at it, considered my ability to make a $100 job $500 through ignorant screwups, and decided to let a pro do it. The part got ordered yesterday and they'll call me when it's here... so I will get it fixed.
It kind of made me nervous yesterday when it was up on the rack and several mechanics gathered around. It turned out they were amazed at what good shape the car was in. They were even more so when I mentioned it was a "beach" car.... spent the first 13 of its 15 years at a beachfront community. Fortuantely, my dad kept it garaged. I don't but I keep it waxed.

Several mechanics, including the one yesterday, didn't seem concerned at the cold temp creaking the steering does. I'm satisfied that it's a benign problem. The leak is another matter. I thank all those who pushed me towards getting that corrected.
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN
mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com
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On Feb 17, 4:33 am, "Mortimer Schnerd, RN" <mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com> wrote:

I just bought a 2000 Sable for my daughter with only 36K miles and the pump is groaning with the steering on center, and even more so when turning lock to lock. One thing I don't read on any Usenet posting regarding Ford PS pumps is the Ford-specified PS fluid, which in the case of the Sable, is Ford-spec MERCON ATF. I wonder how many owners actually use Automatic Transmission Fluid, as compared to the clear PS fluid sold at most stores?
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Either one will work - both are inter-compatible hydraulic oils with wear inhibitors and seal conditioners. The only difference would be ATF has additional detergents and/or friction modifiers for the clutches and bands in a transmission that a power steering system doesn't have, but they won't hurt to be in there.
--<< Bruce >>--
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rack and pinion is easy to change in these.. I did one in 3 hours in out done. Wreckers has em for $100 Lucas will healp your problem LUCAS POWER STEERING treatment ! Works like gold.. suck out as much as you can.. pour the whole bottle in and top up.. cheers
wrote:

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