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Old 01-29-2011, 10:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Power Steering Repair

Hey Guys,

For a while now, my wife's car has been making noises when turning the steering wheel - whining/groaning sounds.

I'm assuming this means the power steering is on its last legs. The other day, I went to use the car, and there were a few times when it was harder to steer the car than others.

Is there anything OTHER than the power steering pump I should check? How DO I check the power steering pump?
I've done a few basics on cars, including replacing the alternator, but not much with hydraulic fluid going through it.

The car is a 2000 Pontiac Sunfire, 2.2l 4-cylinder gasoline engine, automatic transmission.

We have like NO money right now, so I would really like to do it myself if possible.

Thanks in advance,

-Ben

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Old 01-29-2011, 10:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Checked the fluid level?
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Oconomowoc, WI, USA
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Electric Cycle - '81 Kawasaki KZ440
90 day: 334.6 mpg (US)

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90 day: 30.48 mpg (US)

Electro-Metro - '96 Ben Nelson's "Electro-Metro"
90 day: 129.81 mpg (US)

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Doh!

Hadn't even checked the fluid level!
See, that's what I need you guys for. Reminders like that.

Yep, the fluid level is really low. Would really low fluid give the same symptoms as a bad pump?


The other (better) car has MANUAL steering.....
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Blue - '93 Ford Tempo
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F150 - '94 Ford F150 XLT 4x4
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Sport Coupe - '92 Ford Tempo GL
Last 3: 69.62 mpg (US)

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90 day: 33.65 mpg (US)

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Thanks: 1,571
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Yes. Luckily power steering pumps are extremely robust. Top the fluid off and it'll probably quiet right down. You may want to look for the leak.

If worse comes to worse the pump can be bypassed and the car left with "Armstrong Steering"- provided the wife doesn't protest too much.
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
EV test pilot
 
bennelson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Oconomowoc, WI, USA
Posts: 4,435

Electric Cycle - '81 Kawasaki KZ440
90 day: 334.6 mpg (US)

S10 - '95 Chevy S10
90 day: 30.48 mpg (US)

Electro-Metro - '96 Ben Nelson's "Electro-Metro"
90 day: 129.81 mpg (US)

The Wife's Car - Plug-in Prius - '04 Toyota Prius
90 day: 78.16 mpg (US)
Thanks: 17
Thanked 658 Times in 384 Posts
Well, I picked up some power steering fluid, with a "Stops Leaks!" advertisement on its label.

I filled up the resevoir on the car, idled it a little to get the air bubbles out, and took it for a ride around the block.

The power steering works great again!

I have to assume right now that there has been a slow leak over a long time. I'll have to keep my eye on it.

Working on cars outside in Wisconsin in winter isn't real fun. Hopefully, I won't have to do anything else to it before spring!

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