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Power Steering pump whine/groan

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by IdahoDoug, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Noticed last week that the Power Steering pump is beginning to whine. I can only hear it when the RPMs are above idle. In park at above 1500 when turning the wheel. However, I can also faintly hear it while driving straight at around town speeds with the window down. The fluid has never been low, and the first time it has had fresh fluid was a couple weeks ago ironically.

    Anyone (Christo?) have a feel for what I can expect on this in terms of expected time to a failure of some sort? What would be the best course of action - rebuild or replace? How hard is a rebuild? And finally, specifically what is the sound from - a bearing wiping out or a valve in the hydraulic part of the pump?

    Edit: Whoopsie. Just read the manual, and I'm betting I got some air in the system when I put fresh fluid in. I used an oil sucker to completely empty the reservoir and just noticed in the manual that the return line comes into it a little ways up the side, giving rise to the possibility that air went into the return line before I filled it again with fresh fluid. I'll follow the FSM directions to bleed and get back to this thread with results.

    Thanks!

    IdahoDoug
     
  2. cruiserman

    cruiserman

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    Check for air in the system. If the pump is not leaking, a rebuild will not help.
     
  3. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Update on the whining PS pump. I fully bled the system and did in fact find that my ersatz draining of the reservoir introduced air into the system. It took 2 quarts of fluid before it came out clean DIII fluid, and there was still a bit of bubbliness (fine, like champagne) in the fluid when I called it good. Driving it right afterwards there was still a bit of whine. Over the ensuing days, the whine has completely disappeared and all seems well again. I suspect the fine bubbles take a few days to settle out.

    On a side note, I was kind of shocked at how really dirty the fluid was and will never own another vehicle without changing out the PS fluid.

    IdahoDoug
     
  4. scottm

    scottm

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    So if I ever get to this quart of syn PS fluid on my shelf, what procedure would you recommend now bro?
     
  5. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Get another one, and I'll look for the post I wrote. PS - like the new picture - who is that?
    :cheers:
     
  6. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Ah, here it is:

    Well, just finished flushing the PS system and putting fresh in and have the following advice.

    The manual says to remove the return hose after emptying the reservoir and turning the wheels back and forth with the engine off a couple times.  I kept turning them back and forth until no more fluid came out and it was about 10 times.  I think this is better since you've gotten as much of the old fluid out before refilling with the engine on, which would mix old/new.

    Also, when filling the manual says to "start the engine and shut if off when fluid comes out the return hose in 1-2 seconds".  Baloney.  Fluid SPEWS out almost the second the engine catches and the reservoir is instantly emptied and the pump is full of foam. Now, you've introduced air in to the system and must start over.  I then pulled the FI fuse (conveniently under your left elbow while you're doing this) and pumped the new fluid in with 3 second starter cycles by my wifey.  It was much easier to prevent emptying the reservoir and having to start over with getting air out.  After about 6 cycles like this, the fluid was coming out bright red and clear.  THEN put the fuse in and start the engine to cycle the wheels back and forth a few times as the manual indicates.

    The noise seemed reduced immediately, but still there in a quick drive around the neighborhood, however a faint steering shudder was gone.  The real test will be when the system is fully up to temp driving around town, but I was encouraged.  I also noted that there were some fine bubbles in the fluid coming out at the very end.  I suspect this was due to the foaming/spew incident and it may be several days before these bubbles are purged and any potential cavitating whine is gone.

    The return hose showed a bit of cracking at its tip, so I'll replace that at some point, too.
     
  7. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Doug,

    Recapping, you followed the FSM and did a flush as described in post #5. That introduced air and got you to post #1 followed by a bleeding in post #3. Correct?

    Can you give us a *new* flush procedure (replacing #5, #1, #3) that will help us avoid the problem with getting air in the system?

    -B-
     
  8. Rich

    Rich

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    How to flush PS Fluid.


    1) Buy 5 quarts dexron tranny fluid.
    2) Buy some 5/8 inch diameter tubing, say 6 feet or so.
    3) Buy a connector to connect two pieces of 5/8 inch hose.
    4) Buy a transmission fill funnel.
    5) Jack up front axle so both front wheels are off ground.
    6) Remove the return line (top) to PS reservoir.
    7) Connect one end of long length of tubing to the PS return line hose.
    8) Insert other end of long length of tubing into a gallon bottle, a bucket, or drain pan.
    9) Run engine just long enough to drain PS reservoir. Stop engine when the pump starts whining.
    10) Remove the lower hose from PS reservoir that feeds to PS pump. A rubber stopper or a short length of plugged or clamped hose is useful to prevent reservoir from dripping on engine.
    11) Insert funnel into hose that feeds to PS pump.
    12) Have your buddy start the engine, and continously turn the steering wheel back and forth from stop to stop.
    13) As old PS fluid is being pumped out you need to be pouring new fluid into funnel.
    14) After pumping out about a gallon of tranny fluid have buddy shut off engine when funnel is empty.
    15) Hook back up PS hoses to PS reservoir.
    16) Fill PS reservoir.
    17) Start engine and turn steering wheel from stop to stop to bleed any remaining air.
    18) Clean up mess and you are done.

    Rich
     
  9. scottm

    scottm

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    [quote author=IdahoDoug link=board=2;threadid=5722;start=msg48513#msg48513 date=1065579285]
    like the new picture - who is that?[/quote]
    Dagget, from the Angry Beavers, best cartoon I've ever seen.

    I don't feel the need to replace every drop of PS fluid, I was just going to replace a quart or so each year like the tranny fluid. Can this be done without introducing air?
     
  10. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Rich,
    Isn't step 9 what started Doug's problems with air in the system? Is this where you would pull the EFI fuse and cycle the starter a few times to drain?
    -B-
     
  11. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator

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    Um,


    We have a power steering fluid exchange machine. :flipoff2:
     
  12. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    After reading Rich's post that is basically how I've been doing it over the years. Just have the quarts of fluid open and in the wings once you start to purge the system.
     
  13. Rich

    Rich

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    [quote author=Beowulf link=board=2;threadid=5722;start=msg48686#msg48686 date=1065629181]
    Rich,
    Isn't step 9 what started Doug's problems with air in the system? Is this where you would pull the EFI fuse and cycle the starter a few times to drain?
    -B-

    [/quote]
    B,

    I've not tried just using the starter, with engine EFI disabled, to drain the fluid. I don't see why it would not work.

    Pumping 4 quarts through the system, providing you (your buddy) is continuously moving the steering wheel back and forth will get out most of the air, as long as you keep the funnel full.

    With the front wheel off of the ground it is no problem to quickly bleed any remaining air. Cycling the steering back and forth stop to stop is the key to bleeding air. With the front axle on jack stands the steering wheel turns quickly and effortlessly.
     
  14. Rich

    Rich

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    [quote author=cruiserdan link=board=2;threadid=5722;start=msg48725#msg48725 date=1065635252]
    We have a power steering fluid exchange machine. :flipoff2:
    [/quote]

    Me too. Mine also walks and talks. :D
     
  15. BMT

    BMT

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    Scott M...What about Norbert or Sister Stacey? Don't mean to hijack the thread but Angry Beavers is a great cartoon. Up there with the Simpsons.
     
  16. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    BWolf,

    Sorry, this ended up across a couple threads. The other day, I was working on the Subaru and Cruiser - belts and such. Just because I thought of it, I grabbed the oil change sucker (pulls oil out the dipstick for the boat) and emptied/filled the Sube's PS reservoir. Then did the same on the 80. A couple days later, I heard a loud whine while leaving a stoplight and quickly found it was the PS pump. Since I'd just put belts on, I thought it might be the new belts, but after several more days looked at it more closely and realized the PS reservoir's return hose likely sucked air when I emptied it (it's above the bottom of the reservoir), then dumped it into the hose to the pump when I started the truck. Bad move.

    So, I got the FSM and began following the instructions to refresh the fluid, then bleed air. But have the following suggestions as poorly written in post #6:

    When the FSM instructs you to empty the reservoir, disconnect the return hose, and turn the wheels back and forth a few times (on jackstands - engine off), I digressed. I noted that fluid kept coming out the return hose into my drain bucket even after 4, 5, and finally around 10 cycles it quit coming out. I felt it was a better recommendation to keep turning the wheels back and forth until the system was empty. After all, why mix new and old oil together when you begin refilling?

    Then, I continued with the FSM instructions which call for filling the reservoir and starting the car for a few seconds until fluid comes out of the return hose into your drain bucket. What REALLY happens is that the instant the engine catches, pressurized foam spews out of the hose and pisses you off while emptying the reservoir. I again digressed from the FSM instructions here by pulling the EFI fuse. This makes it more controlled and less dramatic. Your helper turns the key until you yell 'stop' as you note the reservoir getting low enough to suck air (similar to keeping fluid in a master cylinder during a brake bleed). After I'd cycled about 1.5 quarts through in this nice controlled fashion, the fluid had been renewed and was going into the drain bucket nice and clear. Then, I followed the FSM instructions for bleeding air. Even still, there must have been a bit of air after this procedure (in emulsion, or fine bubbles) that took a couple days to settle out. I base this on the slight whine that remained for a few days before the pump went completely silent after a half dozen typical around town errands.

    Pardon the confusion.

    Rich's method would work fine. Perhaps easier if you cranked the fluid in with the starter. The 80 pump seemed surprisingly high volume and with it running I think it would be tough to stay with it. Also, I think the PS hoses are a 3/8" I.D. and I suggest using a thinner walled tube as the barbs on the reservoir are quite difficult to get hoses on.

    IdahoDoug
     
  17. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Thanks Doug, that clears it up.
    -B-
     
  18. Riley

    Riley

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    [quote author=cruiserdan link=board=2;threadid=5722;start=msg48725#msg48725 date=1065635252]
    Um,


    We have a power steering fluid exchange machine. :flipoff2:
    [/quote]

    When I was "interviewing" my local dealer we talked about the power steering flush machine since my fluid needs replacing (dirty). It seems to me that the $65 bucks they want to charge me seems good value considering all the mess and hassle the DIY method is likely to cause.
     
  19. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Riley,

    I spent $6.25 cents on fluid and it took 15 minutes to perform, plus 10 minutes to jack and stabilize. Having my 5yo daughter turn the wheel back and forth a dozen times or so? Priceless. Plus, I used top grade fluid and the dealer will use bulk crap from a drum.

    IdahoDoug