Calling Power Steering Gurus, I need some help

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Ok guys, I am stumped. Since my LS swap is basically complete, I've been chasing a whining PS pump and can't figure this out. I tried old school "wheels off the ground, lock to lock" bleeding method - multiple times, with as many as 30 reps. I then went "new school" and got a mightyvac and adapter to pull a vacuum on the system. Everything I've read says you should pull about 20in of vacuum and let it sit for several minutes. I can't get more than about 14in and I can hear bubbles, it will drop to 12in and hold. Since I don't have a fluid leak from the box, pump, cooler or any of the hoses, I figure it's sucking air at the box return fitting but there's not enough return pressure to leak fluid - so I replaced that fitting and used loctite 545 for good measure. No change.

However, if I put a hose clamp just past that fitting, I can pull 20in and it holds pretty well (for several mins). If I pull 20in and then release that clamp, it drops quickly to 12in and you can hear tons of bubbles in the reservoir. I'm now of the opinion I must have a leak in the box somewhere on the low pressure side. I'm not sure if there's a seal somewhere that only sees low / return pressure, but if so that would seem to be a culprit here. Any insight?

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If there is air in the system it simply needs to find a way out. Sometimes that means just driving around and topping off the fluid level when you're back to the garage. Once the air is bled from the system any noise should go away.
 
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Is the whining only due to air in the system? Some pumps (Ford, generally) whine with no air in the system. Can you see a lot of bubbles in the reservoir to confirm air in the system?
 
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It could be sucking air in thru the lip seal on the pitman shaft.
Is that seal not subjected to high pressure? I like the idea of this possibility, but I don't know the internal architecture of a PS gear so I wasn't sure if any seal only sees low pressure (hence no fluid leak).
 
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Is the whining only due to air in the system? Some pumps (Ford, generally) whine with no air in the system. Can you see a lot of bubbles in the reservoir to confirm air in the system?
It's a stock LS pump (ham can Saginaw style). Should be quiet. There's a little funkiness in the steering as well so between that and being able to watch bubbles in the resi at idle, air's finding a way in and not just trapped. Otherwise, pulling a vacuum should pull that out
 

Pighead

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Could you somehow have mis-matched hose fittings at the pump? (Right thread but wrong shape tubing end?)
It just sounds like something I would do...
 
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New pump, get a remote resivior P pump from PSC, 4105 IIRC , Even if you just got that one new, if it's a ham can and air is continuosly entering system it's entering there, have you checked fluid level at full lock both ways ?
 
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New pump, get a remote resivior P pump from PSC, 4105 IIRC , Even if you just got that one new, if it's a ham can and air is continuosly entering system it's entering there, have you checked fluid level at full lock both ways ?
That would certainly be the way to go, if budget is no factor. After rebuilding the top end of this LQ9, all the swap parts, fluids, consumables, tools, small parts... I was trying to keep this fix as cost effective as possible.

Is this the kit you speak of:
 

GLTHFJ60

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It's worth noting that if you want to change up your reservoir location, you can buy just the saginaw pump can, and not the whole pump. The saginaw pumps all have removable reservoir cans, and you can swap them out for any other. Just an o-ring seals the can to the pump body.
 
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Try applying pressure (not running), leave it for a little time and see what you find.
I think that might be the next step. I have to rig something up with a hand pump somehow to apply low psi and maybe I'll see a drip. Really leaning towards a pump replacement (stockish, not PSC). If that's not not issue, then I'll have a spare and it won't break the bank. I very well may be overthinking this, but I do like the science behind troubleshooting instead of throwing parts at a problem.
 
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OK, some basic info. is missing in this thread-
Is it the pump that came with the LQ9 thats whining - ( New, or came with motor) ?
Is the front of the LQ9 stock as far as acc. locations, belt route, pulley size, etc.. ?
Are you using a saginaw box, new or used ?, which one if so ?Are you running a radiator style cooler ( lose that and get a billet alum. tube style with fins )
Is this turning a stock/stockish set up as far as suspension and tire size, or is it turning 40's on a SOA or link set up ?,
When whining is it pushing fluid out ham can lid ? Does it weep fluid around the lid ? How big is the resivior on the pump you have ?
Have you inspected belt and pulley for signs of slipage ? Have you taken belt off and turned pump to check for irregularities ?
When its whining do you feel a difference in the steering, does it get rachety or slow down ?
Does the fluid smell burnt ?
 
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OK, some basic info. is missing in this thread-
Is it the pump that came with the LQ9 thats whining - ( New, or came with motor) ? Came on LS Engine, does appear to have been recently replaced based on condition

Is the front of the LQ9 stock as far as acc. locations, belt route, pulley size, etc.. ? Yes, but I am running a 5" pulley to clear the steering linkage. I don't think that's the issue since this issue exists at idle.

Are you using a saginaw box, new or used ?, which one if so ?'68 Skylark Saginaw box, no leaks ever since purchased new.
Are you running a radiator style cooler ( lose that and get a billet alum. tube style with fins ) Rad style, was on 2FE setup as well as the box

Is this turning a stock/stockish set up as far as suspension and tire size, or is it turning 40's on a SOA or link set up ?, 35" SOA

When whining is it pushing fluid out ham can lid ? Does it weep fluid around the lid ? No leaks / weeping anywhere. Dry as a bone.

How big is the resivior on the pump you have ? Standard Saginaw "canned ham" style

Have you inspected belt and pulley for signs of slipage ? Brand new belt, well tensioned, no slippage

Have you taken belt off and turned pump to check for irregularities ? Spun freely on the bench, pre-install

When its whining do you feel a difference in the steering, does it get rachety or slow down ? Slightly jerky at times, tolerable but noticable.

Does the fluid smell burnt ? No
 
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Given answer to first ?, I again say it's the pump. How full is the fluid level ? Is the cooler above the top of resivior ?( Shouldn't be )

First thing I would do is run Royal Purple synthetic, when you drain current fluid let it settle and see if there is an amount of sediment, IMO clue to a bad or failing pump.
If it still whines with the Royal fluid then I would get a new pump and a pulley installer tool, thems is handy. 16 years on the PSC kit with 38's and ram assist and nary a whine. Just sayin that those P pumps are a crap shoot, you get good ones and bad ones and getting onebuilt by a person specifically for a purpose and with attention VS. one built on a line by volume in a run for a distributor. FWIW when I had the ham can pump it would squeal a bit at lock, IMO removing the resivior from the pump is the best mod you can do, and the hydro assist, slows it down a bit but what a difference after8 or 10 hrs of crawlin. The additional fluid the system holds with a remote resivior is good too. The PSC one uses that ham can with a fitting so the pump is still wet and it adds the additional fluid capacity.
 

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