Power steering noise, does it matter?



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Thread: Power steering noise, does it matter?

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    Power steering noise, does it matter?

    Recently replaced the 2002's OE power steering rack with a remanufactured one from FENCO. The OE rack was working fine until one of the small exterior pipes on it corroded at a severe bend in the pipe. This was a pressure line and resulted in accelerated loss of power steering fluid to the point of becoming difficult to steer.

    After installation of the FENCO rack I experienced a very noticeable power steering whine, especially so when making turns at slow speeds. This whine would increase with engine rpms increasing.

    No doubt the power steering pump could have been damaged by the loss of fluid, but it doesn't leak so the seals are ok apparently.

    I removed the reservoir and cleaned it out the best I could - no change.
    Next, I replaced the reservoir witha new one - no change.
    Then I filled the reservoir to the top, per recommendations from Jeff, to within 1/4" of the stopper (up to top of indent on the outside), when power steering fluid was hot. This resulted in a considerable reduction in the whining noise.

    At present, there is a faint whining noise when turning with the engine at idle. It gets more noticeable when the engine rpms increase. I can live with the noise, it's not that bad. A local Mechanic says to not worry about it.

    I have been thinking of replacing the pump, in fact I have purchased a pump, which I may return. The noise isn't that bad, as already mentioned, and another pump may not be much better. Warm or cool weather doesn't seem to make a difference yet, it may in the winter.

    Questions:
    1. What does the whining noise really mean in the big scheme of things? What is the source of the problem? Seems the pump is doing its job and the problem lies elsewhere. Is the steering really malfunctioning in some way?
    2. What's likely to happen if I leave well enough alone.

    I'm sure there are lots of noisy power steering systems out there. Other than the noise, what's your experience?
    Last edited by Jeepman; 08-11-2011 at 03:41 PM.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 115,600 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 314,240 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 246,430 kms

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    You will eventually notice a reduction in power assist. Once that happens, then I would recommend changing the pump before it grenades as the bearings will be worn pretty well. No telling how long that will take though.

    Ever notice that Ford trucks of the 90's ALWAYS had PS pump noise? They kept going for many miles with that noise.
    Candy the van. '98 Sport 3.8L 132,200 miles. Used trans at ~96k. Great piece of my life and a fine van.

    '69 GTO drop top
    www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Greif/1410438927

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    I don't know that I will keep that remanufactured pump, it says Toyota on it. Don't want any inferior parts on my Dodge.

    Andyg: That whining noise is not due to bearings, I'm thinking, no noise when going straight, only when turning. Steers fine.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 115,600 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 314,240 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 246,430 kms

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeepman View Post
    Andyg: That whining noise is not due to bearings, I'm thinking, no noise when going straight, only when turning. Steers fine.
    Then you are probably hearing a "fluttering" of the pressure regulator valve in the pump when putting it under a load while turning. Its probably at the threshold of having a little too low pressure while turning, so the valve closes to bring pressure back up and then re-opens. This obviously is happening rapidly inside of the pump.
    Candy the van. '98 Sport 3.8L 132,200 miles. Used trans at ~96k. Great piece of my life and a fine van.

    '69 GTO drop top
    www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Greif/1410438927

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    sorry for bringing back the thread,
    I need some help from you guys. My van is an 05 DGC with 105 k miles.
    last fall I started hearing the power steering pump whine, first, I tried to fill the reservoir all the way to the top with no improvement, then I changed the PS fluid, nothing changed, finally I changed the reservoir with absolutely no improvement.
    the whining noise happens all the time when going straight and even when the van is idling you can hear it if you rev. up the engine. during the winter I can feel a slight loss in the power assist, but in the summer it is much better.
    however, the noise is maximum when the wheels are turned to the right or the left (not all the way though) and the van is moving, for instance when you are making a U-turn.
    what do you think guys??? pump or rack??? and if it is the pump, can I just change the pulley or I have to replace the whole pump??

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    Quote Originally Posted by soliyou View Post
    sorry for bringing back the thread,
    I need some help from you guys. My van is an 05 DGC with 105 k miles.
    last fall I started hearing the power steering pump whine, first, I tried to fill the reservoir all the way to the top with no improvement, then I changed the PS fluid, nothing changed, finally I changed the reservoir with absolutely no improvement.
    the whining noise happens all the time when going straight and even when the van is idling you can hear it if you rev. up the engine. during the winter I can feel a slight loss in the power assist, but in the summer it is much better.
    however, the noise is maximum when the wheels are turned to the right or the left (not all the way though) and the van is moving, for instance when you are making a U-turn.
    what do you think guys??? pump or rack??? and if it is the pump, can I just change the pulley or I have to replace the whole pump??
    Changing the pulley won't cure an ailing pump. IMHO:
    2000 Caravan 3 L. 17-20 MPG. 134,000 klm. New tranny at 97 K. Tires are P205 70R14 Bridgstone M+S. 123,800 KM. replaced tensioner pulley, serpentine belt, and power steering pulley, brake light switch.
    Old reliable - 1982 Dodge Ram Long Box 318 Auto 3 speed transmission 66 K.

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    Some whining, going straight ahead, at slower speeds, could be from the engine/transmission.
    Whining, when turning at slow speeds, sounds steering related.
    the noise is maximum when the wheels are turned to the right or the left (not all the way though) and the van is moving, for instance when you are making a U-turn.
    That's sounds definitely steering related.
    Whining, with wheels pointed straight ahead, at idle, sounds like something else, like a bearing (alternator bearing for example, which will give a whirring sound). Could be the power steering pump bearing I suppose.
    A remanufactured pump is about $100.00. That's a lot less expensive than a rack and way less labor intensive to install. They come without pulleys.
    Is it noiser in the winter?
    A Mechanic with a stethoscope may be able to pin point the source of the noise for you.
    You can also get whirring from your decouplers (clutch pulleys).

    What power steering fluid are you using? Anything with teflon in it could cause restictions, hence noise. Chrysler has a bulletin out on that as well. http://forum.chryslerminivan.net/sho...-Fluid-Warning
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 115,600 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 314,240 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 246,430 kms

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    About the other noises , haha I have them all, I have the nice "whir whir whir" coming from the alternator clutch and I have a nice transmission whining, last year I used to hear it on the 1st gear now I can hear it all the time. Good thing though, with all this singing you have nice entertainment and you don't need the radio anymore

    Any ways, the noise is definitely steering related, I bought a stethoscope and you can not even put it in your ears when touching the PS pump with the metal end, the noise is REALLY loud.
    Is it noisier in the winter?
    ----- Yes, It is crazy in the winter, when the van is idling, rev. up the engine to 1200-1500 rpm and slightly turn the steering wheel, as soon as I load the steering system I hear a nasty whine
    What power steering fluid are you using?
    ATF +4
    A remanufactured pump is about $100.00
    I think the new one is also around 100 as per this website
    My problem is with the labor, A reputable mechanic will easily charge 200-300$ for replacing the PS pump.

    my question is that, could it be just the bearing??
    if it is a bearing, I can keep it for some more time. but if this is an oil starvation, I think this will eventually destroy the rack , right???
    2005 - Dodge Grand Caravan - SXT (3.8L) ~~ 125 k miles

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