Why is my power steering pump whining?

OK. This may be hard to believe, but it's true.
Several months ago the stock power steering pump on my 96 Sable starting whining a little bit. I was out of town and I didn't want to
break down so I stopped at a gas station garage in NJ and told the mechanic about the problem. He listened to the motor and said "Yeah it's your pump starting to go bad." So I had him replace it.
Guess what? The replacement pump whined LOUDER than the stock one. Well, I told him that was unacceptable and he said that the replacement one may have been bad so he ordered another one from his supplier and put it on. Well, that one whined too, not as loud as pump #2 but still louder than the stock one. I was in a hurry so I paid him and left.
Got home and the whining sound was really annoying - you could hear me coming down the street, so I took it to a Ford dealership. Well, first they said the car needed a complete front suspension rebuild and 4 wheel brake job plus new engine mounts. They said they'd do the pump too. The whole thing came out to $2400.
I went to pick the car up and guess what? The damn pump was still whining. I thought they'd forgotten about it. The manager said that it WAS a new pump they put in. When I complained about the noise, he said and I quote "The whining sound is normal for these pumps."
I could never sell the damn car. No one would buy it with the whining sound.
Was I given a line? How could 3 replacement pumps all whine?
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wrote:

Ford PS pumps are notorious for making noise. It's also possible that the new ones were never burped properly to get all the air out. Air in the system will also make them noisier then they already are.
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Okay.. time for a reset.
In the first place, I'm not an auto tech, but I have an interest in practical applications of physics.
Having looked at earlier versions of the integrated reservoir ford pumps, I strongly doubt that notorious Ford whining has anything to do with 'wear'... notice that the sound/symptoms of 'low PS fluid' and whine with full res are the same?!!!?
That, and the fact this also becomes more evident when wheel is turned all the way against the 'lock', points to cavitation as the cause of the whine... that means there are 'gas bubbles' in the high pressure zone.
This would be due to either air being introduced, or more likely fluid breakdown and/or contamination.
When my wife's Taurus started getting loud, here's what I did:
Bought three quarts of top brand PS fluid {cant remeber which but if you want to be certain buy it from Ford dealer} and a bottle of Lucas PS additive.
Pulled return line and plugged res nipple, run return fluid into bucket, idle engine with front of car jacked, slowly turn wheel lock to lock while adding PS fluid to res to keep topped up until you run 2 quarts through or it starts to run clear. Leave enough room to add specified amount of Lucas PS fix.
Bet your pump will be quieter and get quieter, still.
In my case, it totally 'shut up'!
--
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
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On Tue, 03 Oct 2006 12:13:44 GMT, Backyard Mechanic

The fluid is clear red, so I don't think there's any contamination. It's filled to the "full" level. No bubbles are seen when the car is running and steering wheel is turned to right and left. The whining sound is loud even when the wheels are aimed straight, although it gets louder as the wheel reaches both left and right extremes. Otherwise, it operates fine.
Re your advice: You say your car "started making noise." Mine made noise right from the getgo. A new pump was installed at a Ford dealership. All that you described would have been done by them, yes? Including the use of their own Ford fluid. I'm willing to do what you suggest, but if I do and there still is a problem, and I take the unit back to the dealership for more work, they will tell me that the warranty is invalidated because of what "I did."
Do you think it's worth my while to go back to the dealership and say, "This simply will not do. I want it fixed and fixed right." ? I'll bet none of their mechanics would accept my problem on THEIR cars!
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In your case, that's the best thing... dont settle for "they all do"
--
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
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wrote:

For $2400, you shouldn't hear it at all.
If they need to install a new pump (hey, only the 4th one), then get them to do it.
I just wish I were a mechanic with costumers like you. Then I could afford a new car for the weekends, and one for the weekdays and that new Hummer, too.
Jeff

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Most likely because they were rebuilt pumps, not new pumps.
mike hunt

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